Monday, 17 March 2014

Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes.... explained to a degree

Still very taken with the mosaics in Ravenna and trying to understand more. Struggling to work out why they are hard to understand. I think it's because they are speaking with such a different dialect, as it were.
Help, as ever, from E.H. Gombrich/The Story of Art who discusses The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes, above.

The point is, he says, is that this mosaic concentrates on what is strictly essential to convey i.e. that this is a miraculous and sacred scene. This is an important development away from Greek art, which had a multitude of other elements.

"At first glance, such a picture looks rather stiff and rigid. There is nothing of the mastery of movement and expression which was the pride of Greek art, and which persisted until Roman times. The way in which the figures are planted in strict frontal view may almost remind us of certain children's drawings. And yet the artist must have been very well acquainted with Greek art. He knew exactly how to drape a cloak round a body..... If the picture looks rather primitive to us, it must be because the artist wanted it to be simple.....the forms which the artists used in this new attempt were not the simple forms of primitive art, but the developed forms of Greek painting. Thus Christian art of the Middle Ages became a curious mixture of primitives and sophisticated methods."

Reading and watching

  • Foot by Foot to Santiago de Compostela/Judy Foot
  • The Testament of Mary with Fiona Shaw at the Barbican
  • The Testament of Mary/Colm Toibin
  • Schwanengesang/Schubert - Tony Spence
  • Journals/Robert Falcon Scott
  • Fugitive Pieces/Ann Michaels
  • Unless/Carol Shields
  • Faust/Royal Opera House
  • The Art of Travel/Alain de Botton
  • Mad Men Series 6
  • A Week at The Airport/Alain de Botton
  • The Railway Man/Eric Lomax
  • Bright Lights, Big City/Jay McInerney
  • Stones of Venice/John Ruskin
  • The Sea, the Sea/Iris Murdoch
  • Childe Harold/Lord Byron
  • All The Pretty Horses/Cormac McCarthy
  • Extreme Rambling/Mark Thomas
  • Story of my Life/Jay McInerney
  • Venice Observed/Mary McCarthy