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Virginia Raguin, Professor of Art History

Elizabeth Gittings, Lecturer in Art History

FALL 2003






This course will examine the question of images throughout the centuries looking at vivid examples of image worship, veneration, abhorrence, and destruction from the birth of Christianity, through the rise of Islam, Protestant Reformation to the present day and the toppling of statues in Iraq.





The course will be structured to include a series of topics addressed by short papers. At least two required evening meetings will present special guest lectures and/or panel discussions. For most topics, students will exchange papers for comments and/or read their papers in class. We envision a high degree of interaction and exchange of ideas.

SECTION 1 Text and Image within the Christian Tradition
,(including Old Testament as well as New).

Lateran Passion Sarcophagus, Early Christian liberation images in catacombs.
San Vitale, Anglo-Saxon Poem: Dream of the Rood
Stories of the Life of Christ: Annunciation in the Merode Altarpiece, 1425, Nativity in Hugo Van der Goes, Portinari Altarpiece, 1474-76; and Death in van der Weyden, Deposition Louvain, Belgium,

Worcester Art Museum: Select a work of art relating a biblical event. Find the appropriate text passage in Scripture. Look at the image - what is the same; what is different? How has the visual structure constructed meaning - and is it the same as the text?
1. Edward Hicks, The Peaceable Kingdom (1934.65) oil on canvas, America ca. 1833
(Isaiah 11: 6-9)
2. Benjamin West, Pharaoh and His Host Lost in the Red Sea (1960.18) 1792 and after 1800, artist was born in Springfield PA painting made in England (Exodus 14)
3. Washington Allston, Christ Healing the Sick (1920.91) 1813 America (Matthew 4: 24; 8:1-18; 9; Mark 2, 3 , 7; Luke 4: 38-20)
4. Last Supper and Agony in the Garden (1924.24), fresco; Spoleto Italy ca. 1300 century (Matthew 26: 14-45; Luke 22: 11-46)
5. Barnardo Strozzi, Calling of Saint Matthew (Italian Baroque)
(Matthew 9: 9-13; Mark 2: 14-17)
6. Crucifixion with the Virgin and St. John (1934.26 a,b,c) Oviedo (Asturias) Spain, 13th century.
7. Quentin Massys, The Rest on the Flight to Egypt (1937.4) Lowlands (Flanders), oil on panel, ca. 1509-13 (Matthew 2: 13-23)
8. Alonso Cano, Christ Bearing the Cross (1920.95) Spain, 1635-37. (pupil of Pacheco) (Matthew 27; Mark 15; Luke: 23; John: 19)

SECTION 2 Absence of the Image
Space as Spiritual - Architecture: the structure of the Mosque: example Cordoba
Cistercian monastic art of the 12th century
Transfiguration of Christ - Apse of San Apollinare in Classe
Celtic Art: Tapestry Pages, Interlace, Books of Kells, Book of Durro
Image Absent in Modern Art: Piet Mondrian; Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Maya Lin: Vietnam Memorial etc. See film made by Maya Lin, which included her Martin Luther King memorial fountain

Lecture and Discussion: The Non-figural Arts and Islamic Spirituality
Ibrahim Kalin, Prof. of Islamic Studies, College of the Holy Cross

7 PM, Tuesday, Sept. 30, Rehm Library, Smith Hall.

To what extent is it possible to understand a material object such as a non-figural work of art in an immaterial, spiritual sense? One of the richest of all non-figural visual traditions, the arts of the Islamic world reflect, express, and reinforce a variety of mystical and aesthetic beliefs through motifs such as calligraphy and repetitive geometric patterns. How does one respond to such non-representational motifs--at the core of Islamic art--in an intelligible medium such as language? How do such motifs relate ideas of the infinity of God within visual experience, in terms of color, texture, shape, and space? How do Islamic non-representational themes work in the context of a medium such as architecture that unfolds in time?

SECTION 3 Destruction of the Image
Byzantine Iconoclasts and the meaning of the Icon; the Chuldoff Psalter image of iconoclasts whitewashing an icon.

Protestant Destruction of Catholic Images:
Example of pre-reformation altarpieces, Mattias Grünewald, Isenheim Altarpiece 1510
German Reformers: Martin Luther 1540s? by Lucas Cranach also Johann I and Frederick II the Wise, Electors of Saxony, 1533. Interior of Protestant churches in the Low Countries: white walls, absence of imagery in paintings by Pieter Saenredam, Choir of Saint Bavo's Church at Haarlem, 1660, Worcester Art Museum,
English Reformation Iconoclasts; Hans Holbein the Younger Henry VIII, 1540 and family. Protestant German Art: Four Apostles and details by Albrecht Dürer, The importance of John and Paul as preachers eclipsing the Roman saints of Peter and Mark. John sanguine, Paul melancholic, Peter phlegmatic, Marc choleric. See four humors in animals in Dürer's Adam and Eve, engraving of 1504, rabbit sanguine, elk melancholic, ox phlegmatic, cat choleric.

Counter Reformation Cult of Images: Life of Christ, Saints, Papacy and Miracles
Rubens - Raising of the Cross 1610 (originally Church of St. Walpurga, Antwerp) and Descent from the Cross 1612-14 Antwerp Cathedral,
Baciccio (Giovani Battista Gaulli), Vision of Saint Ignatius at La Storta, about 1684-85 Worcester Art Museum
Bernini The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa 1647-52 Cappella Cornaro, Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome
The Throne of Saint Peter 1657-66 San Pietro, Rome
Rosso Fiorentino, Dead Christ with Angels, 1525-26, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Caravaggio, The Entombment, 1602-03 Pinacoteca, Vatican
Story of St. Matthew - 1599-1600 paintings of the Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome

Imagery of the Age of Enlightenment: Person freedom and individual tenderness
Watteau, The Embarkation for Cythera, 1717 , Musée du Louvre, Paris
Fragonard, 1771-73 Progress of Love, Confession of Love.
The intimate portrait: Thomas Gainsborough, Portrait of the Artist's Daughters, about 1763-64,
Worcester Art Museum

Lecture: Veronique Plesch, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Art, Colby College, GRAFFITI and MEMORY
Oct. 30: 7 PM Stein 129. Oratory chapel of Saint Sebastian at Arborio, a small town in Northern Italy about 35 miles west of Milan: detail of saints, St. Sebastian, and detail of graffiti.

Nazi Campaign against Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art) Works condemned and linked to racial impurity and mental instability: Kathe Kollwitz; Franz Marc; Marc Rothko, Paula Moderson-Becker, Ludwig Kirchner, Emil Nolde, etc. (exhibition 1993, Los Angels Museum of Art Degenerate Art: The Fate of the Avant-Garde in Nazi-Germany.

Taliban destruction of monumental rock-cut statues of Buddha in Afghanistan: Finbarr Barry Flood, "Between Cult and Culture: Bamiyan, Islamic Iconoclasm, and the Museum, " Art Bulletin 84 (2002): 641-659.

SECTION 4 Images I Love, Fear, Hate
What are contemporary idols - i.e. images that are important to us? Why are we attracted to an image - a portrait, a religious image, a painting? How do the printed news, television, Internet, or movies, impact our lives?

Coverage of 9/11? Gulf War? Pornographic controversy over contemporary art?
Final Project:: Student papers from which a 5-6 minute (?) oral presentation is made in the last three classes. All students write reactions to the presentation, ranking presentations according to clarity of ideas and persuasiveness of argument.

Bernini, sensusality and violence
Apollo and Daphne
Rape of Persephone

Reaction to atrocity: Picasso, Guernica
Photographic essays; documentary photography. Vietnam war; Television coverage
Twentieth century:
Image Absent: Piet Mondrian; Jackson Pollock, Marc Rothko, Robert Smithson
Image Present: Andy Warhol, Willem DeKooning, Audrey Flack, Judy Chicago, Cindy Sherman







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