Friday, 21 May 2010

Unit 8 - Early 17C Italy

I read Gombrich before reading the chapter again this time and felt it was useful - I realise this is reading two 'surveys' so I'm not getting any more in depth knowledge but I find I would rather read similar information by 2 different writers than read the chapter through twice (which I think it would need if reading it alone as it is so in depth can't take it all in on first reading).  Although I like some of the individual artists featured, not really very keen on the baroque style - or not as I think of it as fancy shmancy, over the top, Lawrence Llewlyn Bowen!!!

Term baroque like many other stylistic labels comes from critical abuse - etymology of the word is from the Italian barocco - tortuous medievel pedantry and barrocco - Portuguese for a deformed pearl - put together they refer to something deviating from the norm.  This is a more difficult style to define and distinguish from others of the time (classicists and naturalism).  Honour and Fleming say "predominantly religious emotionalism, dynamic energy and exuberant decorative richness which was generated in Rome and spread all over Europe and beyond..." (page 572)

At this time rise of art collecting and thus art dealers - in turn leading to move away from large fresocs and murals to easel paintings - more portable and easier to sell/buy/display.

First art schools - Academys. Before 1560s academys were just literary but artists and sculptures move away from the craft guilds and wish to become seen as intellectuals led to the setting up of them.  Place for artists to meet, discuss problems, practice painting.  By early 1600s St Luke's in Rome had lectures in theory, life classes etc to support what the apprentices could do in masters workshops.

Artists of the time

Carravagio - rebellious, bohemian, naturalism over idealism. portrayed religious scenes differently than ever before - made things like real life,  Put in ugly, old people,  Showed Virgin Mary as a neighborhood wife - things like that.  Carrivaggism spread throughout Europe - loads of unidealized, boldly illuminated figures set against dark mysterious backgrounds.  I think David Hockney talked about the lighting of his characters in optics book - each character lit shows how would have set it up - look like real 'modern day' people.

Carracci - together with brother and cousin.  'nature but purified of all gross elements' loads and loads of drawings, drafting, planning.  Did first caricatures (named them!)

Female artist - Artemisia Gentileschi - follower of Carravagio.  Mostly topics with strong female characters. Pretty gory!

Bernini - sculptor, painter, poet, architect, philosopher etc.  Had papal commissions - compared to Michelangelo in breadth of work but not in character.  Has contributed to present day Rome than any other individual.  Proper Baroque - twirly, twiddly fanciness

Claude - French but living in Rome - landscape man

Valazquez - Spanish.  Started in style of Carrivagio.  In 1623 started working for King Philip IV and pretty much continued just for him.  Moved on to more of a Titian style.  Used very light brush strokes and thin paint "such thinly applied paint that the texture of the canvas shows through" Honor and Fleming Page 588.  Most famous pic is Las Meninas (the maids of honour)

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