Tag Archives: ancient

Eve’s Apple.

11 Mar

Romaans sculptuur op kapiteel Eva & Apple

Romanesque Art refers to the art of Europe from 1000 AD onwards. With the fall of the Roman Empire, the tradition of sculpting figures in stone and bronze died out, as it did in the Byzantine world, for religious reasons . The growth of Romanesque art was stimulated intensely by the circulation of pilgrims and by travelling craftsmen and artists, who moved from one construction yard to another to offer their services. Most Romanesque sculptures are pictorial and biblical in subject. A great variety of themes are found on capitals. The ‘Temptation of Eve’ from Gislebertus was created around the 1130s. Eve lays in a sensual pose, keeping her face away from the sin she will commit. She hold the hand with the apple, subject of the Fall, on her back. On the right we notice the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. Satan, here symbolized as the snake, only shows his tale as he is leaving quickly after tempting Eve with the forbidden fruit.

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Roman Underground.

3 Mar

Bird and Fruit fresco

Frescos in Rome’s catacombs witness to a strong devotion to religion. These underground cemeteries, solely reserved for Christians, were decorated with paintings of great importance to understand the history of early Christianity. Still-lives and portraits at that time, inspired by Roman and Greek imagery, gained strongly in symbolism. For Christians the fruit symbolized abundance, the gift of God, while the bird could represent the Holy Spirit, the soul of the believer. The fish, Ictus, is the symbol of Christ. Ictus means fish but is also an acronym for Jesus, the Christ, Son of God, Savior. The Good Shepherd holding a lamb is another symbol of Christ carrying his faithful disciples. In 313, with emperor Constantine, Christianity was officially recognized. The citizens of Rome converted in mass crowds and the catacombs expanded greatly.

Pompeian Red.

1 Mar

Pompeian Fresco

This magnificent and well-preserved ancient Roman fresco from the villa of P. Fannio Sinistore in Boscoreale (Pompeii) makes remarkable use of perspective and colour. There are visual ambiguities to tease the eye and create illusion, including architectural details painted to resemble real ones, such as masonry, pillars and columns that cast shadows into the viewer’s space. Objects of daily life were presented in such a way as to seem real, with metal and glass vases on shelves or tables appearing to project out from the wall. These teasers reveal the owner’s pleasure in impressing guests at his comfortable summer retreat.

Sappho.

28 Feb

Sappho, roman fresco

Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that began growing on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Of the paintings which survive from the Roman classical world, many are frescoes from the area of Campania around Naples. Campania includes Pompeii, Herculaneum, and other towns whose buildings, paintings, and sculptures were preserved by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79. Romans used painted decoration to visually open up and lighten their living spaces. They copied or imitated many of their paintings from Hellenistic Greek originals. This Roman fresco was found in Pompeii. It shows the young woman ‘Sappho’, who was an ancient Greek poet greatly admired in all ages for the beauty of her writing style.

Fallen warrior.

27 Feb

Dying Gaul Hellenistic Greece

This statue shows a fallen warrior straining to support himself on one arm as blood gushes from a wound in his side. He represents a Gallic warrior with a typically Gallic hairstyle and moustache. He lies on his fallen shield while his sword and other objects lie beside him. Hellenistic sculptures, situated around 330 – 146 BC, where an absolute highlight because of their vividness and individuality. There is a clear appearance of anatomy and movement: the musculature is accentuated and the artists showed a great preference for complicated compositions. In essence we can talk about an extreme realism. The human being is no longer placed forward as an ideal image, but as a reality. Expressions of feelings and passions are no longer hidden. People are shown just as they are.

Aphrodite, nude for the first time.

26 Feb

Aphrodite Knidos Praxiteles Greece

Aphrodite is a goddess of great meaning in Greek mythology. She is the goddess of love, beauty, sexuality and fertility. Back in 390-330 BC the ‘Aphrodite of Cnidus’ by Praxiteles claims its position in ancient Greek art as the first monumental cult statue of a goddess to be represented completely nude. The popularity was expressed through an endless stream of imitations and replicas. It can be seen as the starting point of a new history in art, as this introduction of the monumental female nude occurred at least three centuries after the introduction of the monumental male nude statue. It is a history that sexually defines the represented woman by her complete nudity and, on that account, keeps her in a perpetual state of vulnerability.

Temple of colours.

25 Feb

paintings on Greek temple

For many of us, ancient Greece equals gleaming white marble temples and palaces. But in fact, temples and public buildings of the time exploded with colour. The finest of white marbles were whitewashed and painted. Three basic colours were used: white, blue and red, occasionally also black. Only the details or decorative elements were painted, while the columns were mostly kept white. Archaeologists and historians know about this tradition in ancient Greek architecture, yet little of this information makes its way to the public. One of the reasons is the public refusal to accept Greece (and Rome later on), as being abundantly colourful. The ‘pure white marble temple’ concept is so deeply ingrained in our minds, that when we hear about the colours, we soon tend to forget it.

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