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Gothic Sculpture

gothic art, sculpture
by

C Meyer

on 16 September 2015

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Transcript of Gothic Sculpture

Gothic Art
Sculpture
Virgin of Paris, Paris, France 13th Century
A Worldly Queen and her Prince
Looking to the Past
One of the main characteristics of High Gothic sculpture was elegance.
Note the the exaggerated "S" curve of the body -not natural, but elegant in term of proportions
Mimics the Praxitelian "S" curve
Classical Greek sculptor
Praxiteles's canon of proportion
s depicted human forms that were slenderer, softer, and taller
evidence of a deliberate look to the past
the sway given to this body is more like the decorative ornamentation give to the interior of Gothic cathedrals – full details and complex

Individualization of Faces
Uta
Uta draws up her gown party across her face while she gathers up a soft fold of drapery with a jeweled, delicate hand
The sculptor probably used a model because of the
accuracy of the folds
as they enfold the body shape

Secular Sculptures
The statues are
individualized
even if they are of individuals the sculptor never met
Uta and Ekkehard are not religious figures
By the mid-thirteenth century,
statues of sacred and secular individuals were appearing in churches
Further testimony to the Virgin’s central role in Gothic iconography
The sculpture utilized classical elements more than any other statuary we have seen so far
The heads of each woman look like Roman portraits
The face of youthful Mary resembles the face of Faustina the younger, Marcus Aurelis’s Wife
The have an astonishing approximation to the classical naturalistic style

The sculptor even incorporated the Greek contrapposto
sway of the hips is pronounced, the right leg bends and the knee presses against the rippling folds of the garment
The figure’s arms are also set in motion – not only do Mary and Elizabeth turn their faces toward each other, but they converse through gestures
Early Gothic jamb statues are isolated, however in this example the
jamb statues become part of a narrative group

An example of the court style in Late Gothic sculpture
nicknamed the Virgin of Paris because it stands in Paris, France
The Virgin of Paris is a new style that is different from the
classical contrapposto

sometimes called one of the most decorative statues in all of Catholicism
The mannered elegance evident here had replaced the monumental and solemn sculptural style of Gothic portals
Sculptor portrays Mary as a very worldly queen, decked out in royal garments and wearing a heavy gem-encrusted crown
The Christ Child is equally richly attired and is very much the infant prince in the arms of his young mother
The relationship is tender and loving – a further humanization religious figures

Praxiteles, Hermes and Dionysus
Re-emergence of the human body as a central subject matter of art
Free standing sculpture
(in the round!) begins to be done
Gothic “s-curve” in figure; new elegance
“doll-like” face, large eyes, small mouth crown on head
Courtly style of Late Gothic Sculpture
Visitation Jamb Statues, Reim Cathedral 13th Century
Focus: Virgin Mary and St. Elizabeth
THE VISITATION: The feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary celebrates the visit of the Mother of God, with the child Jesus in her womb, to her cousin Elizabeth, who was herself six months' pregnant with the forerunner of Christ, Saint John the Baptist.
Visitation
Jambs
these jamb statues represent St. Elizabeth visiting the Virgin Mary before the birth of Jesus.
they are two of a series of statues that celebrate Mary’s life
Jamb statues appear to be
completely detached from the architectural background
the designer shrank the column into insignificance so that they in
no way restricted the free and easy movement of the full bodies figures

Increasing sense of realism in door jamb sculpture – from iconic to naturalism
Ekkehard and Uta,
Naumburg Cathedral, 13th Century
At the Naumberg cathedral, the task was to carve statues of the 12 benefactors of the original 11th century church who fundraised for its construction
The quality are the two examples, the margrave - Ekkehard (German military governor) and his wife - Uta
The statues are attached to columns and stand beneath architectural canopies, following the pattern of French Gothic portal statuary (Chartres portals, Jamb Statues from Reims)
Their location indoors accounts for the preservation of much paint
Period costumes and
individualized features
and personalities give the idea that the pair sat for portraits, however the subjects lived well before the sculptor’s time
The stout an intense Ekkehard contrasts well with the graceful and beautiful Uta

Jesus Christ
King of Heaven
The Central Portal of the West Facade (Royal Portal)
a new testament even is represented over the central door, a Second Coming of Christ
this is described by Saint John the Divine in the book of Revelation
on the tympanum, a seated Christ is surrounded by an oval
mandorla
and the four apocalyptic symbols of the Evangelists
beneath the
tympanum
on the
lintel
, the 12 apostles are arranged in four groups of three
each group is separated by a colonette supporting round arches that resemble halos

Royal Portal, West Facade
like Romanesque churches, Gothic church entrances, or portals are composed of standard elements
the Royal Portal of Chartres contains three portals, the center portal is slightly larger than the other two
this central portal is composed in arranged derived from a triumphal arch, which marked an entry into a city
this highlight the parallel between the interior of the church and the Heavenly City of Jerusalem
throughout the Middle Ages, entering a church was through of as an earthly prefiguration of one's ultimate entry in heaven
The Royal Portal, Chartres Cathedral
The statues are more mature and classical than those of the west facade
the drapery falls in natural folds and the figures appear lifelike
some heads are too large, but the bodies are less severe and more proportional than those on the west facade
we can see the development and change of the sculptural styles of the twelfth to the thirteenth centuries
figures begin to interact with each other
move away from confines of door jamb shape
proportion more realistic
individualization of faces
attempt at contrapposto and more natural stance
figures reflect a greater understanding of anatomy
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Simeon with Jesus, St. John the Baptist, and St. Peter
Increased Sense of Depth
the general increase in the sense of depth is enhanced by the more deeply carved folds and facial features, as well as the projecting crown-like architectural elements over the figures' heads
these figures are wider and seem as if they might step down from their supports into the real world of the observer
this reflects the changes from Early to High Gothic
High Gothic Sculpture = interest in human form and emotion
this will continue to develop
Saint Theodore (for example)
The South Facade, doorjamb statues
figures conform less strictly to their colonnettes
feet of figures rest naturally on a horizontal plane
figures are no longer strictly frontal
they have facial expressions and are of varying heights - a reflection of an interest to individualize these figures
heads turn slightly, variety in poses, gestures and costumes
Shares Similar Characteristics to the Statuary on the North Portal
Central Portal
Saint John
Saint Matthew
Saint Mark
Saint Luke
Jesus Christ
Apostles
Prophet
of the
three archivolts
, the outer two contain twenty-four elders of the Apocalypse described by John the divine
the
inner archivolt
contains twelve angels; the two in the center hold a crown over Christ's head, proclaiming his role as King of Heaven
angels crowning Christ
= elders of the apocalypse
= angels
Figures become an Architectural Element
each group of figures becomes a discrete architectural element
this creates a
greater sense of order and logic
and reduces the sense of crowding (think about the crowded figures of Romanesque tympanums)
it is easier to "read" this tympanum than its Romanesque predecessor
the resulting clarity is enhanced by the
deeper relief
and the minimal floral designs that frame the
archivolts
by now the influence of Islamic patterning, as well as medieval interlace, on monumental stone buildings has disappeared.
Iconographic Totality
the Royal Portal of Chartres offers the visitor a Christian view of history
In terms of stylistic shifts from Romanesque art
figures are more extremely elongated and drapery is very linear
Re-emergence of the human body as a central subject matter of art
West Portals of Chartres, 13th Century
North Portal of Chartres, 13th Century
South Portal of Chartres, 13th Century
jamb statues from the north portal of Chartres
Slow movement to greater realism and naturalism of door jamb sculptures of late Gothic statuary:
sculptural forms interact; simply don't just stand alone
sculpture appears to be in the around; not just attached to the architecture
each form has an individualized appearance
individualization of faces
as in Classical art, a renewed interest in portrayed a more natural human anatomy
his right hip swings out slightly in response to the natural relaxation of his stance
the diagonal of the belt, apparently weighed down at the saint's left by a heavy sword, conveys a slight suggestion of movement in three-dimensional space
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