Friday, November 30, 2007

Chartres Cathedral

Check out this website for a great map of the stained glass windows located in the choir.

Click on the names in the diagram for a detailed overview of the window. You can also click on the image of the window for a super detailed image (these are beautiful!) with narrative.

Comments due by Monday 12-3.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Taken from How Art Made the World:

What is a memorial?

What is it expected to represent about memory, death, loss and time? Is it a lesson from the past, or a warning in the present? A memorial can serve a national purpose, like the Washington DC Vietnam memorial, or a very personal one as with cemetery tombstones and roadside shrines for the victims of auto accidents. It can be deeply sad, or openly political, endorsing differing views of past history. The design of a memorial may incorporate both abstract visual symbols and literal representations of people and events. It can use its formal design to direct emotions and responses, or leave them largely to the immediate experiences of visitors. It can directly express goals and beliefs about war, heroism, or justice, or it can simply create a space where people can contemplate their own sense of events.

What examples of public or personal memorials have you seen? What did you think about their designs and intentions; what did the memorials communicate to you? How?

Consider, as well, the implications and design of currently controversial projects like the 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site in New York City. What does the present design propose about the immediate events and the lessons we are to learn from them? How is it meant to serve the many different visitors—families of victims, New Yorkers, politicians, visitors from around the US and the rest if the world? To answer these questions students will need to research and find images of proposed designs, intentions. One useful website is the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation

Art21 on ritual and commemoration: Kiki Smith and Maya Lin

Comments due by Monday 12-3.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Turkey Parts, Meyer Vaisman, 1993, Polyurethane foam, latex, acrylic.

No posting this week! Everyone gets 2 points for turkey.

Have a good break.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Bayeux Tapestry

William and Harold ride with soldiers to Williams’s palace at Rouen. William sits while Harold talk to him. The mysterious incident on the far right seems to have nothing to do with the main story, but it may have been well known in the 11th century. It might refer to a sexual scandal - the man in the lower border is naked in the original tapestry, but he has been provided with shorts by the Victorian embroiderers who made this copy.

Detail of embroidery.
Comments due by Monday 11/19.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Take a virtual tour

Go to this site and explore 360 degree panoramas and interactive building plans.

Comments due by Monday 11-19

Monday, November 5, 2007

San Vitale

Choir mosaic in San Vitale. The center and left hand side of the mosaic represents the angels announcing to Abraham the birth of his son Isaac.

In class last week, we began discussing the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna Italy. This church is one of the most important examples of Byzantine Art and mosaic work, and is also one of the only major buildings to survive from the period of Emperor Justinian.
Justinian, who is considered a saint amongst Eastern Orthodox Christians, reigned as emperor between 527 and 565, but saw himself as an inheritor of the Roman Imperial authority. This is evident in his massive building plan, which links him to other great imperial builders such as Augustus. There had always been strong ties between Roman Emperors and their religion, which manifested itself in the construction of altars and temples throughout the empire. Justinian clearly continued this tradition, creating a very strong link between himself and his ancestors. In addition, Justinian, who was also known as the “emperor who never sleeps,” is responsible for rewriting the Roman law, the Corpus Juris Civilis, which is still the basis of civil law in some modern states. He considered it his duty to restore the Roman Empire to its ancient boundaries. Seeing himself as a defender of the orthodox faith, his multiple military campaigns to regain these territories were motivated by the Ostrogoths’ conversion to Arian Christianity, which was seen as a heretical form faith.

“Central to Justinian's conception of the political and religious order was that he as Emperor was anointed by God as the chosen leader of the Empire. Von Simson in Sacred Fortress writes: "Imperial policy conceived political and religious issues as inextricably entwined. Orthodox doctrine spearheaded the moves of political, as well as of military, strategy; and nowhere is this fact more apparent than in the great campaign to wrest the western parts of the Empire from their Arian conquerors (p. 3)." The conception of the Emperor's authority is identified as Caesaropapism, in that the Emperor is understood to combine the functions of the Caesar of the Roman imperial tradition and of the Pope of the Roman Church. Justinian saw himself as the defender of both political order and religious Orthodoxy. Justinian's ambition was thus to restore the old Empire under a central political and religious authority.” Source

The mosaic program at San Vitale serves as a record or a manifesto of Justinian’s political and religious ideals.

We will talk more about the mosaics in San Vitale in class this week, but look at this site for a collection of images concerning the mosaic program at San Vitale.

Also, check out these links for an explanation of some of the symbolism found in Christian Art:

Comments due by Monday 11-12.