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Terrell DG, Short Notes on the Renaissance III

Terrell DG, Short Notes on the Renaissance III

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Published by David G Terrell
A collection of short musings on Renaissance subjects.
A collection of short musings on Renaissance subjects.

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: David G Terrell on Dec 11, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial No-derivs


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1 Terrell DG, Short Notes on the Renaissance III
Short Notes on the Renaissance III
 David G Terrell June 2010
The Period Eye
In a nutshell, this means you see what you expect to see. I am certain you have seen instances of viewers trying to derive meaning from some piece of modern, abstract art. Each person's answer
to “What does that resemble?” or “What does that mean?” is answered by filtering the image through their “period eye.”
 For example, what does this mean to you?
2 Terrell DG, Short Notes on the Renaissance III  Now, through my period eye, this is what I see:
Against a plain Doric column
, marked with an “S” signifying strength, is a level that
reminds me that I am traveling upon the level of time towards eternity. Life is fleeting. Be strong.
Against the fancy Corinthian column, the “B” for beauty, is a plumb, that reminds me to
walk uprightly in my duty to God and Man, living a beautiful life.
Between them is a tracing board, that reminds me to plan my life carefully and not drift idly through it.
Beneath them is a checkered floor, representing life. As you walk through life, some days are light, and sometimes they are dark.
At the base of the ladder, is a dot in a circle, between two lines. I am the dot and the two lines represent St. John the Baptist and St. John the Revelator. The nearby book, also touching the circle is the Holy Scriptures. As long as I keep my life circumscribed by their teachings, it is impossible for me to seriously err in my life.
he ladder is Jacob’s ladder, leading up to heaven. The scriptures are the gateway to it.
Upon it, from bottom to top, are faith, hope and charity--each identifiable by the items they hold. T
he ionic column at center rear is marked with “W”, for wisdom. The Square
leaning against it reminds me to square my actions as on would measure the squareness of a stone. The compasses laying there whisper that I should circumscribe my desires and keep my passions within due bounds.
The rough stone on the left is my soul, in its rough, mortal condition. Upon it are tools that I should figuratively use to shape myself, until I resemble the stone on the right,
which is finished and worthy of being part of the temple in the heavens, “not made with hands.”
The sun, moon and stars line up with the columns of strength and beauty, and match their meanings, but above wisdom is the eye of God, which reminds me that there are no secrets
that even my private weaknesses and sins are known to God and I should govern my life accordingly. The tessellated border around the whole reminds me that I am surrounded by the golden cord of God's love.
Finally, the directions marked around the edges. As I walk into the image I walk from the west, where the sun set as I came into this dark and dreary world, and through the night towards the east, when I shall pass the gates of death into the rising sun of eternal day, in God's presence.
3 Terrell DG, Short Notes on the Renaissance III It is meaning, and not just beauty, which is in the eye of the beholder. Each painting is a document to be read by those who know the language.
Comparing Medieval and Renaissance Art
Everything I have read about the physical and metaphorical senses in relation to the Renaissance in general and its art, in particular, indicate that illumination was all important and therefore sight was deemed the highest of the senses, literally and figuratively (Aston 1996, 9).
. Art of the previous age was steeped in representing religious images. The iconography was static. Overwhelmingly, only real persons of religious or royal significance were depicted and these figures were depicted according to fixed rules that governed their appearance, clothing, trappings and settings
so as to be identifiable to the illiterate. Christ had
his halo enhanced with a cross. Moses had his tablets of stone. Peter carried the keys of Christ’s
delegated authority. The Renaissance was affected by the only art remaining form the classical  period, its sculpture. The figures represented in stone were as varied as the statues themselves. Creatures and peoples unidentifiable from scriptural references appeared in a bewildering display of poses, clothing, emotional demeanor and context. This very quality opened up new  possibilities to artists whose standard of excellence had, until then, been in how closely one could duplicate the perfection of accepted form. Their three-dimensional quality amplified the effect as their solidity allowed them to be viewed in the round. Each change of viewing angle  provided another mental image.
One could ask why artists had not painted from life’s varying angles before the Renaissance. The
answer is probabl
y, “Some did.” However, the art that remains from this period was the durable
art; paintings on wood panels, frescos, mosaics, illuminated documents, metalwork, stained glass and the like. The more perishable works, such as textiles, are rarer (Huyghe, Larousse Encyclopedia of Byzantine and Medieval Art 1958, 228-322).
. Renaissance artists were determined to try to recapture the lifelike qualities of classical art, of which much of the medieval world was ignorant. However, the early Renaissance artist lacked the technical capabilities to reproduce the statuary with ease, although they began to learn and realistic sculpture experienced a revival; first in relief; than in figures with heavy, well defined features; and, followed by lighter and more skilled representations. However, the artists also used pictorial representation, the medium at hand, to begin representing the images they saw
in the classical sculptures. The painters’ break with the past seem
ed to be more difficult, perhaps  because of its closer relationship with religious art and the supervisory influence of the Church.

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