The History of Art - John C. van Dyke
Italian Painting -
Gothic Period (1250-1400)
March 4, 2016
SIGNS OF THE AWAKENING: It would seem at first as though nothing but self-destruction could come to that struggling, praying, throat-cutting population that terrorized Italy during the Mediæval Period. The people were ignorant, the rulers treacherous, the passions strong, and yet out of the Dark Ages came light. In the thirteenth century the light grew brighter, but the internal dissensions did not cease.
Italian Painting -
Early Christian and Medieval Period
January 11, 2016
RISE OF CHRISTIANITY: Out of the decaying civilization of Rome sprang into life that remarkable growth known as Christianity. It was not welcomed by the Romans. It was scoffed at, scourged, persecuted, and, at one time, nearly exterminated. But its vitality was stronger than that of its persecutor, and when Rome declined, Christianity utilized the things that were Roman, while striving to live for ideas that were Christian.
Etruscan and Roman Painting
December 29, 2015
ETRUSCAN PAINTING: Painting in Etruria has not a great deal of interest for us just here. It was largely decorative and sepulchral in motive, and was employed in the painting of tombs, and upon vases and other objects placed in the tombs. It had a native way of expressing itself, which at first was neither Greek nor Oriental, and yet a reminder of both.
November 15, 2015
GREECE AND THE GREEKS: The origin of the Greek race is not positively known. It is reasonably supposed that the early settlers in Greece came from the region of Asia Minor, either across the Hellespont or the sea, and populated the Greek islands and the mainland. When this was done has been matter of much conjecture.
Phoenician, Cypriote, and Asia Minor Painting
October 18, 2015
THE TRADING NATIONS: The coast-lying nations of the Eastern Mediterranean were hardly original or creative nations in a large sense. They were at different times the conquered dependencies of Egypt, Assyria, Persia, Greece, and their lands were but bridges over which armies passed from east to west or from west to east. Located on the Mediterranean between the great civilizations of antiquity they naturally adapted themselves to circumstances, and became the middlemen, the brokers, traders, and carriers of the ancient world.
October 15, 2015
HISTORY AND ART MOTIVES: The Medes and Persians were the natural inheritors of Assyrian civilization, but they did not improve their birthright. The Medes soon lost their power. Cyrus conquered them, and established the powerful Persian monarchy upheld for two hundred years by Cambyses, Darius, and Xerxes. Substantially the same conditions surrounded the Persians as the Assyrians—that is, so far as art production was concerned. Their conceptions of life were similar, and their use of art was for historic illustration of kingly doings and ornamental embellishment of kingly palaces. Both sculpture and painting were accessories of architecture.
October 12, 2015
TIGRIS-EUPHRATES CIVILIZATION: In many respects the civilization along the Tigris-Euphrates was like that along the Nile. Both valleys were settled by primitive peoples, who grew rapidly by virtue of favorable climate and soil, and eventually developed into great nations headed by kings absolute in power. The king was the state in Egypt, and in Assyria the monarch was even more dominant and absolute. For the Pharaohs shared architecture, painting, and sculpture with the gods; but the Sargonids seem to have arrogated the most of these things to themselves alone.
October 9, 2015
LAND AND PEOPLE: Egypt, as Herodotus has said, is “the gift of the Nile,” one of the latest of the earth’s geological formations, and yet one of the earliest countries to be settled and dominated by man. It consists now, as in the ancient days, of the valley of the Nile, bounded on the east by the Arabian mountains and on the west by the Libyan desert. Well-watered and fertile, it was doubtless at first a pastoral and agricultural country; then, by its riverine traffic, a commercial country, and finally, by conquest, a land enriched with the spoils of warfare.