The emperor and his attendant’s image is one of the most relevant surviving forms of mosaic works and Byzantine architecture. The image which is mounted in San Vitale is considered to be a symbol of political authority. The creation of the image is perceived to have started in 526 -527c and it was initiated by the Ostrogothic rule. The image was consecrated in 547 c and it forms one of the most famous political leadership images in the middle ages. The image is a mosaic portraying the then emperor Justinian and his attendants in the sanctuary on the church of San Vitale.
I chose the image because it portrays historical ancient leadership associated with the rule of Justinian 1 who made significant efforts in the gaining back of the Roman provinces. The image still exists even after the various Byzantium images were destroyed after an imperial ban on images making it a unique image. The image also portrays the state of Christianity during the time. This is portrayed in the image as the items captured in the image portray their Christian faith.
Through the image, I was able to learn that emperor Justinian was not only a political leader but also a strong Christian leader. This is portrayed in the image as he is portrayed to be holding Eucharist bread. Besides him in the image is bishop Maximianus and other church attendants.
Bassett, Sarah E. “Style and meaning in the imperial panels at San Vitale.” Artibus et Historiae (2008): 49-57.
This article explains the meaning of different imperial objects in San Vitale. This involves the meaning behind the different images and their historical relevance.
FARBER, ALLEN. “San Vitale And The Justinian Mosaic – Smarthistory”. Smarthistory.Org, https://smarthistory.org/san-vitale/.
This article explains the history of the image in San Vitale. It also elaborates the different aspects which are portrayed in the image and the symbolic meaning of the different objects.
GIANNAKIS, GREGORY. “Power and Hierarchy in Byzantine Art and Architecture.”
This article examines and elaborates different aspects associated with Byzantine art and architecture. This includes how aspects of power are portrayed in art and architecture.
Project One: Part 2: Analysis/Research Paper due Week 4:
Select one work of art from course related material that you would like to analyze and research. You will be spending significant time with this work of art so make sure that you have a lot to say about it and, that you will be able to find reliable and academic research for your selection. The date of your selected work of art must fall between the Ancient Near East period (c. 4,000 BCE) to the Proto/Pre-Renaissance (14th century). Note: Architecture will not be an appropriate topic for this type of paper.
Requirements for Analysis/Research Paper:
Your 4-5 page paper will concentrate on your selected work of art/architecture and consist of both visual analysis and research. In addition to a subject description and thorough visual analysis you will provide social context and you may choose to include a brief comparison. Organize your paper in the following manner and include the bold headings below:
Introduction: Introduce the work of art. What do you hope the reader will learn from your paper? Include your captioned image.
Subject and Visual Description: Fully describe your subject. If applicable, explain its function and location. Then, in your own words provide a thorough visual analysis (research not needed here). Below are questions which will help guide your visual analysis. Depending on your selected work, not all questions apply. Aim to incorporate responses to as many questions as possible.
- Medium: (limestone, marble, fresco, etc.)
- Size: (approximately 10 feet long by three feet wide, etc.)
- Shape: What are the dominant shapes apparent within the work? Are they geometric? Irregular? How are they organized? Do you detect dominant patterns?
- For sculpture: Is it relief sculpture or sculpture in the round? Is the sculpture carved or molded? Did the artist compose it to be seen from one primary vantage point, or is it meant to be seen from all sides? How does the work’s location affect the viewing experience? If relevant, how does the work relate to other area buildings or monuments?
- Light (particularly for painting): How does the artist employ effects of light and shading? Does the light appear to come from a single direction? Is the light evenly distributed? Which parts, if any, appear in a strong light? Which parts are in shadow?
- Color: What are the dominant colors employed by the artist? Does the artist use a wide range of colors, or only a few? Does the artist create color harmonies through analogous colors, such as red and orange? Does he/she create contrasts through complementary colors, such as red and green?
- Texture: Is the surface of the object soft or rough? What are the tactile qualities of the object (meaning how would it feel to touch its various parts)?
- Space/Mass: If it is a two-dimensional work, does the artist draw the viewer’s eye beyond the picture plane and into the distant space of the picture? How is space suggested? Is this a deep or shallow space? Would you describe the work’s overall effect as sleek, bulky, heavy, light, etc. Are there any open spaces or are they closed spaces? Describe fully.
- Line: Is there an emphasis on line? For example, are there sharp diagonals or angles in the work? Are the lines balanced and ordered? Do they imply directional movement? You can think of line as outlines if no obvious lines are apparent in the work.
- Emotional impact: What emotions does the work evoke in the viewer?
Contextual Analysis: What were the cultural values, and the social, religious and political systems of the time? How might such forces have been relevant to your work of art? Do not discuss the context in isolation. The artwork should be related to the context.
Comparison Analysis (optional): Depending on your selected work, you may choose to include a comparison analysis. Select one other work of art/architecture from the same culture (include a fully captioned image). Compare and contrast the style, the meaning, and the visual elements. At the end of your comparison, summarize the key characteristics visible in your chosen works.
Conclusion & Citations: Sum up the salient ideas of your paper and what you have learned from the process of examining this artwork. You are to use both in text citations and provide an annotated Works Cited Page in MLA or APA citation style. A minimum of three academic sources must be used.
Research Suggestions: First, visit the UMUC online library. Suggested museum sites include:
• Metropolitan Museum of Art: http://metmuseum.org/toah/
• The British Museum: http://www.britishmuseum.org/
• The Louvre: http://www.louvre.fr/en/homepage
The document must be attached as a word document. Put your name in the document and in the title of the attachment. Use double space. SPECIAL NOTE: WIKIPEDIA IS NOT A RELIABLE SOURCE FOR THE PURPOSES OF ACADEMIC RESEARCH AND IS NOT TO BE USED FOR THIS COURSE. Images; however, can be retrieved from the website.