Archive for May, 2011

DESIGN CHARACTERISTICS

Tudor

Late Gothic and few Renaissance characteristics freely mix, some symmetry and order are evident.

Elizabethan

Regularity, symmetry, and mixed classical and Mannerist elements characterize design. Decoration tends to be lavish. Foreign influences dominate designs.

Jacobean

Named after King James, follows Elizabethan patterns with less individuality  and more stylistic unity.

Motifs

Heraldic symbols, strapwork, roundels, portrait busts, arabesques, grotesques, obelisks, caryatids, Tudor roses, cabochones, acanthus, and vines.

ARCHITECTURE

Tudor

Become more outward looking the earlier and center on courtyards. Facades are irregular and often move in and out, roofs vary in design and height, and windows change randomly in size. Towers and battlements decorate facades.

Hampton Court Palace

Haddon Hall

Elizabethan

Horizontal emphasis and regularity on the lower portions distinguish Elizabethan buildings. Roofs have irregular silhouettes. Composed of parapets, balustrades, pinnacles, lanterns, towers, roofs, and chimneys similar to those of France. Architecture is grander then Tudor. Designs are highly  individual.

Wollaton Hall

Jacobean

Feature more stylistic unity, although eclecticism and foreign influences remain strong. Towers, turrets, and parapets define rooflines, Which are less complex.

Queens House

Private Buildings

Types

Mansions, manor houses, and town houses.

Shakespeare’s House

Moreton Old Hall

Site Orientation 

House become more outward looking throughout the period. Houses are sited in parks surrounded by lawns, terraces, and gardens, often with an intricate design of beds, paths, and fountains.

Floor Plans 

Compton Wynyates

Hardwick Hall

Materials

Brick and stone begin to supersede wood during Tudor periods.

Facades

Tudor houses are somewhat symmetrical with few classical details, feature battlements, towers, and gatehouses. Large Windows dominate Elizabethan and Jacobean facades. Rarely flat as numerous bays and pavilions create a rhythmic sequence articulated by stringcourses and pilasters.

Haddon Hall

Wollaton Hall

Windows

Stone mullions divide the large rectangular windows into as many as 16 smaller lights in Elizabethan and Jacobean architecture. Bay windows and oriel windows.

Blickling Hall

Doors

Surrounds may be arched or rectangular and surmounted by a pediment or other decorative elements. Located in the gatehouse in Tudor houses, centrally in Elizabethan, and in the frontispiece of Jacobean.

Roofs

Flat, gabled, parapet, and hipped roofs are common and several may be combined.

Blickling Hall

INTERIORS

Tudor

Largely medieval and somber in feeling. Exhibit few classical details. Grow more lively with colorful finishes and textiles.

Elizabethan

Exuberant with brilliant colors and every surface decorated with carving, painting, gilding, or plasterwork. Strapwork and grotesques are common.

Jacobean

Continue Elizabethan traditions of exuberant Mannerism.

Private Buildings

Types

Great hall, great chamber, long gallery, chapel, summer and winter parlors, and bedchambers or lodgings.

Architectural Details

Usually derive from pattern books and are often Mannerist in character.

Color

Feature highly saturated, even garish, colors in textiles and finishes. White walls are common if there are hangings. May be blue or green. Paneling generally is painted stone color or brown to resemble wood. Ceilings are white or blue.

Lighting

Artificial lighting is minimal consisting of chandeliers or lanterns, wall sconces, and candle sticks.

Floors

Stone, Brick, marble, and wood are common. Hard plaster and tiles are used occasionally. Oak in wood planks or parquet, dominates wood flooring. Woven matting replaces loose rushes as floor coverings.

Walls

Paneling is usually oak. Early panels are small and plain or with carved linenfold, Gothic motifs, or Romayne work. Panels become larger with more elaborate carving, and the wood left natural or painted.

Chimneypiece

Focal point in all periods.

Windows

Rectangular, bays, or oriels. Glass is expensive, so horn or blinds of cloth or canvas substitute in lesser houses.

Doors

Generally match wainscoting. In larger houses, pilasters or columns supporting an entablature often flank doors.

Textiles

Provide color, warmth, and comfort to wealthy and royal interiors in all periods.

Ceilings

Some Tudors have medieval trusses. others are beamed or coffered. During the Elizabethan pargework appears. Earliest designs are small and geometric, but grow more complex.

FURNISHINGS AND DECORATIVE ARTS

Tudor

Similar to medieval furniture in form and decoration.

Elizabethan

Massive with heavy proportions, rich carving, and inlay. Shows strong Flemish influence and classical elements.

Jacobean

Continues Elizabethan tradition, but is simpler with more formal and naturalistic carving.

Public Buildings

Types

Seating, tables, storage pieces, and beds.

Distinctive Features

Heavy, elaborately carved, bulbous support defines Elizabethan and Jacobean. Early examples are large, but decrease in size and amount of embellishment. Legs may be turned, chamfered, or fluted.

Relationships

Have little furniture, and it lines the walls when not in use.

Materials

Most is of oak, few Jacobean are walnut.

Seating

Chairs, Settees, daybeds, stools, benches, and settles

Chairs

Turned, X-form, and wainscot chair. The farthingale chair appears at the end of the 16th century.

Turned Chair

Wainscot Chair

X-frame

Glastonbury Chair

Tables

Permanent table tops replace removable ones, and the drawtop is introduced.

Storage

Chests, cupboards, and chests of drawers.

Beds

Wooden boxes covered and draped with fabric or draped four-posters.

Bed Hangings 

Rich hangings not only give warmth, but also demonstrate rank and status.

Textiles

Silk, wool, damask, or velvet, gold or silver lace, embroidery, braid, cord, and tassels.

Decorative Arts

Tableware is made of wood, silver, horn, or glass. Tin-glazed earthenware, saltcellars, scones, plates, ewers and basins, flagons, drinking vessels, spoons, spice boxes, and snuffers. Others include portraits, paintings, and armor. Oriental rugs, porcelains, crewelwork, and palampores.

Flagons

ewers and basins

Palampore

Italian Renaissance

Posted: May 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

The Renaissance begins in Florence around 1400 as they emerge victorious from the attempts of subjugation by the powerful Duke of Milan, and the Florentines see their city as a “new Athens”.

CONCEPTS

Designs are based on, but do not copy, classical antiquity. Designers recognize that centuries separate them from the ancients, so instead of reviving the ancient styles, they aspire to create modern works that vie with or, surpass antiquity.

DESIGN CHARACTERISTICS 

Early Renaissance 

Appear light due to slender construction. Feelings of tension or awkwardness as designers learn to use classical design principles. Classical details may be used incorrectly, and designers borrow freely from antiquity and middle ages

S. Maria del Fiore, Florence

High Renaissance 

Follows the development of architectural theory, and show a better understanding of classicism. Numerical ratios and geometric forms dominate. Architects emulate, but do not copy, antiquity.

Tempietto (S. Pietro in Montorio), Rome

Late Renaissance 

Some follow High Renaissance principles, but others create a parody of classicism known as Mannerism. Classical elements are put together incorrectly or in odd ways. Classical proportions are rejected, and lightness and tension reappear. Does not reject classicism but deliberately brakes its rules.

II Rendentore, Venice

Motifs

Classical motifs appear extensively as embellishment and include: Classical Figure, cherub, swag, rinceau, rosette, scroll, cartouche (oval medallion), and geometric Patterns.

Blank Cartouche

ARCHITECTURE

Key concepts are a return to the classical orders, the adoption of classical forms, and a mathematical approach. Begin to relate the parts of buildings using simple whole-number proportions, usually derived from musical harmonies.

Public Buildings 

Types

Churches and public structures are most important.

Palazzo della Ragione, Vicenza

Site Orientation

Stand in self-contained isolation with little relationship to their surroundings.

Palazzo Davanzati, Florence

Floor Plans 

Churches resemble the Latin Cross, and plans feature carefully articulated square modules. In the second half of the 16th century, chapels began replacing side aisles. Experiment with centralized plans. Public buildings may feature rectangular plans defined by symmetrical columns and architectural openings.

Materials

Use local stone or brick.

Church Facades 

Most resemble the gable ends of ancient temples with triangular pediments supported by arches and pilasters and engaged columns dividing the composition into regular bays.

S. Giorgio Maggiore, Venice

Other Facades 

Classical imagery, details, and organization are characteristics. The Florentine arch is a new distinctive architectural form.

Building facades of Palazzo Strozzi

Windows and Doors

Arched and rectangular. Rounded Roman arches appear more frequently during the Early Renaissance.

S. Lorenzo

Roofs

Gabled and/or domed, and terra-cotta roof tiles.

INTERIORS

Become important. Churches follow traditional patterns and are symmetrical, regular, formal, and majestic.

Public Buildings 

Materials

Stone and marble are common, and Pietra serena (gray stone) appears extensively.

Floors

Stone or tile

S. Maria del Fiore

Walls

Develop with classical ordering to include a dado, shaft, and entablature. Moldings, arches, and pediments accent doors and windows. Walls may be plain or embellished with painted trompe l’oeil (photographically realistic) decoration.

S. Giorgio Maggiore

Ceilings

Groin or barrel-vaulted ceilings. nave ceilings are high to accommodate windows; some have flat and coffered ceilings with vaulted side aisles.

S. Maria del Fiore

Color

Scarlet, cobalt blue, gold, deep green, and cream.

Lighting

Shutters, blinds, and awnings block light and heat. Candles and firelight give little illumination. Candleholders, floor stands, and wall sconces. are typically of wood, iron, brass, and bronze.

FURNISHINGS AND DECORATIVE ARTS

Furniture is rectilinear and massive with classical ornament and proportions.

Types

most common pieces include the sedia (box-shaped armchair with runners), X-form chairs like the Dante (X-form with four legs, sometimes a seat of honor), and Savonarola (X-form with many interlacing slats, often used by scholars), trestle table, Cassone (chest or coffer with hinged lid), and cassapanca (a long wooden bench with a seat and back; seat has hinged lid).

Prince Chair

Sgabello Chair

Distinctive Features

Chairs feature quadrangular or turned legs with side runners terminating in lion’s heads, Back legs form the back upright, and front arm posts form the front legs.

Materials

walnut is the main wood, but oak, cedar, and cypress and typical. some are made of iron.

Seating

Sedias, ladder-backs with rush seats, the Dante, the Savonarola, and the Sgabello.

Savonarola

Tables

Long, narrow, oblong trestle tables for dining, tables with marble or pietra dura (semiprecious stones inlaid in wood) tops, folding tables, andsmall side tables or sideboards.

Storage

Cassones used for storage and seating, Florance introduces the casapanca (chest with a back used as a seat).

Cassones

Beds

The lettiers, four-poster beds, and simple boards with legs derived from the middle ages. Few trundle and folding beds exist.

Textiles

Velvet or leather. some seat covers, cushions, and coverlets are made of tapestries, embroidered fabrics, cushions, and wall and bed hangings.

Decorative Arts

Mirrors or silver, Ewers, basins, inkwells, candlesticks, and other decorative objects are of bronze and brass. Prints or paintings. Devotional scenes are common in bedrooms, portraits and maps hang in halls, galleries, and reception rooms. Bronze, terra-cotta, or plaster statuettes, antique and new sculptures.

Earthenware

Decorative objects and informal dinnerware are made of Italian majolica (tin-glazed earthenware painted in bright colors).

Gothic

Posted: May 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

The term Gothic refers to the Goths, the Germanic tribes that brought about the downfall of the Roman Empire.

DESIGN CHARACTERISTICS

National and regional varieties in church architecture abound. Dimensions are mathematically related within a single structure, but not consistent among buildings. Proportions are slender an attenuated. Common shapes are the square and equilateral triangle.

Motifs

Haraldic devices, the pointed arch, trefoils (three-lobed form), Quatrefoils (four-lobed form), cinquefoils (five-lobed form), grotesques (fantastic figures such as gargoyals or dwarfs), birds, foliage, oak leaves, crockets (stone carved with foliage that mark ranking angles of spires and canopies), and linenfold (resembles folds of fabric). Some geometric shapes, such as lozenges and zigzags.

ARCHITECTURE

Public Buildings

Types

Cathedrals, perish churches, and other ecclasiastical structures are most common. Universities, newly formed guilds, prosperous towns build halls and meeting places.

Milan Cathedral

Site Orientation

Most continental cathedrals are in the center of town, surrounded by markets, dwellings, and other secular structures.

Floor Plans

Continue the earlier Latin cross/pilgrimage type composed of nave, side aisles, and radiating chaples in the apse. Have numeros square or rectangular bays forming moduals that can be added or subtracted as needed.

Salisbury Cathedral

Materials

Cathedrals and other important buildings are of local stone or brick because transporting was to difficult over long distances.

Structural system

Cathedrals are composed of pointed arches, ribbed vaults, and buttresses, allows walls and ceilings to be less supporting. Vault ceilings, filled in after the ribs are constructed, appear weblike, walls have more space for windows. This system dematerializes the material and opens space, allowing more flow between spaces and larger vistas.

Buttress

Facades

Display considerable variety. Vertical tripartile divisions, marked by buttresses. correspond to the nave and aisles. Sculptures; rose windows; tall, pointed arched windows; or arcades with pinnacles organize in horizontal and vertical areas and bands. Twin towers that may be unequal height crown fronts.

Sens Cathedral

Windows

repeat the pointed arch shape. Tracery and stained glass depict biblical scens, the lives of saints, and patrons or rulers in rich colors such as ruby red or dark blue. Rose windows often accent front facades and/or two vertical lights (glass) surmounted by a circular or lobed form. Others include trefoil, quatrefoil, or cinquefoil.

Doors

typically have three recessed or projecting portals (doorways) capped with pointed arches and pinnacles. Figural sculptures enhanced with decorative carving, usually geometric, line the jambs, lintels, archivolts (face of the arch), and tympanums. Tall, narrow windows and/or a rose window surmount some portals. Doors are made of wood.

Roofs

Steeply pitched and covered with copper or slate. Some have wooden roofs. Multiple roofs identify the nave, transept and radiating chapel.

Cologne Cathedral

INTERIORS

Public Buildings 

Relationships

As on exteriors, pointed arches, compound piers, ribbed vaults, tracery, and stained glass.

Materials

Local stone, color largely comes from stained glass.

Walls

Have three stories, the lower portion is an arcade of panted arches supported by compound piers or columns. Next is the gallery or triforium with shorter arched openings into the nave, clerestory windows are above, despite large areas of glass, Interiors remain dim.

Columns and Capitals

Arcade supports may be single round columns, compound columns, or pier and engaged columns, or dusters of columns. Common capitals are human and animal forms entwined in vines and foliage.

Ceilings

Vaulted with four or more ribs in each bay. Sometimes ribs form fans, stars, or other shapes. The masonry between ribs may be painted blue with gilded stars or other motifs.

Color

Highly saturated green, blue, scarlet, violet, white, brown, and russet.

Lighting

Firelight, torches, few candles, or lamps.

Floors

Dirt, stone, clay, or brick.

FURNISHINGS AND DECORATIVE ARTS 

Types

Chairs, benches, stools, tables, cupboards, buffets, chests, and beds.

Materials

Pine, oak, and walnut are common. Many pieces are painted in bright colors or gilded to highlight turning and carvings. Some stools are iron.

Seating

Chairs and thrones are few. Ceremonial and feature turned elements. Typical pieces include X-frame, and choir stall and trestle from stools and benches.

Hall Chair

Throne

Tables

Trestle tables with unattached tops.

Storage

Chests or coffers and boxes are the most common items and the chief storage pieces. The buffet or dresser, and cupboard.

Beds

Most are boxlike in form and crudely constructed. Surrounded by lavish draperies, suspended from hooks, cords, or wooden rods.

Textiles

Cotton, linen, and silk in plain and twill weaves, damask, and velvets. wool is he most common on furnishings. Colors include brown, blue, green, russed, violet, and scarlet.

Crossing the Red Sea, late Gothic

Decorative Arts

Books are the most important form of artistic expression. Illustrations in illuminated manuscripts often portray figures, landscapes, buildings, and furnishings. Most silver made for the state and church is elaborately decorated.

Romanesque

Posted: May 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

CONCEPTS 

Romanesque Architecture springs up all over Europe as builders grapple with the problems of providing larger, structurally stable churches to accommodate crowds of pilgrims and worshippers, good light and acoustics, and fire resistance. They cease to copy buildings they know and strive to respond to current architectural, practical, and liturgical needs and patrons desires.

DESIGN CHARACTERISTICS 

Emphasis is on massing, architectural elements, moldings, and sculpture to articulate design features. Symmetrical compositions and ordered arrangements of building forms are common. Religious structures convey the best examples of design vocabulary.

Motifs

Important motifs include: the round arch, figures, corbel tables (projecting walls composed of brackets connected to round arches), animals, grotesques and fantastic figures, foliage, heraldic devices, linenfold, zigzags, lozenges, and geometric forms. Molding designs include the zigzag, star, billet (dental-like), and lozenges (diamond shaped).

ARCHITECTURE 

An international ecclesiastical architectural style with regional variations. Forms and details grow from a common and logical architectural language that is an outgrowth of a more intellectual approach to buildings that replaces tradition and intuition

Public Buildings 

Types

Churches and monasteries are the primary building types. Churches serve as places of worship, entries, and hostels. Other types include public buildings, town houses, castles, manor houses, and farm houses.

St. Ambrogio, Milan

Abbey (reconstruction Drawing)

Site Orientation 

Churches are usually located along pilgrimage routes or in town centers. In monasteries, the cloister, dormitory, refectory, and kitchen surround the church. Other structures include guesthouses, schools, libraries, barns, stables, and workshops. Monasteries are walled for protection and privacy.

Floor Plans 

Early examples of a round church plan reflecting the Byzantine influences. Many churches follow the pilgrimage plan in which the side aisles flanking the nave extend around the the transept and circular apse. Besides adding needed space, this innovation allows clergy to continue their duties despite the crowds.

St Ambrogio plan

Materials

Primarily use masonry to prevent fires. A few retain wooden ceilings and roofs. Local stone dominates. Exteriors often feature several types in contrasting colors. Areas lacking good building stone use brick.

Facades

Round arches and delineated architectural elements are key features. Fronts have three parts, each with a portal (main entrance with tympanum). Twin towers are common or multistoried combinations of towers and entrances. Simple elaborate sculpture programs embellish facades. Front and side walls are divided into bays using buttresses, engaged columns, or pilasters, often corresponding to interior units.

basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore

Durham Cathedral, Durham

Doors and Windows 

Rounded doors, windows, and arcades display figural and non figural sculptures. Recessed portals feature columns forming the jambs and sculpture in the tympanum and archivolts (arch molding). Windows are as large as construction permits. Stained glass emerges late in the period.

Durham Cathedral, Durham

Roofs

Timber roofs are usually gabled with less pitch then Gothic. Chapels and towers may have conical or pyramidal. Sometimes the nave and flanking aisles have their own roofs.

INTERIORS

Churches feature many of the common characteristics: round arches, repeated modules, ribbed vaults, compound piers, triforium, thick walls, and masonry ceilings.

Public Buildings 

Color

Most churches walls and ceilings are painted, which emphasizes their architectonic nature. Treatments very from simple washes of color to extensive figural and decorative schemes. Colors include yellow, ocher, sandstone, gray, or red. Contrasting color, borders or ornamental patterns highlight architectural elements.

Notre-Dame-la-Grande, Poitiers

Floors

Important design elements because there are no pews or seats and few furnishings. Treatments vary from plain stone or brick with simple washes of color to elaborate patterns in tile or marble.

Worms Cathedral, Worms

Walls

Nave walls feature round arches. Two and three-story nave elevations are typical. The lower portion is an arcade carried on piers. above is the triforium, composed of two or more round arches carried on columns. Clerestory windows, also with round arches, only appear in groin or rib-vaulted naves. Openings reveal wall thickness and weight.

Sainte-Foy, Conques

Nave Vaults 

The earliest nave vault is the barrel vault, which requires thick walls for support. A variation is a pointed barrel vault with pointed transverse arches and a nave arcade. Besides allowing grater triforium and clerestory windows.

Ceilings

When defense is not a concern ceilings are flat and beamed. when defense or fireproofing is necessary, ceilings are of masonry and vaulted, and made of timber.

Sainte-Foy, Conques

FURNISHINGS OR DECORATIVE ARTS  

Church furnishings consist mainly of alters, canopies, and shrines. Accessories, such as silver Chalices, are particularly luxurious and elaborate.

Materials

Local woods such as oak, walnut, and elm are used because of transportation issues. Turning and painting in bright colors are the main decoration.

Seating

Limited use of chairs during the period. Elaborate, massive throne chairs proclaim the status of the ruler. The occasional chairs are large, heavy, and simple in design.

Throne Chair

Storage

Chests and ivory caskets with decorative patters store important materials.

Ivory Casket

Textiles

The most well known of the period is the Bayeux Tapestry.

Bayeux Tapestry

Decorative Arts

Illuminated manuscripts, produced in monasteries, have flat spaced, lively lines and patterns, ornamental initials and bright colors.

Byzantine

Posted: May 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

The Byzantine Empire continues classical Roman and Early Christian traditions, blending them into a distictive church architecture and secoration that reflects an imperial, princely Christ and saints at the head of a theocratic society.

DESIGN CHARSCTERISTICS

Motifs

Include images of Christ, Mary, the apostles , rulers and various saints, Foliage, frets, waves, geometric designs, guilloches, lozenges, rosettes, and animals.

ARCHITECTURE

Early Byzantine architecture continues Late Roman and Early Christian forms, becoming distinctive by the 6th century with the building of Hagia Sophia (meaning “devine wisdome”). Innovations include the pendentive (a triangular carving form that allows construction of a circular dome over a square or rectangular base). Combined centralized and basilica plans in churches, and the skillful use of light as a mystical element.

Hagia Sofia, Istanbul

Public Buildings

Types

Churches are most common, but Roman forms compatible with Byzantine culture continues, such as Baths and hippodromes.

St. Marks, Venice

Floor Plans

Church plans are symmetrical, ordered and often complex. Centralized plans with circular and polygonal forms are most common.

Hagia Sofia plan

Materials

Brick, which permits more plastic elevations, supersedes Roman concrete. Vaultes and domes are brick to eliminate centering. Iron tie0rods reinforce arches and vaults. Brick usually is covered with stucco, marble, stone, or mosaics.

Facades

Earlier churches are smooth, plain, and unadorned. Later ones are articulated with architectural elements. As time passes, they grow more complex in form following interior spaces movement in and out; circular or polygonal forms; and the repitition of walls, windows, arches, and other elements creates a lively, rhythmic pattern in middle and late Byzantine examples.

Palantine Chapel, Palermo

Columns

Usually unfluted with an inverted pyramidal impost block (which seperates the capital from the springing of the arch). Both impost block and capitals have simple profiles, but are covered with complex, elaborate, and pierced lacy undercut foliage or geometric shapes.

Windows

Round tops punctuate walls and domes, often placed in the drums of domes so the dome appears to float.

Roofs

Sloped and gabled rooflines are complicated. Domes over plan centers or crossings are universal. Small chaples may be domed or simidomed.

Later russian interpretations

INTERIORS

Church interiors are opulant, formal, and sumptuous. Surface decorations in rich colors and materials are typical. Paintings, mosaics, and/or marble panels that build on Early Christian forms cover floors, walls, and ceilings.

Public and Private Buildings

Colors

Incorperates various shades of gold, red, green, and blue.

Floors

Patterns of marble, stone, or mosaics. Often in geometric forms.

Walls

Articulated with columns, pilasters, and cornices and/or are coverd with frescos, mosaics, marble panels, or hangings. Images of  devine persons, geometric forms, foliage, and christian symbols are common.

Palantine Chapel

Mosaics

Churches are noted for their mosaics that continue and develop further Early Christian forms and images. Have more gold and reflective surfaces as a symbol of christ as the light of the world.

Windows

Often numerous and made of glass or alabaster.

Doors

Iron, Bronze, or wood.

Ceilings

Centers or crossings of churches have domes surrounded by smaller domed and half-domed spaces. Central domes are supported by Pendentives. Almost all ceilings feature painted and mosaic decorations.

Hagia Sofia

FURNISHINGS AND DECORATIVE ARTS

Materials

Wood, metal, and ivory using simple construction. some pieces are jeweled or have gold and silver inlay.

Seating

Architectonic thrones and chairs are often illustrated in manuscripts, and the Maximus throne.  Some chairs, stoolsm and benches are X-shaped and often metal.

Textiles

Silk and velvet are common materials, designs featuring animals, geometric, patterns, and Persian influences.

Decorative Arts

Elaborately decorated reliquaries hold religious objects of veneration. The richness of the details, jewel-encrusted surface treatments, and complex geometric carvings. Icons become increasingly important and feature stylized images of devine persons set against gold backgrounds. Ivory carvings often decorates book covers, plaques, and reliquaries.

Icon

Early Christian

Posted: May 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

Architecture

Follow basilica or centralized plans, avoid images of paganism, so builders do not look to temples as models.

Symbol and Motifs 

The cross is the main symbol and others are the fish, dove, and lamb. Greek letters chi (x) and rho (p) form the monogram of Christ common images include shepherds and sheep to represent Christ, Mary (mother of God), and the apostles and various saints.

Cross

Dove and Monogram of Christ

Fish

lamb

Public Buildings 

Types

Churches, baptisteries, mausoleums, and memorial structures.

Mausoleum of Galla Placidia

Orientation

The apse (houses the alter) Orients to the east because christ was crucified in Jerusalem, the entrance is opposite it on the west.

The apse at Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Venice

Floor Plans

Most churches follow the Roman Basilica plan.

Old Basilica of St. Peter

Facades

Walls are of plain brick or stone with little articulation except doors and windows. The center of the nave is high to accommodate clerestory windows. Windows are rectangular or arched.

St. Paolo Fuori le Mura

Doors

Carved wood or bronze, surface decor may enrich the portals.

Door at St. Paolo Fuori le Mura

Roofs

Gabled on basilicas and domed on central plans, with rust colored clay tiles usually cover the surface.

Interiors

Churches have many wall that require embellishment, so they feature wall decoration on an unprecedented scale.

Public Buildings 

Floors

Black and white, gray, or colored marble.

Walls

the nave arcade, Triumphal arch, and apse display marble panels, frescos, or mosaics.

St. Paolo Fuori le Mura

Mosaics

Early Christians mosaics are of glass rather than the early marble. Glass gives an intense range of colors, but little tonal variation. Colors include blue, green, purple, red, and gold. The glittering glass surface dematerializes the walls and creates the impression of a heavenly realm populated with celestial beings.

Columns

Reused roman or new classicizing columns. Capitals and columns frequently do not match.

Column at St. Clemente

Ceilings

feature exposed timber trusses or beams.

St. Paolo Fuori le Mura
Furniture

Is limited. The most important pieces are the storage items found in churches. Richly decorated with carving, gilding, and frequently, jewels.

Seating

Stools are more common then chairs and resemble Roman prototypes.

Storage

Emblems belonging to christian faith decorated furniture as well as architecture. Examples include: the peacock (immortal life), grape vines, and the cross.

Early Christian Sarcophagus