Thursday, May 30, 2013

Page 24

Francesco Laurana, Saint Cyricus, ca. 1470-1480,
J. Paul Getty Museum

Francesco Laurana, Isabella of Aragon, ca. 1488,
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

With sculpting in stone the spacing between God, the universe, the cosmos and the planetary sphere are something that is representative in the description of the human form. Settignano and Donatello worked in such a way as to express the feeling of God in their hearts via their love of purpose and their understanding of the sublime being. The form that Saint John takes, not only physically in a sculpted ascension, is I feel, not something that has an equivalent elsewhere. Other divine offerings that were being contributed during a similar time were Saint Cyricus, ca. 1470-1480 and Isabella of Aragon, ca. 1488 by Francesco Laurana, these are exquisite in themselves but also have a completely different approach and message. One feels the purpose of sculpture during Italian Renaissance was a very direct response for a need to communicate a deeper feeling of the love of God that had previously been attributed with. Our relationship to our body in space is often something we take for granted but when we have to contemplate a divine purpose, a different equation is made. We see this in an artist like Cosme Tura who painted paintings of almost sculptured forms and we feel the relationship to God in these works. The works are highly emotional and you feel the artist communicating the emotional turmoil of his relationship to God through almost physically challenged forms expressing a highly charged emotional expression. You feel like there are strong Austro-Germanic connections and one is reminded of Grunewald and the spindly fingers of his crucifixion figures as well as his overly sized feet and the mass of thorns on his head, similar to a sacred headdress or a very bushy, thorn tree. We are also reminded of German wooden sculpture from Barvaria. 

Cosme Tura, Pieta, c. 1460

Matthias Grunewald, Large Crucifixion, 
c. 1523-1525, Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Page 23

Annibale Carracci, The Temptation of St. Anthony Abbot (detail), 
c. 1597-1598, National Gallery, London

Annibale Carracci, The Penitent Magdalen in a Landscape (detail), 
c. 1598, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Annibale Carracci, The Penitent Magdalen in a Landscape, 
c. 1598, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

When our spirit ascends to heaven, you feel like we disintegrate into particles to communicate with God and our soul either descends back to earth to gain more earthly knowledge or on the last journey changes into particle dust that stays with Gods divine angels for eternity. With stone the particles can easily depart into matter through years of their time on earth and become dark matter. So, when we think about the bodies relationship to earth, we start our ascension with one particle that divides and keeps dividing into what we know as the human form. These days sculpture can be made from a large number of materials that were previously only used for something else, for example, canvas was only ever used for painting and paint may have been applied to the outer surface of polychromed wooden sculptures but rarely painted directly onto the surface of any other medium. So, often the more recent sculpture has a narrower longevity. With contemporary sculptures the material is often not as important as the ideas given to you by God. Anything at all can be considered for the materials and often artists look back to former decades being influenced by previous artists work. Concepts too, are far reaching in intellectual capacity, you do not have to be stuck in a rut any longer or deal with the ideas of a small place and you get the feeling that because of the freedom of thought that developed over the centuries, artists, thinkers, writers and philosophers have often wanted to gather in one place to further their understanding but some people are better off thinking alone or in isolation with God. The idea of a vacuum is interesting, along with the concept that particles could float around in one. One wonders how common thoughts come into being. Are we influenced by something beyond our comprehension, in the cosmos or universe or are we only here to make a further equation for God. Stone on the other hand has a longer life than many man-made substances of today. However, even the softest stone would have a time when it disintegrated into particles beyond its natural form. 

Louise Bourgeois, Topiary, 2005

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Page 22

Caravaggio, Sleeping Cupid, c. 1608, 
Galleria Palantina, Palazzo Pitti, Florence

One is reminded of the Shepherd On the Rock equation of the valley and the mountain or Christ ascending up the mountain and a vision of a message from God and the valley being underneath the earth. Saint John also reminds us of Saint Anthony Abbot who feels like a cross between Saint Anthony and Saint John or the founder of monotheism. We feel him walking around the mountains with a flock of sheep and dreaming of pastoral scenes and then descending to the bottom of the mountains for a divine blessing. You can imagine a very green valley set amongst rocky plains with the darkened shadows of the afternoon sun. The further up the mountain we go the more we find God. When mountains are high enough to be covered with snow, you feel the colours of the rainbow at sunset are communicating Gods divine angels. Mountain ranges seem to travel towards the infinite and the valley is where we descend from the mountain and equals the earthly equation of heaven. The earths surface is where hell exists and mainly with the wrong temperature for the climate your body is prepared for and also when the heart does not find the spiritual belief God has tried to ascend you to. Heaven appears to exist below earth as well for those with a deeper understanding of dark matter or that previously Earth was a star. One wonders with the death of the sun, how long the stars of the solar system will shine for and you feel like starlight permeates from the earths inner core. The plant life on earth appears to resonate Gods divine realm or echo patterns of the stars, the cosmos and the universe. The cycle of the moon, the planets and the stars ascend us to a communication with God via our infinite understanding of reality. Being a human race with many and varied purposes, one feels only through a connection to a divine realm will we find the knowledge of the planet that is necessary to ascend us to heaven.

Annibale Carracci, The Temptation of St. Anthony Abbot, c. 1597-1598,
National Gallery, London

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Page 21

There is another Saint John the Baptist, 1455, attributed to Desiderio da Settignano in the Louvre Museum that is also a fine piece. Most of his sculptures feel as if they are in dialogue and have a beautiful inner presence, stone was obviously Settignano's medium. Another gorgeous offering to God is The Young Saint John the Baptist, 1450-1453, by Desiderio da Settignano held at the Bargello National Museum in Florence, a bronze relief, that is yet again exquisitely rendered. Obviously the theme of Saint John was one that Settignano identified with or the youth as a divine servant of God, the fleece seems to represent something secular too.

Henri Le Secq, photographs

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Page 20

Tilman Riemenschneider, 
Saint Jerome with the Lion, 1490-1495

In the Louvre Museum in Paris, there is also a Settignano made of stone of Saint John the Baptist with the Christ Child. This is also an exquisitely carved piece. The layout of the European Renaissance and Gothic sculpture is also something of a treat in the Louvre. The sculpture is in relief marble and is very refined in technique. There is also a Gregor Erhart, St. Mary Magdalene, 1510, in the Louvre that is also a masterful work. The German use of lime wood, also known as Gothic sculpture, was at its peak in this period. The French also engaged in wooden sculpture from an early period but were more highly advanced with stone carving especially Gothic sculpture on the front of churches.

Gregor Erhart, (c. 1465-1540), Christkind,
Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg

Henri Le Secq, Chartres Cathedral, 1852