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Art History 203 - Midterm 1

Key Concepts:

Terms in this set (156)

Commissioned by a member of the Lenzi family for the artist Masaccio for Santa Maria Novella, Florence, Fresco (associated with Dominican)
One of the first known representations of one point perspective in painting
Many scholars believe he may have been working with Brunelleschi by how quickly he adopted the linear perspective
Location of this image is noteworthy: located on the wall right opposite the side entrance for the church (only a few meters away)
- the flat surface (wall) is made to look like an actual chapel is depicted
- maybe the Lenzi family could not afford to build an entire chapel, so they commissioned a fake one

Scene of the Trinity: Catholic belief, the three forms of God (the father), Son (Christ), and the Holy Spirit
- White dove = holy spirit
- God is in human form as an older man with beard (as we know him now), before he was shown as only hands
--> Humanism!
--> allows viewers to relate to him more easily
- God is presenting Christ as he is being crucified
- Christ is not hovering in front of the cross, gravity and muscle tension in detail - naturalism (especially abs and shoulders)
- His expression has sorrow, less triumphant. Resigned to his coming death (creates empathy from viewers)

Two figures flanking either side of the cross - John the Baptist and Mary - showing honour of sacrifice since they are at his feet
Less narrative, more devotional object
Mary gestures with hand which directs attention to Christ, directing our devotion
There are two more figures outside of the architectural structure: members of the Lenzi family
- Representation of the commissioners in the composition
- They make note to put themselves on a different register than the Holy figures - lower step; outside of the architecture
- Gesture and position (kneeling) models a devotional stance that commoners should take

The Fresco took 28 days to complete
The most important figure is the man in blue in the center (Jesus)
- the colour used is more bright
- all figures gaze attention to him
- physically located at the center of the image

Tells the story of Christ and his disciples with a Tax collector
- the tax collector has shorter garbs, no halo
- tax collector approaches Christ demanding tribute money (but since they all were mendicants, had none)
- Christ instructs Peter to give something because Caesar cares of money but God does not
- Tells him to go to the sea and open the mouth of the first fish he finds
- 2 hands pointing to reinforce the transition into the next scene with the old man
- expressions on the faces: Christ is calm (everything will be fine); Peter is confused; John is calm, etc.

*Continuous Narrative

Peter goes and opens the mouth of the fish
- He finds a coin with double the amount of the tax
- Same orange robe as Peter in the first scene
- Foreshortening is used (smaller Peter) - receding space

Last scene where Peter pays the tax collector

Architectural structures are drawn with one-point perspective
- Does not serve much of a purpose in the narrative, included as a device to show Masaccio's ability to master the technique

Innovations in the composition:
1) Naturalistic human bodies with the use of cast shadows - gives weight to the bodies presented
- the light source would be from the right (which is where the actual window is in the alter - meta!)
2) Halo is foreshortened - halo is a sign of status (does not really exist)
- to give the signs of spirituality a sense of material object attached to the figures
Diplomatic gifts and portrait cycles displayed in the studiolo worked to solidify and promote alliances, as well as to dispel any political anxieties and instabilities
The presence of portraits in the form of medals or on panel alludes to friendships, alliances, or sought-after acquaintances of the owner
Can also be used as political pawns - acting as a material signifier of diplomatic relations, or marking both collectors' erudition, taste, and prestige.
Gifts could be given during times of negotiation or to show support (if given by someone of high status or an important piece was given)

Displaying the arms of political figures or of the commune of republican cities, underlining someone's political role and diplomatic connections.
Uomini famosi - series of supposed portraits in which heroes from the past are fathered to form paradigms of exemplary behaviour. Possession of portraits of illustrious individuals and literary texts was closely associated with the possession of virtue and intellect that those individuals encompassed.
Keeping portraits of people from different political or religious circles with whom you had a good relationship with showed connectedness across Italy. (influence) - 'image management'
Maintaining a studiolo with a collection of books would be a mark of their membership of 'textual communities, both sacred and secular.'

Ways of seeing:
The constant trading and purchasing of sought-after items required detailed descriptions to be recorded. The careful following of precious collectable items resulted in close inspection of objects, precise descriptions, an increasing interest in close engagement and new ways of looking at objects. Individuals learned the use of particular tools to assess these objects, along monetary - and also cultural - lines.

The Role of Women:
Women in a republic might also be in charge of overseeing the account-books of their families. Reveals a close attention to the purchasing and exchanging of their families possessions. Such activities illustrate the ways in which women participated in the circulation of goods, and how these activities opened up avenues for association.

Good governance:
Vases and decorative items signified a ruler's prestige since good governance was closely linked to the possession and display of culture