петък, 26 декември 2008 г.

The Nativity. Sinai, 7 c


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четвъртък, 18 декември 2008 г.

Daniel and the Lions. Rome, 2-3 c


Fresco at the Catacomb of Saints Marcellinus and Peter - Rome, Via Labicana... So, too, the story of Daniel in the Lion's Den: the wicked authorities persecuting the innocent believers whose only power was their faith in God and his promise to His people... Even the orant pose that Daniel assumes links his persecution and salvation to those of the Christians.

(http://campus.belmont.edu/honors/catacombs/catacombs.htm)


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събота, 6 декември 2008 г.

Ss. Paul, Peter, Nicholas, and John Chrysostomos 7 c

40 x 13 cm. Encaustic. Sinai.
These two outer leaves of a triptych are joined by a wooden strip at the top. The Apostles reverse the colors of their tunics and mantles; Paul carries a book, and Peter a scroll, possibly a reference to the traditio legis. Bishops Nicholas and John wear the omophorion and carry books.


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сряда, 26 ноември 2008 г.

St Clement of Ohrid 13 c

The existing church of St. Clement, built in 1295 and named St. Bogorodica Perivleptos, is a completely preserved medieval monument located in Ohrid, famous for its extraordinary architecture and fresco paintings. During the XIII century the Byzantine Empire was ruled by the Palaeologus dynasty, thus also the style of the church, which was erected in that period, is known as "Palaeologus".
After the conversion of the church of St. Sofia into mosque, the church of St. Clement became the cathedral church of the Ohrid Archiepiscopate. It retained that position until the discontinuation of the Archiepiscopate in 1767. Its present name originates from the time when the relics of Clement of Ohrid were transferred there from the monasterial church of St. Pantheleimon, since that one too was conversed into mosque. Many precious icons, manuscripts written in Slavonic or Greek language from the 10th century on, various relics, and religious clothes - all of these were relocated from the churches of St. Sofia and St. Pantheleimon to St. Clement. Thus this church became an unique treasury. Till the present day numerous artifacts have been preserved, primarily the ones from the renown collection of Ohrid icons exhibited in the Gallery of Icons.

The frescoes in the church of St. Clement were gradually discovered, starting from 1950. They were covered with layers of dark soot generated by centuries long burning of icon lamps and candles. The icons were cleaned up by special emulsion made up of organic chemicals according to the recipe of the esteemed painter and conserver Zdravko Blazic. The authors of the frescoes were Michael Astrapus and Eutychus, two exquisite painters from the late XIII and the first half of the XIV century. In 1295 these two fresco painters were commissioned to decorate the church by the Byzantine military commander Progon Zgur, a relative of Emperor Andronicus II Palaeologus, as inscribed on the interior wall above the entrance door. The painters skillfully incorporated their names within the clothes of St. Dimitry (Michael) and St. Procopius (Eutychus), and elsewhere.
The frescoes of the church of St. Clement denote an entirely new chapter in the medieval arts. These frescoes mark the beginning of the new artistic aspirations in the Byzantine arts, known as the Palaeologus Renaissance.
Moreover, the St. Clement's church frescoes are the earliest known and dated works of Michael and Euthychus, later the court painters of King Milutin. Their creative activities can be traced for almost three decades: from the church of St. Clement (1295), through the church of St. Nikitie (1307), to the one in Staro Nagoricani (1318), as well as in other churches.

http://www.soros.org.mk/konkurs/076/angver/bogorodica_svkliment.html


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неделя, 16 ноември 2008 г.

Emperor Justinian 556 A.D.

Mosaic detail showing the Emperor Justinian, 556 A.D. Although Justinian was alive when this mosaic was made, he nevertheless gets a nimbus (with Sassanid beads, reflecting the orgin of the symbol), which suggests his role as God's direct agent on earth. The effect of Justinian's take-over of Italy was not positive. Not only were the Gothic wars terribly destructive, but the powerful landowners continue to resist being governed. While the Lombard arrival did not affect Ravenna directly, it tended to isolate the area. We therefore do not see in Ravenna the neo-classicism then in fashion at the court of Constantinople.


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четвъртък, 6 ноември 2008 г.

Archangel Michael 12 c

The Archangel Michael with the prostrate figure of a dedicated monk at his feet. This portable icon dates to the 12th century.


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понеделник, 27 октомври 2008 г.

St. Demetrios mosaic

A pre-Iconoclastic depiction of St. Demetrios at the Aghios Demetrios Basilica. Note the dark blue tablion on his chest.

St. Demetrius was initially depicted in icons and mosaics as a young man in patterned robes with the distinctive tablion of the senatorial class across his chest. Miraculous military interventions were attributed to him during several attacks on Thessaloniki, and he gradually became thought of as a soldier: a Constantinopolitan ivory of the late 10th century shows him as an infantry soldier (Metropolitan Museum of Art). But an icon of the late 11th century in Sinai shows him as before, still a civilian.
Another Sinai icon, of the Crusader period and painted by a French artist working in the Holy Land in the second half of the 12th century, shows what then became the most common depiction. Demetrius, bearded, rather older, and on a dark horse, rides together with St George, unbearded and on a white horse. Both are dressed as cavalrymen. Also, while St. George is often shown spearing a dragon, St. Demetrius is depicted spearing the gladiator Lyaeos, who according to legend was responsible for killing many Christians. In traditional hagiography, Demetrius did not directly kill Lyaeos, but rather through his prayers the gladiator was defeated.
A modern Greek iconographic convention depicts Demetrius with the White Tower of Thessaloniki in the background. The anachronistic White Tower acts as a symbolic depiction of the city of Thessaloniki, despite having been built in the 16th century, centuries after his life, and the exact architecture of the older tower that stood at the same site in earlier times is unknown.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Demetrius_of_Thessaloniki


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четвъртък, 16 октомври 2008 г.

St. Luke the Evangelist

Almost all that we know about Luke comes from the New Testament. He was a physician (Col 4:14), a companion of Paul on some of his missionary journeys (Acts 16:10ff; 20:5ff; 27-28). Material found in his Gospel and not elsewhere includes much of the account of Our Lord's birth and infancy and boyhood, some of the most moving parables, such as that of the Good Samaritan and that of the Prodigal Son, and three of the sayings of Christ on the Cross: "Father, forgive them," "Thou shalt be with me in Paradise," and "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit."
In Luke's account of the Gospel, we find an emphasis on the human love of Christ, on His compassion for sinners and for suffering and unhappy persons, for outcasts such as the Samaritans, tax collectors, lepers, shepherds (not a respected profession), and for the poor. The role of women in Christ's ministry is more emphasized in Luke than in the other Gospel writings.
In the book of Acts, we find the early Christian community poised from the start to carry out its commission, confident and aware of Divine guidance. We see how the early Christians at first preached only to Jews, then to Samaritans (a borderline case), then to outright Gentiles like Cornelius, and finally explicitly recognized that Gentiles and Jews are called on equal terms to the service and fellowship of Christ.
Luke makes many casual references throughout his writings (especially in Acts) to local customs and practices, often with demonstrable and noteworthy precision. To mention just one example, he refers to two centurions by name, Cornelius in Acts 10 and Julius in Acts 27, and he calls them both by nomen only, rather than by nomen and cognomen (Sergius Paulus in Acts 13;7) or cognomen only (Gallio in Acts 18:12), as he does when speaking of civilian officials. It is a distinction that would have been routine at the time that Luke is writing about, but one that had largely died out by, say, 70 AD. His preserving it shows either that:
he wrote fairly close to the events he described, or
he was describing persons and events on which he had good information, or
he was an expert historical novelist, with an ear for the authentic-sounding detail.

Luke is commonly thought to be the only non-Jewish New Testament writer. His writings place the life of Christ and the development of the early Church in the larger context of the Roman Empire and society. On the other hand, his writings are focused on Jerusalem and on the Temple. His Gospel begins and ends in the Temple, and chapters nine through nineteen portray Jesus as journeying from Galilee to Jerusalem. Similarly, the Book of Acts describes the Church in Jerusalem (and worshipping in the Temple) and then describes the missionary journeys of Paul as excursions from and returns to Jerusalem.


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понеделник, 6 октомври 2008 г.

St Sergius and Bacchus 13 c

This is an icon of two military Saints, Sergius and Bacchus on horseback. The large portable icon dates to the 13th c entury.


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петък, 26 септември 2008 г.

St John the Theologian


We show our love for God by obeying his commandments, and they are not hard to follow... Children, you must stay away from idols.


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вторник, 16 септември 2008 г.

the Pyrovolitheisa from Vatopedi

When, in 1822, the Holy Mountain was occupied by a Turkish garrison, a soldier dared to shoot at the icon of the Theotokos on the outside of the Monastery, above the entrance. The bullet damaged the right hand of the Theotokos, and the sacrilegious culprit, who was a nephew of the commander of the squad, went mad and hanged himself from an olive tree in the garden opposite the entrance to the Monastery. Now the Monastery was in grave danger of reprisals and looting, but a fellow-soldier of the suicide realised what was going on and told his uncle. The commander admitted that this was indeed a case of divine retribution and ordered that his nephew's body should be denied burial.


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събота, 6 септември 2008 г.

John the Baptist 6th century

46 x 25 cm. Encaustic. Kiev.
The badly damaged John is flanked by Christ and Mary in clipea, and he holds a scroll, Old Testament style, with John 1:29. His visage is gaunt, but his gaze clear, befitting an ascetic prophet. An early form of Deesis, John looks and points at the Christ clipeus.


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събота, 16 август 2008 г.

Virgin enthroned Sinai 6 c

This outstanding icon has survived in two pieces, unskillfully joined together with wire. It represents the Virgin enthroned, supporting the Child Christ in her lap and flanked by two warrior Saints, the bearded St. Theodore Stratelates on the right and the beardless St. George on the left, both standing in formal pose. Two Archangels are pictured behind the central group, their wide-open eyes staring with awe at the hand of God which descends from heaven emitting a beam of light towards the head of the Holy Virgin. Portrayed frontally, on a slightly larger scale than the rest of the figures composing the icon, the Virgin is seated on the red cushion of the pearl-studded throne, dressed in a dark blue maphorion (veil), her feet in purple shoes resting on a golden footrest adorned with pearls. An intense realism is reflected in the Virgin's white and pink face painted with ample highlights and greed shades, in her strongly accentuated features and large dissimilar eyes with their vivid glance. The Christ Child is pictured seated in a remarkably easy and comfortable pose on His mother's lap. The two Archangels, with their different haloes but otherwise perfectly uniform treatment and classical rendering, form a splendid complement to the central group.
Generally speaking, this icon presents a synthesis of the hieratic character of religious art and the profound meaning of theological doctrine. It symbolizes the mystery of the incarnation of Christ made man and the glory of the Mother of God. This justifies the intense expression of the countenances, the solemn attitudes of the Saints present at the glory of the Mother of God, the awed attention of the Archangels who "behold" the mystery of the incarnation.
The icon is dominated by the formal severity and hieratic character of monumental art in Justinian's age. It also reflects the splendor of the imperial court, particularly in the Saints' attires, and clearly betrays the continuation of Hellenistic tradition in the treatment of the Archangels. This masterpiece, therefore, has been dated by most scholars in the age of Justinian and attributed to an imperial atelier of Constantinople. However, it should be noted that some other scholars maintain that this icon is a Syro-Palestinian work.

It was painted using the encaustic technique and is believed to date to the 6th century (70X49 m)


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сряда, 6 август 2008 г.

Transfiguration Mosaic Sinai 6 c

One work within the Monastery's main church (Katholikon), decorating the sanctuary apse, is particularly notable.
Christ is portrayed with black hair and beard in an oval "glory" between Moses and Elijah who represent the Law and the prophets. Below, the three awed disciples are pictured in different poses. The soffit of the triumphal arch is decorated with medallions containing busts of the twelve Apostles. The three Apostles included in the scene fo the Transfiguration have been replaced in the chain of medallions by Paul, Thaddaeus and Matthias. The base of the apse is bordered by another series of fifteen medallions with busts of the Prophets.
This monumental composition of the late 6th century is a true masterpiece of Byzantine art. Through the subject, treated with intense light and profound spirituality, the mosaicist has succeeded to represent in a most expressive and transcendental manner the doctrine of the two natures of Christ, as formulated in 451 AD by the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon.

The terminal medallions enclose the portraits of Longinus the Abbot (right) and John the Deacon (left). Both were important personalities. Longinus was Abbot of the Monastery between 562-565/6, at which time the decoration was executed. He later became Patriarch of Antioch. John is perhaps the later Patriarch of Jerusalem known as John IV (575-594).
The spandrels of the arch are occupied by two flying angles and the center by the Amnos (Lamb). The Virgin is depicted in bust on the south side and St. John the Baptist on the north. We may say that we have here one of the earliest representations of the Deesis.
The upper part of the wall shows two episodes from the Old Testament. They are Moses before the Burning Bush and Moses receiving the Tablets of Law.
This superb mosaic must have been made by master mosaicists who had come from Constantinople. Cleaning and conservation operations, undertaken in 1958 by American experts, revealed the brightness and delicacy of the colors, the lively treatment of the subject and the excellent quality of this unique work of art.
Because of the sanctity and spirituality of the site and the famous mosaic of the Transfiguration, the Monastery's church (Katholikon) became known with the passing of centuries as "Church of the Transfiguration of Christ the Savior". To this day it is known under this name, in addition to the original name in honor of the Virgin of the Burning Bush and the later one in honor of St. Catherine.

http://touregypt.net/featurestories/catherines2-49.htm


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събота, 26 юли 2008 г.

St. Nicholas from Sinai 12-13 c

The third icon among our examples, St. Nicholas the Miracleworker, with Scenes from His Life, also comes from Sinai, but it is a later work, from the end of the twelfth or the first half of the thirteenth century. The saint is an amalgamation of two St. Nicholases, a bishop of the fourth century and a pious monk of the sixth. By the twelfth century St. Nicholas has become one of the most beloved and popular saints, not only in the Byzantine Empire but in Russia and the West. He was considered the patron of sailors, seamen, and fishermen, scholars, students and teachers, merchants, traders, marriageable maidens, bankers, and even robbers and thieves. Hagiographical icons of the saint presented in the middle his bust (in Russia, also his standing figure) and a selection of episodes from his life and from his posthumous miracles framing the central image. The icon shown here includes 16 episodes, from the saint's birth to his death. The monumental character of the central panel is softened by an addition of interesting decorative details. The hair and the beard of the saint are fancifully outlined by flowing white curls and the crosses on the saint's omophorion show intricate design. Next to Nicholas' head are two small figures: on the left Christ with a Gospel book, and on the right the Virgin with an omophorion. These two figures allude to the story of the saint's presence at the First Ecumenical Synod in Nicaea in 325. According to the story, Nicholas, angered by the blasphemous words of the heretic Arius against the Holy Trinity, slapped him on the face. For this, he was put in prison and his bishop's attributes, the Gospel Book and the omophorion, were taken from him. However, at night, Christ and the Virgin appeared in his prison cell and returned the Gospel book and the omophorion to him, forcing Emperor Constantine to free the saint and reinstate him as a bishop. In Russia, St. Nicholas became the most popular saint of all, depicted in literally thousands of icons, ranging from simple busts to very elaborate hagiographical icons with more than forty border scenes.

http://www.rollins.edu/Foreign_Lang/Russian/byzant.html


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сряда, 16 юли 2008 г.

Virgin and Child from Sinai 6 c

35.5 x 25.5 cm. Encaustic. 6th century. Kiev.
Slightly contraposto Mary is clad in a purple maphorion, yellow ochre chiton and embroidered stole; Christ in purple garment. Gold leaf in striations and haloes. Panel has been cut down, perhaps considerably; possibly the original was full length.

Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Matthew 1:22-23

http://campus.belmont.edu/honors/SinaiIcons/SinaiIcons.html


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неделя, 6 юли 2008 г.

St Paul from Zvenigorod 14 c

Saint Paul, Andrei Rublev (ca. 1370-1430). About 1394, 160 x 109 cm. Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.

The icon is from the Zvenigorod row. Some experts believe the icon was not painted by Andrei Rublev but by Daniil Cherny, a remarkable Russian icon painter in his own right. Both Andrei Rublev and Daniil Cherny were famous icon painters during their lifetime. They worked together in Moscow, Zvenigorod, Vladimir, etc. Daniil worked in the same manner as Andrei Rublev, which is the reason that some of his icons were ascribed either to him or to Andrei Rublev.

http://www.iconsexplained.com/iec/db_main.htm


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четвъртък, 26 юни 2008 г.

Saint Peter from Sinai 6 c

Saint Peter, encaustic icon, St. Catherine Monastery, Sinai, 6th century. Visible, above St. Peter, form left to right : St. Menas, Christ, and the Theotokos.

The Saint is portrayed with large wide-open eyes, short gray hair and short well-groomed beard, holding a cross in the left hand and three keys in the right. The face is painted in the tradition of the encaustic Fayoum portraits of Alexandrian art. The Saint's head is surrounded by a large golden halo. The top fo the icon is occupied by three small medallions. The middle one, with a cross in the background, contains a portrait of Christ and the right one a portrait of the Virgin. The identification of the beardless youth portrayed in the third medallion has posed a problem to scholars. Some believe that he should be identified either with Moses or St. John the Evangelist. The latter is the choice of several scholars because he appears to correspond to the Virgin on the right of the crucified Christ. Besides, the depiction of these particular holy figures in the three medallions may be interpreted as a representation of the Crucifixion, and linked with the obvious symbolism of the cross in St. Peter's hand, which can but allude to the Saint's death on the cross. Various scholars have dated this icon to the 6th or 7th century, though an earlier date in the 5th century cannot be ruled out. It is painted using the encaustic technique (0.52 X 0.39 m)

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.


2 Peter 1:16-18

http://touregypt.net/featurestories/catherines2-5.htm


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понеделник, 16 юни 2008 г.

Pantocrator from Sinai 13 c

101.6 x 66.4 cm Egg Tempera on Wood Early 13th Century
Holy Monastery of St. Catherine - Sinai

Here we see Christ as Pantokrator - "Ruler of All" holding a gospel in Imperial purple illumintated in gold. The Gospel reads - "I am the light of the world; the one who follows me would not walk in shadow, but enter the Light of Life". Christ raises his right hand in blessing. His robes are blue and Imperial purple, with the tunic hightlighted in gold. The background is subtle and luminous, in this ikon the halo merges softly with the gilded background.
The face of Christ is well-drawn and the cheeks are brightly colored in red - giving the face an almost sun-burnt appearance. The nose is full and realistic - overall the image of Christ feels alive and full of energy.

http://www.pallasweb.com/ikons/ikon.html?pid=5


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петък, 6 юни 2008 г.

Pantocrator from Hilandar 13 c

This is the famous Pantocrator (the Greek word for “Ruler of All”) icon at Hilandar Monastery on Mount Athos painted in 1260-1270. This icon was rendered in egg-tempera and shows the classical Byzantine iconographic influence of some of the best periods of early iconography, often portraying Christ in His Majesty and compassion. It has as well elements and stylization of other similar icons of Christ from the mid-13th century, especially in Macedonia and Serbia.
Icons are always more than just humanistic and naturalistic art, for the human perspective is limited by its own limiting self-awareness that cannot become truly objective from an Eternal point of view. This objectivity is just what a true icon expresses, both the state of creation and who is being depicted at the very end of time, often involving some abstraction or non-naturalistic perspectives. Thus Christ here has a long thin nose, wide set eyes which are open and aware, a pronounced brow, and a look of profound intentional insight into us, making us think about our own interior state now and in Eternity.

http://www.skete.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/product.display/product_id/84/index.cfm


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понеделник, 26 май 2008 г.

Pantokrator from Sinai

Christ Pantokrator, encaustic icon. St. Catherine Monastery, Sinai, Egypt

This is an early type of the Christ Pantocrator. Wearing a tunic (chiton) and a draped outer garment (himation), Christ makes the sign of blessing with the right hand and holds in the left a very thick Gospel - book with a cover adorned with jewels and precious stones. The eyes are not alike in size and shape, the mouth is asymmetrical with a melancholy expression, the rather short beard has an inward curve and the hair falls back over the left shoulder.
The exceptionally high quality of the painted icon suggests that it must have been the product of a Constantinopolitan atelier in Justinian's age. This may be further confirmed by the fact that the iconographical type it represents was created at the time when Justinian was emperor, although we cannot be absolutely certain about that. It should be remembered at this point that the Monastery of St. Catherine had been founded by Justinian and that the emperor had presumably sent various gifts to the Monastery, including perhaps this very icon

At one time the icon was dated to the 13th century. However, its cleaning and conservation in 1962 revealed the original encaustic layer, thus pointing to a much earlier date in the 6th or 7th century (85x45 m).

On the contrary, the Word of God, in condescension for us and, in regard to His proper desert, in humiliation while among men, is said to pass from this world unto the Father so that we also may behold Him perfectly there in reversion to His proper fullness from the emptiness among us whereby He emptied himself — where we also, enjoying His guidance, shall be filled and freed from all emptiness. To such an end the Word of God well may leave the world and depart to Him that sent Him, and go to the Father!

Origen. On Prayer, 13

http://touregypt.net/featurestories/catherines2-1.htm
http://orthodoxanglican.net/downloads/origen.PDF


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неделя, 13 април 2008 г.

Deesis Hagia Sofia

Although the exact date of the creation of the mosaic is unknown. There are no surviving Byzantine writings that mention it and Byzantine artists usuially did not sign their works. Based on style it is possible to attribute the mosaic to a specific period of Byzantine art from late 12th to mid 13th centuries. It is believed that the mosaic either dates from 1185 - 1204 (in 1204 the city fell to Crusading armies ending all artsistic patronage in the city) - or just after 1261 when the Byzantines regained their capital from the Latin invaders.

http://mosaicartsource.wordpress.com/2007/01/19/john-the-baptist-mosaic/
http://www.pallasweb.com/deesis/history.html


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вторник, 8 януари 2008 г.

Virtue and Vice



Albrecht Dürer 1471 – 1528

The Young Jesus among the Doctors, 1506


Ethical contrast, expressed by portraying human faces. Was there anything similar in ancient art?


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Ruins



Gian Paolo Pannini (1691-1765)

When does appear the interest to the ruins of ancient world as ruins?
Maybe that has something to do with the belief that the pagan civilization deserved its defeat?
That was the main thought of Augustine in his De civitate Dei


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понеделник, 7 януари 2008 г.

Still Life



Herculanum fresco, 50 BC

Is that the earlier ancient naturmorte?


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Zoo Caryatids



In 1425-1427 Donatello collaborated with Michelozzo on the funerary monument of Antipope John XXIII for the Battistero (in Florence).

Here the lions are placed under the coffin as a kind of Caryatids. Are there such cases in Antiquity?


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неделя, 6 януари 2008 г.

Caryatids



Erechteion

Human figures as columns at Athens, V BC. Was that the first time ever?


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събота, 5 януари 2008 г.

Doric order



Temple of Poseidon at Campania, Italy


No base of column at the oldest Greek stone temples. What about the forerunners in Egypt?


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петък, 4 януари 2008 г.

Christ as Young Zeus



Christ with Cross

Michelangelo (1475 - 1564) imagined the Saviour, the Prophets and the saints in the way the ancient artists imagined their gods. Was he the first post-ancient who did so?


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