Roman Enameled Glass

Goblet with a Gladiator, Begram Hoard, 1st century AD, Enameled Glass, Height:  cm, Guimet Museum, Paris, France https://twitter.com/AntiokhosE/status/1615092377340846089
Vase fragment depicting African Hunt, Begram Hoard, 1st century AD, Enameled Glass, Guimet Museum, Paris, France https://depts.washington.edu/silkroad/museums/mg/begram.html
Goblet with the abduction of Europe, Begram Hoard, 1st century AD, Enameled Glass, Height: 16 cm, Guimet Museum, Paris, France https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Goblet_Abduction_of_Europa_Begram_Hoard_Guimet_MG21228_n01.jpg

The earliest glass vessel decorated with enameling, write the Corning Museum experts, dates from about 1425 BC. It successfully combines one of humankind’s oldest creative urges (the desire to draw on things) with one of the most advanced technologies of the ancient world (glassmaking). Interestingly, and surprisingly, the next step in decorating with enameling takes fourteen centuries to occur. The absence of enameling on Greek and Hellenistic glass, with no surviving artifacts or documentary descriptions, up until now, directs us to assume that both the concept of this type of decoration and the means to realize it were simply lost and long-awaited rediscovery. All changed during the early decades of the 1st century AD. The gap was bridged, and the technical challenges were achieved. The creation of luxurious Roman Enameled Glass vessels started and lasted over a period of about 300 years. https://www.cmog.org/article/enameled-glass-vessels-1425-bce-1800-decorating-process

Roman enameled glass artifacts fascinate me. They showcase a unique combination of glass craftsmanship and enamelwork, resulting in stunning decorative pieces. While I am not an expert in glass, I am eager to learn. The Corning Museum of Glass website provides valuable information on enameled glass, so allow me to address some questions, starting with “What” and “How.” A valuable addition will be the PowerPoint presentation I have compiled, featuring significant examples of Roman enameled glass artifacts from museums around the world… Click HERE! and judge for yourselves!  https://home.cmog.org/ and https://www.cmog.org/article/enameled-glass-vessels-1425-bce-1800-decorating-process

What is Enameled Glass? Enameled glass is a type of glass that has been decorated with a layer, or more, of colored or opaque vitreous enamel. Enamel is a powdered glass material that is mixed with pigments or metallic oxides to achieve various colors and effects. The enameling process involves applying the enamel powder onto the surface of the glass and then heating it in a low-temperature muffle kiln (about 965°-1300°F or 500°-700°C). This heat fuses the enamel to the glass, creating a durable and permanent bond. Sometimes, several firings are required to fuse the different colors of an elaborately enameled object. https://allaboutglass.cmog.org/definition/enamel and Objects and Techniques | The Techniques of Renaissance Venetian Glassworking (cmog.org)

Why did artists use the Enameled Glass technique? Enameled glass is often used for decorative purposes due to its ability to add color, pattern, and texture to glass surfaces. It can be found in various applications, such as art glass, stained glass windows, decorative panels, glassware, and architectural elements. The enamel coating on the glass can be transparent, allowing light to pass through, or opaque, blocking the transmission of light. The choice of enamel color, texture, and design can be customized to suit specific aesthetic preferences or design requirements.

How did Enameled Glass develop, chronologically up and including the Renaissance period, in Europe? A. Roman Period: The discovery of glassblowing during the Roman period made glass affordable and widely available for ordinary domestic purposes. However, the Romans also produced some of the most lavish luxury glass ever made. This is also the time when luxurious glass enamel originated as well. B. 5th – 12th Century AD: The Early Middle Ages saw less advancement in Enameled Glass in Europe due to the fall of the Western Roman Empire and societal changes. There’s evidence, however, of continuous tradition in the Byzantine Empire. C. Late Medieval Period: The first major revival of enameled glass occurred during the late Medieval period. This is also when we see the first instances of stained glass windows in churches, which used enamel for detailed painting and shading. Venice, and the island of Murano to be specific, became the greatest European Glass-making center. D. Renaissance Period: The development of enameled glass greatly increased during the Renaissance. In Venice/Murano, the most important center for glassmaking, artists developed new enameling techniques that allowed for greater detail and more vibrant colours. https://www.cmog.org/article/enameled-glass-vessels-1425-bce-1800-decorating-process

How can Roman Enameled Glass production be described aesthetically? The aesthetic effects of Roman artifacts made from enameled glass can be described as opulent, vibrant, and intricate. These effects were intended to showcase the wealth, status, and refined taste of their owners. The combination of glass and enamel craftsmanship resulted in a unique fusion of materials, creating objects that exuded beauty and sophistication.

Bowl fragments depicting Combat Scenes, Begram Hoard, 1st century AD, Enameled Glass, Guimet Museum, Paris, France https://twitter.com/SusanRahyab/status/1554483598748749824/photo/4

The vibrant colors used in Roman enameled glass, achieved through the application of enamel, added a sense of liveliness and richness to the artifacts. The various shades of blues, greens, yellows, reds, and whites created a visually dynamic and eye-catching effect. The colors were often complemented by the addition of gilding or gold leaf, further enhancing the luxurious appearance of the pieces.

The Bird Cup, 20-50 AD, Enameled Glass, Civic and Archaeological Museum, Locarno, Switzerland https://hls-dhs-dss.ch/it/articles/002115/2010-03-30/

The intricate scenes found in Roman enameled glass artifacts showcased the high level of skill and attention to detail of the artisans. Geometric designs, floral motifs, organic patterns, and figurative compositions were meticulously executed, creating a sense of complexity, visual depth, delicacy, and refinement to the overall design.

The layered and multicolored effects, achieved by applying enamel in successive layers, added a sense of dimensionality and complexity to the artifacts. The juxtaposition of different colors and patterns created a captivating visual interplay, drawing the viewer’s attention and enhancing the overall aesthetic appeal.

The aesthetic effect of Roman enameled glass production also reflects the broader artistic sensibilities of the Roman Empire. It embodies the fusion of influences from various cultures, including Hellenistic, Egyptian, and Near Eastern, resulting in a unique and eclectic style that was distinctively Roman.

For a PowerPoint, please… Check HERE!

Mycenaean Procession of Female Worshippers

Procession of Mycenaean Female Worshippers from Kadmeia Palace of Thebes, c. 1400 BC, Wall Painting, Archaeological Museum of Thebes, Greece https://www.reddit.com/r/ArtefactPorn/comments/n6sgl8/mural_composition_showing_female_worshippers/

One of the most frequent themes in the Mycenaean wall painting is a procession of lifesize women in Minoan Dress (tight bodice with exposed breasts and flounced skirt), each figure bearing an offering and proceeding either to the left or right toward an unspecified goal, which was very likely a seated representation of the goddess. A circa 1400 BC fresco example, titled Mycenaean Procession of Female Worshippers comes, from the Kadmeia Palace in Thebes… and is exceptional! Three articles provided me with the necessary information so I can better understand the fresco’s importance. The same articles helped me codify six interesting facts about it… (see Bibliography)

Fact 1: Kadmeia Palace in Thebes was the nucleus of many important Greek Myths… it was connected to Gods and Heroes! The city of Thebes in ancient Greece has a rich mythological tradition. It starts with Kadmos, the Phoenician Prince, who searched for his abducted sister Europa and eventually settled in Boeotia, where he founded the city of Thebes, and built the first Palace. The myth of Oedipus, tragic in every aspect, and the riddle of the Sphinx, is equally known. The myth of the Seven Against Thebes revolves around the conflict between Eteocles and Polyneices, both sons of Oedipus, the fight over the rule of Thebes, and the heartbreaking end of Antigone, their sister, who became a symbol of resistance against unjust laws. Finally, the myth of Zeus, Semele, and Dionysus was closely connected to Thebes and the Palace of Kadmos.

Fact 2: The Greek archaeologist who discovered, in 1906, the Theban Palace, and subsequently the Procession of Female Worshipers fresco was Antonios Keramopoulos. In 1906 Antonios Keramopoulos was the first archaeologist to excavate, in the city of Thebes, a sizable and well-built, but burnt building of the Mycenaean period. He also discovered fragments of a Procession fresco, pieces of gold, agate or quartz artifacts, and numerous jars inscribed with the undeciphered then, Linear B script. Keramopoulos compared his discovery with similar discoveries in Mycenae or, for example, Pylos, and concluded that what he discovered was the Palace of Kadmos, the legendary founder of Thebes.

Architectural Plan of the Old Kadmeia Palace (Ground Floor ‘Court’ Area) in Thebes. The room marked with a blue Star is the area where the Procession fresco was found.
The Archaeological site of the Palace in Thebes http://www.austriaca.at/0xc1aa5576_0x0032aa44.pdf and https://www.mthv.gr/en/beyond-the-museum/tour-in-thebes/the-archaeological-area-of-the-mycenaean-palace-of-thebes-%E2%80%98kadmeio%E2%80%99/

Fact 3: The Procession of Female Worshipers fresco was discovered in Room N (marked with a Blue Star) of the Old Kadmeia Palace. Early during the Keramopoulos excavations, fragments of fresco pieces were discovered in Room N (marked with a Blue Star in the Photo). These fragments employed both the buon fresco and the fresco al secco techniques. Keramopoulos decided that these fragments were part of a long, probably 14 m, fresco presenting a life-size Procession of Female Worshipers, facing both right and left.

Fact 4: The Procession of Female Worshipers fresco found in the Old Kadmeia Palace dates from the Early 14th century BC ( LH III A period, 1400-1300 BC). It is the oldest such fresco discovered in mainland Greece. The Procession of Female Worshipers fresco in the Theban Palace is the oldest wall painting discovered in Boetia. In 1978, Dr. Christos Boulotis embarked on fresh research regarding this fresco. During his investigation, he stumbled upon “forgotten” pieces stored in the warehouse of the Theban Museum. Dr. Boulotis added these fragments to the existing Procession fresco and reassembled the fresco’s composition. By conducting extensive research, comparisons with Mycenaean frescoes, and new local finds, Dr. Boulotis proposed a date of the 14th century BC for the fresco.

Fact 5: The Procession of Female Worshipers fresco in the Palace of Thebes marks the beginning of the Boaetian fresco School of Painting. Dr. Christos Boulotis once again proposed the Palace of Thebes to be established as the focal point of a Boetian workshop, responsible for disseminating innovative ideas in fresco painting across the Palatial areas of Central Greece. To support his proposition, Dr. Boulotis drew comparisons between frescoes found in the Theban Palace, such as the Procession of Female Worshipers, and those discovered in locations like Gla and Orchomenos. Additionally, Dr. Boulotis put forth the idea that groups of itinerant artists, initially from Crete, introduced the Minoan style of fresco painting to Palatial centers in the Peloponnese. The same groups trained local Mycenaean artists who then transmitted the newly developed Mycenaean style of fresco painting to Thebes. The presence of resemblances in patterns, compositions, and styles further suggests a high probability that these groups of traveling artists possessed “pattern/composition books” for their prospective clients to choose from.

Museum View of the ‘Procession of Mycenaean Female Worshippers’ from the Palace of Thebes, late 2000 BC, Wall Painting, Archaeological Museum of Thebes, Greece https://www.mthv.gr/en/permanent-exhibition/mycenaean-period/#image-1

Fact 6: The Procession of Female Worshipers fresco in the Palace of Thebes is the oldest and the finest in mainland Greece. It presents a life-size Procession of Women, finely dressed facing both right and left. The Theban fresco was originally 14 meters long, consisting of three zones: 1. a decorative band in the upper part, 2. the main composition, known as the Procession of Female Worshipers, in the middle, and 3. a lower decorative zone, imitating marble. Interestingly to note is that all pigments were from natural materials, red and ocher, for example, came from iron oxides, and black from carbon. Equally interesting, is that red pigment was used by the Mycenaean painter to outline each female figure.

According to Dr. Immerwahr’s description, the painters of the Theban Procession fresco were excellent draftsmen capable of depicting the human form in a conventional manner while infusing it with a dose of naturalism, allowing the figures to be shown in various positions. The depicted women appear to be wearing the traditional Minoan dress, which is colorful and exquisitely adorned with patterned borders. Their long wavy hair cascades loosely down to their narrow waists. They have spit curls fashioned across the forehead, twisted shoulder coils, and ponytails, some short and others longer. All the women wear fine jewelry, including necklaces and bracelets, each of which is individualized with round-shaped beads, lentoid shapes, or papyriform designs.

This is a large mural composition and a unique fresco of female worshipers striding majestically in two opposite directions, perhaps towards a central female deity who receives their offerings. Archaeologists were able to reconstruct five women from the original composition, one of them facing left, and the other four facing right. According to the latest reconstruction of the fresco, as exhibited in the Archaeological Museum in Thebes, the female worshiper facing left is posing, showing her chest frontally and holding wild roses. Two of the remaining four women facing right are depicted in profile, one of them holding a heavy casket with jewelry, and the other holding wild roses as well. The remaining two worshipers are depicted showing their frontal chests, holding lilies, and a luxury vase, perhaps filled with aromatic oil.

For a PowerPoint on the Mycenaean Procession of Female Worshippers Fresco, please… Check HERE!

Bibliography

1. Aegean Painting of the Bronze Age by Sara A. Immerwahr, The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1990 https://eclass.uoa.gr/modules/document/file.php/ARCH133/%CE%91%CF%81%CF%87%CE%B5%CE%AF%CE%B1%20%CE%B2%CE%B9%CE%B2%CE%BB%CE%B9%CE%BF%CE%B3%CF%81%CE%B1%CF%86%CE%AF%CE%B1%CF%82%20%CF%83%CE%B5%20pdf/Immerwahr%2C%20Aegean%20painting%20in%20the%20Bronze%20Age.pdf

2. Χρήστος Μπουλιώτης, Η Τέχνη των Τοιχογραφιών στη Μυκηναϊκή Βοιωτία, ΕΠΕΤΗΡΙΣ ΤΗΣ ΕΤΑΙΡΕΙΑΣ ΒΟΙΩΤΙΚΩΝ ΜΕΛΕΤΩ, ΤΟΜΟΣ Γ’, ΤΕΥΧΟΣ α’, Αθήνα, 2000 σελίδες 1095-1149 http://users.uoi.gr/gramisar/prosopiko/vlaxopoulos/epetiris.pdf

3. The House of Kadmos in Mycenaean Thebes Reconsidered: Architecture, Chronology, and Context by Anastasia Dakouri-Hild, The Annual of the British School at Athens, Vol. 96 (2001), pp. 81-122 (47 pages) https://www.jstor.org/stable/30073274

An interesting Video titled Mycenaean Thebes, by @HellenicCosmos… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzqIHbCdydk

In the Month of July by Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriël

Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriël, Dutch Artist, 1828-1903
A Windmill on a Polder Waterway, Known as ‘In the Month of July’, 1889, oil on canvas, 102×66 cm, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
https://www.flickr.com/photos/paulodykes/41487209442

Behold! a giant am I! / Aloft here in my tower, / With my granite jaws I devour / The maize, and the wheat, and the rye, / And grind them into flour.     /     I look down over the farms; / In the fields of grain I see / The harvest that is to be, / And I fling to the air my arms, / For I know it is all for me.     …     Ah, how the world has changed / Since the days of the old windmill, / When July’s hot breath would still / Its sails, and the sun would parch and dry / The wind that once turned it at will! writes Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. His poem The Windmill captures the power and importance of windmills in the past, and how they were able to harness the power of the wind to grind grain into flour. The mention of July’s hot breath and the parching sun also gives a sense of the summer season. The painting In the Month of July by Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriël exhibits the same characteristics. https://www.hwlongfellow.org/poems_poem.php?pid=311  

Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriël (1828-1903) was a Dutch painter known for his landscape paintings. He was born in Amsterdam and trained at the Royal Academy of Art in that city. Gabriël’s early work was influenced by the Barbizon school of painting, which emphasized the realistic representation of nature. Later, he was influenced by the Hague School of Painting, which focused on capturing the atmosphere and mood of the landscape. Gabriël became a leading member of this movement.

His paintings often depict the Dutch countryside, with its wide open spaces, flat fields, and skies filled with clouds. He was particularly interested in the effects of light and atmosphere, and his work often has a serene and contemplative quality. Gabriël’s paintings were well received during his lifetime and he received numerous awards and honors. He exhibited regularly in the Netherlands and also showed his work in Paris and London. His paintings can be found in many museums around the world, including the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Gabriël was also a respected teacher and had many students who went on to become successful painters. He died in Scheveningen, Netherlands, in 1903.

Our country is saturated with colour. … I repeat, our country is not grey, not even in grey weather, nor are the dunes grey… wrote Constant Gabriël in a letter, and unlike many Hague School painters, he actually enjoyed depicting a beautiful summer day. The painting In the Month of July by Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriël showcases exactly what he believed! https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/collection/SK-A-1505

Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriël, Dutch Artist, 1828-1903
A Windmill on a Polder Waterway, Known as ‘In the Month of July’ (detail), 1889, oil on canvas, 102×66 cm, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
https://www.facebook.com/artcast.tv/photos/a.163558460467584/1693309424159139/?paipv=0&eav=AfYjlWfaHMycMhlM4ACQ1Vz0rULzCzRoWXl-_3-zb_8JMGG0fhXBknkcrGxRS4Zq58w

The painting, completed in 1889 and currently in the collection of the Rijksmuseum, depicts a typical Dutch landscape in the height of summer. In the foreground, there is a field of tall grass and wildflowers, while in the distance there is a small village nestled among trees. The sky is filled with fluffy clouds, and the light of the sun is reflected in the water in the foreground. The painting is characteristic of Gabriël’s work, which often focused on the Dutch countryside and the effects of light and atmosphere. His paintings typically have a calm, contemplative quality, and ‘In the Month of July’ is no exception.

Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriël, Dutch Artist, 1828-1903
A Windmill on a Polder Waterway, Known as ‘In the Month of July’ (detail), 1889, oil on canvas, 102×66 cm, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
https://www.facebook.com/artcast.tv/photos/a.163558460467584/1693309424159139/?paipv=0&eav=AfYjlWfaHMycMhlM4ACQ1Vz0rULzCzRoWXl-_3-zb_8JMGG0fhXBknkcrGxRS4Zq58w

Gabriël was associated with the Hague School of Painting, which emphasized realism and an interest in capturing the atmosphere and mood of a particular place. He was also influenced by the Barbizon School of Painting, which emphasized the realistic representation of nature. His paintings often feature the flat fields and wide skies of the Dutch countryside, and he was particularly interested in the changing effects of light and weather. In the Month of July is a beautiful example of Gabriël’s work, showcasing his skill at capturing the beauty and serenity of the Dutch landscape in the summer season.

For a PowerPoint on Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriël’s oeuvre, please… Check HERE!

Henri III being Welcomed to the Contarini Villa

Giambattista Tiepolo, Italian Artist,1696 – 1770
Henri III being Welcomed to the Contarini Villa, circa 1745, fresco mounted on canvas, 7,29 x 4,02 m, Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris, France (my amateurish attempt to Photography)

No other work by Tiepolo could be closer to our hearts, as it seems to have been created for us (the people of France). The last great Venetian painter and an episode in the history of France: is this not the finest possible blend of everything Venetian and French? This is how the fresco Henri III being Welcomed to the Contarini Villa, in Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris, was presented to the French public by the ‘librettist’ of the Gazette des Beaux-Arts in 1896.  https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k203140w/f132.item (page 121-130) and https://www.musee-jacquemart-andre.com/en/works/henri-iii-being-welcomed-contarini-villa

Giambattista Tiepolo, also known as Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, is widely regarded as one of the greatest painters of the Rococo period. Tiepolo came from a family of artists, and he received his initial artistic training from his father, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo the Elder. Tiepolo’s talent and artistic abilities quickly gained recognition, leading to commissions for various decorative frescoes in palaces and churches across Europe. His works showcased his mastery of composition, grandeur, and a distinctive sense of lightness and elegance.

Giambattista Tiepolo, Italian Artist,1696 – 1770
Henri III being Welcomed to the Contarini Villa (detail), circa 1745, fresco mounted on canvas, 7,29 x 4,02 m, Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris, France (my amateurish attempt to Photography)

Circa 1745 Tiepolo was commissioned to paint a historic event for the Contarini family, and specifically for Villa Contarini in Piazzola sul Brenta. Standing in the Veneto area, only a few kilometers from Padua and Vicenza, on the ruins of an ancient castle built by the Dente family around the year 1000, the Villa was a farmhouse up until the mid-17th century, when Federico Contarini, one of the procurators of San Marco, expanded the building, turning it into a palace. Villa Contarini reflects Palladio’s signature style, which is characterized by symmetry, proportion, and the grandeur of Venetian nobility. https://www.villacontarini.eu/presentation/?lang=en

Andrea Michieli, called Vicentino, 1542-1617
Entrance of King Henry III of France at San Nicolo al Lido, 1593, oil on canvas
400 x 810 cm, Sala delle Quattro Porte, Palazzo Ducale, Venice, Italy
Andrea Michieli, called Vicentino, 1542-1617
Entrance of King Henry III of France at San Nicolo al Lido, 1593, oil on canvas
400 x 810 cm, Sala delle Quattro Porte, Palazzo Ducale, Venice, Italy

Venetian grandeur was what Henri III of France experienced in 1574 while traveling from Poland to France in order to accept the French Crown. He arrived in Venice on 18 July 1574 and stayed in La Serenissima for ten days of official festivities and sightseeing. His host, Doge Alvise Contarini, welcomed him in front of the church of San Nicolò on the Lido for the day’s lavish reception, in front of a triumphal arch and an open loggia supported by ten Corinthian columns, designed by Andrea Palladio. The days that followed were dazzling with regattas, theatrical and musical performances, sightseeing, attendance of administrative events, phantasmagoric balls, and meetings with all members of Venice’s aristocracy and intelligentsia. https://www.christies.com/en/lot/lot-5529487

The day of his departure, Tuesday, the 27th of July, was equally grand. Henri III, accompanied by the Doge of Venice and all the members of the Venetian Senate, traveled up to Lissa-Fusine, where they bid farewell. The French Prince, soon to be King of France, was not left alone during his boat trip down the Brenta en route to Padua. He was still accompanied by ambassadors of La Serenissima, and Federico Contarini, a close relative of the Doge, who invited the Prince to visit the countryside Contarini Villa, for an impromptu stopover, probably the last lavish luncheon on Venetian soil. Henri III graciously accepted… and the rest is history, documented, two hundred years later, by Giambattista Tiepolo. https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k203140w/f132.item (pages 121-130)

Tiepolo’s style was characterized by vibrant colors, graceful figures, and dramatic, dynamic compositions. His brushwork displayed a remarkable sense of movement and fluidity, and his use of light and shadow added depth and dimension to his paintings. His fresco for Villa Contarini is a remarkable composition that showcases the artist’s style, his mastery of the fresco technique, and his ability to depict grand scenes with intricate details. The fresco depicts the historical event of Henri III being welcomed to the Contarini Villa by members of the influential Contarini family. The composition is visually captivating, with a dynamic arrangement of figures, a strong sense of movement, and attention to detail. The artist’s skillful brushwork and use of chiaroscuro contribute to the overall richness and realism of the fresco, while the intricate costumes and ornate accessories worn by the depicted figures reflect the fashion of the period. The fresco serves as a testament to Tiepolo’s technical prowess and his ability to capture historical events in a visually captivating and engaging manner.

Giambattista Tiepolo, Italian Artist,1696 – 1770
Henri III being Welcomed to the Contarini Villa, circa 1745, fresco mounted on canvas, 7,29 x 4,02 m, Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris, France

The amazing fresco Henri III being Welcomed to the Contarini Villa, is in Musée Jacquemart-André, in Paris. It is the Museum’s piece de resistance as it crowns the mansion’s spectacular Winter Garden. Edouard André and his wife Nélie Jacquemart, were great collectors of art. They bought the Tiepolo fresco in 1893, dismantled it, and transferred it from Veneto to their townhouse on the Boulevard Haussmann in Paris, the site of what today is the Musée Jacquemart-André.

The Winter Garden, the Staircase, and Tiepolo’s painting of Henri III being Welcomed to the Contarini Villa, Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris, France

For a PowerPoint on Tiepolo’s oeuvre, please… Check HERE!

I enjoyed reading Diplomatic Gifts on Henri III’s Visit to Venice in 1574, by Evelyn Korsch, Nicola Imrie, Pamela J. Warner, Evelyn Korsch, Studies in the Decorative Arts, Vol. 15, No. 1 (Fall-Winter 2007–2008), pp. 83-113 (31 pages) https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/652845?read-now=1#page_scan_tab_contents

The short Video, titled, TIEPOLO au musée Jacquemart-André, by Patricia Carles, is also interesting to watch… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwxPvWPEVTk

Photo Credits: https://twitter.com/prattinvenice/status/1352194531098308609 and https://www.musee-jacquemart-andre.com/en/works/henri-iii-being-welcomed-contarini-villa and https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c7/Venezia_Palazzo_Ducale_Innen_Sala_delle_Quattro_Porte_Gem%C3%A4lde.jpg and https://www.cparti.fr/description.html?id=118

Consul Areobindus Dagalaifus Areobindus

Leaf of a Diptych with Consul Areobindus, 506 AD, elephant ivory bas-relief, 39x13cm, Musée de Cluny, Paris, France (my amateurish attempt at Photography)

Devant une tribune, write the Cluny Museum Experts, paré de ses insignes, Areobindus est entouré d’assesseurs. La main droite levée, il lance les jeux avec la “mappa”, sorte de linge qui servait à signaler le début des jeux du cirque. En dessous sont représentés ces jeux : des gladiateurs combattent des animaux sauvages. On the 10th of May, 2023, I was in Paris, at the Cluny Museum, paying my respects to Consul Areobindus Dagalaifus Areobindus. It was a moment I will always cherish! https://www.musee-moyenage.fr/collection/oeuvre/diptyque-du-consul-areobindus.html

Let’s answer some questions starting with Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How…

What do we know about Late Roman / Early Byzantine Consular Diptychs? They were a form of ceremonial and commemorative artwork that originated in the late Roman Empire. They were created in the form of hinged wooden panels, often covered in ivory or other valuable materials. Consular diptychs typically consisted of two panels, known as leaves, which were decorated with relief carvings and inscriptions. These diptychs were presented as gifts to friends and supporters, by newly appointed consuls, who were the highest-ranking officials in the Roman Empire. They served as a record and celebration of their consulship. The inscriptions on the diptychs included the consul’s name, the names of the emperor or emperors in office during their consulship, and sometimes additional details such as the consul’s accomplishments or notable events from their term.

What do Consular Diptychs usually feature as their decoration? They often featured intricate and detailed relief carvings depicting various scenes, including mythological figures, military victories, and allegorical representations of virtues. These carvings were highly symbolic and conveyed messages of power, prestige, and legitimacy. Many consular diptychs have been lost or damaged. However, a number of surviving examples provide valuable insights into the art, culture, and political context of the late Roman / Early Byzantine Empire. They are significant historical artifacts that shed light on the individuals who held the highest offices in the Roman / Byzantine state.

Leaf of a Diptych with Consul Areobindus (detail upper part), 506 AD, elephant ivory bas-relief, 39x13cm, Musée de Cluny, Paris, France

Who was Consul Areobindus? Areobindus Dagalaifus Areobindus was a high-ranking Byzantine official and military leader during the reign of Emperor Anastasius I Dicorus (c. 431 – 518) in the 6th century AD. Areobindus was a scion of an extremely distinguished family of Roman and  Alanic-Gothic heritage. He was married to Anicia Juliana, the daughter of Olybrius, briefly the western Roman Emperor in 472, and his wife Placidia, thus, connecting Areobindus to the Theodosian dynasty. Along with his wife, considered to be the most aristocratic and the wealthiest inhabitant of Constantinople, Aerobindus spent a life of military and administrative distinction. In 506 AD, he served as consul of the Byzantine Empire. The consular office, though it had lost its administrative functions by this time, was still an important honorific title. The period of Areobindus’s consulship corresponded with the early period of Byzantine history, which was characterized by frequent wars with Sassanid Persia, the Germanic tribes, and other neighbors, as well as a flowering of Greek and Roman art and culture.

Leaf of a Diptych with Consul Areobindus (detail – faces), 506 AD, elephant ivory bas-relief, 39x13cm, Musée de Cluny, Paris, France

When was the Consular Diptych of Areobindus created? It was created in 506 AD, in Constantinople, when Areobindus was elected Consul of the Eastern Roman / Byzantine Empire.

How can the composition of Areobindus’s Diptych be described? Areobindus’s Consular Diptych is one of the best preserved and most intricately designed examples of Byzantine Consular Diptychs. Under the inscription C[omite] SAC[ri] STA[buli] ET M[agister] M[ilitum] P[er] OR[ientum] EX C[onsule] C[onsul] OR[dinarius] the artist of the Diptych presents Areobindus, in strict frontality, dressed in consular robes and holding the traditional symbols of the consul’s office, including a mappa circensis (a handkerchief with which the Consul gave the signal for the games to commence) and an elaborate scepter. Flanked by two of his assistants, the Consul is depicted presiding over the circus games sitting on a luxurious chair with curved legs and no back. The quality of the carving and the level of detail in this scene attest to the skill of the artist and the luxury of the object.

Leaf of a Diptych with Consul Areobindus (detail lower part), 506 AD, elephant ivory bas-relief, 39x13cm, Musée de Cluny, Paris, France
Leaf of a Diptych with Consul Areobindus (detail lower part with spectators), 506 AD, elephant ivory bas-relief, 39x13cm, Musée de Cluny, Paris, France

The lower part of the described Diptych depicts scenes of circus games, typically referred to as the venationes. These were staged hunts or fights involving wild animals, a popular form of public entertainment, at the time, alongside chariot races and gladiatorial combats. The venationes depicted in the Areobindus Diptych, showcase a range of exotic and dangerous animals, symbolizing both the consul’s power and the grand spectacle of the games themselves. It is a surprising, delightful scene. The artist exhibits originality, energy, and an unexpected variety of poses and gestures.

Why is the Consular Diptych of Areobindus significant? Simply put, it serves as an exceptional example of Early Byzantine artistry and craftsmanship. Its intricate relief carving depicts an important historical figure of the time, providing valuable insights into the iconography and symbolism of the era. It also serves as a tangible connection to the tradition of Consular Diptychs, which were presented as gifts to high-ranking officials or distributed during official ceremonies. It exemplifies the use of art and objects as a means of political communication and the display of status and authority during the Early Byzantine period.

Leaf of a Diptych with Consul Areobindus, 506 AD, elephant ivory bas-relief, 39x13cm, Musée de Cluny, Paris, France

Where is the Consular Diptych of Areobindus currently located? The Consular Diptych of Areobindus is an invaluable resource for historians studying the Byzantine Empire and the broader late antique period. It is an artifact that connects us directly with the people, events, and cultures of the past. It is part of the Louvre Museum Collection, but it is exhibited in the Cluny Museum, also known as the Musée National du Moyen Age, in Paris.

How can the Cluny Museum best be described? The Musée de Cluny, also known as the Musée National du Moyen Age, or the National Museum of the Middle Ages, is located in Paris, France. It is housed in two significant historic buildings: the 15th-century Hôtel de Cluny and the Gallo-Roman thermal baths dating back to the 3rd century. The museum is renowned for its extensive collection of medieval artifacts, including tapestries, sculptures, manuscripts, and metalwork. Its most famous work is arguably the “The Lady and the Unicorn” series of tapestries, a masterpiece of the late Middle Ages.

The architecture of the museum itself is notable. The Hôtel de Cluny is a fine example of late medieval secular architecture, with its Gothic-style features and well-preserved rooms. The adjacent thermal baths showcase the grandeur of Roman architecture and provide an interesting contrast. The museum is also known for its medieval-inspired gardens. These gardens are designed based on medieval texts and archaeological research and serve as a quiet oasis in the bustling city of Paris. As a whole, the museum provides a unique experience for visitors to immerse themselves in the rich history and culture of the Middle Ages, serving as a testament to the creativity, skill, and artistry of the period.

For a PowerPoint inspired by the Consul Areobindus Dagalaifus Areobindus BLOG POST, please… Check, HERE!

Photo Credits

https://www.musee-moyenage.fr/collection/oeuvre/diptyque-du-consul-areobindus.html

https://el.wikipedia.org/wiki/%CE%91%CF%81%CF%87%CE%B5%CE%AF%CE%BF:Areobindus_presides_over_the_games_MNMA_Cluny_13135_n02.jpg

https://fr.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fichier:Areobindus_presides_over_the_games_MNMA_Cluny_13135_n03.jpg

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=600976638725848&set=pcb.600976745392504

https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=3193819524018904&set=comment-f%C3%AAter-son-%C3%A9lection-en-remerciant-ses-plus-fid%C3%A8les-partisans-la-tradition

Léon Bakst

Léon Bakst, Russian Artist, 1866-1924
Costume Design for a Woman from the Village, for the Ballet ‘Daphnis and Chloé’, performed at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, 1912, Watercolor and graphite, 26 × 21.6 cm, the MET, NY, USA https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/698631

It is goodbye to scenery designed by a painter blindly subjected to one part of the work, to costumes made by any old dressmaker who strikes a false and foreign note in the production; it is goodbye to the kind of acting, movements, false notes and that terrible, purely literary wealth of details which make modern theatrical production a collection of tiny impressions, without that unique simplicity which emanates from a true work of art… wrote Léon Bakst… and my students loved him!https://www.vam.ac.uk/articles/l%C3%A9on-bakst-design-for-the-ballet

Léon Bakst (Lev Samoylovich Rosenberg, 1866-1924) was a Russian artist and designer, best known for his work in the fields of theatrical and costume design. He was born in Grodno, now in modern-day Belarus, and studied at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. Bakst’s most significant contributions were to the Diaghilev Ballets Russes, a Russian ballet company that performed throughout Europe in the early 20th century. Bakst designed sets and costumes for many of the company’s most famous productions, including “The Firebird,” “Petrouchka,” and “The Rite of Spring.” In addition to his work with the Ballets Russes, Bakst also designed costumes for the Moscow Art Theatre and for various operas and plays. He was also an accomplished painter, creating works in a variety of styles including Art Nouveau, Symbolism, Art Deco, and Orientalism.

I am intrigued by the artist’s research into the art of ancient Greece which began in St Petersburg when preparing designs for productions of the Greek tragedies Hippolytus, Antigone, and Oedipus at Colonus in 1902 and 1904. It was apparently further enhanced in 1907 when Léon Bakst visited Greece with Valentin Serov, a journey which ‘had the most profound effect on the artist as it radically affected his palette and inspired his decorative imagination΄. In the Archaeological Museum in Olympia, looking at the statues of female figures, Bakst wrote… I want terribly to run my hand over the marble, to find out what Niobe’s(?) shoulders are like… https://hyperallergic.com/501125/hymn-to-apollo-ancient-greek-art-ballet-russes/ and https://poulwebb.blogspot.com/2022/01/leon-bakst-part-1.html

Léon Bakst, Russian Artist, 1866-1924
Costume Design for Tamara Karsavina as Chloé, for Daphnis et Chloé, ca. 1912, Graphite and tempera and/or watercolor on paper, 28.2×44.7 cm, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT, USA https://isaw.nyu.edu/exhibitions/ballets-russes/objects/72
Léon Bakst, Russian Artist, 1866-1924
Cleopatra, Costume for a Syrian woman, 1909, cotton, silk, metal studs, paint, length 110.0 cm, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Cleopatra, Costume for a Greek, 1909, silk, lamé, metallic braid, center back length 96.0 cm, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
https://searchthecollection.nga.gov.au/landing#/results?keyword=L%C3%A9on%20Bakst&includeParts

The artist’s talent was boundless, wrote the State Tretyakov Gallery experts, reaching the very top in every field of art he touched upon – be it stage design, costume designs, graphics, or painting. There was much to explore… but my 4-Steps to Success Lesson Plan kept me… on track! https://artsandculture.google.com/story/the-collector-of-success-leon-bakst/VQUBSXEITyGILA

My students were enthused by Bakst’s style characterized by bold colors, sinuous lines, intricate patterns, and the use of exotic motifs. They were fascinated by his ability to draw inspiration from Russian folk art, Middle Eastern and East Asian cultures, and Classical Antiquity. His projects, they understood, were revolutionary at the time, and helped to establish a new standard for theatrical design. They were impressed by how contemporary his oeuvre appears and how his work continues to inspire designers and artists today.

A RWAP Student Activity (RWAP stands for: Research – Writing – Art – Project) in a PowerPoint format with eighteen examples of Designs and actual Costumes by Léon Bakst … HERE!

For a PowerPoint, please… Check https://www.teachercurator.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/LBakst-Art-PP.pdf

Léon Bakst, Russian Artist, 1866-1924
Costume design for Theseus, (Oedipus at Colonus performance at St. Petersburg, Alexandrinsky Theater), 1904, Watercolor and Pencil on Paper, 28 by 21 cm, Private Collection
https://macdougallauction.com/en/catalogue/view?id=5652

A Unique Tapestry in Bayeux

Bayeux Tapestry, c. 1070, Εmbroidered Wool on Linen, about 68.3 metres long and about 70cm wide , Bayeux Tapestry Museum, France
https://www.bayeuxmuseum.com/en/the-bayeux-tapestry/

Auspiciously a comet hangs / in the tabby linen / above King Harold    /    the way the Hale-Bopp / once in 1997 / blipped above the funeral parlor    /    the night before we buried / my cousin / You’ll never live to see this again    /    the aunties sighed the air thick / with peepers / while thirty-nine of    /    Heaven’s Gate Away Team / attempted to reach / the spaceship trailing    /    the comet’s wake / by swallowing / phenobarbital    /    mixed with applesauce— / that star-smear / across the sky no doubt    /    scrawling some sentence / from some holy book / no doubt signaling    /    another turn toward war / & further down / the tapestry ghost ships    /    cross a corrugated sea / horses midgallop / trample the woven acres    /    between king & king— / because all art once / was about conquest    /    history will remember / those horses  / even as time robs    /    the yarn of its dye / even as I place /  my hand to the glass… writes Jacques J. Rancourt, and I question…Is a Unique Tapestry in Bayeux true to Rancourt’s phrase… all art once / was about conquest…https://www.cincinnatireview.com/samples/a-detail-from-the-bayeux-tapestry-11th-c-by-jacques-j-rancourt/

Let’s answer some questions starting with Who, Where, When, What and Why…

What is the Bayeux Tapestry? The Bayeux Tapestry is in fact an embroidered linen cloth that is nearly 70 meters long and about 50 centimeters tall. It is embroidered with woolen yarns in various colors and depicts the events leading up to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, as well as the Battle of Hastings itself. The Bayeux Tapestry is remarkable for its size, the detail of its embroidery, and its historical significance, and it has been studied and admired by scholars, historians, and art enthusiasts for centuries.

When was the Bayeux Tapestry created? The exact date of the creation of the Bayeux Tapestry is not known, but it is believed to have been created in the 1070s or 1080s, within a few years of the Norman Conquest of England in 1066.

Who created the Bayeux Tapestry? The creator of the Bayeux Tapestry is not definitively known, and the identity of the artist or artists who created it remains a mystery. However, it is believed that the tapestry was commissioned by Bishop Odo, the half-brother of William the Conqueror, and was probably created by skilled embroiderers and weavers in England or in the Normandy region of France, where Odo held significant power. The style of the embroidery and the subjects depicted in the tapestry suggest that it was likely created by artists who were familiar with the Anglo-Saxon and Norman artistic traditions of the time.

Bayeux Tapestry (detail with Odo, Bishop of Bayeux), c. 1070, Εmbroidered Wool on Linen, about 68.3 metres long and about 70cm wide , Bayeux Tapestry Museum, France
https://www.bayeuxmuseum.com/en/the-bayeux-tapestry/discover-the-bayeux-tapestry/the-characters/

Why was the Bayeux Tapestry created? The exact reason for the creation of the Bayeux Tapestry is not known, but it is believed to have been created as a commemoration of the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. The tapestry tells the story of the events leading up to the Battle of Hastings and the Norman victory over the Anglo-Saxon army led by King Harold Godwinson. The tapestry may have also been created as a form of propaganda, to promote the legitimacy of William’s claim to the English throne and to portray the Anglo-Saxons in a negative light. Additionally, the tapestry may have served as a historical record of the events depicted, providing a visual account of the Norman Conquest for future generations.

Who are the main characters depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry? The Bayeux Tapestry depicts several main characters who played important roles in the events leading up to the Norman Conquest and the Battle of Hastings. Some of the main characters depicted in the tapestry include 1. Harold Godwinson, the Anglo-Saxon king, who was defeated by William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings. 2. William the Conqueror, the Norman leader who invaded England and defeated Harold Godwinson. 2. Edward the Confessor, the Anglo-Saxon king who died in 1066, triggering the succession crisis that led to the Norman Conquest. 3. Duke William’s Norman army, including his knights and soldiers. Anglo-Saxon soldiers, including Harold’s army. 4. Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, who is believed to have commissioned the tapestry and is depicted leading troops into battle. Other important figures, such as King Harold’s brothers, Earl Tostig and Earl Gyrth, and William’s half-brother, Bishop Odo. The tapestry also depicts various animals, scenes of battle and everyday life, and several Latin inscriptions that provide additional information about the events depicted.

Bayeux Tapestry (detail with William the Conqueror), c. 1070, Εmbroidered Wool on Linen, about 68.3 metres long and about 70cm wide , Bayeux Tapestry Museum, France https://www.bayeuxmuseum.com/en/the-bayeux-tapestry/discover-the-bayeux-tapestry/

Where did the events depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry take place? The events depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry primarily took place in England and Normandy, which are located in present-day France and England. The tapestry depicts the events leading up to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, including the death of King Edward the Confessor, the coronation of Harold Godwinson as king, and the invasion of England by William the Conqueror and his Norman army. The tapestry also depicts the Battle of Hastings, which took place on October 14, 1066, in a location that is now known as Battle, East Sussex, England. Some scenes in the tapestry also show everyday life in England and Normandy, including scenes of hunting, feasting, and other activities.

Which events from the Norman Conquest are depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry? The Bayeux Tapestry depicts the events leading up to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, as well as the Battle of Hastings itself. Some of the specific events and scenes depicted in the tapestry include: 1. The death of Edward the Confessor, the king of England, and the subsequent succession crisis that led to the Norman Conquest. 2. The journey of Harold Godwinson, the Anglo-Saxon king of England, to Normandy to meet with Duke William of Normandy and the subsequent oath of allegiance that Harold took to William. 3. The Norman invasion of England, including the landing of the Norman fleet at Pevensey and the building of a castle at Hastings. 4. The Battle of Hastings, including the preparations of the Norman and Anglo-Saxon armies, the events leading up to the battle, and the battle itself, including the death of Harold and the Norman victory. 5. The coronation of William the Conqueror as the king of England and his subsequent reign, including the building of castles and the suppression of rebellions. Overall, the Bayeux Tapestry provides a detailed visual record of the Norman Conquest, including the key players, events, and battles of the period, and has served as an important historical and cultural artifact for over 900 years.

Bayeux Tapestry, Harold’s, the Anglo-Saxon Earl of Wessex and King of England, Death at the Battle of Hastings, c. 1070, Εmbroidered Wool on Linen, about 68.3 meters long and about 70cm wide, Bayeux Tapestry Museum, France https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bayeux_Tapestry_scene57_Harold_death.jpg

Why is the Bayeux Tapestry considered an important work of art? The Bayeux Tapestry is considered an important art historical artifact for several reasons. Firstly, the tapestry is an outstanding example of the art of embroidery and was created using a combination of techniques, including stem stitch, outline stitch, laid work, and couching. The embroidery is executed in a range of colors, including various shades of red, blue, green, yellow, and brown, and uses different types of thread, including silk, wool, and linen. Secondly, the Bayeux Tapestry is a unique example of the fusion of Anglo-Saxon and Norman artistic traditions, which were combined to create a distinctive style. The tapestry features both Anglo-Saxon and Norman figures and incorporates elements of Anglo-Saxon and Norman art, such as the interlacing patterns and spirals of Anglo-Saxon art, and the use of naturalistic forms in Norman art. Thirdly, the Tapestry is an important example of narrative art, as it tells a coherent story through a series of scenes and images that captures the viewer’s imagination. Finally, this is an important cultural artifact that has had a significant influence on the development of art and design over the centuries

Where did the Bayeux Tapestry get its name from? / Who owns the Bayeux Tapestry today? The Bayeux Tapestry is named after the town of Bayeux in Normandy, France, where it has been kept for most of its history. The tapestry is believed to have been commissioned by Bishop Odo of Bayeux, who was the half-brother of William the Conqueror and a powerful figure in Normandy. It is thought that the tapestry was probably displayed in Bayeux Cathedral in the 11th century. The Bayeux Tapestry is currently owned by the Centre Guillaume le Conquérant in Bayeux, France, where it is on display in a museum called the Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux. This is considered a treasured cultural and historical artifact. The tapestry is protected by French law and is considered a national treasure of France. The tapestry is sometimes also referred to as the Bayeux Embroidery, as it is embroidered rather than woven like a traditional tapestry.

For a PowerPoint, on a unique Tapestry in Bayeux, please… Check HERE!

The Bersha Procession

The Bersha Procession, Middle Kingdom, late 11th Dynasty–early 12th Dynasty, 122010–1961 BC, Egypt, Deir el-Bersha, Tomb 10, shaft A (Djehutynakht), Painted Wood, 66.4 x 8.6 x 42.5 cm, MFA, Boston, MA, USA
https://gr.pinterest.com/pin/670473463254087082/?nic_v3=1a7FXhvpJ

In a 1915 excavation, archaeologists from the Harvard University-Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition discovered, explain the MFA experts, the entrance to a tomb at the picturesque site of Deir el-Bersha in Egypt. Inside, the MFA team found, in jumbled array, the largest burial assemblage of the Middle Kingdom (2040-1640 BC) ever discovered. The tomb, designated Tomb 10A, was filled with the funerary equipment of a local governor by the name of Djehutynakht and his wife, also named Djehutynakht. Robbers had stolen the finest jewels but left everything else, including the severed (but nicely wrapped and painted) head of one of the Djehutynakhts. The tomb contained four beautifully painted coffins, one of which, the famous “Bersha coffin” (the outer coffin of the governor), is arguably the finest painted coffin Egypt produced and a masterpiece of panel painting. The tomb also included Djehutynakht’s walking sticks, pottery, canopic jar, and miniature wooden models that were made for the burial but reflect life on Djehutynakht’s estate, including some 58 model boats and nearly three dozen models of daily life such as individual shops for carpenters, weavers, brick-makers, bakers, and brewers. Of these, the best known is the exquisitely carved Bersha procession of a male priest leading female offering bearers.  https://www.mfa.org/exhibitions/secrets-tomb-10a

During the Middle Kingdom, and for reasons we do not know, a new trend occurred in Egyptian burial customs. Miniature models made of wood, a less costly material, were manufactured in large numbers and placed in the burial chamber to furnish provisions for the deceased in the afterlife. In symbolically providing for the tomb owner’s needs, the models functioned in much the same way as painted scenes of these activities did on the walls of tomb chapels. https://collections.mfa.org/objects/143887

A variety of boats, food products, craftsmen and workshops, soldiers, servants, house models, and agricultural activities, are among the most popular representations. They are three-dimensional, and small in size, made out of wood, and colorfully painted. The fact is that the artistic quality of these models varies. However, the Middle Kingdom funerary models are precious as they convey a liveliness and energy that give us a sense of the bustling activities of Egyptian daily life. They also demonstrate innovative poses and subjects that would never have been attempted in the more formal sculptures that represented the tomb owner and his family. https://collections.mfa.org/objects/143702/model-of-a-granary;jsessionid=2E377953D2424D2AFEA2C5AB2332B8C7?ctx=bc58e347-f685-466f-8431-dabc79fda065&idx=32

The Deir el-Bersha region https://cool.culturalheritage.org/jaic/articles/jaic42-02-003.html and https://www.arts.kuleuven.be/dayr-al-barsha/project-sites

The Tomb of Djehutynakht put on view the largest collection of wooden models ever discovered in Egypt. The archaeologists, excavating the site in May 1915, discovered the ransacked Tomb of a local governor, stripped of all precious artifacts except humble items of clay, wood, and paint. They discovered 58 model boats and nearly three dozen models of daily life such as individual shops for carpenters, weavers, brick-makers, bakers, and brewers. Of these, the best known is the exquisitely carved Bersha Procession of a male priest leading female offering bearers. https://www.mfa.org/exhibitions/secrets-tomb-10a

The Bersha Procession, 2010–1961 BC, Egyptian Middle Kingdom, late Dynasty 11 – early Dynasty, Findspot: Egypt, Deir el-Bersha, Tomb 10, shaft A (Djehutynakht), Painted Wood,  66.4 x 8.6 x 42.5 cm, MFA, Boston, USA
https://gr.pinterest.com/pin/405886985159696252/ and https://www.reddit.com/r/AgeofBronze/comments/qhkhq8/procession_of_offering_bearers_egypt_deir/

The MFA experts believe that the Bersha Procession stands out in every aspect. The skill and delicacy with which it was carved, and painted, they state, rank it among the finest wooden models ever found in Egypt. https://collections.mfa.org/objects/143592/model-of-a-procession-of-offering-bearers-the-bersha-proce?ctx=913074da-57e1-4b97-86d5-d4064c9e2c0e&idx=26

The Bersha Procession, 2010–1961 BC, Egyptian Middle Kingdom, late Dynasty 11 – early Dynasty, Findspot: Egypt, Deir el-Bersha, Tomb 10, shaft A (Djehutynakht), Painted Wood,  66.4 x 8.6 x 42.5 cm, MFA, Boston, SA
https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=1926909784017802&set=pcb.1926910000684447

The composition is simple, yet elegant, finely carved and subtly painted. Four figures, a man and three women ‘march’ towards the deceased Djehutynakht bringing offerings to sustain his Ka in the afterlife. They bring him food, drink, items of personal adornment, and the incense used to attract and appease divinities and the blessed dead. https://collections.mfa.org/objects/143592/model-of-a-procession-of-offering-bearers-the-bersha-proce?ctx=913074da-57e1-4b97-86d5-d4064c9e2c0e&idx=26

Simply put, I am completely awestruck by the high quality of craftsmanship and anecdotal details of the Bersha Procession model. So much so, that I dream of visiting the MFA once more!

For a PowerPoint on the contents of the Djehutynakht’s Tomb (Tomb 10A), please… Check HERE!

For a Student Activity inspired by the Bersha Procession, please… Check HERE!

The Boston Museum of Fine Arts received the contents of Djehutynakht’s tomb (Tomb 10A) as a gift from the Egyptian government for their assistance in the 1915 excavation. Since 1920 the Bersha finds are in Boston. https://www.mfa.org/exhibitions/secrets-tomb-10a

The Veil of Saint Veronica

Domenikos Theotokopoulos (El Greco), 1541 – 1614
The Veil of Saint Veronica, the early 1580s, Oil on Canvas, 51 × 66 cm, Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens, Greece
https://goulandris.gr/en/artwork/el-greco-the-holy-face

VII And a certain woman named Bernice (or Beronikē, meaning in Greek “bearer of victory”) (Veronica Lat.) crying out from afar off said: I had an issue of blood and touched the hem of his garment, and the flowing of my blood was stayed which I had twelve years. The Jews say: We have a law that a woman shall not come to give testimony… Part VII of the Apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus or Acts of Pilate, is considered to be the first reference to the story of a woman called Veronica related to the Passion of Christ. This is where and how the legend of the Veil of Saint Veronica starts… https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Apocryphal_New_Testament_(1924)/Passion_Gospels/The_Gospel_of_Nicodemus

Hundreds of years later… The Estoire del Saint Graal, part of a larger work called the Lancelot-Grail or Vulgate Cycle, attributed to Robert de Boron, and written circa 1230, tells us the famous story of Veronica’s Veil as we know it today. My lord, says Veronica, on the day that the Holy Prophet was led away to be crucified, I passed before Him carrying a piece of cloth to sell. He called me and beseeched me to lend Him this cloth to wipe His face, which was dripping with sweat. After He had done so, I folded the cloth and took it home. And when I unfolded it, I found Jesus’ face as clear as if it had been painted on a wall. Since then I have kept it, and no matter how sick I have been, once I looked at it, I was completely healed. https://www.academia.edu/12112461/St_Veronica_Evolution_of_a_Sacred_Legend

Thus… the legend of Veronica’s Veil, the Acheiropoietos Icon of Christ’s image on a simple piece of cloth, became a great source of inspiration for many distinguished artists of the Renaissance like Memling, Bosch, Pontormo, and Dürer. It has been depicted as a symbol of piety, devotion, and faith. The imprint of Jesus’ face on the cloth is seen as a testament to his suffering and a reminder of his sacrifice on the cross. The veil has also been used as a symbol of comfort and solace, particularly for those who are suffering or in need of healing. It has also been seen as a reminder of Jesus’ love and compassion, and as a symbol of hope in the face of adversity. When Greco decided in 1577 to approach the subject of Veronica’s Veil, he joined an already well-established tradition in the Catholic iconography. https://goulandris.gr/en/artwork/el-greco-the-holy-face

Whether alone or in collaboration with apprentices in his studio, Domenikos Theotokopoulos carried out several paintings on this subject. In some of them, he focused merely on Christ, while in others he represented the veil as well. The painting in the Museo de Santa Cruz, in Toledo, includes the portrait of Saint Veronica as well. https://goulandris.gr/en/artwork/el-greco-the-holy-face

The painting of The Veil of Saint Veronica in the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation in Athens, is, in my humble opinion, a version realized δια χειρός Domenikos Theotokopoulos.  

Domenikos Theotokopoulos (El Greco), 1541 – 1614
The Veil of Saint Veronica (detail), the early 1580s, Oil on Canvas, 51 × 66 cm, Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens, Greece
https://goulandris.gr/en/artwork/el-greco-the-holy-face

The face of Christ looks tranquil, genteel, and collected. It appears to float on the moving surface of the silken Veil, bathed in light that ‘shines’ from within, rather than an external source. The composition, developed in three successive planes, is composed yet dramatic, as Christ’s face is placed first, on the white surface of the Veil, and then, on the bleak, black background of the painting. 

Domenikos Theotokopoulos (El Greco), 1541 – 1614
The Veil of Saint Veronica (detail), the early 1580s, Oil on Canvas, 51 × 66 cm, Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens, Greece
https://goulandris.gr/en/artwork/el-greco-the-holy-face

The Goulandris painting of Veronica’s Veil summarizes El Greco’s entire aesthetic journey. Emotionless and serene, with hollow cheeks, a long and narrow face, and …almond-shaped eyes, Greco’s painting communicates a sense of nobility and grace. The wounds caused on his head by the crown of thorns do not affect Him at all. The single drop of blood running down in the middle of His forehead offers no pain… it symbolizes the route to Calvary, His immortality… and humanity’s salvation… https://goulandris.gr/en/artwork/el-greco-the-holy-face

Καλή Ανάσταση!

For a PowerPoint on El Greco’s rendering of the theme of The Veil of Saint Veronica, please… Check HERE!

Holy Monday – Μεγάλη Δευτέρα

Domenikos Theotokopoulos (El Greco), 1541 – 1614
Christ Driving the Money Changers from the Temple, c. 1570-75, oil on canvas, 115.57×147.32 cm, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, MN, USA https://collections.artsmia.org/art/278/christ-driving-the-money-changers-from-the-temple-el-greco

On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts.  And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’” The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching. When evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city. (Mark 11:15-19 Holy Monday – Μεγάλη Δευτέρα) https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark%2011&version=NIV

El Greco’s painting of Christ Driving the Money Changers from the Temple in The Minneapolis Institute of Arts presents a dramatic scene from the New Testament, told in all the Gospels. According to the Gospels, Jesus entered the Temple in Jerusalem and became angered by the commercial activities taking place there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and drove them out, accusing them of turning the temple into a marketplace. This scene was rarely painted in its own right before the Reformation. After the Council of Trent, it gained a new significance and for the Catholics, the image came to symbolize the purification of the Church through internal reform. https://collections.artsmia.org/art/278/christ-driving-the-money-changers-from-the-temple-el-greco

The Minneapolis painting is known for its powerful composition, dynamic figures, and vibrant colors. It was probably executed in Rome, in about 1570/1575. Set in a grand architectural interior, the scene reflects El Greco’s experiments with Italian linear perspective and break from the Byzantine style he employed in the Greek icons painted, while in Crete, in his youth. The composition seems less crowded, and the figures, distorted, but fuller and more clearly articulated, dominate the spatial setting. The lines are bold, the brushstrokes are expressive, and the colours are intense and pulsating. The use of light and shadow is masterful, casting a theatrical glow over the scene, highlighting the central figure of Christ, and adding to the sense of drama. Overall, the painting is a powerful and emotive depiction of this moment in the life of Jesus. https://collections.artsmia.org/art/278/christ-driving-the-money-changers-from-the-temple-el-greco

Christ Driving the Money Changers from the Temple is a theme that interested El Greco throughout his career. He painted this subject at least five times. What distinguishes the Minneapolis version is the inclusion of four male portrait heads in the lower-right corner of the painting. It turns out that these four men are famous artists whose lives and work inspired El Greco. They are four major figures in the arts during the Renaissance, and they are, from the left: Titian, Michelangelo, Giulio Clovio, and Raphael.

For Holy Monday – Μεγάλη Δευτέρα and a PowerPoint of all five versions of El Greco’s painting of Christ Driving the Money Changers from the Temple, please… Check HERE!

Domenikos Theotokopoulos (El Greco), 1541 – 1614
Christ Driving the Money Changers from the Temple (Detail), c. 1570-75, oil on canvas, 115.57×147.32 cm, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, MN, USA https://www.flickr.com/photos/museumnerd/5207337688