In a message dated 12/23/00 5:35:25 AM Eastern Standard Time,
[log in to unmask] writes:
> In a message dated 12/22/00 11:45:57 PM Eastern Standard Time,
> [log in to unmask] writes:
> > With regard to architectural style names, what name
> > would be given to the architecture 479-1000 other than
> > pre-Romanesque? Wasn't much built of wood and hence
> > does not survive? If so, how could anyone give a name
> > to a style whose appearance is unknown?
> The name (early medieval) is used for the period, and isn't specific to the
> architectural style or styles. Ditto for Romanesque and Gothic.
You know, you ask good sensible questions, of the kind asked by people who
reason. Here's another part of the answer.
Don't assume that nothing can be known about works of art that have not
survived. Though this is not as good as actually seeing the works, we can
learn some things about them through secondary sources.
Example 1. Although none of his paintings has survived, we know that Zeuxis
was the greatest painter of ancient Greece. How could we know this without
seeing his paintings?
Answer--Greek writers who were living at the time said so, and described some
of his paintings. Botticelli, in his own "Calumny of Apelles," tried to
imagine what one of the lost paintings by Zeuxis would have looked like. We
have no way of knowing, of course, whether the lost painting by Zeuxis would
have looked anything at all like Botticelli's imaginative "reconstruction."
A common kind of written documentation in the middle ages might be, say,
records of a cathedral that indicate how much a certain artist was paid for
making an altarpiece for the cathedral. Even if the altarpiece is lost, we
know not only that it once existed but also which artist made it.
Example 2. The bronze age Minoan palace at Knossos (Crete) was very
deteriorated when Sir Arthur Evans undertook to restore it. Cups on the floor
had originally held columns, but the columns were gone. Evans had new columns
carved and painted them red. How did he know the shapes of the columns, as
the floor cups showed only their diameter at the base? Why did he think they
might originally have been red?
Answer--fragments of wall paintings from the palace portray columns, and
these seem to be painted red. Evans, in fact, has been criticized for being
overly optimistic about what can be "known" about art and artifacts that no
longer exist. The wall paintings may (or may not) be good evidence that
_some_ Minoan columns were painted red. They're much weaker as evidence that
the exact columns Evans reconstructed had originally been painted red.