Tag: Renaissance

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Anachronistic Costumed Nerds – RenFaire in the Time of Plague

 
A RenFair captured in a single photo

I majored in History and Secondary ed, with an English minor… and I carefully tuck all that away when I go to Renaissance fairs. It is a lot easier, that way, to just roll with the anachronisms and have fun. One of the regular acts that comes through Ohio, The KamiKaze FireFlies, sells t-shirts that say “Just a bunch of nerds, playing dress up in the woods,” and I cannot add to that. This fair (faire?), whose grounds are permanently set up just south of Wilmington, Ohio, is nominally supposed to be set in 1590-ish. So they have a Queen Bess and royal attendants, and of course (during a normal year at least, which this is not) they have jousts and sorta-period-correct games, but any actual adherence to historical accuracy is no more than lip-service and happy accident. In any other year this would have been a massive affair, with long lines just to get into the parking field, long lines of people donning and fixing costumes while queuing up to scan their tickets under the portcullis, long lines for food and drink, and dusty hot crowds cheering on the stage acts and jousts.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Hitchcock and the Moral-Religious Criticism of Art

 

Have you listened to my new movie podcast about Psycho? During the discussion of the moral concerns and conservative intentions of the movie-making, we tried to bring in the objects of art, and suggested that Hitchcock shows the audience certain important juxtapositions of movie plot and works of art, of settings–like the imposing residence–and societies–liberalism. I want to show you the works of art and to discuss their importance to the movie’s moral concerns. I’ll discuss them in the order in which they appear.

1. The Bates house, a very stately, old-fashioned kind of California architecture. The design is taken from Ed Hopper’s House by a railroad.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Andrea del Castagno, Last Supper

 

This very large fresco has been a secret for most of its history. It was painted in the 1440s for the cloistered nuns of Santa Apollonia in Florence, which is why it was very rarely seen by outsiders. Eventually, it was covered in plaster, which is why it’s so well preserved, unlike the scenes above it. We have it rediscovered only since the suppression of the nuns by the military in the 1860s, and can now marvel at the poetic effect it achieves and see in what its greatness consists. Indeed, authorship itself was unwittingly a secret, but that, too, has been resolved. The last secret, not likely of resolution, is the story of the author. Castagno is little known except by slander and by his works, and the slander is not honest either. The most famous chronicler of Renaissance Italy, Vasari, offers a great big lie of a story accusing him of murdering another painter out of jealousy–so far as anyone can tell, the lie is meant to explain the dramatic quality of Castagno’s painting–his characters have no softness about them. Art history could step in to help us in our time of need, explaining what painting looked like before him and afterward, but that’s too much of a distraction. We can only attend to the mysteries in the painting itself.

This last supper is one of a rare number of paintings that articulate the mystery of the stories in the Gospels in a quiet way, through the technique. It strikes me that some such paintings make far more of a claim for their makers’ craft than you might expect of wall-painters who merely painted stories everyone already knew–the development of technique seems to be tied up with a reflection on what we believe. So I will first point out the Gospel elements of the painting and then look to what the painter added. You can see the Gospel of John, chp.13 faithfully followed in John lying on Christ’s bosom as Christ blesses him; in Christ’s having just given Judas the piece of bread that identifies him as the betrayer; in the confusion of the Apostles; and in Peter’s inquisitive intimacy. Piety is aided by the names that identify the Apostles. The Christian abhorrence of Judas is such that he’s depicted across the table–he does not confront us–his posture means he cannot look at us. On the other hand, it means, he’s closest to us of the gathering…

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This is a Deposition about which I also wrote last year. It’s a great big painting, about six feet by six, painted in oil on wood. Raphael painted it in his youth–he was about 23. This is a strange work–great artistry is put to work to conceal the terrible loss. Raphael is not showing us […]

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Leonardo’s Annunciation. (A youthful work, in collaboration with his master, Andrea del Verrocchio. It’s done in oil & watercolors on wood. It’s in the Uffizi, in the Leonardo room, where there are no Leonardo paintings, except this collaboration & another collaboration. I think there’s a Ghirlandaio in the room–another apprentice of Verrocchio. They should have called […]

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Today’s painting is another fresco–Andrea del Castagno’s Cenacolo–this one’s going to take me back to my student days–a professor took me to see this fresco in the Refettorio di Sant’Apollonia, due West of the Piazza San Marco; (our own Merina Smith’s favorite monastery in Florence, as I learned a month or two back…) This is […]

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As a seasonal treat I invited my family to attend a concert this weekend by The Tallis Scholars, a group renowned for its interpretations of music of the Renaissance. Rather than the program I expected, one full of works by Thomas Tallis and other greats of the era, The Tallis Scholars inflicted on its audience […]

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