gods in art: giant saviors

Posted: December 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

It was a daring venture of the intellect. Andre Malraux’s The Metamorphosis of the Gods was a philosophical study that sought the key to humankind’s fate through a study of the world’s art…

…The change begins when artists introduce men into the world of God. These human figures may be more symbolic than real- “no Romanesque sculptor ever created a shepherd, but all created Christmas shepherds; without Christmas, no shepherd.” …

Throughout Christendom spreads a triumphant sense of Redemption accomplished, of Christ victorious in His kingdom. Christ the Eternal is replaced by Christ the King, the realm of the Sacred replaced by the City of God. “Gothic sculpture, properly speaking, begins with the Coronation at Notre Dame de Paris where the royalty of the Virgin blends with the royalty of Christ above the City of God, which symbolizes the genius of the cathedrals as the giant Saviors symbolized the Romanesque genius, as the nude will later symbolize the genius of the Renaissance.”

—he Coronation of the Virgin
1163-1285
Tympanum of the north portal of the west façade
Notre Dame de Paris
The upper register closely resembles Coronation scenes in tympana at Chartres and Senlis, but unlike them actually shows the crown being placed on Mary’s head, by an angel leaning down from above.
In the model adopted at Chartres and Senlis the register below the Coronation is divided into one scene of the Dormition and another of the Assumption. Here the artist has conflated the two scenes: the apostles gather around the sarcophagus as in a Dormition, and angels lift the Virgin by her sheet as in the Chartres and Senlis Assumptions.
This conflation leaves room for a third register depicting the Ark of the Covenant, which John Damascene interprets as a type of Mary in a sermon quoted in the Golden Legend. —Read More:http://www.aug.edu/augusta/iconography/biggerFiles/coronationNDParis2.html

Yet the Gothic glories do not endure. The continuous curve in civilization and art that some historians like to draw from the eleventh to the fifteenth century do not stand up upon examination. “In 1050, Western Christendom is nothing; in 1099 it takes Jerusalem. In 1090, what is sculpture? Fifty years later, it is Chartres. In 1250, sixty quarries are at work for cathedrals or churches, and labor proceeds in great hopes, nourished by more than a century of conquests.

Twenty years later, Saint Louis is dead, the latin Kingdom of Jerusalem is lost, the Crusades are abandoned.” Thomas Aquinas writes his Summa when conquering Christianity is about to disappear. The work reveres the divine mystery, but classifies it- and in a sense banishes it. In the second half of the thirteenth century, the great Gothic drive disappears. “The Cathedrals, symbols of the Gothic elan, also symbolize its failure. None of them was completed…At Reims, seven steeples had been planned; at Chartres, nine.” And so, “what once was the torrent of Christianity loses itself in the sands.” …( to be continued)…




image-76020 ” title=”coronation2″ src=”http://madamepickwickartblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/coronation2.png” alt=”” width=”539″ height=”360″ />

Coronation. detail. read More:http://www.studyblue.com/notes/note/n/art-history-final-exam-/deck/2867138

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