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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Baroque art

1.(2pts.) When and in what city did Baroque art begin? Why did it begin there?
The Baroque period was officially born in Europe, but almost immediately became international. It started in the 16th century when the demands for new art changed. The canon promulgated at the Council of Trent addressed representational arts by demanding that paintings and sculptures in church contexts should speak to the illiterate. This turn toward a populist conception of the function of ecclesiastical art is seen by many art historians as driving the innovation of the Caravaggio and the Carracci brothers, all of who happened to be working in Rome at that time.
So the appeal of Baroque style turned art from the witty, intellectual qualities of 16th century Mannerists art to a visceral appeal aimed at the senses.
2.(2pts.) Describe 2 qualities or effects that are repeatedly expressed in Italian Baroque paintings. Include the titles of artworks that show those qualities citing one produced by a female and one by a male.
It employed an iconography that was direct, simple, obvious, and dramatic. Baroque art drew on certain broad and heroic tendencies in Annibale Carracci and his circle, and found inspiration in other artists such as Correggio, Caravaggio, and Federico Barocci nowadays sometimes termed 'proto-Baroque'.

3.(2pts.) Describe the design of the plan of Borromini’s S.Carlo Quattro Fontane (#19.17 & 19.18). How is it different from Renaissance cathedrals?
San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane (also called San Carlino) is a church in Rome, designed as an iconic masterpiece of Baroque architecture. It is one of at least three churches in Rome dedicated to this saint, including San Carlo ai Catinari and San Carlo al Corso.
The tight geometric complexity of interlocking ovals and circles creates spaciousness in this small corner church. The concave-convex facade of San Carlo undulates in a non-classic way. Tall corinthian columns interrupt entablatures. Idiosyncratic winged hemi-cherubim are used to frame niches of statues. On the sides are statues of St. John of Matha and St. Felix of Valois, the founders of the Trinitarian Order. The corner fountain is a depiction of recumbent Neptune and the dome of the church has a complex patterns of coffers of crosses, ovals, and hexagons. The floor plan is a heady intersection of ovals.
It was unique in the way the architecture’s tension pulls and stretches the building into convex surfaces that seem elastic. In this building Borromini merges architecture and sculpture in a way that shocked Bernini because no such union had been attempted since Gothic art.
4.(1pt.) Describe one of Bernini’s sculptures (include its title), the emotions it expresses and how it uses space.
Bernini’s Baldacchino (fig. 19.15) is like many of his other sculpture in the way it closely relates to his architecture and conveys his Mannerist education. The Baldacchino alone displays his innovative style of integrating architecture and sculpture both on a massive scale and yet it still relates to human emotional warmth. By using an internal focal point in the large space he created a monumental sculpture in a composite form with the altar of St. Peter working as a canopy.
I know you asked us to only discuss one sculpture, but in comparison the David of St. Peter’s also exhibits a strong physical relationship between the sculptures itself, the architecture, and antiquity. It displays a union between both body, spirit, and the senses of motion and emotion. The David is fierce in his tight facial expressions and his movement is dynamic as if he could swing out of his pose. What makes the David distinct to the Baroque period is his distinctive active relationship with the surrounding space, yet it is meant to be seen from a primary point of view.
5.(1pt.) Velazquez was a master at showing various optical qualities of light. Describe how he has used light in The Maids of Honor ( #19.38).
As noted in, Janson’s History of Art, the painting Maids of Honor reveals Velazquez’s fascination with light as fundamental to vision. At the heart of the painting a mirror plays as backdrop and challenges us, as the viewer, to match the mirror image against the painting and again with the other paintings on the wall, the doorway, and the extreme light contrasts that suggest a subtle influence of Caravaggio. His aim was to represent the movement of light itself and the infinite range of its effects on both form and color to create a visible world.
6. (1pt.) In the 17th century the Netherlands were divided into north and south and known by its most important province (Holland and Flanders). What religions were dominant in each region?
The northern provinces of the Netherlands, were led by the House of Orange and independent from Spain and were protestant or reformed. Spain almost immediately recovered south Netherlands so Catholic remained the official religion.
7.(1pt.) Describe the subject and its meaning of Rueben’s The Garden of Love (#20.6).
The Garden of love is from Reuben’s later years as a painter, in which his paintings turned inward with his beautiful wife, home, and family as his primary subjects. Several of the women resemble his wife. The Garden of Love is honors life’s simple pleasures with scenery filled with couples, cupids, and even a statue of Venus to represent love. Venus is strategically placed in a garden in front of a building that resembles Rueben’s own home in Antwerp.
8.(1 pt.)Van Dyck’s fame for developing the painting of this subject continued until the late 18th century. What subject was it?
He was a young history painter that approached the canvas with mature and lyrical mythological scenes of love and court masques.
9.(1 pt.)What two themes did Rembrandt emphasize over and over during his painting career?
Religion and his own self portraits were lifelong themes for Rembrandt. Rembrant believed deeply that in wisdom and understanding accrued over a lifetime achieves a universal expression of sorrow and forgiveness. This is something he also relates through his paintings.
10.(1 pt.) What is the difference between an etching and a drypoint ?
Etching is the process of using strong acid to cut into the unprotected parts of a metal surface to create a design in intaglio in the metal. As an intaglio method of printmaking, it is, along with engraving, the most important technique for old master prints, and remains widely used today.
Like etching, but perhaps less so, drypoint is easier for an artist trained in drawing to master than engraving, the technique of using the needle is closer to using a pencil than the engraver's burin. The image is incised into a plate by scratching the surface with a hard, sharp metal point. Traditionally the plate was copper, but now acetate, zinc, or plexiglas are more commonly used. The deeper the scratch on the surface, the darker the ink will be at that point. This technique is different from engraving, in which the incisions are made by gouging, although the two can easily be combined, as Rembrandt often did.
11.(2pts.)Define 'vanitas'. Give the title of a painting that uses this theme.
Vanitas is a type of symbolic still life painting commonly made by painters in Flanders and the Netherlands. The word is Latin, meaning "emptiness" and corresponds to the meaninglessness of earthly life and the transient nature of vanity. Vanitas are meant as a reminder of the transience of life, the futility of pleasure, and the certainty of death, encouraging a sombre world view. This is translated as Vanity of vanities; all is vanity by the King James Version of the Bible, and Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless by the New International Version of the Bible.
Common vanitas symbols include skulls, which are a reminder of the certainty of death; rotten fruit, which symbolizes decay like ageing; bubbles, which symbolize the brevity of life and suddenness of death; smoke, watches, and hourglasses, which symbolize the brevity of life; and musical instruments, which symbolize brevity and the ephemeral nature of life.
The Transi of René de Chalons, is of the widow of René de Chalon and prince of Orange. The dutch still life by Willem Claesz, Heda, is a symbolic oil painting of cups, an orange, and a plate.
12.(1 pt.)Define genre. Name by title an example of this theme as painted by Vermeer.
Genre painting at the end of the seventeenth century included narrative themes of interiors of homes, taverns, and full length human figures. These paintings were smaller and more intimate. An example of this genre theme by Vermeer would be the oil painting called Woman Holding a Balance. In contrast it has no clear narrative and a single figure engaged in an every day private task set up like a still life.
13.(2pts.) Name two artists who painted their self-portraits that are shown in chapters 19 & 20.Rembrandt (20.25) and Judith Leyster (20.19)
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