Since the days of the Roman Empire preserved the most ancient European sculpture equestrian monument — a bronze equestrian statue of Emperor Marcus Aurelius (II century). The mighty horse is walking like a proud gait, the rider raised his hand in greeting… But the face of Marcus Aurelius aloof, introspective, tired. A realistic portrait of the Emperor-philosopher seems inconsistent with the heroic image of a courageous leader.
Equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius (166-180). Although this Emperor was a philosopher and stoic (in his book “Alone with myself” he wrote: “…All related to the body like a stream, to the soul — a dream and smoke. Life is a struggle and the journey through the wilderness”), his bronze monument contemporaries perceived as a symbol of military power of Rome.
At the end of III — early IV century Roman portraits has changed a lot. Sculptors less is the beauty and grandeur of appearance, nature and mood of the person. Appearance begin transmitting simply: huge eyes, conventionally decorative head of hair, often distorted body proportions. This was associated with what was a new era — the era of the Christian worldview.
External beauty was considered a non-major, all attention was given to the spiritual principle in man. A striking monument of that time — a giant head of Constantine I (early IV century). In the portrait of its Creator managed to convey the greatness of spirit of that deified the Emperor, when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire.
Head of Roman Emperor Constantine I — the only thing that remained of his colossal statues, set in Rome in 315 G.
THE MASTERPIECES OF MEDIEVAL CULTURE
What I was told by the sculpture of the Gothic churches?
In the thirteenth century in England, Germany, Spain, the Czech Republic and in Poland the temples were built in the “French manner”, as dubbed by her contemporaries. Light, almost weightless, its spiky spires as if they Express the aspiration to the Sky. A stone is transformed into light lace, and the wall seemed to dissolve, giving way to huge Windows with stained-glass Windows… Later such churches were treated contemptuously, believing that they lack of action and clarity. Therefore they were called Gothic by the name of barbarian ready, once ravaged Italy. Left this name in those days, when the attitude toward Gothic architecture has changed.
The sculpture of Gothic cathedrals is an amazing world populated by Christian saints and Bible characters and strange monsters born of people’s imagination.
The sculpture in the temple served not only for decoration. She clearly told me illiterate about basic Christian truths, the exploits of saints recalled what awaits people after death…
Above: the Reims Cathedral, like all the Gothic cathedrals in France, it seems aspiring to the skies. Medieval architects learned to build so that the entire weight of the building rested on his frame. This allowed them to construct thin walls with huge Windows and raise the arches of the Cathedral at an inaccessible height above
Below: Madonna and Child. The characters are late-Gothic sculptures already seem to be quite alive.
Each famous Gothic Cathedral in France — Paris, Reims, Amiens and Chartres — about two thousand sculptures! They are everywhere: in the framing of the portals (gates), on the cornices between floors, niches and decorative turrets. Medieval artists for their extraordinary diligence sought to do mighty deeds for the glory of God.
Statues of saints (each has its own attributes — the subjects for which they could find out) are on the walls of the temple in a certain order. Claimed its not a sculptor, and a special Commission. According to Christian doctrine, the temple symbolizes the whole world, and every part of it — some side of the earth or the sky.
Therefore, we can say that the sculpture represented a “population” of this huge, complex, symbolic world of the Church.
What feature of French Gothic?
In the early middle ages, in sculpture XI–XII centuries the Church demanded of the sculptors that they are exalted only religious feeling.
The body, the Church taught, is the reservoir of sin, so the sculptors were not allowed to portray the more full-blooded and naked body.
One of the most outstanding examples of early Gothic sculpture — decoration of the Western portal (1145-1155) of the Cathedral in Chartres. Elongated, almost ethereal figures of saints with similar faces and smiles, in long robes, which like and no body, standing on the pillars that frame the entrance to the temple. The sculptures do not yet have independent value — they are just a part of columns, addition to the rich architectural decoration of the temple.
Western, Central portal of Amiens Cathedral, like the whole temple, like a lace-covered sculptures.
Only a hundred years separates the sculpture of Western and southern portals of the Cathedral in Chartres. But how things have changed! In XIII–XIV centuries was the other person’s attitude to the world: he began to learn the joy of existence and to admire the beauty of the earth. The Church still demanded that sculptors, so they sang suffering, sorrow, humility, sadness — in a word, those feelings which, in her opinion, and only experienced saints. But the masters of that time are safely used many of the achievements of ancient Greek art: they have learned to make figures of “real” proportions in complex compositions. Compared to dispassionate heroes of Greek classics of the medieval sculpture seems very emotional.