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Chapter 3: Art and Religion
THE JEWISH TRADITION
Judaism was the basis for the later religions Christianity and Islam.
It is a religion which has strong restrictions against the creation or veneration of visual images. The Second Commandment warns against creating and worshipping "graven images." Iconoclasm means that visual images are strongly discouraged and often forbidden. Iconophiles are those who strongly encourage the use of visual images.
Two historic pieces of art and architecture are Solomon's (and Herod's) Temple and the Ark of the Covenant.
The 1st Century AD Hebrew theologian, Philo of Alexandria, saw God as being universal perfection, and as such, could not be represented in visual form which would be, by its nature, imperfect.
Funerary Inscription of Uzziah, King of Judah. Marks the place where King Uzziah's remains were moved to during the Roman period. He had died 800 years before this marker was put into place. The inscription reads, "Hither were brought/the bones of Uzziah/King of Judah/Do not open."
Gold-Glass Base. From the Roman catacombs. This was the base of a cup or bowl.
Head of Constantine
Basilica of Constantine
Emperor Justinian and Attendants
Empress Theodora and Attendants
EARLY CHRISTIAN ART AND ARCHITECTURE
Christianity was a sect of Judaism. Because it is a messianic offshoot which believes that God came to earth in the guise of his Son, Jesus, there is a recognized visual form of God as Man. This allowed for images of "God" to be made in the likeness of Jesus. Visual forms became important in the development of the Christian Church.
Origen and Clement of Alexandria debated the issue of visual imagery in the Christian Church in the 3rd Century. Most of the resolutions which grew out of these debates regarded painting as being more appropriate for the Church. This was because painting was only an illusion of two-dimensional space and thus not a true representation of three-dimensional reality.
-Early Christian period-@ 33-400 AD. Constantine made it acceptable with the Edict of Milan 313 AD, which stated that Rome would tolerate all religions
Churches from this era had the apse end of the church facing east so that it would be illuminated in the morning during the Mass (worship service)
Old St. Peter's-Rome, Early Christian basilica, 333-390
JUSTINIAN AND THE BYZANTINE STYLE
San Vitale-540-547 AD, Ravenna, Italy, brick facing
mosaics -were made up of small pieces of ceramic called tesserae
The Court of Justinian and the Court of Theodora-apse mosaics,
Hagia Sophia-Constantinople, 537 AD,
Page from the Book of Kells
NORTHERN EUROPEAN CHRISTIAN ART
Carolingian Period (under King Charlemagne-Holy Roman Empire)
Plan of the Pilgrim Church of Ste. Foy at Conques
The Last Judgement
-stylistic name, not historical period
Sainte-Foy at Conques, in So. France, c. 1050-1120
-primarily an architectural term
Saint-Denis (Notre Dame de Saint-Denis), begun 1137,
Chartres Cathedral (Notre Dame de Chartres), 1134-1220, 40 miles SW of Paris
Great Mosque at Cordoba
Dome of the Rock
arabesques: abstract designs
Hindu Religion and Art
Religious architecture generally uses multiple walled sactuaries which house others until an inner core is reached. it is a metaphor for a mother's womb.
Painting tends to be flat and decorative, often portraying Krishna, the reincarnation of Vishnu.
Great Stupa at Sanchi
|Buddhist Religion and Art|
-Buddhism was started by Siddhartha Gautama in the 5th C. BC.
-He advocated following a "middle path" between excess and denial and believed that all suffering is the result of our personal desires. The way that he advocated was one of making the desires of the world less until one rose to a spiritual level called nirvana.
Travelers Amid Streams and Mountains
The philosophical differences and similarities of China to the Western World of the same time are reflected in their art. For example, in Renaissance Italy the Classical idea of the development and importance of the "entire" person led to artwork that was based on the individual. The focus was on a single person with landscape or architecture as background. Chinese philosophers, in contrast, felt that Man was only a small part of a larger universe unto which he was subject. The figure in art, consequently, was sublimated to a minor role in paintings which featured the landscape as subject. If man was introduced into such a composition, he was depicted as small and insignificant compared to his surroundings.
Yin and Yang
literati painting-the literati were a group intellectual elites (much like artists in Renaissance Italy) who expressed their philosophical ideas through painting and calligraphy. Poets greatly influenced these artists of China.
"First we see the hills in the painting, then we see the painting in the hills," Li Li-Weng (one often receives a heightened awareness of nature through art)
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