For class on Wednesday, 4 February, I have put together an online “tour” of the premodern world for those of you in my ‘Games of Thrones’ class (which I have e-mailed to all of you). In all likelihood, few of you in class have been to Europe or had substantial, visceral encounters with arts and artifacts from the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Hence, the basic gist of this activity is that I want you to “experience” the premodern world, at least insofar as that is possible through fragments offered on and through the internet. Unfortunately, there is a significant difference between experiencing such objects and places first hand as opposed to a mediated forum, but all the same, this activity will (I hope) help to attune you to our period of discussion and get you immersed in the period in a different and insightful way. In simple terms, in this Blog post I want to hear your (carefully focused) thoughts about the experience. I’m hoping that your posting offers us some sense of both your intellectual and emotional response to the places, spaces, and artifacts under consideration. By exploring the sites and “stuff” of this era and then writing about it, I hope that this activity helps you to register the relationships between time and place that are part and parcel of the very idea of the “premodern”, and in turn my wish is that you form some meaningful realizations about how specific places or works fit in a larger context and suggest certain ideals.
In more specific terms, I want you to respond to two particular “objects” in particular ways. Your response should broadly be broken down into two sections: 1) a section on a place, and 2) a section on an object or artifact. You should select a place and artwork that really piqued your interest, or that you found especially powerful in some way, shape, or form. Then, your response should offer some thoughts about just what these places/things seem to “mean” in your estimation. On the subject of your place/space, which location have you chosen, and why? What really stands out to you about it, and why is it so important and interesting? More to the point, what does your chosen place/space suggest to us about the premodern world and the people who lived there? Regarding your piece of art, you might track similar ideas and questions, as well as thinking about the minutiae of your chosen artifact. For instance, who created it, and when? What are central characteristics of that individual artists’ style, or how does this object suggest the stylistics of the day? How do you think it would have been used and understood by individuals in premodern society, and how might we reflect upon it from a twenty-first century perspective?
Overall, then, what have you LEARNED by exploring your selected places/objects, and what do they seemingly TEACH us about the premodern culture(s) of Western Europe??
Games of Thrones
Dr. Geoffrey Gust
1) Hedingham Castle in England really stood out to me in a multitude of ways as not only a location or building, but a work of art in its own respect. It was built around 1140 as a Norman style castle and was a gift to the de Vere family from the King. This castle was not only a building used for defensive purposes as a keep, but one that implemented its greatness towards intimidating and creating an overwhelming sense of power. It is architecturally rich, yet simple and practical in design. To me, Hedingham Castle epitomizes the feudal law of the land that existed in this time period. This castle was given to a rich, noble family who struck fear into the heart of the peasants that worked their land. It is a symbol of power at its very core and sends a message of being an unbroken force not to be reckoned with. It stands high above the outlaying land, just as the people who reside there socially look down upon all of their subjects.
2) I chose what is known as “Portrait of a Man in Red Chalk” by Leonardo da Vinci. This red chalk self-portrait shows the artist at what is estimated to be around sixty years old in 1512. This was at a point in his life not only towards the end of his career, but the end of his life as well. Da Vinci was is one of the most recognized human beings to have lived for his multiple contributions to humanity, let alone his art work. He was ahead of his time and set the stage in a multitude of areas such as painting, sculpting, architecture, mathematics, engineering, anatomy, cartography, writing, and inventing among many others. Leonardo is what many refer to when describing the Renaissance due to his vast influence. The man represents the style of art in all its forms from that day and age as well as the progress in the mathematical and scientific world that was achieved at that point in time. I think that when it was done people may have just seen it as a mirror image of an old man at the end of his life looking back upon it. Whereas now, we see one of the most influential human beings to ever exist. We see genius in those eyes, dedication and experience in each wrinkle, and in his face a man who wishes he could still have more time to push his limits even further. That is why I chose this drawing. He not only had a massively influential power upon the Renaissance period, but all the way up until today and tomorrow and the next day. He was a genius and pushed the limits of what could not only be done, but what could be imagined.
1. The Hedingham Castle is a place that really caught my interest. This castle is located in Essex, England and was built by the Normans. What really impressed me about this castle was its high structure. Surprisingly enough, it seemed kind of small in length compared to castles that are portrayed in films. Another aspect of this castle that really intrigued me was the spiral staircase, which provided an advantage to soldiers who were defending it during invasions. The stair case was built so when enemies were coming up the defending soldiers would have their right hand free to battle, whereas attacking soldiers’ left hand would have free motion and their right would not. For four centuries this castle was home to the de Vere family, who at the time was a very prestigious family.
2. The Sutton Hoo helmet is an artifact that sparked my interest. This article was one of many interesting artifacts that were found in the Sutton Hoo burial ground. The features on the helmet were quite intriguing, as it had a full face cover only having a hole where the eyes were. The features on this mask also include facial features such as a nose, a mustache, a mouth, and eyebrows. It is quite impressive that it had to be carefully rebuilt to its original structure as it was broken into 500 pieces when it was found. It is definitely a very neat piece of history.
1. A place that really stood out to me was the Hedingham Castle which is located in Essex, England. It was the seat of the prestigious de Vere family for more than four centuries and it was built by the Normans. It seemed that the castle was built with the idea of defense in mind. It is a tall and imposing fortress and it was built to look overpowering and intimidating, everything down to the clockwise direction of the stairs was built according to the idea that enemies would be attacking the castle. I think that this is so interesting to note because it gives us the idea that there was not an abundance of peace in this time and families with higher ranks, who lived in these fortresses had to always be prepared to be under attack by some enemy or another. The architecture of this castle and many others was also done in such a harsh way in order to assert the dominance of those living in the castle over those who were of lower social standings. People would come to these castles and pay homage to their lords and I can imagine the sheer size and bulk of the building scared these people and reassured them of all of the power their lord held over them.
2. The artifact that really caught my attention was the burial ship in Sutton Hoo that was excavated in 1939. It was dated back to 600 AD and at the times Sutton Hoo belonged to the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of East Anglia. The sheer size of the ship (27 meters) and all of the gold, jewels, and other precious items suggested that this burial was for an extremely high-ranking man or possibly even a king. It is always interesting to look at artifacts like these and learn about them because the idea of burying an entire ship with a person is non-existent in this time period but in that pre-modern world, though probably rare, it was still something that was done for people who were very powerful and respected and loved, as this grave suggested. It is also incredible to imagine the supreme man power it must have taken to actually complete that burial and create that mound that was finally uncovered in 1939. It is so fascinating to see these small parts of the past because that world is so different from our own, and in this case it is so interesting to see what was awarded to you when you possessed great power.
Durham cathedral: Its sheer enormity, high vaulting ceilings and arches. Not only is this cathedral an architectural and engineering marvel (considering its construction in the 10th century), it could also be seen largely as a symbol. Considering the importance of religion in the pre-modern world, what better way to emphasize the perceived awesomeness of the Christian god than to make one feel miniscule in his house? The high vaulted ceilings, enormous archways, and ornamental details all seem to impose a sense of delicacy, beauty, and grandeur on those who set foot within. Similarly, the use of natural light on the altar focuses attention and is likely meant to be symbolic. I can safely assume these elements of design were intentional. However, the intentions behind the design may have been less about convincing others of the power of their god (the pious likely did not need convincing) and more about reinforcing the idea of god in their minds.
I believe it says something about our perception of pre-modern life that I referred to the cathedral as an engineering marvel, given its time of construction. This building, designed and constructed as it was, would be an enormous undertaking in the modern day. For me to be so thoroughly impressed with the notion of masons and other craftsmen constructing such a building 1,000 years ago really speaks to my notions of the pre-modern era. Why is it so much more impressive in my mind that time? Given, craftsmen didn’t have the machinery likely to be employed on such a project if it were to be constructed today, but that does not mean they were devoid of tools and ingenuity. After all, they were capable of its construction, and it still stands to this day.
For art pieces, I chose a number of Michelangelo’s works across different mediums, including Pieta, the Battle, his frescoes in the Sistine chapel, as well as the dome of St. Peters. Michelangelo seems to have an affinity with a more realistic human form than the works of those before him. His works also seem focused on making the stories of the Bible and the people in those stories more human to the viewer, although some of his frescoes are accented with a sense of fantasy. The strong flowing lines and smooth textures of his sculptures really struck me as having required immense skill and dedication. With that in mind, I can’t comprehend how he would possess further creative energy or ability to complete the frescoes in the Sistine chapel. These examples, coming from one artist, seem to reinforce the notion that the Renaissance was a time of creative, talented individuals who could truly do it all. Here, we have a man who was capable of exquisite sculpture, bright beautiful paint works, and even solving complex architectural problems such as those posed by the dome of St. Peters. However, do Michelangelo and those of his ilk really represent the average person alive at the time, or are they simply outliers? The term Renaissance man is often used today to describe a person who can do it all, but is that term representative of all humans alive during the time?
Given its place in history, we often look back at the works of the Renaissance as being truly impressive for their time. However, would these works be seen as impressive in the modern era, or would they simply just be more objects to be quickly consumed and forgotten as current forms of media frequently are? Where something such as the Sistine chapel was likely used as an awe-inspiring place of worship, it would not look out of place as an office for bureaucrats today.
Overall, this experience may have reinforced one of the common perceptions of the pre-modern world: a society devoted to religion. Much of the work viewed entailed some sort of piety or faith in something otherworldly. This may reflect an undercurrent of feeling small, weak, or vulnerable in a world that, by comparison to our time, was a tough place to live in. The artwork and architecture seemed to reinforce this idea. Even during the Renaissance, a time which is often written of as a resurgence of humanism, there still remained a theme of superior, otherworldly figures dominating art and architecture.
A location that I found interesting was the Albi Cathedral in France. I thought the gothic architecture was incredibly beautiful. The intricately carved stone, pointed arches, and beautifully detailed frescos and stained glass must have taken years and years to complete. Just the amount of time and work that went into the construction and decoration of the cathedral astounds me. It becomes even more impressive when I imagine the technology and tools that were available at the time. The Albi cathedral is an example of just how important religion must have been to the people who constructed it. The people of France at the time must have really loved their God to put so much effort into making his place of worship beautiful.
I also liked the illuminated manuscripts for a similar reason. Like the Albi Cathedral, I think they are intricately beautiful. They were prominent between 1000 and 1500 AD. The gold leafing that illuminates the pages and the meticulously detailed illustrations are characteristic of this artwork, and I think that it is amazing. Many common people during premodern times could not read, so they probably used the illustrations as a method for reading the manuscripts, which is another reason why I find this art so interesting and beautiful. It’s like another form of communication, which is what art is supposed to be. Even today, illustrations are still used to in aiding the telling of a story, but I don’t think that the art has ever been as wonderful as it was in the illuminated manuscripts.
I really enjoyed going through the different videos Anglo Saxon England and Medieval Europe. Seeing the different arts and artifacts was very interesting. One of the coolest artifacts was the Sutton Hoo helmet. I found the helmet to so interesting because it covers the entire face, but it is not an ordinary cover it had a face on it. I believe this is because to set a tone for the army that gives them one face. It is very similar to the advertisement that our army runs, calling it an army of one and thats what I believe the face cover is designed to do. Of course to no surprise many of the arts during this time were inspired by religion, one piece that I really enjoyed was the Carpet Pages. It showed Matthew the Winged Man, Mark the Lion, Luck the Calf or Bull, and John the Eagle. The impact religion had on this time period was incredible, it shaped so much of this period.
I really enjoyed the Canterbury Cathedral, I have always found places like this to be so interesting. Canterbury’s Cathedral it self is a piece of art, there are no buildings built like this any more. The virtual tour was very captivating, it almost felt like I could walk through it. I loved the tall column in the Nave, the tall windows, and marble gives the Cathedral such a majestic feel. The Crossing had art on the wall, which was the 12 apostles. The Martyrdom was filled with more incredible architecture, the pained glass lets the light in. The ceilings had their own design on them. What I got the most out of Canterbury’s Cathedral is how in awe inspiring it is. I couldn’t help but feel like you traveled back in time, back when Cathedrals were more of an everyday norm.
1)The place I have chosen was the Milan Cathedral because I have visited this beautiful church about 2 years ago. This cathedral stands out because of it’s enormous size, it is the largest Cathedral in the country of Italy and 5th in the world. An interesting fact that kind of blew my mind was that it took 600 years to complete it. This building suggests that the church of the 14th century, which is the century in which the cathedral broke ground, were very powerful. So powerful in fact that they wanted a 354 foot church with the capacity to hold 40,000 people.
2)The Last Supper by Leonordo da Vinci is one of the most famous paintings in the world. It is located in the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy. it covers and entire wall in this monastery. The fact that blew my mind is that it actually was 15 ft 1 in by 29 ft. It has been restored over the years due to the heavy deterioration. This piece in particular shows how powerful the catholic church was because almost all of the famous artworks of the time were based around the Catholic church.
That cathedral sounds amazing; forty thousand people is massive. I would definitely put that on my bucket list of places to see if I ever visit Italy. And the Last Supper is such a classic piece of art, it’s crazy that that big of a mural has been restored and still made available for people to see. I need to get myself over to Italy already haha.
1) Notre Dame de Paris is considered the finest french Gothic archetechture. The church shows off its romanesque stain glass designs as well. It is one of the largest well known churches in the world. I chose this church because I remembered a Disney movie callled the Hunchback of Notre Dame and he hangs out on top of the church. The church has a piece of christs cross, a holy nail, and the crown of thorns. THose are some of the most holy relics in Catholosm. The Archatecture of the building shows off some of its chimera staues that sit peched upon the church. The church was started to be built in 1160 and carried on untill the late 1300s.
2) The oil painting that caught my eye was “David and Goliath” by Titian in 1543-1544. i CHose this painting because everyone is familiar the bible story on how David a huge underdog was able to defeat Goliath. Something interesting about the painting is that Titian intended on making this a ceiling painting on Santo Spirito in Isola. Titian claim to fame in his art is how he uses color in his paintings. In the David and Goliath painting he is showing the heavens opening up as David sleighs Goliath to indicate that the war is over and that God is with the Isrealites. The landscape Titian uses is barren except for the rock they are on and a small shrub. He does this to focus on the struggle of two nations at war through two men. The painting is located in Santa Maria della Salute – Venice (Italy – Venice).
I found the Sutton who mask from Anglo Saxon England to be the artifact that stands out more than any other. I have seen this mask before and I probably is one of the most memorable artifacts of it’s time. Whenever I see this mask or any others similar to it is instantly reconcilable as a medieval/middle ages helmet. It also speaks volumes about the culture of the Saxons and how they were first and foremost worriers and conquers. The helmet is also a testament to the time these people lived in and how they were able to put so much detail into a single helmet. When I looked at it closely I could easily picture a face of a worrier behind it. I also appreciated how the article gave a modern day update of how the mask looked in it’s prime all those years ago. The Saxon culture has always been of interests so and the article about the ships and other artifacts discovered in 1939 was very cool to read.
What I also found fascinating was the pictures of the perfect outline of the ship in beaded in the ground and how the shape and design hull of the ship was perfectly preserved. According to the article the Sutton Hoo ship that was recovered was the largest ship and probably the most complete one found to date. It is rare to find an artifacts or in this case remains of an artifacts that large and so old and yet still be in such pristine condition after so many years. The ship is said to be the larger than even some modern day yachts which says a lot about the culture of the Saxons and how they were great sailors and that they able to build ships that would rival and amaze even the best modern day ship builders. Ships were a key part of their success in Saxon incursion into Great Britain and settling there after the fall of the Roman Empire. Also the fact that the ship served as a burial chamber for fallen Saxons shows how much of a sea fairing culture they were and had it not been for their ships they would not have been successful conquerors.
1.a section on a place
The Royal Abbey church of Saint-Denis just outside the city of Paris, caught my interest when searching through each link. The round arch used in the Romanesque architecture (12th century) led to the invention, by Abbot Suger, of Gothic architecture. The round arches were reconstructed into a pointed fashion. With this simple difference the Gothic styling lead to a brighter and structurally sound building method. Gothic architecture has been shown having significant detail and intricate characteristics.
Previously, in my studies as an art major, gothic styling’s on cathedrals have always captured my interest. The transition from the Romanesque styling to Gothic is intriguing. The Abbot Suger understood that pointing the archways would lead for the walls to become sturdier and the windows to open just slightly, leading to an increase in sunlight.
This Chosen place suggests to me that there were people trying to change and modernize the times they were living in (12th century). The invention of the Gothic architecture was a change from the Romanesque. Which later in life, during the Renaissance, Romanesque architecture was revived/ idolized once more.
2) a section on an object or artifact.
Like I previously stated, my fondness for Gothic architecture is prominent in the fascination of gargoyles. “Gargoyles are said to scare off and protect from any evil or harmful spirits.” They were seen as evil spirits that terrified and drove people into churches. My focus was of a cathedral built in 1175The Roman Catholic Cathedral of Saint-Etienne de Meaux has many gargoyles. For the gargoyle I was particularly fond of was one of a lion. It was shown that gargoyles were crafted into several forms. The lion was closely linked to the sun. The sun had a solar wreath and the lions’ mane was the representation of it.
Gargoyles were not just used for their beautiful craftsmanship but for a purpose. Gargoyles were used as water spouts because gutters weren’t invented at that time. We reflect upon it from a twenty-first century perspective for the beauty and art of a gargoyle. In contrast with the perspective of the past, the gargoyles were used as a means of propelling water from the roof tops. Without the gargoyles most of the stone would be destroyed. Thus crumbling the structure of the church.
One location that truly stuck out to me is the city of Florence as a whole. When watching the video for the arts in Florence, it brought me back to my own visit there and the wonders that I was able to observe. The entire city of Florence is overwhelmingly beautiful and the landmarks there are truly amazing. The city of Florence was incredibly powerful, as it was the starting place of the rebirth of culture that was the Renaissance. The Renaissance architecture that had roots in both the architectures of ancient Greece and Rome, was born in Florence and is represented by several landmarks. These landmarks include the demanding palace, the Palazzo Vecchio, and the looming and awe-inspiring cathedral, the Santa Maria del Fiore. Florence also reinvigorated commerce and saw the creation of many famous works of art. One famous work of art that was created in Florence is Michaelangelo’s David. Among others, one could also consider the great landmarks such as the aforementioned Santa Maria del Fiore as works of art as well, considering the beauty of the places and the art that decorates their interiors, not to mention their sheer scale.
One piece of art that stood out to me was the entirety of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Again, this was something that I was able to connect with personally, as I have experienced the grandeur of the Capella Sistina, and there are not words to describe both the beauty of the piece, and feeling of insignificance that I experienced while in it’s presence (not a bad insignificance). As one of the most important contributions to the catholic faith, each portion of the ceiling depicts a different biblical event. The most famous of these pieces is The Creation of Adam, which I feel most adds to the overall feeling of insignificance, as I interpreted it as a representation of the human tendency to strive for perfection, yet it always is just out of reach. Whether it was Michaelangelo’s goal or not, the Sistine Chapel, especially it’s ceiling, conveys a feeling of insignificance that I think speaks volumes of the people of the time, and of their faith.
1). The object that stands out the most in the tour for me was the helmet found at the Sutton hoo site. The mask gives off the barbaric look that many, if not most people associate with the early European times. The helmet, to me looks as though its supposed to intimidate and strike fear into who ever the opposition was. This has part to do with the face mask that is emotionless, yet barbaric, a helmet that is once seen, can never be forgotten. Another reason I gravitated towards the helmet is the fact that no one knows who wore it. What they do know is that the helmet and the site for who it was for, was high ranking, suggesting it may have been for a king. This can also been in the helmet with the intricate details that were engraved in the helmet from the two headed serpent at the crest, the dragon on the face mask, the boar’s head at the tip of each dragon wing and the copious amount of warriors depicted on the helmet further solidify that conjecture. It truly is a helmet fit for a warrior.
2). Il doumo, located in Florence, Italy is the place that stands out more than any other place mentioned in this online tour. The story behind it, the technology that was used by Filippo Brunelleschi, his ideas, and the artwork associated with the 150ft dome is unbelievable to me. Filippo Brunelleschi idea of using two domes, the outer dome being larger then the smaller dome, creating a lighter, and more architecturally sound, was a genius idea. He also was ahead of his time mechanically, creating a lifting mechanism with gears that were powered by oxen and a wooden tiller to lift tons of stone and other materials. The artwork cannot be overshadowed as the one of the largest paintings in the world, “the last judgement” is seen painted on the inside of the dome. “The dome” to me, really illustrates what the renaissance movement in Europe at the time was all about; the welcoming of the arts and sciences.
1) a section on a place
The place I chose was the Pantheon in Rome, Italy because its architecture is fascinating and I actually was there passed summer. Before you walk in, you are greeted by giant bronze doors that lead you inside. Then as you walk inside, the space opens up to a vast circular space that is breath taking. They seem to enjoy placing circles and squares in their designs. It makes the Pantheon look amazing. When you look up, you see a hole in the middle of the sphere you are in. People who live in Rome say that when it rains or snows, nothing gets inside the hole. Nobody knows why it happens, it just does.
One thing that amazes me is that the Pantheon was built in 10 years, but still looks the same as it did in 128 AD.
2) a section on an object or artifact.
Like how I was talking about the Pantheon, there are buildings, like the Pantheon, that have a dome on the top. The dome of Santa Maria del Fiore is the most famous one, located in Florence, Italy. It was designed and built by Filippo Brunelleschi. The idea of building a dome is complicated, especially back in the Brunelleschi’s time. People today still have no idea how Filippo even built it. It’s amazing that the Italians did not touch the buildings and left it the way it was built.
The location that piqued my interest the most after looking around was the Cathedral of Florence. This cathedral was a functional building up until the early 1400’s, but remained incomplete until Filippo Brunelleschi came around, engineering the long lost art of constructing domes. The services of Brunelleschi and another famous artist/architect of the time, Lorenzo Ghiberti, were used to create the octagonal dome that still sits atop the cathedral today. This was one of the first architectural changes of the renaissance that broke away from the medieval and gothic style of architecture. The work of these two men is both breathtaking and incredibly important, paving the way for others to learn the ways of contracting domes and creating even bigger and more elaborate projects in the future. It wasn’t reinventing the wheel by any means, but rediscovering the technique needed to construct a dome is quite a feat indeed. The piece of art I have chosen to discuss is the School of Athens, a wall painting created by Raphael in the papal apartments for Pope Julius II. This piece symbolizes what the best painters of the time could produce. A brilliant piece of artwork that reflected on the past through the use of famous mathematicians, astronomers, and philosophers of the times. These figures were not stagnant, but very actively involved with one another in conversation and demonstration. Even famous people from his own time were depicted within the painting. This piece really resonated with me because of its ties to the ancient world of Greece. Both the Florence Cathedral and the School of Athens were pieces in which masterful skill and genius were used to create groundbreaking pieces of art which helped to shape the Renaissance period of history.
1. The Albi Cathedral in the southern part of France caught my interest. The Youtube.com video showcasing the beautiful architecture and detailed artwork of this cathedral prompted me to read about it’s history in the ‘read more’ section. Built as a fortress in 1287 and under construction for 200 years. The cathedral is also claimed to be the largest brick building in the world. In the aftermath of the crusade of the Carthar rebellion, the cathedral’s fortress impression now stood to convey the authority of the Christian faith.
2. The object I found interesting was the Desborough Necklace. According to the information provided by The British Museum, the necklace is made out of gold beads and red garnet gems. The Desborough Necklace was found in a women’s grave leading to believe she was extremely wealthy to be in possession of such gems and gold.The necklace also has a cross, leading to the next conclusion that the woman was a Christian. The part that caught my interest was the religion. Anglo-Saxon’s believed in pagan gods related to nature, but in AD 597, Saint Augustine started converting the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity. Therefor this necklace comes from the time period of the Anglo-Saxons after they have been converted.
The location which stood out the most to me was the Albi Cathedral in Southern France. From an aesthetic standpoint, it is large, long, and filled inside with extraordinarily ornate floor tiling. There is a large amount of Gothic styling. The building is made of bricks due to the lack of stone in the area. This building has been rebuilt twice. After acts of bloodshed relating to the rebellion against the church, the cathedral was rebuilt to appear more ominous from the exterior. This undoubtedly scared off future acts against the church. The main feature which really drew my eyes to the building, was a giant organ. This church was rebuilt the first time in the name of Saint Cecilia, the patroness of musicians. As someone who greatly appreciates music, this building makes me nostalgic for a time when music is more greatly appreciated by the masses.
My favorite piece during this period did not come from a traditional piece of art. Leonardo DaVinci’s Revolving bridge is one of my favorite things to come out of this time period. The fact that he created something which revolutionized battles, and saved armies weeks of travel time is nothing short of amazing. Mobility on the battlefield wouldn’t come in the traditional sense for many more years, so the fact that these drawn out battles could begin to be condensed was very important. I really enjoy that someone was very forward thinking and brilliant enough as an engineer to be able to create something rugged, yet lightweight enough to carry around. It took into account things like counterweights and a rope / pully system. While not particularly ornate or beautiful, it is something that was very effective and signified a movement of free-thinking which had real world applications. These were tough and difficult times for people, and the fact that they couldn’t even cross certain bodies of water quickly before this really shows how intellectualism started to take a stronger foothold.
Sutton Hoo is interesting not only for what was excavated, but also its more contemporary history. The art from within the mound is brilliantly crafted and very beautiful, of course, but the way it was found says a lot about the period’s relationship with the modern world. This king’s burial mound survived untouched until it happened it end up on the property of an average Englishwoman with an interest in spiritualism. Saxon England is very much what fantasy films lean to, so in reality you have this burial site filled with expertly made artifacts dating back to the 600s, but on screen, this type of craftsmanship tends to get ignored. Sutton Hoo is also a good example of historical reconstruction through the burial mask, but the same principle applies to every historical fiction film or other creative work.
Titan’s “The Worship of Venus” is incredibly strange at first look, and then only gets stranger once the picture is blown up. It originally caught my eye because of the name, but then I clicked it. The detail in the painting is amazing, but the facial expression to have gotten the most attention. The painting is prodominately made up of cherubs, which are just babies with wings, and not a single one of them looks happy. Even the adults look mildly confused. No one in this painting is happy. Was he trying to convey unhappiness, or did he just not want to paint a smile?
Being one of the premodern wonder, I have always had great interest in cathedrals. My favorite, however, is the Canterbury cathedral. It’s size and shape hold tremendous information about the premodern era. A new knowledge that I have gain from this exploration is that there are two different styles when it comes to cathedrals. The older one is called Romanesque, and the more modern one is called Gothic. Gothic architecture, such as Canterbury, is really complex. Gothic cathedrals are designed and built in a certain way to allow the light in, while not compensating their strength and durability. The pointed style arch of Canterbury, for example, are a architectural mechanism to increase strength and flexibility to their ancestor design. This in a way shows the inaccuracy of our modern view of medieval period. Contrary to the popular stereotypes shown in movies and films. Medieval period was not all focused on glorious battles, shiny knights, or viscous dragons, there were a few technological growth as well.
I find the religious art pieces most intriguing, especially Romanesque religious artifacts. Like their architectural counter part, the religious artifacts were often designed with lavish decorating of precious metal, jewels, and ornaments. Artifacts such as books, bowels, and tablets often heavily depict catholic scenes and biblical stories. The material to make these artifacts shows just how much power the church holds.
1) A place that stuck out to me was the Sutton Hoo burial sight. I find it interesting because they show images of the grounds before excavation, and it looks like something you would see everyday. There were mounds sticking up in an open plain. However what was found was anything but an everyday sighting. Its the largest Anglo-saxon ship ever found and to top that, its longer than most modern day oceanic ships which puts it into perspective. Along with just finding the ship, it was loaded with artifacts, which is most likely how they were able to identify what time period the ship was from. They discovered weapons, armor, gold, plates, musical instruments, and much more so its a cool way of imagining how the people of that time lived. All of those artifacts had been buried for 1000 years. So what first seemed like an everyday hill, turned out to be one of the most interesting finds an archaeologist could discover. The progression this excavation took is most interesting to me. It went from digging into a small hill, to eventually discovering a huge bundle of 1000+ year old artifacts.
2) Staying on the topic of Sutton Hoo, a particular object that stood out was the death mask. Rupert Bruce Mitt’s reconstruction of the death mask is iconic to the area and the mystery behind it interests me the most. They don’t really know what it originally looked like or who it originally belonged to, however there are speculations to trace it back to the Anglo-Saxons roots. And the fact that it lasted and stayed in one piece (for the most part),especially in the geological area of many wars and battles is groundbreaking and gives such a unique artifact even more relevance and significance.
I found the artwork of the renaissance time period to be very interesting, in particular the artist’s attention to detail. Obviously religion, specifically Christianity, was a major influence over the people who lived during this time period. I really enjoyed viewing the works of Raphael one of the most famous artists of the time. His divine portrayal of religious figures were meant to inspire faith and demonstrate Christianity trumping evil. Like the images of St. George and St. Michael both slaying a dragon, in different paintings, to represent good over evil.
The place I found most interesting was Hedingham Castle in Essex, England. The powerful families of England built massive castles to demonstrate their wealth and power. They were specially designed to repel attacks and evoke fear in their enemies. Castles such as Hedingham are standing proof that kings ruled with an iron fist, so to speak, and were prepared to fight to keep it that way. Even the staircases in this castle were built in a way that gave its defenders a fighting advantage, an indication to the violence that often took place in this time period.
The location that I found the most interesting was Westminster Abbey. Being the only place on the list that I have had the pleasure to visit and explore in depth, this cathedral already holds a special place with me. Since the 10th century, there has been a church on the property of Westminster Abbey. The current “incarnation” of the church was built by King Edward the Confessor in the 1050s, and it is since the crowning of William I “the Conqueror” in 1066 that the church was used in the crowning of each English, and later British, monarch. The building we see today was completed in 1215, in the Gothic style common of the High Middle Ages. I find this church the most interesting place not only because of its amazing architecture, but also because of the rich history enshrined within. As you walk through the abbey, you are shown different rooms, coffins, thrones, and other relics from many British monarchs throughout history. Each piece serves to give some insight into what kind of life the person led. For example, the magnificence of the Henry VII Chapel shows the pride that Henry VII put into the building, and his personal devotion to religion. This, along with the other items left over from the kings and queens of old, really gives a small glimpse of the different ages that Westminster Abbey has stood through.
My favorite piece of artwork would be the terra-cotta bust of Lorenzo de’Medici in the Italian Renaissance Learning Resources link. The link is unsure of exactly made the model, but it cites either Andrea del Verrocchio or Orsino Benintendi, both Florentine artists, as creators. I really like this piece because I feel like this is actually what Lorenzo de’Medici may actually have looked like. What I mean by this, is that when I look at old paintings and representations of leaders from the time period, I always feel like the picture doesn’t do the person’s reputation justice. For example, when looking up French King Louis XII, the picture that comes up doesn’t quite match my image of the type of person he was (in my opinion). When I look at the bust of Lorenzo de’Medici, I feel like that is truly the image of the shrewd diplomat and beloved ruler that befits someone who is known to history as Il Magnifico, the Magnificent.
A place that stands out to me is Florence Italy. During the 15th century Florence was flourishing. The population had increased along with being a self governed independent city-state. Artistic gilds were in charge of maintaining Florence’s commercial success. Those who held the position of gild were usually wealthy and held a position of power. Florence had a strong economic and political philosophy that was dedicated to the cities success.
It was a time of art and an art piece that stands out to me is the Mona Lisa portrait by Leonardo da Vinci.Leonardo began this painting in Florence, Italy either 1503 or 1504, the portrait is of Lisa Gherardini. This painting was required by King Francis I of France. The background of this picture has an imaginary landscape compared to other paintings done at this time. What I found interesting was that in the portrait the women does not seem to have eyebrows or eye lashes, which was common for women to not have during this time period. There are blurred figures, the colors dramatically change, and over all it is calm. Leonardo tended to paint portraits that portrayed a calming quality about them. It has been said that this painting represents an ideal women with humanity and nature with a faint smile. This portrait captivates me because I tend to think about what life was like for women in Florence during the Renaissance. It draws my attention then pulls me in, along with many others for it is the “best known” and most visited piece of artwork. This painting is now located in Louvre Museum in Paris.
I really like the Albi cathedral in France because of its sheer size and ornate architecture. The painted vaults in particular were my favorite thing to observe. The liberal use of stained glass panelling and decorative murals were very beautiful and intricate. The Bishop’s Garden provides a nice compliment to the aged (but no less sturdy) brick exterior of the building. Overall, the cathedral gave me the impression that the French purposely made this to be striking and impactful.
A piece that I observed had a similar imposing effect on me. Titian’s “Adam and Eve” depicts an illustration of the famous two having an encounter with the serpent. In the painting Eve is reaching for an apple while Adam has a hand on her shoulder, as if to stop her. It is a large oil painting that stands at 73.23 x 94.49 inches. As observed through his other works, Titian makes great use of the foreground, revealing most of the human body in contrapposto. This time period was clearly moved by religion, and as a result, produced most of its architecture and art in this context.
The place that stood out for me was the Pantheon in Rome. I guess you would call it a Roman Temple. It was Commissioned by Marcus Agripa sometime during the reign of Augustus. The Architecture is incredible the large granite Corinthian style columns are awesome and just make you wonder how advanced in their art the people of those days truly were. I also found it interesting that since the 7th century the Panthoen has been used as a church dedicated to “St. Mary and the Martyrs”The Roman Empire has always been something that has interested me since childhood. A lot of it has to do with the amount that it helped shape and spread Christianity and all of the artwork of the religion.
The piece of art that fascinated me the most was the picture of the Four Evangelist symbols in the Book Of Kells. I have always wanted to see the Book of Kells. This particular page stands out for me I was raised in a very Catholic family and my siblings and I are all named after Saints. Myself and my younger brother are named Matthew and Mark and our two cousins are named Luke and John. All of us have the symbols for the Saint that we are named for tattooed on our body I have an Angel, my brother a Lion and my cousins an Eagle and a Bull this piece of artwork really stood out to me for this reason
The place that stands out to me most would be Florence. This place stands put to me the most would be because when I visited Italy, it was the city I spent the most time in and exploring. Florence is one of the major cities in Italy past and present. In the past the wealthy controlled most of the politics. Florence also has numerous churches and rich history, which is why this city will always be special to me.
The artifact I have chosen is “The Last Super” by Leonardo Da Vinci. This mural painting is one of the most famous paintings most people can think of besides the Mona Lisa, which is why I choose it. The last Super has so much history and backstory to so many individuals lives. In fact, research shows that this mural has been “one of the most studied, scrutinized and satirized paintings.” It is quite remarkable what city, or artwork was created in the “premodern” world
1. The place that stood out most to me was the Romanesque Speyer Cathedral. Located in Speyer, Germany, it was constructed to be the largest Christian Cathedral in Europe, built in the 10th century during the Salian dynasty. Its grandeur can be caught at a first glimpse. Inside there are tall ceilings with columns extending into beautiful arches across the ceiling. There are updated frescos on the interior walls added in the 19th century. One other interesting fact about this Cathedral is that its crypt is the largest Romanesque columned hall in Europe, and is where the Salian rulers are laid to rest.
2. The object that really caught my eye was the Sutton Hoo belt buckle. This solid gold belt buckle has an intricate design that to me at a first glance seemed like many abstract swirls or knots of a rope, or even a Celtic knot. But when observed closely one can see that it is actually a pattern of snakes. The master craftsmen designed it in a Germanic style. Being made of solid gold it shows that the owner of this belt buckle was one of noble birth in order to afford something so exquisite.
A place I found particularly interesting was Notre Dame. (This could be because I watched the Disney film a lot as a child, but that’s besides the point.) When viewing the gothic architecture, I couldn’t help but be amazed. It is one of the oldest structures in Paris, and the beams creating the framework have only had to be redone once (it’s largely unknown why but people assume it was because of a fire). The stained glass is absolutely breathtaking. I know someone who makes stained glass pieces, and just understanding the time and patience it takes to do a small piece, I can’t even fathom working on one of the windows at Notre Dame. I also found the gargoyles interesting, and how they are a drainage system, I was always told that they were to scare off evil spirits. Also Notre Dame means “Our Lady,” the cathedral is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and I 100% respect that.
I found the discovery of the Sutton Hoo Anglo-Saxon ship burial really interesting. To think that it was discovered because the woman who owned the property thought she kept seeing ghostly figures on the mysterious mounds, is almost unreal. Because it was private property that was never touched the treasures were undisturbed and thus perfectly preserved. What they found was a ship and treasures like the infamous helmet, weaponry, instruments, jewelry, and more, belonging to the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of East Anglia. I read that it was the largest ship ever unearthed from this time and was even compared to discovering the tomb of King Tut. All those treasures helps us understand how Anglo-Saxons lived and what they valued. Honestly what I found to be the most interesting was the fact that right after they discovered it they had to hide it in an unused part of the London Underground for protection during World War II.
Games Of Thrones
Professor Geoffrey Gust
The place that stood out to me was York Minister in Northern England. The architecture was detailed beautifully that I found it amazing. You can walk to the top of the tower, which is a total of 275 steps to the view, which is an incredible view of the city of London below. The interior of the minister has brightly colored stain glass windows and gothic architecture. Looking at the beautiful stain glass windows make me wonder how they made it without modern technology and it makes me come to realize how long it took to make some of these structures. Also the detail in the Gothic stone carvings was really unique and must of taken a long time. The York Minister also has many statues that lined the hallway of the previous kings of England. From William the Conquer to HenryVI and they made these statues so lifelike. The York Minister showed how important religion was to the people back in Medieval England. After seeing the tour on the York Minister I was impressed with it and would be astonished by the architecture and wonder how they built this magnificent building.
The painting I chose was Leonardo DaVinci’s painting’s of the Mona Lisa, which is one of his most famous and most reproduced paintings. Her facial expression has been a source of debate for centuries. The Mona Lisa stands out among great paintings for detail in her hands, eyes, and lips. Leonardo DaVinci use techniques that which gave her a lifelike appearance and look of amusement. Leonardo DaVinci also created a background with a beautiful landscape. His technique left no brush marks. This piece of Renaissance artwork has changed the techniques and styles of paintings today.
1. The place I found the most interesting is the Albi Cathedral in France. What stands out to me most about this Cathedral is the fact that it is made out of a beautiful red brick that matches the surrounding buildings. With this brighter brick, it gives the Gothic Style of Architecture a more vibrant look. Also, while some parts of the exterior are more plain, the main entrance and doorway is flamboyantly gothic with beautiful designs and statues that stand out amongst the red brick. The interior is filled with different artworks like paintings and statues. The work put into designing the interior and exterior of the Cathedral shows how prominent and important the Church was during these pre modern times.
2. An artifact that stood out was the High Renaissance style ceiling of the Sistine Chapel where Michelangelo completed some of his most famous work between 1508 and 1512. When going through the tours, I found it interesting on how he finished his magnificent work in only four years. By sketching the artwork on a cloth and cutting the outlines with a blade into the plaster, he was able to apply his outlined works to the ceilings of the Chapel. It was also interesting to know that when Michelangelo was chosen to transform the Chapel’s starry ceiling into the masterpiece that it is today, he was not yet well-known.
To our modern society, burial sites give us an insight into a civilization and providing us with astronomical information about their culture. That is why for my place I choose the was the Sutton Hoo burial site. When modern people think of ancient burial sites, the great pyramids in Egypt or even the pyramids of the Aztec civilization come to mind. However, when examining this burial site from the top, the only thing visible is a mound of dirt raised slightly higher then the surrounding soil. That doesn’t mean they thought highly of the person buried below (who was perceived as a great king.) Underneath, you find a longboat type ship buried into the ground (maybe giving insight on the civilization’s view on heaven or the afterlife). Buried with the king were objects that was amazingly crafted like shoulder clasps, shields, and even a helmet.
Leonardo Da Vince was known for his many oil paints like the Mona Lisa. However, his sketches of the human anatomy were so far ahead of his time. To someone from our time, these sketches may seem like any other drawing but within the right context they truly are amazing. For starters Da Vince had to dissect dozens of bodies in an era where this was still not socially acceptable. This detained much of the medical knowledge that was revealed once this social stigma was changed. This allowed Da Vince to discover many things. For example: In his time, it was believed that the heart only had two chambers, Da Vince showed that there was four. He also drew the spine to a precision that wasn’t done before along with the skull with all its cavities.
The 1505 titian painting Christ goes to the cross is very moving to me. The painting was painted in Venice Italy and no less painted by a seventeen year old artist. Being catholic most things that have to do with religion peak my interest and the way that Christ is portrayed in the painting is astounding. It is incredibly life like and the features are amazing. The era when this was painted was a highly religious time when the church still had control over much of the world. The heavy influence of the Catholic Church must have been an influence to titian.
Venice was a world hub for art and culture during the renaissance era. It was truly a beautiful city where progress was made almost every day. From Leonardo da Vinci inventing, painting, and learning about the human body, to Michelangelo sculpting and painting, the world became such a better place due to the advancements of these men and the city of Venice they called home.
From just looking at this painting there is much we can learn about the time period, city, and artist who had created it. Though the beginning of a renaissance was felt the world still looked to the church for guidance. The teachings of the Catholic Church seemed to be heavily influential during this time. Paintings like this one teach us that the world of Western Europe was very big into religion and looked to the church for guidance. The Western European world has changed dramatically.
I honestly found it very hard just to choose one specific place to discuss. I felt as though with each link I explored, I discovered something new that interested me.
Overall I thought that the Gothic cathedrals were some of the most interesting places. The Cologne Cathedral in Germany specifically piqued my interest. Instead of using the round arch, such as the Romans had, a new arch was invented. This new arch was pointed and therefore became more versatile in an architectural sense. The designer had in mind a cathedral that would allow a lot of light to penetrate through. It was thought that darkness was associated with a simple mind and that light brought forth a new awakening of knowledge. At this time in the “premodern” world, knowledge began show importance in the daily lives of the people. Having knowledge meant having the money to access items such as books, paintings, and other forms of art. Some of the aspects about the cathedral that stand out are the beautifully detailed stained glass windows, specifically the one that appears to show the four evangelists. These four are a common symbols often depicted in the Gospels that I also looked at during the “premodern” virtual tour. This change of arch type and strive for knowledge in the gothic cathedrals truly exemplified the power that comes with knowledge. This suggests the church is still a powerful force in the “premodern” world. Since the church is wealthy, it can afford to purchase books and therefore can control the flow of people who have access to such coveted items. It is often thought that the medieval times is an age where more knowledge was not sought out, but the Cologne Cathedral is one of the many aspects of the premodern world that exposes this theory.
Despite all of the artifacts striking me as noteworthy, the shield found in the Sutton Hoo Anglo-Saxon mounds was one of the most intriguing items. The Anglo-Saxon people fall under the same scrutiny as the “middle ages” and thus are thought to be barbaric. This shield is one of the many items that show that the “premodern” world was not just one of violence and darkness but rather contained some of the best craftsmanship ever seen. The shield was not found in just any mound, but rather a mound that contained a ship burial. It was noted that ship burials were not common and therefore the person buried here was of high importance. There is no telling who created this specific artifact but it is dated to the early 600s AD. This shield was used by a warrior who took pride in defending the land and honor of the Kingdom. The different animal symbols were a vital part of any artifact found and often each animal had a different meaning. This shield gave important insight into the culture of the Anglo-Saxons. They had long ships to sail the open ocean to Scandinavian countries and traded or learned from them. This shield had obvious Scandinavian influence. The discovery that the Anglo-Saxons were not stationary helped debunk the predetermined notions about the medieval world. The artifacts from this time period were crafted by skilled hands and often contained important jewels or symbols. The Anglo-Saxon culture was not static but rather always changing and being enlightened by other cultures other than their own. Society today should redefine what “premodern” means and consider the complexity of the cultures that existed in that time period.
During my virtual tour through the premodern world I learn many interesting facts. The premodern world spanned through such a huge period of time, from the Anglo-Saxons all the way to the Renaissance. The tour truly enhanced my knowledge of this time period and thus opened my eyes to the complexity of the arts, architecture, and literature of this time. It was surprising to see how many incredible works of art came out of the medieval times. Overall, the premodern world teaches our culture that these were not the “dark ages” that were soon to be followed by an age of enlightenment, but rather that this time period was making huge educational strides and ultimately shaped our world today.
The University of Cambridge is one of the most noteworthy colleges in the world. It was interesting to learn that the original townsfolk did not approve of it being built, but the university itself definitely “took over” the town of Cambridge after a while. I found that in medieval times, colleges were originally founded so that their members would “pray for the souls of the founders,” almost like in chapels, before King Henry VIII ordered them to change over to teachings such as the Bible studies and mathematics. I found The King’s College Chapel, namely, to be one of the most impressive buildings on the campus. It is an enormous masterpiece of architecture and took over 70 years to construct. It is no surprise that the Chapel is considered one of the most notable memorials to medieval times. I find this building absolutely breathtaking. Its fan-vaulted ceiling is the largest in the world and also eye candy for anyone to look upon. I find the architecture of this time period to be some of the best in the world. It is incredible to see such detail and then such a grand scale to be done in this time period.
The Fra Mauro World Map from 1450 was drawn in complete manuscript and included many brightly colored illustrations. I thought it was interesting because the map was drawn “upside down,” meaning south is facing north, because that was how Fra Mauro viewed the world, since there was no norm for orientation of maps in these times. I liked the fact that he only put things that were proven to have existed on the map, and even wrote on the map where he disagreed with earlier maps used as sources, which had usually contained drawings of mythical and religious places. I found it funny that he had actually gotten in trouble with the Doge at the time for making Venice very small (to the scale of the rest of the known world) and the Doge had told him to make the world smaller and Venice bigger. This just showed how people at the time viewed the world; they thought the place they lived in was the center and the most grand of all. It’s interesting to hear about this because this map was created shortly after Galileo had said that the sun was the center of the solar system, and everyone practically lost their sense of morality when they heard this. I love hearing about historical figures going against what was the norm back then.
The place that I have chosen to write about is Canterbury Cathedral. In experiencing this online tour I felt my heart jump when I looked at this cathedral. Canterbury Cathedral is truly breathtaking! The combination of architectural artistry combined with all of the meaningful details such as: statues that appear to be three dimensional in some areas, the beautifully stained glass, and the high ceilings all achieve this stunning place of art. The view from the Bell Harry north, east and west complimented the inside of this stunning cathedral. In addition to the endless beauty of this place, this cathedral is a sacred place. In my opinion the beauty of this sacred place transcends to another level because of its purpose. This is a place I would love to some day visit.
I have chosen the gargoyles as my artifact. I chose this piece because I felt an opposite reaction of that which I felt in viewing Canterbury Cathedral. My first reaction was to draw back a bit and even wanted to immediately close the picture. Instead of closing the picture I decided to examine why I had such an adverse reaction. Upon looking at this picture it appears to be a scary sight almost demonic however after reading about the purpose of the gargoyle changed my opinion about what I was seeing. The gargoyle catches rain water and spits it out of the mouth of the animal to keep water away from the roof and the walls of the building. Although I thought the gargoyle was scary looking they are said to scare off or protect from harmful or evil spirits.
The artifact that most interested me was the Anjou Legendarium which was created by several artists in the 14th century. The painted miniatures were from a larger book which was created for the journey that Charles I of Hungary and his son Prince Andrew took to Naples, Italy in 1330. It was like a Premodern picture book illustrating stories of the lives of saints, specifically in this book Saint Ladislaus who was an 11th century king. Especially striking, besides the detail and color of the images, were the legendary deeds that Saint Ladislaus performed acted out through these paintings. It was also interesting to not think of these images as separate works of art but as a compilation in an illuminated manuscript. Even though these legendarium were similar to children’s storybook with little text they contained brutal and frightening imagery such as the devil and a bloodied body of a defeated invader to Ladislaus’ kingdom. Though the book is no longer compiled into one complete manuscript, its pages are scattered across many museums as well as the Vatican in Rome. These illustrations also show the importance of religion at that time but also the importance of legends and kings of that culture, they were to be respected and admired through their heroic actions.
The place that was especially powerful to me was the Canterbury cathedral because of its great size and beauty. It also holds the largest collection of medieval stained glass. Its history is important because Thomas Beckett, the Archbishop of Canterbury was murdered in the church by supporters of King Henry II and it has been rebuilt and resurrected many times. The church still offers daily services today, centuries later. The age of the church site struck me as well as its historical importance, especially to the Church of England, but being established in the 6th century and still being around today is a marvel. Because of the amazing stone work in The Nave and the size of the bell tower it can be understood how those who enter the cathedral would humbled by the church.
The artifact that by far interested me the most was the “Psalter World Map”. There was so much detail on one piece of paper is really quite amazing. On top of that all of the colors and writing stayed in really good condition (compared to along of things from 1260’s) , which made it easier to see all of the fascinating stories contained in it. It is not just a map, but holds a timeline of events that have happened so far in that day in age. I really enjoyed that stories of the Old Testament and how they were portrayed on the map like the parting of the Red Sea. I also enjoyed how it connected with the New Testament through Jerusalem. The map holds events throughout history that are important to the people of that time period, important people like Alexander the Great and King Henry the III. All the scenes or places on the map, meant something during that time period, and most of them still do today. My interpretation of the map is that it obviously is not a map to locate an area, but to locate events throughout history. This map only emphasizes the how the medieval world was so heavily connected to religion. Even more, i think it is save to say in medieval times people looked at religion not just as their faith, but their past and their history.
A location that caught my attention was definitely that Notre Dame, located in Paris, France. The location of this gigantic structure, only make sit even more beautiful because it is located right on the Seine River. I think what amazes me the most is with modern technology, creating huge skyscrapers and building today, can happen is less than a year. However, to pull something as big as the Notre Dame off it took almost 200 years (1163- 1345) in those ages. What the video made me realize was buildings like this show a lot of character because they are being made through almost two centuries, and that is two centuries worth of new technology, art, and people that reflect upon the building. Just as people and art evolve throughout the period, so do the buildings.
For many of the same reasons why the Sistine Chapel, located in Vatican City, attracts thousands of visitors daily, it also catches my eye. Construction started in 1473, and opened on August 15, 1483. Twenty six years after the Sistine Chapel was painted: with murals on the walls and stars on the ceiling, Pope Julius II felt it needed something extra. Regardless of how beautiful and carefully constructed this chapel is, I am in awe of the figures painted on the ceilings by not-yet-established-artist Michelangelo under a four-year time restraint. He painted these figures larger than life-size at 13 feet tall. Imagining painting a figure that large, especially on a ceiling, while keeping proper proportions is impeccable. Learning about the artist’s techniques used to complete these figures gives sense into history through a new perspective. Michelangelo did not paint the figures freehand directly onto the ceiling, but rather as a sketch on a piece of paper the size he wanted it on the wall. His first technique tested was the usage of pouncing, where the cartoon endures pricks along the lines and is placed on the plaster so coal can be rubbed, or pounced on it and produce and outline of it on the wall. The dots would then be connected on the plaster with a pencil, which would allow Michelangelo to paint them. A new technique would need to be used to complete this task, since pouncing was a long process and the aging pope was insistent on seeing the completed ceiling before his death. Instead of pouncing, Michelangelo resorted to putting the cartoon against the plaster, and using a blade to cut directly into the wall as an outline which was much quicker. Knowing the history behind such amazing work, amount of time and pressures Michelangelo endured allows one to genuinely admire this location even more. Not only is the artistry admirable and beautiful on all levels, but it also shows Michelangelo to be a creative genius. There is no doubt that Michelangelo proved his immaculate capabilities as an artist by painting the Sistine Chapel, where he acquired most of his fame.
Gargoyles sparked my interest. I never realized they served an architectural purpose – draining rainwater from a roof away from the side of a building. I always thought they were just for design to symbolize different meanings of the kings/queens of a castle or meaning behind a building. Gargoyles and grotesques are designed to scare off evil and harmful spirits. I personally can relate to this concept because I can admit I believe in things that serve those purposes, like the Hamsa and evil eye. I find different beliefs throughout history beneficial to life and enjoy learning about different symbols that mean different things. The most interesting gargoyle is the Chimera, which are creatures that are mixes of animal body parts to create a new creature, like a mermaid. Chimeras often served as a warning to people who underestimated the devil, which is interesting because this can relate to mythology, folk tales, and fairy tales: sirens were not nice creatures, even though the mermaid is portrayed as a beautiful and caring princess in modern films. The different meanings behind each different animal as a gargoyle and its affiliation with the Devil shows how medieval societies truly based their lives off of the rules of the church.
1. The location I chose was the Marksburg Castle in Germany. The castle was built in 1117, however the first mentions of this castle do not appear until 1231. I was very drawn to this castle when I saw it. Its position on top of the hill overlooking the river and town beneath it really sets a tone of power to the castle. My first thoughts turned to the royalty that might have lived there, and how they can literally look down at their entire town of Braubach and the people who live in it, and vise-versa. The people having this castle loom over them as they live their lives. However when I looked for more information about the castle I found that the Marksburg castle was not a residence for a royal family but was built for protection of Braubach below. This changed my outlook on the dynamic role the castle played. After that Marksburg Castle position made much more sense to me. With its location high above the town and most of the land, it gave a considerably large vantage point. This made it perfect for locating possible dangers from other armies. This also changed the perspective I had on the view it gave. Instead of this power looming over the town below, it change to that of protection and security.
2. My favorite artifacts and artwork come from the Anglo-saxons. In a lot of their metalworking and stone carving I tend to see the same pattern. This almost woven looking pattern is my favorite to look at. It can be most clearly seen on a metal belt buckle which was found near Sutton Hoo. This pattern reminds me a lot of Norse artwork. They seem to share a few similarities in their Styles. I would like to know if they had any influences on each other or was this just a coincidence that their art look similar.
One particularly interesting artifact for me was Da Vinci’s anatomy drawings. While his skill at painting people in various states of pain, adoration, maternity, etc. is by no means something to be overlooked, my intrigue with Da Vinci’s works lies within his work in anatomy. Whether driven by simple curiosity or by a desire to create more realistic art, Da Vinci’s work in the realm of anatomy fascinates me. It’s not often people associate premodern times with the emergence and development of anatomical and medical progress, and certainly it’s even rarer to associate such subjects with renaissance artists. I think da Vinci’s work suggests a lot about both the individual man he was as well as the development of biological curiosity. Da Vinci certainly was dedicated to his art if he went so far as to figure out human skeletomuscular systems simply to improve the realism behind his paintings. Rather than look at his anatomical drawings as a lone event, I’d like to think about the implications beyond his famed work. Da Vinci’s anatomical works go hand in hand with the idea of advancements being made in the renaissance – and also with the turbulence between church and science. Da Vinci was one of the revolutionary minds of the Renaissance, but his interest in science was not unique. I think Da Vinci’s anatomical drawings really draw attention to the advances of scientific thought that are stereotypical of the Renaissance.
Brunelleschis Piazza del Duomo is a fascinating place for me for many reasons. For one thing, having visited more cathedrals in Spain than any atheist would think to, I find the simplicity of the Piazza quite interesting and certainly in contrast with the entirety of my experiences in European cathedrals. I think this idea stands true when discussing a lot of the other cathedrals in this virtual tour we are all taking, in that this cathedral almost stands as a stark contrast against the intricate, and sometimes overwhelming, architectural designs of the medieval cathedrals previously encountered. The intricacy, in the case of the Piazza, is not in the architecture and cathedral itself, but instead in its paintings, artwork, and décor. Not even the stain glass windows, usually an aspect of cathedrals that obstinately demand attention, really draw the eye. Without looking up, one could easily be confused as to what marks this cathedral as anything special. Certainly the size is remarkable, but not unheard of. No, it is the fine and absolutely astounding amount of detail and beauty encapsulated in the ceiling under the artistry of Vasari and Zuccaro that marks this as a significant piece. What’s more, I think this cathedral really shows a break from the gothic, “medieval” style seen in almost all classic and well-known cathedrals. The stone work itself is light, simple, and spacious. The focus isn’t on the building but the sophisticated small touches and art pieces that don’t demand attention, but show intricate beauty despite their subtlety. What this location says about the time period is that it was made in a distinct way, a way that breaks from medievalist and darker styles and launches some lighter, more beauty-focused styles.
I think the both of these items of focus really draw attention to the stereotypical aspects of the Renaissance, and really show how the stereotype has formed. Between the emergence of scientific thought and the change in focus to intricate beauty, these artifacts are both very distinctly separate from the stereotypes of the medieval ages.
1. The place that stood out to me the most was the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall located in York, England. The company of Merchant Adventurers’ used the hall has a medieval guild and it provided three separate functions. These functions included business and feasting, charity and religion. The hall was built between 1357 and 1361, which made it one of the largest buildings at the time in Britain. The hall is pretty magnificent because it included three different rooms that were used for three different functions. The Great Hall was used for business and other social gatherings, which included feasting. The Undercroft was used as a hospital or to provide charity work by the Merchant Adventurers. The Chapel as its name implies was used for religious gatherings or situations in that manner. The hall really stood out to me because the Merchant Adventurers knew how to organize their guild to make it effective and useful. The three different halls give the company the opportunity to conduct separate functions without cluttering everyone into one hall. The Merchant Adventurers’ Hall is still used today by the Merchant Adventurers who are also still around. This just shows how well built the structures were and the survivability of the guild. Overall, the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall is an example of the ideology and the craftsmanship of the time.
2. The object or artifact that stood out to me was the Anglo-Saxon ship burial and all the items within it. The burial ship seemed to be placed in the early AD 600s and discovered in 1939 by an archaeologist named Basil Brown in Sutton Hoo, England. I picked just one of the artifacts within the ship, but they are all pretty remarkable. The ship itself is also an interesting piece of history. Although the wood in the ship decayed and some of the items too, for them to still even exist shows the durable craftsmanship of that period. The items also survived WWII which is another show of durability. Anglo-Saxons used their ships for communication and travel, which gives no surprise that this burial ship is well made. It is the biggest and most complete Anglo-Saxon ship to be discovered and from the items found within, might of held a king. An item found in the ship that caught my attention was the Sutton Hoo helmet. The helmet was amazing because it showed great detail and was one of the most spectacular finds within the burial ship. The helmet was decorated with animals such as a serpent, dragon-like beast and two boars. The use of animals seemed to be a common theme among the Anglo-saxon armor. It was made of iron with leather lining inside and included holes under the nose for the person to breathe. The helmet was also crushed into about 500 pieces when the burial chamber collapsed and took almost year to put it back together. Yet, the helmet survived and I am very glad it did. The artifact gives a glimpse into the warrior culture of the Anglo-Saxons. It also shows the skilled craftsmanship of the time and how advanced the blacksmiths were in creating magnificent armor. In the end, the Anglo-Saxon burial ship of Sutton Hoo is a great find and a essential piece of history.
1) The city of Florence is the place I found most interesting on the online tours because of its historical value. Florence is believed to be the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. Florence also has the Florence Cathedral there which is one of the biggest architectural feats ever. The cathedral has the famous Duomo built by Brunelleschi. The dome was built by Brunelleschi, who built a two dome one inside of the other in order to stop the Duomo from collapsing. Florence was also home to many of the most important figures of the Renaissance period including Da Vinci, Donatello, Raphael, Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, Machiavelli, and the Medici family.
2) My favorite object of the online tours was Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise. The Gates of Paradise is in Florence and is the east doors of the Florence Baptistery. The doors go this nickname because painter of the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo, said the doors were so beautiful that they could actually be the doors to Paradise. Ghiberti also was commissioned to sculpt the east doors because of the work he did previously on the north doors. Ghiberti was able to do both doors however by proving that he was the best sculptor in all of Florence by winning a competition between Brunelleschi and himself. This competition is considered the starting point of the Renaissance. The Gates of Paradise are ten panels depicting whole stories of characters from the Old Testament. It is a true masterpiece and really stuck out to me during the online tour.
1.) The place that most piqued my interest was the Notre Dame cathedral. I had heard of it as a child through the disney movie and have always wanted to see it in person. The structure is beautiful and the fact that it took 200 years to build is baffling. The feeling people in that time must have felt when in the structure is the same people feel now. The cathedral is timeless even after repairs were made. Thinking of how it was made in the 12th century is astounding considering the technological advancements of the time.
2.) The artifact that really stood out the most to me was the Fuller brooch. The detail is amazing and what is hidden within it even more beautiful. It represents the 5 senses with sight being the center. The brooch was intended to bring deeper meaning to the jewelry people wore. It’s interesting that sight is the largest representation and found in the center while the other 4 senses wind around it. This could represent the importance of sight at the time, figuratively and literally.
The place that most interested me was the burial mounds in present day Sutton Hoo, Suffolk, England, excavated in 1939 by Basil Brown and a team of archeologists. Particularly, this was a ship burial. An archeologist found traces of iron in the burial mound and later discovered that the burial involved a large ship. The burial chamber was concluded to be located in the center of the ship. The body was surrounded by treasures of gold, helmets, and other artifacts. A large Earth mound was moved over top of the ship. The grounds date back to AD 600 (then known as the Anglo Saxon kingdom of East Anglia). This burial ground is the richest of all that have been discovered in Britain. Traces of phosphate were found in the discovery, concluding that there was once a body. The body, as well as the ship, decayed completely, but compacted sand preserved details of the burial site’s structure. These discoveries suggest to us that high ranking men, such as kings, were honored and treated with respect. This place jumped out at me because of how mysterious it is. We don’t know who was buried there over a thousand years ago, and while we can theorize with the help of possible further, future discoveries, we will never know for certain.
The objects I found most intriguing were the stone-carved gargoyles/grotesques/chimeras. While these structures are similar, they each represent different things. Gargoyles serve as an artistic function, but also as a way to prevent rainwater from running and eroding down masonry walls. Grotesques mostly portrayed animals: dogs, eagles, wolves, goats, etc.. Chimeras mostly portrayed griffins, centaurs, mermaids, and harpies (all of which are combinations of different animals and/or humans). These ornaments were there as a warning to those who underestimated evil, found at the entrances of churches. Not all church leaders felt that these ornaments were necessary. St. Bernard of Clairvaux, a church leader from the 12th century, was known to speak against the sculptures, not agreeing with the power placed among the ornaments. Such beautiful, and sometimes disturbing, sculptures really caught my eye because of their peculiarity. The gargoyles/grotesques/chimeras suggest that the premodern world was very religious and/or superstitious. What I also found interesting is the fact that these sculptures that started appearing in the 12th century, are also appearing in the 19th and 20th century (Princeton University, for example).
Overall, this tour forced me to look more closely at the details of what initially seem to be, if we are being honest, uninteresting. But really, this was all fascinating information. The tour conveyed to me how prominent art and architecture was in the premodern world.
The place that I like the most had to be the Hedingham castle which is located in Essex, England. It is one of over 500 castles that the Normans built in England after they conquered England. The castles looked like defense was the key point in why they were built. Even the stairs were built with defense in mind with the fact that the defenders fighting down the steps could use their right hand since the stairs were built clockwise in a downward direction and the attackers wouldn’t be able to use there right hand since it would hit the wall when they swung their sword. Besides being for defense I so feel like the castles in this period were built very rugged or harsh way so that when the peasants looked upon the castle they would see the superiority of their lord and that he had dominion over them. People also came to the castles to pay “homage” to their lord and as I have just stated above it would show them that they were subservient to the one who controlled the castle.
The artifact that I liked was the illuminated manuscripts. These manuscripts were big between 1000 ad and 1500 ad and are honestly some of the coolest things if ever seen. Unlike today where many people are educated back in the middle ages a lot of the population was illiterate so they used illustrations as a tool so that even common people could understand it, so in a such a way that reading is a form of communication so could so are the manuscripts.
The Durham Cathedral was definitely a place that caught my attention. This cathedral was built in the late 11th and early 12th centuries in the city of Durham, England to house the shrine of St. Cuthbert. The Durham Cathedral is not only marveled for its immensity, but also for the fact that it is the oldest surviving building with a stone vaulted ceiling that size. Also, the cathedral has a vast variety of detail and the use of more windows allows more light to get in which highlights how magnificent the cathedral is. Another interesting aspect of this cathedral is that it is the first building to successfully use pointed arches as a structural component. The design, scale, and overall feel of this cathedral lead me to believe that the people of the pre-modern world were keen on making places, that were meant for worship, grand in all aspects. The building of the Durham Cathedral not only served as a community for monks, but it also served as an important point in the architectural development of the pre-modern era.
An artifact that stood out to me was the painting of The Transfiguration by Raphael. The painting took around 4 years to finish (1516-1520) and was Raphael’s last piece of art. This piece was painted during the renaissance and it shows through the complexity of the piece. Whether it is the complexity of colors, the lighting and depth, or the idealized vision of the past this piece depicts the elegance and vibrancy of the renaissance period. The main reason this piece really piqued my interest is because it is eye catching. Just from first impression one can tell that there is so much going on in this painting. Although I won’t get into extreme detail I will say that it relates to a story in the Gospel of Matthew. It depicts the scene of a transfigured Christ beaming radiance in front of illuminated clouds and rising above everyone else. It also depicts the Apostles trying to rid a possessed boy of demons. I really like this painting because you can see the detail Raphael put into it and the story he is trying to convey. Also people in the pre-modern most likely saw this painting as a look into the past to see the greatness of their savior.
Overall, I really enjoyed exploring back in time and through history. I learned a lot of things about the pre-modern world that I never knew would have interested me. However, I know see that those times were times of great discovery and enlightenment.
1) Florence is the location which I found most interesting. I picked Florence because it was where the birth of renaissance took place in about the 1400’s and spread across Europe. Florence began to break from the status quo when it switched from a feudalism style society to more of a capitalist society. This was because of trade between east and west Europe allowing merchants to be “middle men” and to make money. Many of the wealthy families controlled Florence but none other then the Medici’s. The Medici’s were a powerful banking family who emerged as the prominent leader in Florence. These families began to commission art work from the most famous artists known such as Michelangelo and Da Vinci. The Renaissance also brought advances in technology and science.
2) The artifact that caught my eye was the Sutton Hoo Anglo-Saxon Ship Burial. Basil Brown was the lucky man to be lead archaeologist on such an excavation. The burial dated bake to the early 600’s AD. At this time Sutton Hoo was part of East Anglia the homeland to the Anglo-Saxons. There were many ornate and beautiful treasures like the gold buckle and shoulder clasps. I found the gold buckle especially interesting because of its elaborate design. It includes 13 different animals hidden with it its detailed craftsmanship. There was also weapons and armor found buried in the tomb. I found the helmet most interesting because it had to be put back together after it had been smashed into 500 pieces. Overall it is said that with the amount of treasures and the high value of the objects found that it could have been an Anglo-Saxon king who was buried at Sutton Hoo.
Games of Thrones
4 February 2015
Medieval and Renaissance Tour
1.) Although perhaps my favorite piece of architecture may be Neuschwanstein of Germany, partly due to my fascination with the Fairytale King Ludwig II of Bavaria, the structure that struck my fancy most among the given buildings was Westminster Abbey of England. After a millennium of standing proudly over London, this cathedral has generated much intrigue and provides much cultural insight. The Gothic architecture, quite new during the construction of Westminster, resembles that of a Romanesque style. The great arch, however, is pointed in the Gothic style as opposed to the rounded arch of the Romans. The stained glass windows, showing a variety of religious, historical, and cultural images, paint the inside of the cathedral with exquisite displays of colorful sunshine. These architectural feats are mind-boggling to my present-day mind, when considering their lack of modern technology. The floor installed in 1268 is remarkable by itself. The ceiling in the Lady Chapel is another level entirely of inspiring. The intricacy required to achieve such impeccable beauty from stone is beyond my comprehension. The artifacts housed in the building are immeasurably precious to the royal history of England, and are available to view in a museum-like setting. All that aside, the most inspiring assets of this cathedral are the tombs. Of all the historical figures who are buried next to one another, the Poets’ Corner is especially striking, to think that linguistic artists of no Royal throne are honored just as gracefully as the monarchs they served.
2.) Leonardo Da Vinci was one of the most brilliant minds to belong in the course of human history. To narrow down my single favorite work of his is what I imagine picking my favorite child will be like: impossible. Proclaimed as a painter, sculptor, scientist, mathematician and engineer, Da Vinci proved himself a master in the art of war and the war of art, and nearly everything in between. My adoration for Leonardo stretches back as far as the Ninja Turtles, but sky-rocketed when I read Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. Leo was more than proficient in secrets and subtleties, and thus his work cocks a curious eyebrow from admirers today. That smirk in the Mona Lisa makes us wonder what the hell she is amused for, and the presence of the Virgin Mary in the Last Supper is more curious still. His apparent affiliation with numerous secret societies make us believe that messages and codes are still hidden within his works, yet to be understood. Da Vinci has grown in to a cultural archetype, provided shape for characters like the brilliant and flamboyant Albus Dumbledore in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Leonardo inspires me to pursue my curiosities, and makes me feel less bad about not finishing all of the projects that I start.
1) St. Dennis was my favorite place out of everything I’d seen. I think it’s amazing how by changing one thing in a design it results in a really nice effect. For St. Dennis, by adding the Ribbed Vaults to the building’s design the windows could be heightened and more light entered the building. With more light coming through into the building, the people attending mass, during per-modern times, must have had a heightened experience. Their experience maybe felt a little heavenly compared to when the there was less windows in the church’s design.
2) A 1500’s drawing of a man bent over hitting his wife, The Viscous Husband, really stood out to me. The drawing is done in rough sketchy-like manner that I think helps make the subject matter appear harsher and crude. Normally I feel like that sort of imagery is never depicted in Pr-modern times artwork. Images that come to my mind whenever I think about Pre- modern artwork are tamer in comparison to the drawing I found. Even though, during those times women were mistreated horribly. I think it’s interesting that someone took the time to illustrate the cruelty women had to endure during that time period. Since the artist is unknown, I wonder if maybe a woman was responsible for the drawing. If so, maybe she trying to make a record or bring to light what women had to put up with. Which might explain why she didn’t put her name on the drawing because she didn’t want to receive retribution for speaking out against mistreatment of women. Since women were not educated during those times, it’s also possible that a man might have also been the artist. This man might have also decided not to sign the drawing because he, too, didn’t want anyone coming after him for depicting men in a harsh light.
The Durham cathedral, with its impressive high ceilings and beautiful floor designs, definitely makes me want to hop on a flight to Durham, England and just sit inside for a good long while. It is amazing how much work and detail was put into this cathedral. I also read in a separate article how arches along the aisles in Durham Cathedral are thought to be inspired by the architecture of Islamic Spain. I think it is also impressive how it took them almost 40 years to complete, and looking at the virtual tour made me realize that people back then had the chance to walk into a cathedral everyday, and most maybe never truly appreciated the work that went into. Maybe they did appreciate it, but maybe not. All I know is that the amount of thought that went into the cathedral makes me believe that the people really cared about putting a big effort into places like cathedrals. A town was able to flourish around the Durham cathedral, because not only did it provide a sanctuary, it also provided money from pilgrims, and power embodied in the church. This place enabled a society to grow around it, and then people expanded from there. Throughout all the websites I read about the different cathedrals, I learned that cathedrals were of utmost importance to people of the premodern world because they were able to utilize for many reasons, and they were able to thrive around it.
I really appreciated the Sutton Hoo ship that was found in eastern England. I wonder how the archaeologist Basil Brown must have felt to have discovered such a spectacular burial site. I think it is an awesome challenging for people to try and reconstruct the Sutton Hoo ship, because we will never be able to go back in time, we can only try to the best of our abilities to put together a picture of what it looked like. Maybe some mysteries will always remain mysteries, and maybe yet, people can still uncover mysteries. The helmet and artifacts found in the ship must have had archaeologists fainting all over. I really enjoyed looking at the helmet with its crest formed of a two-headed serpent and how it took the appearance of a dragon-like beast. Clearly this helmet represented strength and daring. Also, the horns made from aurochs really caught my interest because I have read fictional books where aurochs are mentioned, and I wish they never went extinct. I believe the Anglo-Saxons lived a lavish and intrinsic lifestyle and had exceptional craftsmanship skills – shown through their evidence of many gold and silver pieces, detailed helmet designs, and belts. To us modern people, these artifacts are outstanding, and maybe to the Anglo-Saxons, they were everyday materials that only the most loyal warriors could wear, and how the times have changed makes me think of just how people and society as a whole has changed with the times.
I felt a particular resonance with the architecture and art of the High Middle Ages. Building like the Speyer and Durham Cathedral as well as Heding ham Castle have been standing for hundreds and hundreds of years. From the daunting atmosphere of the cathedrals to the more powerful and firm presence found in the castles, it shows the power these buildings brought on, a sense of strength and rising above the landscape.
Not only have they been standing so long, the design and elegance of these places are astounding as well; the minute detail poured into them is so well done.The art of this time period is very astounding too, from the various manuscripts to the ornate images, it really makes me think just how impressive the people of this time period really were. One can only image the time this took to build and create and some may never even got to see the finished products of the labor with the buildings.
There is also the particular styles of the Romanesque and the Gothic, both very beautiful in their own right and served in same function but different manner, but thinking on this, it seems hard to believe that the period of this time period was able to construct such massive creations. Compared to today’s technology, it begs the question of how they accomplished it, how long did it take, and what they needed to do to get it done. I mean even with the styles, there was a lot of thought put into it like the Gothic. Comparing to our methods today, the patience and details put into these works is by far different compared to ours and that can tell us a bit about ourselves and the kind of world we live in compared to them. The assumptions and ideas I had of this period are put to shame when actually seeing it and reminds me that it is best never to assume anything in life because there are always surprises in our world that defy our expectations.