The Nutshell

The Nutshell is a creative collective under the government of Holly-Rose and Hannah-Rose with ODD and SPONTANEOUS tamperings by Logie-Bear; made up of writers, musicians, and artists. Here teacups are rife and insanity is always technicoloured.
 
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 High Renaissance slushies

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Synaesthesia
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PostSubject: High Renaissance slushies   Fri 19 Sep 2008 - 4:50

Hai bitchcakes.

Since I have not contributed to this site enough, I am now feeling the pangs of guilt. SORROWS AND WOES.

Thus in remorse;
here's a dainty little plate essay I wrote that compares the Birth of Adam by Michelangelo with School of Athens by Raphael.

*dies*

Quote :

Just as Florence was the capital of the Early Renaissance, Rome became the home of the papacy and the centre of the High Renaissance. This period saw the perfection of the human anatomy through the culmination of humanism, classicism and philosophical inquiry. Two such frescoes were the Creation of Adam by Michelangelo in 1508-12 and School of Athens by Raphael in 1508.

The Creation of Adam is a central key panel of the ceiling frescoes in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, Rome. The Chapel was originally built by and had already featured frescoes commissioned by Pope Sixtus II, uncle of Julius II. The fresco cycle was commissioned by Pope Julius II in 1508 as Michelangelo’s second papal commission since he was interrupted from work on the Pope’s Sculpted Tomb. Julius II was a powerful patron of the Arts, a humanist and a strong supporter of classicism who envisioned posthumous grandeur for Rome as well as self glorification when he commissioned Michelangelo. Julius had sought to emulate the underlying frescoes of the previous era. Michelangelo had protested against Julius, claiming he was a sculptor not a painter. He eventually accepted and the Sistine Ceiling was completed in four years.

The theme of the Sistine Ceiling frescoes is the progression of darkness to light and this is reflected in the reversed chronological sequence of paintings. The darkness is symbolic of the ancestors of Christ whereas the light is reflective of the creation of the World. The Creation of Adam is at the centre of the nine rectangular panels and is placed next to works such as the Temptation and Expulsion and Creation of Sun, Moon, Plants. The scheme is hence symbolic of the spirit’s ascension into Heaven, containing strong references to Michelangelo’s exposure to classicism from the Medici family and his strong belief in Neoplatonism. The ceiling immerses Pagan figures of the Classical past such as Sibyl’s and Ignudi with Biblical prophets and Ancestors of Christ. Together these elements foreshadow the coming of Christ.

The Creation of Adam is linked to Genesis 1:27 where it states that God created man in his own image. It depicts in a single vision, the subliminity of God in the birth of mankind. The concentration of the outstretched fingers of God with those of Adam is undoubtedly one of the most dramatic pauses in all of art. The interaction of the poses therefore highlights the sense of Neoplatonism in the relationship between man on earth and the divine. The receptive form of man is evident in the classical contrapposto of the nude Adam with his arm resting on a rock and his torso curved. The clothed divine figure of God is instead paternal and explosive with rush of movement towards Adam. The nudity of man juxtaposed with the clothing of God further harmonises the work.

The use of colour in the earthly shades of blues, greens and browns that is associated with Adam, juxtaposed with the majestic purple of God, further divides the composition into two. The sculptural reality in the precise tonal modelling of the figures of God and Adam reflect the intellectual precision of the male form. It also reinforces the Classical influence of highly idealised and therefore toned muscles. The nudity of Adam is also a Classical influence. The complexity of their movements and realism in the twisting torsos also demonstrate the perfection of proportion. The fact that man is of equal proportion to God rectifies the periodical belief of humanism whereby ‘man is the measure of all things.’

Similarly, Raphael’s School of Athens was commissioned by Pope Julius II in 1508. The fresco is one of four panels that decorate the Stanza Della Signatura in the Vatican where important documents were signed. This room that was Julius II’s private library was also very close to the Sistine Chapel. The themes of the works; theology, philosophy, poetry and justice are homage to the great humanist tradition of learning. The Disputa was allegorical of theology, School of Athens of Philosophy, Parnassus of poetry and the Virtues of justice. As he did with Michelangelo, Pope Julius II exercised the humanist belief in the inquiry of human intellect and knowledge as a skill given by God. These works symbolise the culmination of the harmony between Christianity and Classical antiquity.

The School of Athens in particular focuses on the pursuit of truth through reason and intellect. The figures Plato and Aristotle are the centre of the composition and are surrounded by philosophers and mathematicians of different periods. Plato is striding forwards while gesturing upwards to the heavens, a reference to his belief in idealism and inspiration. However, juxtaposed is Aristotle, whose downward hand gesture reinforces the belief that knowledge is based on empirical observation. The poses of these two figureheads of the Classical world symbolise the two schools of thought as well as distinguish the two sides of the composition. The figures replicate and balance one another, evoking the High Renaissance ideal of harmony and order.

The Greek philosophers are framed by a strongly classical architectural setting. It is imaginary but its monumental scale and harmony represent the High Renaissance ideal of the grandeur of Rome. As this was painted, Julius II was planning the reconstruction of St Peter’s with the architect Bramante. Raphael’s design inspired by Bramante signify the height of classicism with the use of the Doric order, hexagonal coffers, barrel vaulted ceiling, niches and medallions. The presence of antique gods is also evident. Statues such as Apollo, the god of the Sun, represent the civilising power of reason where as Minerva, the goddess of wisdom, signifies the pursuit of knowledge. All figures are physically idealised in the manner of the Hellenistic sculpture of Laocoon and his Sons. Each is given a role associated with their individual mode of thinking.

There is a clearly organised composition whereby all actions, gestures and poses are harmonised into an atmosphere of active thought. This is evident in the clarity of Socrates emphasising points on his fingers, symbolic of the importance of questioning. The use of vivid colour, the irregular groupings and individual interaction suggests that all rational thought is conducted in concentration. This is reflective of the High Renaissance ideal of order and rationality.

Unlike Michelangelo, Raphael included a self portrait that looks directly at the viewer. Raphael also included contemporaries he admired such as Leonardo as Plato and Bramante as Euclid. This is symbolic of connecting present intellect with the Classical past. The High Renaissance ideal of harmony is therefore demonstrated.

The School of Athens is a pagan work whereas the Creation of Adam is based on biblical events in Genesis. Michelangelo presents the divinity of Julius II in depicting the similarities between the characteristics of God and Julius. The motif of the acorns carried by the Ignudi explicitly refers to the Della Rovere family name because it translates to ‘oak’. Man is placed in proportion with God, however, in the School of Athens, man is inferior to the monumental size of the architecture. Hence, Raphael rectifies the economic and intellectual wealth of Rome while also complimenting Julius II’s achievements. Both works are monumental frescoes which require the artist to plaster only as much as he can paint in a day, therefore this method is inconvenient. However, Michelangelo was painting on a ceiling and Raphael painted on a wall.

Unlike Raphael, there is no perspective in the Birth of Adam nor a natural light source. Michelangelo’s depiction of movement is far more dramatic than Raphael who presents a static and organised composition of figures. This may be due to Michelangelo being more experienced than Raphael and his exposure to the classical nudes found in the Medici garden whereas Raphael was influenced by his courtly background. There are no nudes in Raphael’s School of Athens.

The monumentality of these works reflect the high level of papal patronage available to artists of the High Renaissance. The opportunity to explore and develop an artist’s talents was due to their rising status in Rome and a shift in the relationship between patrons and artists. Pope Julius II’s role as a powerful endorser of the arts and his vision of grandeur and glorification for both himself and Rome had ultimately made possible the demonstration of beliefs and values of the High Renaissance.
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artsgeek
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PostSubject: Re: High Renaissance slushies   Fri 19 Sep 2008 - 5:01

tl;dr
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Hannah-Rose
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PostSubject: Re: High Renaissance slushies   Fri 19 Sep 2008 - 5:06

Aaah! I came here to get away from this!!!! *nevertheless pwns for personal useage* Razz

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PostSubject: Re: High Renaissance slushies   Tue 23 Sep 2008 - 9:30

Sorry. Sad
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PostSubject: Re: High Renaissance slushies   Tue 23 Sep 2008 - 23:57

Hmm, that could've been useful at the start of the year when we were doing that assessment I didn't do. But cheating is not good. lol still, I better come back and read this when I get round o studying for art history again.
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