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My observations on Roman art and architecture revolved around the intricacy of the human anatomy and how most of the sculptures were religion-oriented and biblical references. Many art forms and methods were also used by the Romans in their art such as bronze casting, mosaics, and cameos, fine jewelry and metalwork, portrait painting and landscaping. The Greek Mythology behind “The Laocoon” stated that the Laocoon himself was a Trojan priest who was crushed to death among his sons by two giant great sea serpents as a penalty for warning the Trojans about the wooden horse of the Greeks being drawn into Troy. This background could imply the prominence of religious punishment in that time.In looking at Roman architecture, I noticed a theme where the construction mainly used newer materials, particularly concrete as well as new technologies such as the dome and arch to create buildings that were typically well-engineered and durable. Although the ancient Roman architecture borrowed aspects from classical Greek architecture for the purposes of the ancient Romans, their buildings differed from the Greeks, thus becoming its own architectural style. Station II: Medieval Art (Art from the Middle Ages) My observations about Medieval Art concluded that there were frequent uses of Coats of Arms to display social standings, identity, and wealth. This method of showing nobility was called “heraldry” which used specific symbols to convey the characteristics of a family line. Aside from this, religious iconography was also very prominent – representations of the Holy Trinity which followed internationally and unconditionally accepted conventions. These symbols and drawings were cast in metal, carved into stone, incorporated into mosaic and fresco work, and even embroidered on cloth. No, human and animal figures were not realistic because the technique of the painting and the perspective was often lost in trying to incorporate biblical references and religious devotions, and the knowledge of both was underdeveloped to begin with. To add, the drawing labor of these paintings weren’t given to artists, but rather craftsmen whose main job was to illustrate the stories of the Bible, with no real comprehension of artistic skills or aesthetic appealSince the majority of the art in the Medieval Ages was religious, it can be observed that the worldview of the Middle Ages was not only heavily oriented by Catholicism, but the purpose of artistry was for adornment and capturing spirituality and being a tool of literacy to the illiterate who were unable to read the religious histories of that time. This was instead of the humanistic perspective later introduced by the Renaissance which changed the composition of art for years to come. During the high and late Middle Ages, an architectural style used widely in cathedrals and churches flourished – Gothic architecture. This architectural style evolved from Romanesque architectural style and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture and it was in the cathedrals and great churches that Gothic architecture displayed its pertinent structures and characteristics to the fullest. The detail, large expanses of glass, clustered columns, sharply pointed spires, and intricate sculptures were considered to create a spiritual space of worship which praised God.The famously seen Gothic letters observed in nearly every Medieval manuscripts were written on treated animal skins, called parchment or vellum since paper did not become common in Europe until around 1450. When this parchment was prepared, it was ruled and lettered with these gothic letters using a quill pen made from the feather of a goose or swan. At the nib, it was cut slightly allowing ink to flow out smoothly, crafting elegant and precise letters.Station III: Renaissance PortraitsYes, unlike the medieval portraits, renaissance art was realistic with certain skillful shading to paint the illusion of a three-dimensional object. The portraits are flattering and well executed in order to show the inner essence of the subject from the point of view of the artist. These portraits have also primarily memorialized the wealthy and powerful in the Renaissance. The Renaissance focussed on human beings (an example of this being portraiture). Their ability, individual worth etc. which challenged the spirituality-oriented and religious worldview of the Middle Ages. Station IV: Michelangelo: More Than Just a Ninja Turtle! Michelangelo’s works demonstrate the development of anatomy in the Renaissance, precision and immense attention to detail They also show the religious aspects that still remained in the Renaissance (“Pieta”, “David”). The famous work of the Pieta, balancing the secular ideals of classic beauty and naturalism, depicts the body of Jesus across his mother (St. Mary’s) lap after his crucifixion, and the marble masterpiece known as “David” is a sculpture representing the Biblical hero, David – a favoured subject in the art of Florence. In “The Creation of Adam” God is depicted outstretching his right arm to impart the spark of life from his finger into that of Adam to demonstrate that “man is created in the image and likeness of God” (Genesis 1:26).Though it is unknown who the twelve figures surrounding are, it is predicted that its composed of various biblical figures including Eve or Virgin Mary. This piece is considered to represent the excerpt the excerpt from Genesis 1:27: “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him.”Station V: Features of Renaissance Arta) “The Birth of Venus” by Sandro BotticelliIn this painting, Botticelli depicted the newly-born goddess, Venus, standing nude is a giant scallop shell with the God of wind, Zephyr, blowing at her, and a female figure to her right holding a cloak presumably to cover her. According to Plato, Venus had two prominent aspects; she was an earthly Goddess who was known for arousing humans to physical love, or she inspired intellectual love in them as a heavenly Goddess. This could potentially be interpreted as a tie to the rise of the humanist philosophy which advocated both intellectual and physical love in people.  b) “The Arnolfini Wedding” by Jan Van EyckPainted by Jan Van Eyck, “The Arnolfini Wedding” is a 1434 oil painting depicting Italian merchant Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini and his in their home presumably in the Flemish city of Bruges. Although controversy is prominent in analysing the symbols of the double-portrait, the placement of the two figures is thought to suggest the conventional 15th century views of marriage and gender roles: the woman stands near the bed and is well into the room which symbolizes her role as the caretaker of the house, whereas Giovanni is placed near a window, solidifying his role in the outside world. c) “The Hunters in the Snow” by Pieter Bruegel the Elder Also known as The Return of the Hunters, “The Hunters in the Snow” is a 1565 oil painting by Flemish painter Pieter Bruegel. This piece is one of the works in a series called The Northern Renaissance, depicting different times of the year. The painting shows a wintry landscape in which three hunters appear to be returning from an unsuccessful expedition accompanied by their dogs, all of which are trudging wearily. It is thought that in the midst of a religious revolution, Brugel was attempting to depict the country life prior to the revolution. d) “The Dead Christ” by Mantegna “The Lamentation of Christ”, also known as “The Dead Christ” is a painting portraying Christ’s body supine on a slab of marble, being watched over by the Virgin Mary and St. John as well as St. Mary Magdalene who are weeping for his death – painted around 1400 by Italian Renaissance artist Andrea Mantegna. Although the themes presented by “The Dead Christ” are common in Medieval and Renaissance art, most lamentations show greater contact between the mourners and the body. The perspective of the painting which stresses the anatomical details and the tragedy being portrayed dramatizes the atmosphere. e) “Judith Slaying Holofernes” by Artemisia Gentileschi ” Judith Slaying Holofernes” is an early Baroque style painting by the Italian Artemisia Gentileschi between years 1614-20. The work depicts the scene of Judith beheading Holofernes which was a common piece in the groups of the subject called the “Power of Women” which shows two women – Judith and her maid – beheading the Assyrian general, Holofernes. The effort of the women’s struggle is most finely represented by the delicate face of the maid as she grabs Holofernes’ muscular fists, trying to restrain him. f) “The School of Athens” by Raphael “The School of Athens” is universally regarded as one of the most famous frescoes by the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael, painted between 1505-1511 as a part of Raphael’s commission to decorate the Stanze di Raffaello in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican.The painting depicted a school with various students appearing to be engaged in study and conversation. This piece is one of a group of four main frescoes on the walls of the Stanza which depict the distinct branches of knowledge. According to Raphael, the subject of school is actually philosophy which appears to echo Aristotle’s emphasis on wisdom as knowing the meaning of daily life. Greek philosophers can be found in the painting but Raphael made no distinctions or designations outside possible likeness.   g) “Triumph of Christianity”  by Tommaso Laureti “Triumph of Christianity”, also known as “Triumph of the Cross Fresco” was painted in 1585 in the Sala di Constantine by Italian painter Tommaso Laureti. In this piece, his style is shown to be a Michelangelo inspired style with special skill in illusionistic perspective. The painting depicts a statue of a crucified Christ in a prestigious hall, in front of which is a dismembered sculpture. Station VI: Leonardo: The Ultimate Renaissance ManKnown as one of the greatest artists in history, Leonardo Da Vinci, born on April 15, 1452, was considered to represent the ideal of a true renaissance man. Even from a young age, his talents became evident, and around the age of 14, da Vinci began a lengthy apprenticeship with the noted artist Andrea del Verrocchio in Florence. Da Vinci, although most noted as an artist, was also an inventor, architect, and chronicler of science, among other areas to demonstrate his talents. Though his formal education was not extensive, Da Vinci’s notebooks were filled with several drawings, various inventions, and scientific theories, and he was thus considered a genius. Another aspect that contributes to his fame is his groundbreaking study of human anatomy: nearly all his theories and studies of the human heart and its systems and functions hold true today. These were the contributions which made Da Vinci a true Renaissance man.Station VII: Written Art: William Shakespeare As a general statement, the idea of the Renaissance was Europeans breaking away from the restrictive ideals of the Middle Ages to create a period of enlightenment, and from the fourteenth century onwards, people began to move away from the idea of the absolute power of God and the Roman Catholic Church – not necessarily rejecting God, but questioning mankind’s relationship with Him. With developing philosophies and ideas focussed on humanity being introduced to the masses, this caused an unprecedented upheaval in the accepted social hierarchy and created a new-found freedom for writers, philosophers, and artists to be inquisitive about their identities and the world surrounding them. Shakespeare was a great dramatist, poet, playwright, and actor, and in the modern day, is known to be one of the greatest influences in the Renaissance. All of his works, including the most renowned such as Macbeth and Hamlet tell riveting stories with transcendent, poetic imagery, and include murder, betrayal, and unrequited love in a good amount of them. Since his success, his tragedies and romances have thrilled millions of readers, engrossed playgoers, and challenged even the most gifted of actors throughout the world. His endeavors demonstrate how the Renaissance was a time of blooming for the arts, incorporating religious elements from the Middle Ages and even experimenting with story-writing about different areas of the world. a. You artless, half-faced, haggard!            b. You bootless, fool-born, scut! Conclusion: My most favorite development of art would be from the Renaissance since new techniques were incorporated into the art to make it both more realistic and proportionate, as well as impressively portray human emotion and beautifully illustrate scenes from other genres of art including poetry, plays, and stories. Styles of art were also broken out of their restrictively religious shells and several genres of painting, sculpting, and representation were introduced, instead of the dull iconography prominently seen in the Middle Ages. My favorite piece from the Art Gallery would definitely be Michelangelo’s “Pieta”, a marble sculpture depicting the Virgin Mary cradling the corpse of her son, Jesus, following his crucifixion, death, and removal from the cross.  One of my reasons as to why would be the beautiful convolution in not only the figures themselves, but the drapery on Saint Mary and Jesus and its multiplicity of natural-looking folds, curves, and deep recesses making it appear incredibly realistic. The delicate expression of Saint Mary retaining a calming tenderness, despite the tragic and devastating nature of the scene is carved with impeccable skill and adds to the atmosphere of this piece. This is why the Pieta is my favorite work in the gallery.

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