Wednesday, May 9, 2007

MIracles from Museum of Cathedral in Orvieto

Some great news for those , who wanted to visit and see with your own eyes inside of museum Duomo in Orvieto. This cathedral is in all global anthologies of western art strongly present with one of most important and in same time most strange, unusual late middle age architectural design in Italy with famous Last Judgment of Luca Signorelli. And when we came to this cathedral and put our hand on door knob there was no reaction.
Museum, one of central in Umbria Region, it is constantly closed for almost two decades , most important works are now collected and exhibited in near by Papal palaceand in church of S. Agostino. They addressed the exhibition "Hall of miracles; from Simone Martinni to Francesco Mocchi" and it will be open till first of July, 2008. Beginning of selection of all miracles is dated hundred years before Martini, that is 13. century. Upper limit is Baroque 17. century, most focused artist in that period are Coppo di Marcovaldo, Arnolfo di Cambio, Lippo Vanni, and Signorelli, who is represented with table painting Mary Magdalen, and Giambologna. They put to view works of many other authors, also from field of useful arts, from which they output paravans knitted after cartons of Sandro Botticelli and other authors, all couplet represents introduction act to what supose to be once in far future revenue museum. It is pitty for all those works to wait in deposits for such long time, you are not even able
to se reproductions on line, but you can get further info in link.


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Thursday, May 3, 2007

Renaissance Gothfather Giorgio Vasari's Book

Every few year we get new translation of Lives of the Most Eminent Painters. It is a piece of work that resists four century's and a half, and is still one of ground work from field of fine art. IT is one of most important historical document, containing most of information of Italian renaissance. As well Vasari is a man that not only discovered the term Renaissance, he actually started with History of Art.

Giorgio Vasari(1511-1574) was born in Arezzy, Italy, in city that belong to Florentine Republic at that time. His father send him as Giorgio was still a boy to Florence, to study as painter, and as Vasari says for him self he was studying at Michelangelo, but some historians doubt in that, and later he studied at Adndrea Del Sart and Baccio Bandinelli. He studied together with members of Medicci family and so he got strongly related to this important family. Later on he studied under gardiance of Medicci in Rome and he was able to admire works of Michalangelo and Rafaello. Slowly he build his reputation as as an artist as he was working in different Italian cities, so he meanwhile got familiar with masterpieces of great Italian artist. He got his idea for Book about famous painters at dinner 1546, and the idea was provided to him by cardinal Farnese. first book with original title Le vite de'piu eccellenti pittori, scultori, e architetiori was printed in Florence in 1550 and was grabbed of as it was released, so Vasari became preparing him self for second edition, and meanwhile he did some amazing architect projects in Toscany. He modeled the palace Uffizi and long hall that is it connecting to Palace Pitty. He also redo the palace Cavaliero in Pisa. He was one of first members and establisher of Florence Academie del Disegno and he cooperated in renovation of Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce churches in Florence. From his painter work is well known his wall painting in Pallazio Vecchio in Florence. No matter of importance of his painting and architect works he is famous for his book Lives of the Most Eminent Painters.
We must not forget that his book is not encyclopedia, but is deep thought study of development of different manner in Italian art till middle of 16. century. The book starts with Givanni Cimabue, and he ends with Tizian, the period of 250 years is covered in his book. Some of Vasari stories are relative short and stubborn, others are long for whole book and with very precise and detailed anecdotes talks about life and art of artist. Case like this is Michaelangelo's and Rafaell, Vasari was deeply admiring those two artis and he is building them piedistall in that book.
He started with the project in way that he organised the artist depending on quality and style, evolution of Italian Renaissance he explained with theory of organic development> this three staged development begun with Cimabuel and Giotto, because they started with innovative and stylistic exploring. In second faze are artist as is Brunelleschi, for which is more recognized sophisticated techniques of modeling and perspective, as well as he was combinating his development in many years in perfection of artist as Leonardo, Raffaelo and mostly with Michelangelo. Important is , that Vasari in his final decisions mostly right; artist that he is writing about in his book are still registered in their canon , and the ones he is critical over are mostly forgot these days. He talks about Renaissance in sense of of again rebirth of old Roman artistic and cultural value after the darkness middle age. VAsari's book became famus as well because of the style that is written.
sometime sthe translator translate just parts of in original extremely long lectures, which is pity, even if the lectures are extremely carefully sorted and in style of Vasari and pondered with opinion of art historians.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Donatello's trio


Donatello is considered to be one of the greatest sculptors of all time. His techniques are still used by sculptors today.
He was a great Italian sculptor, who was born in Florence, Italy, in 1386, and died at the age of 80 in 1466. He did not marry and had no children. He started practicing at the age of 20 and worked in Lorenzo Ghiberti's shop. Later in his life he studied Roman ruins and became a humanist. Donatello also had a shop in Florence where he created many of his masterpieces.
The city of Florence paid for his sculpture of David. David is the first free standing sculpture in the Christian era. Patrons found him very hard to deal with and to work with. He was not a cultured intellect like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. Donatello was essentially a realist. His statues display, for the first time since antiquity, the human body as a functional organism, and the human personality radiated a confidential individuality.
Many of Donatello's masterpieces are located in Florence. Some of these masterpieces include: St. Peter, St. Mark, Zuccone, St. George and the Dragon, St. John the Evangelist, Magdalen, and Angel with Tambourine. Other pieces considered to be some of his finest work are: Herod's Feast, St. Louis of Toulouse, St. Peter, St. Anthony, an equestrian statue called Gattamelata, and Jeremiah. His most classical work is His 'Singing Gallery' for the Florence cathedral is his most popular creation and his statue of the Ventian warrior Gattamelata on horseback is considered his best work.
A lot of his sculptures were Renaissance breakthroughs. David, for one, was the first nude statue of the Renaissance, and the equestrian statue, Gattamelata, was considered to be one of the best proportioned sculptures ever. In Donatello's Gothic style he used expressive ugliness to give the statue a life of its own. He used a powerful realism that gives his statues a distinct look.
Donatello had an immense impact on the art and the artists of the Renaissance. He invented the shallow relief technique. In the shallow relief technique the sculpture seems deep but is actually done on a very shallow plane.
Donatello characterized his figures as individuals. He also made the first bronze sculpture. These were the stepping stones for sculptors to use other materials.

Abraham and Isaac
The need to enclose the two figures in a complex movement within the narrow space of the niche was the occasion for Donatello to express the absolute and natural freedom and plastic language of his compositions. This group, carved in 1421 for the Bell Tower together with Nanni di Bartolo known as The Red, combined in its extraordinary immediacy of a dynamic nucleus fine and divergent plastic solutions, an analytic and descriptive result of optical effects in the distance. Emerging from the vortex of Abraham’s drapes is the nude figure of Isaac exhibiting Brunelleschi- style figures for the Baptistery, a contraposition of a bright background behind a clear shape in the forefront. It was a genial solution to reach a rapid effect of profundity. But of note is also the contrast between the realism of the father’s hands and the classical, abstract purity of the young man’s profile, not necessarily attributable to Bartolo but used by Donatello to underline the cultural insertion.
More than twenty years after the “David” created for S. Maria del Fiore, probably following a journey to Rome in 1432, Donatello re-engaged the theme of the bronze model for the Medici family. The different cultural moment and the private destination of the work explain the completely different interpretation both in iconography and style that the artist used in the biblical subject, pushed this time by literature of a classical example in a humanistic, symbolic key using refined and esoteric illusions. Even now the cultural and formal apparatus of the Florentine environment is apparent in the overwhelming reality of a physical evidence and sensuality of the adolescent body.
Saint George
In the full-length view, one gets a complete idea of the new inner values that Donatello imposed on the style and iconography of his time. Classicism becomes an ethical and rational harmony; formal Gothic rhythm is transformed into balanced natural movement, into what Vasari described as "marvelous sense of movement within the stone." The statue was commissioned by the Armorers' Guild; this fact would have led a classical Gothic sculptor to a display of fanciful and affected virtuosity, but it suggested to Donatello's genius the invention of the large, simple, emblematic shield, a basic structural element for the dynamic synthesis of the figure in space.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Moses the Lawgiver, Michelangelo product

Twice Freud strayed away into a by-path off the high road of psychoanalytic investigation—once, many years ago, when he he wrote a study of aesthetics, and the second time in his eighties, when he undertook an inquiry into biblical history. Both times the prophet Moses was the object of his investigation. In the first instance it was Michelangelo’s statue of Moses, selected out of all the work produced by Michelangelo and from all the other creations of the plastic arts. Later it was Moses the law-giver, whose historic figure exercised a compelling effect on the spiritual vision of the creator of depth psychology.

Is this accidental? A man may accidentally meet another twice at the same spot, but it is not accidental when an old man returns to the place where once, in the full vigor of his manhood, a figure held him enthralled. What compelled the man who maintained that he was ignorant of the “oceanic feeling” of religious experience to approach the great religious founder and attempt to illuminate his spiritual aspect as well as the traits of his appearance? He said that religion was a neurosis; was he seeking the traits of neurosis in Moses? In not a single line has he given any indication of this. “I decided to put it away [the work], but it haunted me like an unlaid ghost.” (1) Something profoundly personal is hinted at in such a confession.

Freud’s work on Moses, the Egyptian, is not a psychoanalytical or psychological study. But we shall proceed in the manner of Freud when delivering over the author of a literary work to the tribunal of psychoanalysis.

Unless one follows the traditions which have been handed down, a reconstruction of the personality of Moses is not possible on the basis of the remainder of the available historical material. When such an attempt is made to mold anew a statue of this giant from the scraps of relevant history—to give not an analysis of the tradition, but a synthesis of the personality—then we have before us an artistic creation, just as Michelangelo’s prophet with the tablets is an artistic creation. But by referring to such a statue we should not attempt to make an analysis of what is hidden in the mythical past, but rather an analysis of the artist.

Whatever is alien to Freud in the traditional figure of Moses will be regarded in his inquiry as alien to Moses; whatever there is in the figure of Moses that fails to reflect Freud’s concept will be found in historical and exegetical excursions and bound up with the inquiry.

In analysis this is called projection. In order to project one’s inner world onto some personality of the outer world, some similarity must first be found. The associations which lead to this may be positive and also negative. Correspondingly, the associations will be colored by love or negatively charged with hate, everything depending on which unconscious impulses are being outwardly projected. The projections may be on occasion divided up into two personalities: one is taken over by the “good” ego, the other by the “evil” ego; one is idealized and the other hated. Everything which does not correspond to the good or evil ego will either remain unseen or be denied.

“Moses is an Egyptian.” How is this proved? Two explanations are given in the first of the three essays, which bears the title of “Moses an Egyptian.” One is historical and philological, the other is psychological and folkloristic. The first one is: “Moses” is an element of many Egyptian names, such as, for example, Ramses (Ra-mose), Thut-mose; Mose in Egyptian means child. Hence, Moses was an Egyptian.

A man who is not an Egyptologist enters on a difficult excursion in order to demonstrate that an Egyptian name is a proof of non-Hebrew descent, but the very man making this endeavor bears the name of Sigmund and is a Jew. Is he aware of the striking inadequacy of his proof? On the basis of such a demonstration, anyone by the name of Sigmund is a Teuton; therefore this demonstration may be rejected, for the same reason that a child of Jewish parents born in Moravia may be called Sigmund.

In a footnote on page 23, Freud cites Eduard Meyer: “The name Moses is probably . . . Egyptian. This does not prove, however, that these generations were of Egyptian origin, but it proves that they had relations with Egypt.” To this Freud appends a remarkable question: “One may well ask what kind of relation one is to imagine.”

The other, psychological, demonstration that Moses belonged to the Egyptian people is as follows: In many legends about the origin and adulthood of famous men of the past, a stereotype is retained: the hero is of exalted descent; even as a child he is recognized by his father as a future danger to him, is compelled to flee, and is rescued and brought up by poor people; when he is fully grown his noble descent comes to light. Such is the echo resounding through the folk-tales. Since, according to the legend, Moses was born among humble people of an oppressed race, and rescued and brought up by the king’s daughter, Freud associates himself with Eduard Meyer’s idea that the legend was falsified and must be set right; and he arrives at the contention that the historic Moses was of higher descent, of the royal house of Pharaoh, and possibly even the son of the Egyptian princess.

Freud undertakes a detailed psychological demonstration with reference to folkloristic research into the legends of various peoples and heroes—without noticing that the emendation cannot be equated with the legendary stereotype, if he himself does not regard Moses as a legendary prince but as a real one. The fictional element is the princely origin of the hero. It is true that on the basis of history it can be proved that a legendary hero was no prince by blood, but on the basis of a legend about a non-prince can a scientific proof be adduced that the hero was, nevertheless, an historical prince?

In the countless folktales the lowly origin of the hero is denied and a nobler one poetically ascribed to him. Accordingly, in revision and correction doubt must be cast upon the princely blood of the hero. If Moses had been named as the son of royal blood in the biblical tradition, then skepticism would be in place and a suspicion justified that the legend had undergone a conventional distortion. But Freud recognizes Moses as an historical prince by blood, and so it is he who composes the legend according to its usual stereotype. He would like to maintain that Moses was the son of a princess.(2) This anecdote is taken from Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams, published in 1900.

Freud quotes Rank: “As a result of ‘national motives’ the legend was reconstructed into the version we know.”

Freud is aware that the theory of Moses’ Egyptian descent lacks a strong foundation.

. . . Further thought tells us that an original Moses myth of this kind, one not diverging from other birth myths, could not have existed. For the legend is either of Egyptian or of Jewish origin. The first supposition may be excluded. The Egyptians had no motive to glorify Moses; to them he was not a hero. So the legend should have originated among the Jewish people; that is to say, it was attached in the usual version to the person of their leader. But for that purpose it was entirely unfitted; what good is a legend to a people that makes their hero into an alien? (p. 20)

The only thing left was to assume that “in a later, and rather clumsy treatment of the legendary material, the adapter saw fit to equip his hero Moses with certain features appertaining to the classical exposure myths characteristic of a hero.”

Monday, April 23, 2007

Chain of being

Among the most important of the continuities with the Classical period was the concept of the Great Chain of Being. Its major premise was that every existing thing in the universe had its "place" in a divinely planned hierarchical order, which was pictured as a chain vertically extended. ("Hierarchical" refers to an order based on a series of higher and lower, strictly ranked gradations.) An object's "place" depended on the relative proportion of "spirit" and "matter" it contained--the less "spirit" and the more "matter," the lower down it stood. At the bottom, for example, stood various types of inanimate objects, such as metals, stones, and the four elements (earth, water, air, fire). Higher up were various members of the vegetative class, like trees and flowers. Then came animals; then humans; and then angels. At the very top was God. Then within each of these large groups, there were other hierarchies. For example, among metals, gold was the noblest and stood highest; lead had less "spirit" and more matter and so stood lower. (Alchemy was based on the belief that lead could be changed to gold through an infusion of "spirit.") The various species of plants, animals, humans, and angels were similarly ranked from low to high within their respective segments. Finally, it was believed that between the segments themselves, there was continuity (shellfish were lowest among animals and shaded into the vegetative class, for example, because without locomotion, they most resembled plants).

Besides universal orderliness, there was universal interdependence. This was implicit in the doctrine of "correspondences," which held that different segments of the chain reflected other segments. For example, Renaissance thinkers viewed a human being as a microcosm (literally, a "little world") that reflected the structure of the world as a whole, the macrocosm; just as the world was composed of four "elements" (earth, water, air, fire), so too was the human body composed of four substances called "humours," with characteristics corresponding to the four elements. (Illness occurred when there was an imbalance or "disorder" among the humours, that is, when they did not exist in proper proportion to each other.) "Correspondences" existed everywhere, on many levels. Thus the hierarchical organization of the mental faculties was also thought of as reflecting the hierarchical order within the family, the state, and the forces of nature. When things were properly ordered, reason ruled the emotions, just as a king ruled his subjects, the parent ruled the child, and the sun governed the planets. But when disorder was present in one realm, it was correspondingly reflected in other realms. For example, in Shakespeare's King Lear, the simultaneous disorder in family relationships and in the state (child ruling parent, subject ruling king) is reflected in the disorder of Lear's mind (the loss of reason) as well as in the disorder of nature (the raging storm). Lear even equates his loss of reason to "a tempest in my mind."

Though Renaissance writers seemed to be quite on the side of "order," the theme of "disorder" is much in evidence, suggesting that the age may have been experiencing some growing discomfort with traditional hierarchies. According to the chain of being concept, all existing things have their precise place and function in the universe, and to depart from one's proper place was to betray one's nature. Human beings, for example, were pictured as placed between the beasts and the angels. To act against human nature by not allowing reason to rule the emotions--was to descend to the level of the beasts. In the other direction, to attempt to go above one's proper place, as Eve did when she was tempted by Satan, was to court disaster. Yet Renaissance writers at times showed ambivalence towards such a rigidly organized universe. For example, the Italian philosopher Pico della Mirandola, in a work entitled On the Dignity of Man, exalted human beings as capable of rising to the level of the angels through philosophical contemplation. Also, some Renaissance writers were fascinated by the thought of going beyond boundaries set by the chain of being. A major example was the title character of Christopher Marlowe's play Doctor Faustus. Simultaneously displaying the grand spirit of human aspiration and the more questionable hunger for superhuman powers, Faustus seems in the play to be both exalted and punished. Marlowe's drama, in fact, has often been seen as the embodiment of Renaissance ambiguity in this regard, suggesting both its fear of and its fascination with pushing beyond human limitations.