Category Archives: DVD Art of the Western World

Episode 3 – A White Garment of Churches

  • Rome was conquered by the Barbarians – the lands of Western Europe where over run by pagan tribes in the dark ages.
  • Converted to the new faith of Christianity the former Barbarians were the heirs of Rome and became the founders of modern Europe.
  • 1tth and 12th century – Romanesque revival of art and architecture, pilgrimage and the Monastic movement moulded Romanesque Art.
  • money made by Pilgrimage paid for construction of the Romanesque pilgrim churches.
  • exchange of ideas, goods and money
  • Romanesque began as a derogatory term.
  • 4th c needed places to worship in, the Basillica became the standard form for architects in the west.
  • gradually transformed the Roman form by adding a transept making it into a symbolic cross shape.
  • West end – towers where added breaking the horizontal with vertical forms.
  • East end – retained the Roman apse but made choirs more sophisticated with radiating chapels.

Episode 2 – Imperial Stone – The Art of Rome

  • Rome was originally a small cluster of villages on the hills above the marshy River Tivor
  • the heyday of the Roman empire was in the 2nd century AD and spanned as far as Hadrians Wall separating England and Scotland to the Persian Gulf
  • merchants travelled to India and China
  • unified the old cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world and Western Europe
  • from then until now Rome was the single greatest influence on the culture of the West

Episode 1 The Legacy of Greece

It was so dull and rainy today I couldn’t settle to reading so this afternoon I started to watch the DVD’s of ‘Art of the Western World’ that came with my course material.

It is starting to show it’s age, it was made back in 1989 but it was still very interesting and relevant to what I am studying.  It condenses in to 30 minutes what I’ve read in the book ‘A World History of Art’.

I made some notes of things that are important and that I want to remember:-

  • Ancient Greece and Rome are the source that Western Art continually refers back to – an idealized view but it is around us all the time
  • harmony, order, freedom
  • the classical legacy of Ancient Greece is the the root of the Western tradition in Architecture, painting, sculpture
  • most Greek art has been broken up and scattered around the world’s museums or buried and forgotten
  • there are traces of colour on the bleached remains of Greek art that give us a tantalizing glimpse of what they would have looked like in antiquity
  • the figure of the Kouros is an idealized young man 18-20 years old and at the peak of his physical powers and would have stood on graves or offered to the God Apollo – he was the epitome of the youthful ideal, proud, independent, strong and intelligent
  • the female equivalent is the Korai and is severe instead of heroic, clothed and static unlike the Kouros who is boldly striding forward
  • in the 6-5c bc there was a dramatic transition – political and social which coincided with a dramatic transition in art which became more realistic than before
  • the reliefs from the Parthenon frieze are cold and restrained compared to how brightly coloured and lifelike they would have been originally
  • the realistically portrayed poses, postures and actions where a major breakthrough so marked Greek art out from other contemporary cultures
  • the skill and confidence wasn’t seen again until the 16th century