Claude Monet once said that… Everyone discusses my Art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love… During our COVID 19 Days, all you need is LOVE …and Art!
Our Spring Break Virtual Destination is very specific, a small FRENCHvillage called Giverny. This is where the great master of Impressionism, Claude Monet lived… Stay in the comfort of your HOME! Snack on something deliciously FRENCH! …and ACTION!
The following Video is an interesting Claude Monet Biography
Walking through Monet’s Giverny House you noticed how beautifully each room was decorated with Ukiyo-e Japanese Prints. This “exotic” art form greatly influenced Impressionist Art creating new energy and incorporating enormous innovation. Let’s use our imagination as a time machine, and follow Monet up when he says “Admirable… Hiroshige is a marvellous impressionist. Me and Rodin are filled with enthusiasm.… these Japanese artists confirm to me our visual position”. Enjoy a PowerPoint I prepared for my Art through the Ages students titled Impressionism and Japonism.https://drive.google.com/file/d/1a5HSUHJtNxV3LjLNLj2X8ovf86ly6_-b/view?usp=sharing
Movie Time in FRANCE of Impressionism …and more ACTION!
Exhibition on Screen: I, Claude Monet… Monet’s life… his sun-dazzled canvases and his feelings, as his art developed and his love of gardening led to the glories of his Giverny garden. His humour, insight and love of life are revealed and explored in this wonderful film… https://exhibitiononscreen.com/films/i-claude-monet/ and
Renoir… Set on the French Riviera in the summer of 1915, Jean Renoir – son of the Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste – returns home to convalesce after being wounded in World War I. At his side is Andrée, a young woman who rejuvenates, enchants, and inspires both father and son. Rated R. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2150332/ and
The Impressionists, a BBC Docudrama… “Three-hour mini-series tells the intimate history of the most illustrious brotherhood of Impressionist artists – Monet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne and Manet. Entirely based on documentary evidence, special effects transport the viewer inside some of the world’s best-loved paintings, The Impressionists will recreate the illuminated landscapes, and haunting portraits of late 19th-century France.” https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0496201/
FOR those, much YOUNGER… An Art Activity… to exhibit Creativity!
FOOD Giverny style…
The Monet Cookbook: Recipes From Giverny... Claude Monet has become almost synonymous with his series of paintings of water lilies! Did you know that he was also a genial host and a food-loving gourmand?Monet “appreciated simple dishes made of fresh ingredients and prepared according to very basic yet authentic principles,” writes Florence Gentner, a museum consultant and author, most recently of The Monet Cookbook: Recipes From Giverny.https://www.amazon.com/Monet-Cookbook-Recipes-Giverny/dp/3791382888 and a wonderful Youtube video I highly recommend with Monet Recipes…
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures; and that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve; after that, He was seen of above five thousand brethren at once.” 1 Cor. 15:3-6… Holy Week in the Greek Orthodox Churchhttps://www.goarch.org/-/holy-week-in-the-eastern-orthodox-church
Lazarus Saturday… “Six
days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany…” (John 12:1)
According to Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, a Christian theologian and philosopher of the late 5th to early 6th century, colour RED is the colour of fire, flames, and Devine Energy… It is also the colour of blood, Christ’s blood to be more specific and thus the colour of Salvation for Mankind… https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pseudo-dionysius-areopagite/
The Raising of Lazarus, in this amazing 12th century Icon from Mount Athos, takes place in front of a blazing Byzantine RED background… It is part of the Collection of the Byzantine and Christian Museum at Athens, a Museum that houses over 25,000 artefacts dating from the 3rd century AD to present time. The Byzantine and Christian Museum is housed in Villa Ilissia, one of the loveliest buildings erected in Athens during its early years as the capital of the newly-founded Greek state. Villa Ilissia, designed by the architect Stamatis Kleanthis, was the winter residence of Sophie de Marbois-Lebrun, Duchess of Plaisance, a formidable lady with a remarkable fortune! https://www.byzantinemuseum.gr/en/ and https://www.byzantinemuseum.gr/en/museum/villa_ilissia/
Palm Sunday… “Rejoice greatly…O daughter of Jerusalem; behold, the
King comes unto Thee; he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon
an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” (Zech. 9:9)
The Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem Manuscript Illumination in the 6th century Rossano Gospels is yet another blazing RED coloured Byzantine artwork. The fragmentary manuscript presents scenes from the Life of Christ, and sometimes small portraits of Old Testament prophets, prefiguring an event described in the New Testament. It contains the texts of Matthew and Mark written in fine silver and gold uncials on purple vellum. https://www.artesacrarossano.it/eng/codex.php
“The Rossano miniatures are painted with extraordinary refinement and economy. Like the illustrations in the Vienna Genesis, they distil the narrative action in a few convincing gestures. Hellenistic naturalism survives in the soft, highlighted garments, dramatic action, and details of the setting. Christ’s trial, for example, is depicted as an authentic court procedure. Nevertheless, a weakening of classical verisimilitude and vigour is evident throughout the manuscript; in the Mark page, the personification and garden wall appear flattened and show a tendency toward abstract pattern.” https://www.thebyzantinelegacy.com/rossano-gospels
Great Monday… “May no fruit ever come from you again!”
Monday of Holy Week commemorates the blessed and noble Joseph
and the fig tree which was cursed and withered by the Lord. The story of Joseph
of the Old Testament (Genesis 37-41) serves as a great example of a virtuous
man, a model of propriety and sincere observance of ethical principles. https://www.goarch.org/-/holy-week-in-the-eastern-orthodox-church
The Throne of Maximianus, in the Archiepiscopal Museum of Ravenna, is one of the greatest examples of 6th century Byzantine Art. The wooden core of this monumental Cattedra was covered with panels of ivory carvings wonderfully encased with strips of vine scrolls inhabited by birds and animals. Ivory panels decorating the back of the Throne show scenes from the Life of Christ, while the side panels depict scenes from the Story of Joseph from the Book of Genesis. The panels used in the front of the Throne depict the Four Evangelists left and right of John the Baptist, who is holding a medallion with the Lamb of God and Maximianus’s name above him. Scholars identify two different artists working on this amazing Early Byzantine masterpiece. The explanation can be simple… the Plague of Justinian probably caused the death of the first, maybe of Alexandrian origin, artist, so that a second artist was introduced to finish this amazing imperial commission. https://www.thebyzantinelegacy.com/maximian-throne
Great Tuesday… “Lord, she who has fallen in many sins, Recognizing Your Divinity, Took up the myrrh-bearer’s office, With tears brought you myrrh before your entombment.”
Great Wednesday… “Let no fear separate you from Me…” this
is the evening of repentance, confession and the remission of sins by Christ,
preparing the faithful to receive Holy Communion…
Walters manuscript W.592
is an illuminated and illustrated Arabic manuscript of the Gospels by Matthew
(Mattá), Mark (Marqus), Luke (Luqa), and John (Yuhanna) and was copied in Egypt
by Ilyas Basim Khuri Bazzi Rahib, who was most likely a Coptic monk, in Anno
Mundi 7192/AD 1684. The text is written in Naskh in black ink with rubrics in
red. The decoration is comprised of illuminated headpieces, numerous floral
paintings, and approximately fifty illustrations. It is worth browsing through
its pages… https://art.thewalters.org/detail/17922
The Walters Art Gallery Manuscript 592, is becoming one of my favourites… I enjoy the clarity of the compositions, the vibrancy of colours applied, the bold outlines and the pure joy of the floral decorative patterns used by the artist!
Great Thursday… “Take, eat;
this is my Body. Drink of it all of you; for this is my Blood of the New
Covenant” (Matthew 26:26-28)
Scenes of a Byzantine Mystical Supper, usually depict the event in a straight-forward manner, as described in the Gospels: the Twelve Disciples are seated around an oval table, John usually rests on Jesus’ bosom, and Judas dips his hand in the dish, revealing him to be Christ’s traitor. This is not the case in the 6th century Church of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna. Chris, dressed in purple, along with the 12 Disciples dressed in white, recline around a central table. The bread and fish on the table may refer to the miracle of the loaves and fishes portrayed on the opposite wall of the Church while the Bread explicitly relates that miracle to the Eucharist, which Jesus is believed to have instituted at the Last Supper. This is one of the 13 mosaics of the Passion and Resurrection of Christ along with the upper band of the right wall of the nave. https://www.christianiconography.info/Edited%20in%202013/Italy/sApolNuovoRightNave.lastSupper.html
Oh my sweet
spring, my sweetest child, where does your beauty fade? (Excerpt from the
Lamentations of Good Friday)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has among its many Byzantine Treasures, an Ivory Icon of the Crucifixion I particularly like. It is small in size like all Byzantine Ivory panels, but so rich in quality work… Under a richly textured canopy, the MET Crucifixion emphasizes Christ’s victory over death. Christ’s body lifelessly “suspends” on the Cross while his head gracefully falls forward and leans to his left shoulder. Mary and John stand on the sides of the Cross mourning with dignity, the three soldiers divide Christ’s garment, and at the very bottom, unique to this small ivory piece, the personification of Hades! Panofsky’s Renascence at its best! https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/464428
Great Saturday… “Arise, O God, and judge Thou
the earth…” (Vespers and Divine Liturgy of Saturday evening)
This amazing Icon at the Hellenic Institute in Venice comes from Constantinople and dates from the late 14th century. It is elegant and sophisticated, a fine example of the Late Paleologean style in painting. It depicts the Resurrection of Christ, or in true Byzantine style, the Descent of Christ into Hades, according to the occult gospel of Nicodemus. Christ is depicted in the center of the composition, within a radiant glory, stepping at the gates of Hades and lifting Adam from within an open sarcophagus. Behind Adam are Eve, the prophets and on the opposite side Biblical kings like Solomon, David, and prophets from the Old Testament. In the lower central part, an angel chains Hades, while at the top, against a glorious golden background, two angels fly, holding the symbols of Christ’s Passion… http://eib.xanthi.ilsp.gr/gr/icons.asp
For a PowerPoint on The Holy Week in the Greek Orthodox Church, please… click HERE!
Picasso once said that… Art washes away the dust of everyday life. During our COVID 19 Days, the dust of everyday life rests heavily upon us… Let’s shed it away with Art… We may not be able to travel to Italy right now… but we can do a Virtual Italian Weekend!
Stay in the comfort of your HOME! Snack on something deliciously ITALIAN! …and ACTION!
Let’s travel to San Gimignano: Towering Hill Town and visit all its Attractions
The Taming of the Shrew is a 1967 American-Italian romantic comedy film based on the play of the same name by William Shakespeare about a courtship between two strong-willed people. The film was directed by Franco Zeffirelli and stars Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton as Shakespeare’s Kate and Petruchio. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061407/
Tea with Mussolini is another good one. It takes place in Florence between 1935 – 1945. It follows a group of very proper and or eccentric English ladies (including Maggie Smith, Joan Plowright, Judi Dench) and one crass American (Cher) in this turbulent time. Again, sweet, funny, touching, and a painless way to absorb a little recent history. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120857/
The Month of April fresco comes from Torre Aquila in the Castello del Buonconsiglio, in Trento, Italy. It is part of an amazing fresco Cycle of the Twelve Months painted on the walls of the tower’s 2nd-floor main room. It was commissioned by Prince-Bishop George of Liechtenstein, who wanted to show how well-governed his territories were and how his labourers thrived. The painter of these remarkable paintings, Master Wenceslas, understood well what he was asked to do, created the best 15th-century advertising brochure for Trento, and for the Month of April fashioned a dazzling spring scene, crowded with a well-dressed crowd who, in the lush local countryside, serenely performed their necessary everyday chores.
Master Wenceslas, a Bohemian painter active in Trento since 1397, creates a rich April scene, full of natural beauty and pastoral activities. Nature awakens and the citizens of Trento are busy. The farmers catch up with their activities and the Ladies of the Court and enjoy a stroll in the woods. The scene is rich, dense and joyful… inspired by real-life but immensely beautified. The commissioner of this fresco, Prince-Bishop George of Liechtenstein, wants to give the idea that his territories flourish under his good governance. and prudent guidance. The painter, Master Wenceslas, understood this very well, and created a verdant scene of dazzling colours, the winter greys have disappeared, crowded with well-dressed farmers and elegant ladies. https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ciclo_dei_mesi
Wenceslas’s countryside is fertile and well organized. The fields are separated in an orderly manner and protected, like precious gardens, by braided willow fences. Everything is represented with such precision… the land, the buildings, the farmers’ chores. The April fresco looks as if it is the page of a textbook for a young farmer to study and learn! https://www.ilmiraggio.com/ciclo-dei-mesi-torre-aquila/
At the top of the composition, a lush fir forest offers refuge to one of those bears that populated the Alps at the time. Further down, a pilgrim, fully dressed in white with a hat and a cane, walks through a borough of thatched-roof houses arranged around a small church, empty of villagers… silent. Even the dogs in this village keep silent, as they are both dozing.
The farmers are busy with their pastoral duties. In a fenced and already ploughed field a farmer sows, while another farmer works the land with a harrow pulled by a horse. Further down to the left, two men, probably coming from a water-mill, carry sacks of flour on a cart driven by oxen. In the foreground, two other farmers plough the land with a heavy wheeled plough pulled by a pair of oxen and a horse. Women do not remain idle. Two of them, taking advantage of the beautiful weather, participate in the fervour of spring activities, gardening their well-fenced plot! Their precious land is on the border of a small forest where, among immense mushrooms, a dog chases a hare!
The month of April fresco is not only about hard work. The presence of two aristocratic young ladies, in the lower, right part of the composition, can not be missed. Depicted on the edge of the painted scene, the elegant ladies seem to walk towards the festive procession depicted in the following month of May. One of them, wearing an elegant green gown with long sleeves, crosses the thin, pillar-like, frame that divides the two months, and effortlessly, just as the succession of seasons is constant and uninterrupted, guides us to the next composition… that of May!
Until Next Month… check HERE!for a student Activity!
The three primary colours, red, blue yellow, a touch of orange… and how you can create a masterpiece! Still Life à la cafetière in the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation, at Athens, is a case to study!!!
“Painting Still Lifes is the beginning of
everything,” Van Gogh said back in the winter of 1884/85, and as Dutch in
origin, he was so right! Let’s not forget the Netherlandish attachment to this
genre. During his prolific career that did not last more than a decade, from 1881
until his death in 1890, Van Gogh painted more than 170 Still Lifes! https://www.museum-barberini.com/en/van-gogh/
He started by “paying tribute” to his Dutch, 17th-century tradition of painting Still Lifes with sombre, melancholy, earthy tones. We can describe these early Still Life paintings as experiments in colour! Direct, powerful, and sincere, these early Still Life studies were created while living with his parents in Nuenen. Across a dark background, he used humble everyday objects that were probably used by his family for their everyday meals. By mixing primary colours himself, his palette was dark, brown and greyish, and the objects he was presenting were brought to life with touches of white paint. His painting, titled Still life with three bottles and earthenware, is a perfect example. https://www.vangoghmuseum.nl/en/collection/s0138V1962?v=1
That was not enough for Van Gogh! He felt the need to develop and evolve, to practice and struggle in getting better… and so, he travels to Paris, gets in touch with Impressionism, and his Still Life paintings gradually acquire the bright Mediterranean colours of Southern France, which he so loved. Painting Still Lifes during the Paris period is very important for him. He studies every book he can get on the fundamentals of “Colour Theory” and experiments until his colour palette dramatically changes. He doesn’t mix colours any more, he uses them separately, he combines complementary colours and gets rid of the use of browns. In Paris, painting flowers fascinates him, changing his technique intrigues him, communicating his feelings as well as what he sees becomes his objective. The newly authenticated Vase with Poppies at the Wadsworth Atheneum is such a representative example of his efforts at the time. https://www.theartnewspaper.com/blog/two-van-gogh-exhibitions-in-a-single-week
Vincent van Gogh moved to Arles in early 1888, and his palette positively explodes with colour and vibrant brushstrokes. The Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation painting Still Life à la cafetière is an amazing example of his final period. Quoting a description of the painting in a Van Gogh letter to his brother Theo, we read… “A coffee pot in blue enamel, a cup (on the left) royal blue and gold, a milk jug checkered light blue and white, a cup (on the right) white with blue and orange patterns on a plate of earthenware yellow-grey, a pot of barbotine or majolica blue with red, green, brown patterns, finally two oranges and three lemons; the table is covered with a blue cloth, the background yellow-green, thus six different blues and four of five yellows and oranges.” The art of simplicity at it’s best. Once more, dispassionate items of his everyday life, search for immediacy and turn into a moving painting of extraordinary vitality. The three primary colours, lots of blues and greens, an amazing red borderline that encloses the painting, juxtapose to “touches” of complementary oranges. A diagonal composition with crossed lines animates the composition. Incredible brushstrokes forcefully convene in the enamel coffee pot, creating a sense of perspective. He works like a man in a frenzy and creates a world, his world, that feels ALIVE! Color, Space, and Creativity: Art and Ontology in Five British Writers, by Jack Stewart, 2008, Rosemont Publishing & Printing Corp., page 224, and https://goulandris.gr/en/artwork/vincent-van-gogh-still-life-coffee-pot
A dear former student of mine, Juan N., a young doctor, is fighting Covid 19 in Spain so that we can all stay Safe… at HOME! My weekend proposal is to have a… Virtual Spanish weekend… Visit Toledo… Meet El Greco… and send positive vibes to Juan…
Pythagoras of Samos once said that… Do not seek for happiness. It is always within yourself. During COVID 19 Days, happiness is so close… It’s our family and friends and Art within us all…
We may not be able to travel to Spain right now… but we can do it Virtually! Stay in the comfort of your HOME! Snack on something deliciously SPANISH! …and ACTION!
Let’s travel to Toledo
and …meet El Greco! the Cretan artist of the Renaissance who chose Toledo as his final destination of artistic voyaging and exploration. El Greco, born Domenikos Theotokopoulos, the precursor of both Expressionism and Cubism, was so unique, scholars believe his art belongs to a no conventional school.
El Cid is a 1961 epic historical drama film that romanticizes the life of the Christian Castilian knight Don Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, called “El Cid” (from the Arabic as-sidi, meaning “The Lord”), who, in the 11th century, fought the North African Almoravides and ultimately contributed to the unification of Spain. The film stars Charlton Heston in the title role and Sophia Loren as Doña Ximena. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0054847/
The story of the uncompromising artist, Domenikos Theotokopoulos, known to the world as El Greco. Based on the fictionalized biographical movie, El Greco: the Painter of God, it was released in 2007. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0905329/
Life and events of the man who realized one of the most important discoveries of the 19th century: Altamira’s Caves and its Paleolithic Paintings. The film chronicles the groundbreaking discovery of stone age cave paintings in the Cave of Altamira in Cantabria, Spain, and the subsequent controversy by leading religious and scientific figures of the day. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3014910/
This a Colouring Page Activity (in Greek BUT easy to understand and DO) on famous figures of the Greek War of Independence. It was inspired by the Exhibition The 1821 Greek War of Independence Retold in… Playmobil! Activity is very EASY! http://www.nhmuseum.gr/el/ekpaideysi/ekpaideytiko-yliko/
To do the Colouring Activity Press on each picture you wish your child to colour – download it – print it – DONE! You can choose between heroes and heroines of the Greek War of Independence and celebrate an important moment in Greek History.
From top to bottom the Colouring Page Figures are: Theodoros Kolokotronis, Odysseas Androutsos, Laskarina Bouboulina, Konstantinos Kanaris, Manto Mavrogenous, Germanos, Metropolitan Paleon Patron, Andreas Lontos, Asimo Goura, Ioannis Makrigiannis, Domna Visvizi, Christos Kapsalis, Andreas Pipinos, Dimitrios Papanikolis
For an easy to print Celebrating the Greek War of Independence Worksheet, please… check HERE!
“I paint because the spirits whisper madly inside my head.”El Greco: Formative Years introduces us to the world of Domenikos Theotokopoulos, and his Cretan period Icon of the Dormition of the Virgin, in the Cycladic Island of Syros.
Domenikos Theotokopoulos was a Cretan Greek, born at Handaka-Candia, present-day Herakleion, part of the thriving Republic of Venice. Archival research in Venice showed that between 1526-28 his family relocated from Chania to Handaka, where, in 1541 Domenikos was born. His Orthodox-Greek family belonged to the upper-middle class, as his father, Giorgos Theotokopoulos, worked for the government of the Venetian Republic, most probably as a merchant and a tax collector. Very little is known of Domenikos’s mother and early childhood. He was undoubtedly talented, and his father, realizing it, placed him as an apprentice in a painter’s workshop to learn this profitable trade. The name of his teacher is unknown, but judging from Domenikos’s earliest paintings, he was a great master of the Post-Byzantine Cretan School. Crete at the time was the center of a thriving artistic community and understanding the artist’s early influences and style is important in decoding his later work!
Very little is also known of Domenikos’s early years as a painter in Handaka, except a1563 reference on him as “a master painter” on a document issued by the Venetian Administration of Candia, and later, in 1566 his testament as a witness in a Candia solicitor’s document in which he is mentioned as ‘maistro Menegos Theotokopoulos, artist’. By late 1566, Domenikos was ready to pursue his career and artistic prospects in Crete were limited. On December 26, 1566, he asked permission from the Venetian authorities in Handaka to auction one of his paintings depicting the Passion of Christ, a painting estimated to be worth 80 ducats but sold for 70. This valuable information comes from the Venetian archives and proves two things. First, Domenikos was still in Crete in 1566, and second, he was an extremely important artist because the price of 70 ducats his small painting fetched was as high as any great Italian artist of the Renaissance would get. https://www.historical-museum.gr/webapps/elgreco/xronologio.php?lang=en
For a PowerPoint on El Greco: Formative Years, please… click HERE!
The Dormition of the Virgin, on the Island of Syros, is a fine example of Theotokopoulos’s 16th-century Cretan period where his personality and artistic being were formed. Greco’s signature on the base of the central candelabrum was discovered, in the process of restoring the Icon, in 1983 by archaeologist George Mastoropoulos. The Dormition’s undoubted attribution to Theotokopoulos helps scholars better understand and interpret the artist’s unique artistic idiom and early production.
The Icon follows the Post-Byzantine Orthodox tradition of painting, introducing at the same time elements of the Renaissance Mannerism. Today, in juxtaposition to his most “sublime” work, The Burial of the Count of Orgaz, the Dormition is seen as Domeniko’s Archetypal representation of “a visionary experience” of two worlds, “the physical world of earth and the spiritual world of heaven, each portrayed in their own ways. Earth is captured on a normal scale with more proportional figures, whereas heaven is composed of swirling clouds and abstract shapes, with a more intangible quality to the figures. This clear distinction greatly allows for two ideas: on the one hand, a union between both worlds is proposed, on the other, the separation of the worlds is enhanced.” https://www.theartstory.org/artist/el-greco/artworks/#nav
A church of the utmost quality, unpretentious, beautiful and imposing, the 12th century Panagia Kosmosotira in Feres, is the Katholikon of a grand Monastery, in the Byzantine type of the cross-in-square church with two columns and five domes. The Monastery is built in a magnificent location, the Byzantine city of Bera, modern-day Feres, next to the Delta of Evros River.
Panagia Kosmosotira, the Monastery, and its Katholikon were founded by Sevastokrator Isaakios Komnenos, the third son of Alexios I Komnenos (c. 1048 – 15 August 1118), founder of the Komnenian dynasty. Isaakios was a Porphyrogennetos (born in the purple) prince, a title he was granted as he was born during the reign of his parents. Although the origin of the title Prorphyrogennetos is not clear, it is widely accepted that a special Chamber known as “Porphyra” in the Great Palace of Constantinople was used for the delivery of the imperial newborns. Anna Komnene, a Porphyrogennete herself, describes this special room as “set apart long ago for an Empress’s confinement” located “where the stone oxen and the lions stand” (the Boukoleon Palace), and was in the form of a perfect square from floor to ceiling, with the latter ending in a pyramid. Its walls, floor and ceiling were completely veneered with imperial porphyry, which was “generally of a purple colour throughout, but with white spots like sand sprinkled over it.” https://www.doaks.org/resources/online-exhibits/gods-regents-on-earth-a-thousand-years-of-byzantine-imperial-seals/imperial-titulature/porphyrogennitos and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Born_in_the_purple
Isaakios Komnenos had the title of Sevestokrator as well, granted to him by his brother, Emperor Ioannis II Komnenos (1087 – 1143) with whom he was in constant dispute and rivalry over the Byzantine Throne. He is also known as the author of several treatises and poems, a cultured man of learning and a great patron of the arts. Isaakios is responsible for rebuilding the Chora Church in Constantinople, where on the lower right side of the grand Deesis mosaic, his donor portrait survives to this day.
The Katholikon of Panagia Kosmosotira was Isaakios’s final resting place. A bit after 1150 he was forced to retire to his estate in Thrace, where in 1151/52, he founded the cenobitic monastery of Kosmosoteira (“Theotokos the World-Saviour”) in Bera (modern Feres). “The construction of the monastery, which was meant as his residence and final resting place, was of great emotional importance to Isaac, who invested considerable time and effort in it: although heavily ill at the time, he still went and supervised the monastery’s construction almost daily, and personally authored its typikon (charter) in 1152, making meticulous provisions about its governance and assigning extensive grants to it, including his own estates at Ainos. Possibly in imitation of his brother’s foundation of the Pantokrator Monastery, he also ordered the erection of a hospital outside the monastery walls.”
When visiting Panagia Kosmosotira, please note 1. The “monumental simplicity” of its architecture 2. The curved “contour” lines that characterize the structure of the church 3. The interplay of stone and brick in the construction 4. The interior fresco decoration dates back to the 12th century, an exquisite example of the Constantinopolitan style 5. The four painted military saints depicted between the arched windows of the northern and southern aisles (portraits of members of the Komnenos family?), and 6. the walled-in ceramic depiction of the single-headed eagle, a symbol of the dynasty of the Komnenos family in Trebizond.
For a WAC (stands for Writing Across the Curriculum) Student Activity, please… check HERE!
According to Kelly Richman-Abdou “Mannerism is the Style That Put an Elaborate Twist on Renaissance Art.” I like her comment, and how it applies to our Mannerist painting in focus, Correggio’s Jupiter and Io! MY MODERN MET, October 21, 2018, https://mymodernmet.com/what-is-mannerism/
My question is how can order, harmony, and balance, ideals of Classical Art and the Renaissance be “turned/twisted” into something fresh and exciting? Is Mannerism to Renaissance what Hellenistic Art was to 5th century BC Classicism? This is not an easy question to answer. Is Correggio’s mythological painting of Jupiter and Io a good example to start… better so, scratch the mere surface?
Antonio Allegri da Correggio is an interesting artist to consider. Famous today for his illusionistic, grand domed ceilings, Correggio is a protagonist of Mannerism! Giorgio Vasari wrote, “…everything that is to be seen by his [Correggio’s] hand is admired as something divine.” He is so right! Correggio’s paintings were appreciated by generations of fervent art patrons and artists… from Dukes to Emperors and from Rubens to Boucher. Vasari was also the first to write about Corregggio’s handling of colours, chiaroscuro, and textures, as well. “It may, at least, be held for certain that no one ever handled colors better than he and that no craftsman ever painted with greater delicacy or with more relief, such was the softness of his flesh-painting and such the grace with which he finished his works…” Today, describing the unique “softness” of his painting technique, we use the term “morbidezza,” meaning extreme softness, delicacy, and fuzziness. https://www.oxfordreference.com/noresults;jsessionid=58804597E272C2C21C9F375C6CEFC612?btog=chap&noresults=true&pageSize=20&q=morbid+ezza&sort=relevance
Correggio’s Jupiter and Io was most probably, one of four mythological paintings representing the Loves of Zeus, or Jupiter for the Romans, commissioned by the Duke of Mantua, Federico Il Gonzaga, for the decoration of his private Studiolo. These paintings render the myths of, 1. Jupiter and Io, 1531-32, oil on canvas, 163.5 × 70.5 cm, Kunsthisstorisches Museums, Vienna 2. Danaë, 1531, oil on canvas, 161 x 193 cm, Galleria Borghese, Rome 3. Leda and the Swan, 1532, oil on canvas, 156.2 x 195.3 cm, Gemäldegalerie, Berlin 4. Ganymede Abducted by the Eagle, 1531-1532, oil on canvas, 163.5 × 70.5 cm, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
The myth of Jupiter and Io, depicted in one of the two Vienna paintings by Correggio, is popular and well-liked since antiquity. Lust, deceit, jealousy, revenge and suffering, interwind, creating a fascinating story to render in art. Correggio did an amazing job! I love his Mannerist “twisted” use of posture, movement, and texture. Using a narrow upright format he creates a stable, vertical composition, but Io’s body turns, curls and entwines, so unnaturally, around the charcoal grey cloud of Zeus, it is impossible not to notice. Her firm naked body shimmers in the light and contrasts with the thick, dark, fuzzy cloud that envelops her. What a magnificent contrast of colours and textures. The faces of Zeus and Io make you wonder… what is he whispering to her ear that makes her look so “abandoned”?
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