Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know there's only 9 minutes left in the day but I just wanted to hop on here and say I hope everyone had a nice relaxing holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving, love to all.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dome of the Rock

Dome of the Rock
ca. 500-1500 CE
--The Dome of the Rock is a domed octagon resembling San Vitale in Ravenna in basic design. The exterior is covered in vivid, colorful patterned mosaic and sharply contrasts with the Byzantine brickwork and Greco-Roman sculptured profiling and carved decoration. The interior is also highly decorated with mosaics. The Dome of the Rock was erected by the Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik and houses the rock from which Muslims believe Muhammad ascended to Heaven.

Click for larger images.

(Dome of the Rock)

(Exterior windows)

(Definitely click on this one to see the beautiful tiling and Arabesque script. The colors are really fantastic. Big file, though.)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Christ the Judge

Ed. Note: I had a really hard time finding this piece because it is not in my book (I don't have the $200 newest edition) and because my prof gave us THE WRONG NAME for it. It took me almost two hours of searching (not all at once, of course) to figure out that the correct name is "Christ Pantocrator". Luckily, I had seen the piece in class so I knew which one he was asking for because otherwise, I would have had no idea what to do.

Christ the Judge (Christ Pantocrator)
ca. 1100 CE
--Christ the Judge illustrates the shift in how the Church was portrayed in the middle to late Byzantine period. He is depicted much older than previously, wearing a beard and dour expression. He carries "the Book" and has one finger partially raised, perhaps preparing to point to one's fate. In the later Byzantine period, the Christian Church was becoming quite politicized and instead of a police force to keep subjects in line, used propagandist images to invoke fear and guilt in the viewer.

(Christ Pantocrator, Daphni, Greece)

Maybe A Little Petty

There is a part of me that kind of enjoys seeing pictures of my ex-boyfriends and getting to think, "Wow, you really just didn't age well."

I am not ashamed of this.

Justinian Mosaic

Justinian Mosaic
ca. 500 CE
--In Ravenna, Italy, on the western end of the Byzantine Empire, Justinian commissioned San Vitale, an impressive Christian church with a "Greek Cross" floor plan. The inside walls of San Vitale are highly decorated and on the north wall of the apse is the Justinian Mosaic. At the center of the mosaic is Justinian shown priest-king, haloed and garbed in purple and gold, carrying a paten or a large golden bowl containing the bread for the Sacrament. Closest to Justinian on the right is the Bishop Maximianus and indeed his is the only name that appears in the Mosaic. His importance is labeled also by the golden robe and scarf bearing the cross. Maximianus and the other clergymen are identified also by the items they carry: a cross, a book, and a thurible. To the left of the Emperor are several soldiers, denoted by their lances and by the shield one of them carries which bears the Greek Letters X and P, or chi-ro, a monogram for Christ. To show perspective in this piece, the mosaicist uses a simple method of overlapping: every man's foot overlaps the foot of his inferior, putting Justinian and Maximianus in front and all other figures behind them.

Click to view larger images.

(Justinian Mosaic)

(Detail of face of Justinian)

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia
ca. 500 CE
--Built in Constantinople for the emperor Justinian, Hagia Sophia (the church of Holy Wisdom) was the largest building in Byzantium and remains the largest dome of the ancient world. It is a marvel of Byzantine architecture - the dome is one hundred eight feet in diameter and its crown rises some one hundred eighty feet above pavement. One of the most impressive aspects of the dome is that it is circle at the base by forty windows which allow great amounts of light into the building and cause the dome to appear to be floating on a halo of sunshine. The structural devices that make this feat possible are hallmarks of Byzantine engineering. One of these is the pendentive, which is essentially a larger, flatter dome one which the primary dome rests, and transfers weight to the piers beneath, rather than to the walls.

Click to view larger images:

(Exterior: Hagia Sophia)

(Interior: Hagia Sophia)

(Hagia Sophia dome detail)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Christ as the Good Shepherd

Christ as the Good Shepherd from the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia
ca. 400 CE
Decorative Mosaic
--Christ as the Good Shepherd is the subject of the lunette above the entrance to the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia in Ravenna, Italy. This piece depicts Christ as a young man, beardless (symbolizing innocence), haloed (piety) and dressed in purple and gold (regality), sitting among his flock instead of carrying a lamb on his shoulder as in earlier depictions. The loose, informal arrangement of the figures and easy posture of Christ reflect the early Christian perspective of the Church as kind and welcoming. The creator of this mosaic was still rooted in the classical tradition, as many Greco-Roman devices for conveying perspective are used.

(Christ as the Good Shepherd)

(Detail of Christ)

The Arch of Constantine

To motivate me to study for my Art History test, I'm going to be writing posts about each of the eight pieces that will be part of the test.

The Arch of Constantine
circa 300 CE
Early Christian
Monument commemorating Constantine's defeat of Mazentius
--The great triple-passageway arch was erected in Rome between 312 and 315 CE. Much of the sculptural decoration and the columns of the arch were reclaimed from some of the earlier monuments of Trajan, Hadrian, and Marcus Aurelius. The heads of the emperors in these reliefs were re-cut to resemble the new ruler. These reused sculptures were carefully selected to associate Constantine with the "good emperors". In one of the Constantinian reliefs above the arch's lateral passageways, Constantine is shown on the platform in the Roman Forum, flanked on either side by representations of Marcus Aurelius and Hadrian. This recycling of earlier works is often used as evidence of a decline in technical skill and creativity in the latter part of the pagan Roman Empire. However, the friezes of this archway mark a distinctive shift towards the iconic art of the Middle Ages. The art of the Roman Empire was focused on portraying an idealized, perfected version of its subject whereas Early Christian art sought to teach and tell stories in a way that was immediately accessible to all.

(Arch of Constantine)

(Detail of roundel frieze)

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Rhinoceros

From the comments on a Shapely Prose post:
A sporty White Rhinoceros
Was going for a run
When someone shouted “You’re too fat!
You ought to lose a ton!
You’re eating too much leaves and bark!
And what about your joints?”
The Rhino answered forcefully
With two well-argued points.

If you see a Rhinoceros
That thunders ‘cross the plain
In perissodactylic glee
Perhaps you should refrain
From commenting upon its weight;
In light of this example -
The heavier a Rhino is
The harder it can trample.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I Always Thought That Was The Point...

Kyle - "If you do a stupid thing once, you just did something stupid. If you do it a bunch of times, apparently it's not stupid anymore, it's 'tradition'."

My boyfriend, ladies and gentlemen, is not a sentimental man.

Friday, November 7, 2008

It Finally Got Me

As thrilled as I am about Obama's election, it hadn't truly hit me until I watched this video of Maya Angelou's reaction. And then I got all teary eyed at the end.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Liveblogging the 2008 Presidential Election

Tiffany is without television or internet so I'm sending her text updates on the election. I'll post them here as well and call it liveblogging! I watched an AP map online as well as watching the news channels and the news channels called things WAY earlier than AP but since I didn't want to jump the gun I went with the AP results as they were called.

8:11pm - KY, OK, TN, and SC are called for McCain. VT, ME, MA, CT, IL, NJ, DE, MD, DC for Obama.

8:13pm - 78 Obama to 34 McCain in electoral votes.

8:22pm - 60% in FL so far support gay marriage ban with 22% of the vote in. Way to fail, Florida. But Pinellas went blue so that makes me feel a little better...I guess.

9:02pm - PA goes to Obama so it's 103 to 34 now. And they're getting ready to call RI for Obama which will be another 4.

9:10pm - MN, WI, MI, NY, and RI for Obama. WY for McCain. 175 to 46.

9:24pm - AR and AL for McCain. Not surprising. 175 to 52 in Obama's favor. He only needs 95 more!

9:31pm - ND for McCain. 175 to 55. This is taking FOREVER!

9:44pm - LA for McCain. OH for Obama. 195 to 70.

10:03pm - It's pretty much over. Barack Obama is President-elect of the United States of America!

AP is really slow at updating and everything else I'm keeping up with has it pretty much called for Obama. I stopped texting Tiffany at this point but kept tallying for the funsies.

10:09pm - UT to McCain. 202 to 80.

10:12pm - TCF (Token Conservative Friend) Roswell is trying to tell me that McCain has conceded and they're reporting it on DC political talk radio. Eh...I don't know about that.

10:26pm - TX and WV to McCain, OBVIOUSLY! 202 to 114 Obama. Woot!

10:42pm - NM for Obama and at some point IA and KS but I missed them. 207 to 114.

10:49pm - AP calls VA for Obama! 220 to 114!

10:54pm - MS to McCain. 220/120.

11:00pm - ID for McCain. Everybody's calling it. CA, OR, WA, HI, AND FL FOR OBAMA! Barack Obama is President!!! YAY!!!!! Florida goes blue?! AMAZING!!! 324 electoral votes for Obama to 124 for John McCain.

11:18pm - McCain's concession speech. He mentions Obama AND PEOPLE START BOOING?! Mature, guys. Real mature. The speech is, um...vaguely racist?

11:22pm - CO and NV for Obama. SD for McCain. 338/127.

11:31pm - OMG, OPRAH AT GRANT PARK! They showed her in the crowd...just sayin'.

11:34pm - They didn't NEED to open the speech with a (Christian, naturally) prayer...just sayin'.

11:37pm - Moustache guy needs to get on with it. YOU DON'T NEED TO PREFACE THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE!

11:39pm - Slightly tone deaf woman singing the Star-Spangled Banner has a nice coat?

11:41pm - HOLY CRAP THEY'RE PLAYING FAKE EMPIRE BY THE NATIONAL WHICH IS MY MOST FAVORITE SONG EVER for this video opening the Obama speech that I can't actually see or hear except for the music. But seriously, guys? Pretty much the greatest song ever.

11:49pm - Talking to Tim on iChat: "GET OUT THE CHAMPAGNE, DOUSE IT WITH WHISKEY!"

11:53pm - Kyle: "We won, baby!" Karlen: "Yeah, I get to keep my human rights and shit!" (Note: One of my biggest fears about a McCain Presidency is that two, possibly three seats are going to be opening up on the Supreme Court during this term and I think they're all liberal seats. If McCain nabbed them for the conservatives, I'm pretty sure life would basically become The Handmaid's Tale in days).

11:56pm - NE and AZ for McCain. 338/139.

11:58pm - The Obama's enter the stage. I LOVE his family! They're so beautiful!

12:01am - Obama mentions McCain. Crowd cheers. Genuine class. Obviously, it's easier to be gracious when you KICKED THE OTHER GUY'S ASS but, you know, I'm just saying...

12:08am - From Pundit Kitchen:

12:10am - I love listening to this man speak. Some of the faces of the people in this crowd are making me misty eyed. This is really wonderful.

12:15am - YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN!!! I don't think I've ever been more proud of my country. HERE COMES BIDEN! YAY! I really like that Obama and Biden seems to genuinely LIKE each other. I expect great things from this. Please, don't let me down guys.

12:20am - As much as I would like for this to continue all night, I have to be up at 7am so it's off to bed for me! Good night, everybody, and remember - Under a Barack Obama Presidency, you, too, can have a little of that audacious hope.