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The Good Shepherd and The Trajans Column
Provide a visual analysis of this artwork or monument, making sure to mention the style, design, materials, techniques, subject matter, content, purposes, uses, and meanings of the work in specific description so your reader can clearly picture this work in their mind.
Explain how this work displays the appropriation of Roman features, styles, or techniques for a new Christian context.
Perhaps the work borrows the same kind of naturalism in style from Roman freestanding or relief sculpture, or the same kinds of techniques in fresco or mosaic, or the same kinds of design in architectural structures and public spaces, for example, but the work from Late Antiquity repurposes those traditional Roman features to be used in the worship of Christian beliefs, or the practice of Christian religious activities, or in the depictions of Christian figures, etc.
Explain to your reader how the Roman aspects of this work were used and understood by a new Christian audience in as much detail as possible.
Mausoleum of Galla Placidia
The so-called Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Honorius’s half-sister, is a small cruciform (cross-shaped) structure (FIG. 8-22) with barrel-vaulted arms and a tower at the crossing. Built shortly after 425, almost a quarter century before Galla Placidia’s death in 450, it is a little gem of Early Christian art and architecture, but the real name of the undoubtedly wealthy and important person who was buried inside is not known. The mausoleum adjoined the narthex of the now greatly altered palace-church of Santa Croce (Holy Cross), which was also cruciform in plan.
The building’s cross arms are of unequal length, so the structure has a longitudinal orientation, unlike the centrally planned Santa Costanza (FIGS. 8-11 and 8-12), but because all four arms are very short, the emphasis is on the tall crossing tower with its internal dome. This unassuming Ravenna mausoleum thus represents one of the earliest successful fusions of the two basic Late Antique plans—the longitudinal, used for basilica churches, and the central, used primarily for baptisteries and mausolea. It introduced, on a small scale, a building type that was to have a long history in church architecture: the longitudinally planned building with a domed crossing, the form that the remodeled Saint Peter’s would assume in the 17th century (FIG. 24-4).
The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia’s unadorned brick exterior encloses one of the richest mosaic ensembles (FIG. 8-23) in Early Christian art. Glass mosaics cover every square inch of the interior surfaces above the marble-faced walls. Garlands and decorative medallions resembling snowflakes on a dark blue ground adorn the barrel vaults of the nave and cross arms. The dome of the tower has a large golden cross set against a star-studded sky. Representations of saints and apostles cover the other surfaces. At the end of the nave is a mosaic representing Saint Lawrence next to the gridiron on which he was tortured (see “Early Christian Saints”). The martyred saint carries a cross, suggesting that faith in Christ led to his salvation. Old and New Testament stories of salvation abound in Early Christian catacomb paintings, sarcophagus reliefs, and mosaics alike.
Christ in his role as Good Shepherd, another popular subject in Early Christian funerary art, appears in the lunette (FIG. 8-24) above the entrance. No earlier version of the Good Shepherd is as regal as this one. Instead of carrying a lamb on his shoulders (FIGS. 8-6, 8-7, and 8-8A), Jesus sits among his flock, haloed and robed in gold and purple. To his left and right, the sheep are distributed evenly in groups of three. But their arrangement is rather loose and informal, and they occupy a carefully described landscape extending from foreground to background beneath a blue sky. As at Santa Maria Maggiore (FIG. 8-21), all the forms have three-dimensional bulk and are still deeply rooted in the classical tradition.
The Roman Emperor as World Conqueror
The name “Rome” almost invariably conjures images of power and grandeur, of mighty armies and fearsome gladiators, of marble cities and far-flung roads. Indeed, at the death of the emperor Trajan in 117 ce, the “eternal city” was the capital of the greatest empire the world had ever known. For the first time in history, a single government ruled an empire extending from the Strait of Gibraltar to the Nile, from the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers to the Rhine, Danube, Thames, and beyond (MAP 7-1).
The Romans presided over prosperous cities and frontier outposts on three continents, ruling virtually all of Europe, North Africa, and West Asia. Trajan, perhaps Rome’s greatest general, had led the imperial army to victory in both the East and West, bringing vast new territories under Roman dominion. To celebrate his successes—at home as well as abroad—in an era long before newspapers, television, and the Internet, Trajan, like his predecessors and successors as emperor of Rome, marshaled the power of art and architecture to communicate his version of events to the citizenry.
A case in point is the 128-foot-tall column (FIG. 7-1) that Trajan erected in Rome to commemorate the defeat of Dacia (roughly equivalent to present-day Romania). Although frequently imitated, the Column of Trajan was the first of its kind. Its distinguishing new feature was the 625-foot frieze that winds around the shaft 23 times from bottom to top and presents the emperor’s two military campaigns against the Dacians in the manner of a modern documentary film.
Three details are illustrated here. In the top section, a group of Roman soldiers storms a Dacian fortress with their shields raised and joined to form a turtle-shell umbrella to protect them. To the right, the battle won, Trajan, flanked by two lieutenants, views the severed Dacian heads that his soldiers have brought to him as evidence of the successful completion of their mission.
The middle detail comes as a surprise. It shows the Romans tending to their wounded after a battle—an admission that the Dacian victory did not come easily. But it also suggests to the viewer that this is a balanced pictorial record of the war, even if that record is sharply skewed to glorify Trajan and his men. Also unexpected is the third detail showing the construction of a fort. In fact, most of the scenes on the Column of Trajan do not depict battles, but the routine business of warfare, including the transportation of supplies and the building of roads and bridges. The common denominator, however, is the presence of Trajan almost everywhere. His personal direction of all aspects of the Dacian campaigns—and in expanding Rome’s empire on all fronts—is one of the central messages of the Column of Trajan.
I will be describing the Miracle of Loaves and Fishes. This piece is a single part of the Sant’apollinare Nuovo mosaic. It dates to the early sixth century. It has abstract patterns that border the rectangular panel. Inside of it five shoeless men are standing on grass in an open field. They are all wearing white robes, except for the man in the center. He wears purple robes, has a nimbus, and faces towards the viewer like the other men. Both of his arms are outstretched to his sides, touching four loaves of bread in one man’s hand and two fish in another’s.
This is a depiction of the Biblical scene in which Jesus fed 500 hungry people using only four loaves of bread and two fish. Interestingly enough, Jesus does not possess any facial hair in this mosaic, unlike in more modern-day depictions of the Prophet.Miracle of Loaves and Fishes is but one part of a greater piece that tells a story. Like the Romans, the medieval artists divided their work into rectangular panels so that the viewer could more easily understand the chronology of the story. It also uses abstract patterns as borders like Roman mosaics. It is important to note that the mosaic makes more use of golden colors than Roman ones might’ve.
The artwork I chose to talk about for this discussion is The Interior of Santa Sabina.
This building was made as a place for Christian worship. The ceilings in this basilica are quite high and there are rows of tall white columns on each side of the benches. The roof of the church is timber-roofed. It is illuminated by round, clerestory windows. Because these windows give so much light, it creates a nice reflection against the columns made of white marble.
The light was assumed to be a symbol of Christ filling the church with light. This gave visitors the impression Christ was among them. The Santa Basilica displays Roman traditions, such as, the fluted columns, Corinthian capitals and the rounded arches.
A difference between this basilica and one from the Roman Empire is the purpose. This basilica is used for Christian worship, while Roman basilicas were typical used as a meeting place to discuss political affairs. While the purpose of this basilica is different from those in the Roman Empire, there are still a number of Roman elements displayed in this new Christian style of architecture.
The image I picked for this week’s discussion is the Anastasis Rotunda, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Jerusalem. This monument was built by Constantine to protect and surround Jesus’s Christ’s tomb. Where it was believed to be the site of Christ’s tomb that He Resurrected from. Constantine discovered this site in 326. That’s why this monument was named Anastasis meaning Resurrection. Inside the church the Tomb is the center piece of the building, the Altar.
The design inside is supported by this dome like structure, which is supported by 12 columns representing it to be His 12 Apostles. It’s been mentioned that this was designed after the mausoleum for Constantine’s daughter Constanza.
Constantine built and constructed Anastasis Rotunda after for the same purpose as a mausoleum for Christ. Therefore, the subject matter of building this structure was a place The design is very similar to Constanza, the shape and layout in architecture of the monument is very similar to the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. The Constanza is made of bricks and marble stones. The Holy Sepulcher is made from the coclosed bygone quarry when it was found, so the materials were probably from there to build it during Constantine’s reign.
This monument meant a lot to Constantine because for his new found religion that he found a very meaningful to him and meant a lot to his victories of his battles. As Constantine the Great, the Roman Emperor in 306-337 A.D. He became a very devoted Christian so The Holy Sepulcher is one of the most Holy places for Christiandom. That was why Constantine have poured a lot of attention and time and invested in developing Christian places for the sake of Christiandom. For what Constantine have done way back then, the faith that we all know and cherish for the Christians today was all because of Constantine’s and the early Christians effort have paid off for today’s time, because of how much Christiandom grew bigger and have more branches.
The Holy Sepulcher is a sacred place to be in, it became a pilgrimage place to visit in Jerusalem, most especially for Christians and Jewish community. The Roman aspects of this monument architecture were used heavily so that people know the importance of this particular place is for the emperor and the whole Christiandom audience. When the Emperor Constantine made a mausoleum for his daughter Constanza, he did it to honor her, and the same way he did for the finding of The Holy Sepulcher, Constantine did this to honor his God. An homage to the higher being with whom he believed to have helped him achieve all the success and to have attained to be the new Roman Emperor after the fall of the old Rome. A new Emperor meant a new start for everyone in that time, new sets of rules, new everything. Constantine was the rock that Christiandome needed to have started and made it stronger with him. The people followed their new emperor because they didn’t want to offend him in any way. They did everything to please him. The people probably saw it as a win situation for all parties involved.
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