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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  May 2004

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION May 2004

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Subject:

Re: [Re: [M-R] Position of Hell]

From:

Christopher Crockett <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 21 May 2004 10:17:09 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Rob Howe <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>why do we call Durham a "cathedral" but York a "minster" anyway?

who knows why the English do anything?

> Also, most 

again, we may assume *all* were

>of the old Serbian churches are expertly frescoed, but the aim was not to do
likewise to the outside. 


so it might appear from what survives, but originally?

>For example, many of them make deliberate use of lines of red brickwork to
make patterns on the outside

yes, this would suggest that those parts might not have been painted.

>http://www.rob-rah.com/Studenica_gallery.htm)

nice site.

i was struck by this fresco

http://www.rob-rah.com/Images/Serbia_pics/Studenica_03.gif

which is immediately recognizable as being too "dry" stylistically to be
original 13th century work, yet is not nearly as sterile as the now common
(and usually rather dreadful) "neo-Byzantine" painting i've seen.

your note that it was "restored" in 1568 explains that --in a way.

but it is *very* curious and unusual that the repainting would adhere so
faithfully to the original --not just in the iconography, but in the drapery
style-- rather than to be repainted entirely in a mid-16th century style.

the "restorer" has really respected the basics of the old drapery style. 

this is very different from what we usually see in the West --from the
"palimpsest" frescoes of Sta Maria Antiqua forward-- where the style is always
"updated" to what is current at the moment of the repainting. 

it appears that it was very, very difficult for an artist to paint/sculpt in a
style not truely his own, the one in which he had been "formed".

the John the Baptist on the North transept of Chartres cathedral recalls quite
strongly a prophet on the trumeau of Moissac, but that is about the only
example of this i can think of.  

it appears to be a kind of "hommage" by the 13th c. artist to his 12th century
predecessor, for some reason.

no one would mistake the 13th c. one as 12th c., but the connection appears
strong enough to be more than accidental.

> I guess Serbia's a long way from England

not as far as it used to be.

>but I kinda get the feeling that some of the more elaborate decorations in
architecture that appear after 1100 or so in Western Europe would have been
introduced because there was nothing more interesting to look at. 

?

>If churches were already routinely decorated outside, what is the need for
all those points and patterns and filigree and whatnot? 

i assume you are talking about "gothic" points, patterns, filigree and
whatnot.

lots of different things going on there.

as the "gothic" style evolved (from the mid-12th century on) the exterior wall
surfaces were progressively reduced, replaced by glass (think: Sainte
Chapelle), yet the desire to "decorate", in some fashion, whatever surfaces
there were persisted.

so we get "blind tracery" on the surfaces of buttresses, "crockets" on the
eves and the raking edges everywhere, etc. 

the late emminent American art historian Robert Branner seriously put forward
the idea that at least some mid-13th c. buildings associated with Louis IX's
patronage might have been gilded (think Sainte Chapelle, gilded, like the
giant reliquary it was).  they appear so in some 15th century paintings.

http://www.kfki.hu/~arthp/art/f/fouquet/cathedrl.jpg

>Aside, am I correct in thinking that there is no tradition of stained glass
in Orthodox lands?

that appears to be the case.

though, once again, what have we *lost*?

go to this site :

http://www.ariadne.org/studio/michelli/

and follow the links to "Stained Glass" and "Medieval" [bottom of the page]
and you'll see some stuff that might surprise.

like the oldest stained glass surviving in England (and most anywhere else, i
suppose), dating from Bede's time(!).

as well as some rare 10th-11th c. examples --we must assume that these chance
survivals were part of a much larger tradition.

> Of course, the houses at Pompeii feature exterior paintings (in the
courtyards)...

question of what constitutes "exterior", there.

c


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