Characteristics of Artistic Movements
- Basilicas have an apse (semicircular projection near the end of the church), transept (aisle in front of the apse), nave (main isle), narthex (area near the entrance), and atrium (open space in a building).
- Use of spolia (reused architectural elements) from older works 🏛️
- Churches either centrally-planned (circular with altar in the center) or axially-planned (long nave like an axis) ⛪
- Buildings have little exterior decoration because it was associated with paganism.
- Coffered (sunken panel) ceilings are popular.
Image Courtesy of Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0 at). Santa Sabina.
- Use of pendentives (curved triangular pieces of masonry) or squinches (curved polygonal pieces of masonry) to attach a dome to flat walls
- Mosaics (decorations made with tessarae like stones and colored glass) on the walls
- Architects creates lots of windows to allow light to come in ☀️
- Circular plan or a combination of a central and axial plan
- Martyrium (shrine built over the tomb of a martyr that stores their relics) in a church
- Use of religious icons (as seen in one of the works below ⬇️)
- Bodies are frontal and symmetrical for the most part.
Image Courtesy of Hürriyet Daily News. Hagia Sophia.
Image Courtesy of Khan Academy. Virgin (Theotokos) and Child between Saints Theodore and George.
- Kufic (an extremely decorative and elaborate type of script) calligraphy is written on walls of religious buildings.
- Open, airy interior ☁️, which emphasizes the feeling of weightlessness in the overall buildings
- Use of voussoirs (wedge-shaped stones) to create arches
- Calligraphy (ornamental handwriting) used as a decoration on walls, just like in Islamic architecture 🖊️
- Use of horror vacui (literally the "fear of empty space," filling blank spaces on a work with elaborate designs)
Image Courtesy of Wikipedia. Pyxis of al-Mughira.
Image Courtesy of Travellers.Ik. Alhambra.
- Use of two scripts: half-uncial (a type of script used for writing in Latin) and Anglo-Saxon minuscule (a medieval writing system native to Ireland and Anglo-Saxon England)
- Painted on either parchment (painting and writing material made usually from sheep skin 🐏) or vellum (high-quality calf skin parchment 🐄)
- Mix of Celtic and Christian motifs
- Use of different metalworking techniques, including cloisonné (putting metal around colored areas) and chasing (hammering designs into metal 🔨)
- Zoomorphic (animal) motifs
Image Courtesy of AP Art History Go!. Merovingian Looped Fibulae.
- Use of rib vaults (diagonal vaults that cross onto one another and create a rib-like appearance) to support the buildings' roofs
- Figures painted in vibrant colors 🎨 and then outlined in black
- Human heads 👱 and hands ✋ are exaggerated and much larger than any other features of the body.
- Portals (doorways) made up of archivolts (decorative curved band under an arch), a keystone (stone found directly on top of the door at the center), voussoirs, a tympanum (decorated section above the door), a lintel (horizontal stone), a trumeau (vertical bar used as support), and two jambs (side posts)
- Figures are sized by importance
Image Courtesy of jean françois bonachera on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). Church of Sainte-Foy.
- Use of flying buttresses (arches that connect a wall to another structure) to support the building's roof and evenly distribute weight 🏋️
- Choirs (a large area in between the apse and the transept) now included in church plans
- Pinnacles are now decorated, unlike in previous artistic movements.
- Usually on illuminated manuscripts (manuscripts that tell a story using both words and illustrations)
- Carvings become more elevated and begin to move further away from the wall they are carved into.
- Theme of salvation (Christian belief of being saved from sin because of one's faith in Jesus Christ) becomes more prevalent in sculptures
Image Courtesy of Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0). Chartres Cathedral.
Image Courtesy of Khan Academy. The Golden Haggadah.
- Printmaking methods like woodcut (using a carved wooden tablet as a stamp to apply ink onto paper), etching (exposing a carved metal plate to acid before putting ink on it and stamping onto paper), and engraving (carving a design into a metal plate, putting ink in the crevices, and pressing it onto paper) become popular 📜
- More religious themes and symbolism
- Growing popularity of oil paint as a medium because it takes longer to dry, can be easily blended, and is more pigmented than other types of paint 🎨
- Genre paintings (works picturing domestic scenes and other everyday activities) become popular as well.
Image Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Adam and Eve.
Image Courtesy of Wikipedia. The Arnolfini Portrait.
- Geometric designs become popular and are influenced by Greek and Roman architectural ideals 🏛️
- Importance of proportions: crossing is twice size of the nave bays, side aisles are twice the size of the side chapels, arches are two-thirds the height of the nave, nave is twice the width of those same aisles
- Light is important 💡, since Renaissance architecture rejected of the darkness seen in Gothic works
- Use of linear perspective (making a painting or drawing look dimensional on a 2D surface through 3 elements: a vanishing point, horizon line, and orthogonals)
- Anatomically accurate and proportionate
Image Courtesy of Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0). Pazzi Chapel.
Image Courtesy of Le Gallerie Degli Uffizi. The Birth of Venus.
- Growing popularity of the canvas (a woven cloth used for painting) as a medium 🖼️
- Techniques like sfumato (blending colors to create a softer, smoother transition) and chiaroscuro (smoothing the transition between light and dark colors) are widely seen in paintings of the time
- Arcadian (rustic, rural, and simplistic) appearance to some works
Image Courtesy of Wikipedia. Venus of Urbino.
- Elongated, distorted bodies that are not proportional or anatomically accurate
- Use of bright, pigmented colors
- No ground line, which makes seem as if they are ethereal and floating in space 🧚
Image Courtesy of Emma Alana on Pinterest. The Entombment of Christ.
- The importance of movement: façades (front of building) have rippling, wavelike forms, shadowing changes as the sun moves
- Buidings are large, which represents the wealth 💰 and power 💪 of the people who funded their construction (patrons)
- Still life paintings with a vanitas theme (emphasizes the shortness of life and people's eventual death) become popular 💀
- Tenebrism (dramatic contrasts because dark and light colors) adds drama to artists' paintings
- Oil painters use impasto (heavy application of paint) to make their images stand out
- Depicted in motion, as you can see in the sculpture below ⬇️
Image Courtesy of Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 4.0). The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa.
Image Courtesy of Wikipedia. The Calling of Saint Matthew.
- Combination of Spanish and Native American artistic traditions like using oil paint as a media, Catholic motifs, and painting on flat surfaces (syncretism)
Image Courtesy of Khan Academy. Screen with the Siege of Belgrade and Hunting Scene.
Image Courtesy of AP Art History. Spaniard and Indian Produce a Mestizo.
And that's it! Be sure to give yourself a pat on the back for getting through one of the course's longest units. Next, we'll be going onto unit 4 (AKA the longest one) but for now, happy studying, art historians!