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Late Antiquity

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Information about Late Antiquity
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Published on October 31, 2007

Author: Kiska

Source: authorstream.com

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Slide1:  Sculpture Sarcophagus with philosopher, Rome, Italy, ca 270 The Art of Late Antiquity Figure 11-4 Jesus is represented by two figures on the right, the small child being baptized and the Shepherd to his left. The future ministry of Jesus is represented by the turned head of the young boy to the Shepherd and by the placement of his hand on one of the sheep. This is Jesus as a child receiving a baptism in the River Jordan even though he was baptized at age thirty. Baptism was significant in the early centuries of Christianity because so many adults were converted to the new faith in this manner. The baptism in Christianity includes a cleansing of all sins and a birth into the Christian faith. Slide2:  The Late Empire Sarcophagus of a philosopher, A.D. 270-280 Vatican Museums, Rome Many Romans were led to seek solace in philosophy because of the insecurity during this period. This sculpture depicts an enthroned Roman philosopher holding a scroll, while being flanked by two standing women. There are other philosophers in the background that were students of the central deceased teacher. This type of sarcophagus became very popular for Christian burials, where the wise-man motif was used not only to portray the deceased but also Christ flanked by his apostles. The frontal three-part compositions such as this were quite common in Early Christian art. Ancient Rome Slide3:  The Late Empire Distribution of largess, detail of the north frieze of the arch of Constantine Rome, Italy, 312-315 A.D. Constantine is shown here with attendants, distributing largess to grateful citizens who approach him Figures move without natural movement, but like that of puppets It’s a shallow relief without separately cut heads, depicting just a crowd of people Simply a picture of frozen actors, distinguishing the imperial donor, his attendants to his sides, and the recipients of the largess at the bottom The rigid formality is consistent with a new set of values supplanting classical notions and revealing new principles of the Middle Ages Ancient Rome The arch of Constantine was the quintessential monument of its era, showing respect for second century sculpture, but rejecting classical design, therefore paving the way for iconic art of the Middle Ages Slide4:  Mosaics The parting of Lot and Abraham, mosaic Rome, Italy, ca 432-440 The Art of Late Antiquity Figure 11-13 This mosaic represents the parting of Abraham and his nephew Lot. Agreeing to disagree, Lot leads his family and followers to the right, toward the city of Sodom, while Abraham heads for Canaan, moving toward a building on the left (possibly symbolic of the Christian Church). Lot's is the evil choice, and the instruments of the evil (his two daughters) are in front of him. The figure of the yet unborn Isaac, the instrument of good, stands before his father, Abraham. Each group in this scene is represented by a shorthand device that is often referred to as a "head cluster", which has its precedents in antiquity and a long history in Christian art. The figures turn from each other in a sharp dialogue of glance and gesture. The wide eyes, turned in their sockets; the broad gestures of enlarged hands; and the opposed movements of the groups all may remind viewers of a silent, expressive chorus that comments on the drama's action. The background town and building are symbolic, rather than descriptive. Within this relatively abstract setting, the figures themselves loom with massive solidity. They cats shadows and were modeled in dark and light to give them the three dimensional appearance that testified to the artist's heritage of Roman pictorial illusionism. Slide5:  Mosaics Christ as the Good Shepherd, mosaic, Rome, Italy, ca 425 The Art of Late Antiquity Christ as Good Shepherd is the subject of a lunette above the entrance. The semi-circular shape of the lunette lends itself to the advantage of the mosaic. The depiction of Christ as the Good Shepherd, as well as Christ the young teacher, were the standard depictions near the time of Constantine’s reign. Jesus occupies the center, a figure that is taller than all of the other figures in the mosaic. The smaller figures, the sheep, are arranged in such a way so that they do not look misconstrued in any fashion and still fit well into the mosaic (and are proportional to Jesus). The lower figures along the sides of the mosaic draw the eye up to the center, where one immediately sees the halo surrounding the head of Christ. The arrangement of the figurative elements is rather loose and informal, and they occupy a carefully described landscape that extends from foreground to background beneath a blue sky. All the forms have three-dimensional bulk and cast shadows. Figure 11-15 Slide6:  Mosaics The Miracle of the loaves and the fishes, mosaic, Rome, Italy, ca 504 The Art of Late Antiquity Figure 11-17 Jesus, beardless, in the imperial dress of gold and purple, and now distinguished by the cross-inscribed nimbus (halo) that signifies his divinity, faces directly toward the viewer. With extended arms he directs his disciples to distribute to the great crowd the miraculously increased supply of bread and fish he has produced. The artist made no attempt to supply details of the event. The emphasis is instead on the holy character of it, the spiritual fact that Jesus is performing a miracle by the power of his divinity. The fact of the miracle takes it out of the world of time and of incident. The presence of almighty power, not anecdotal narrative, is the important aspect of this scene. The inattention to the narration of the actual event and instead the focus on Christ's divine power suggests a spiritual significance. The figures are aligned laterally and moved close to the foreground; they are framed by a golden screen behind their backs. The blue sky of the mortal world has given way to the ethereal magnificence of heavenly gold. Slide7:  Ivory Carving Suicide of Judas and Crucifixion of Christ, plaque from a casket, ivory, ca 420 The Art of Late Antiquity The narrative on the box begins with Pilate washing his hands, Jesus carrying the cross on the road to Calvary, and the denial of Peter, all compressed into a single panel. The plaque that is illustrated here is the next in the sequence and shows, at the left, Judas hanging from a tree with his open bag of silver dumped on the ground beneath his feet. the Crucifixion is at the right. The Virgin Mary and Joseph are to the left of the cross. On the other side Longinus thrusts his spear into the side of the "King of the Jews." The two remaining panels show two Marys and two soldiers at the open doors of a tomb with an empty coffin and the doubting Thomas touching the wound of the risen Christ. The figure of Christ does not appear to be in pain because he is displayed on the cross, rather than hung from it, as though he has conquered death and does not suffer. The contrast of Jesus whose body remains strong on the cross contrasts with the body of his betrayer, Judas, hanging from a tree with a limp body and a snapped neck. Visually and symbolically, this image was meant to show Jesus as a strong leader and not prone to pain or complete death. Figure 11-21

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