Tag Archives: art

Cultural Literacy: Rembrandt

A couple of days ago, on June 15th, Rembrandt’s birthday passed while I was away from my computer. Since the day gave me an opportunity to post this Cultural Literacy worksheet on Rembrandt, I observe it now both retrospectively and retroactively.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

The School of Athens

“One of four frescoes by Raphael (1483-1520) painted c. 1509 in the Stanza della Segnatura, a room in the papal apartments in the Vatican. The work was commissioned by Pope Julius II, who also commissioned Donato Bramante to design the new St. Peter’s and Michelangelo to design his tomb and (against his will) to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling. The frescoes in the Stanza della Segnatura are intended to demonstrate how neoplatonist philosophy justifies the power of the Roman Catholic Church. The School of Athens depicts Plato and Aristotle and a host of other philosophers, both ancient and modern, in a calm and balanced composition. The classical architectural setting–reminiscent of the new St. Peter’s–was painted from designs by Bramante, who himself acted as the model for the mathematician Euclid in the painting. Raphael’s portrait of his patron, Pope Julius, is in the National Gallery, London.

‘It took a soul as beautiful as his, in a body as beautiful as his, to experience and rediscover the true character of ancients in modern times.'”

Johann J. Winckelmann: on Raphael, in Thoughts on the Imitiation of Greek Art in Painting and Sculpture (1755)

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

Fresco

“Called ‘buon fresco’ or ‘true fresco,’ the technique of painting on moist lime plaster with water-based pigments.”

Excerpted from: Diamond, David G. The Bulfinch Pocket Dictionary of Art Terms. Boston: Little Brown, 1992.

Optical Mixing

“The involuntary mixing of juxtaposed colors by the eye and brain. Thus, at a certain distance, juxtaposed dabs of red and yellow pigment produce the sensation of orange. The colors seen by optical mixing appear clearer and more brilliant than those obtained by mixing colors on a palette.”

Excerpted from: Diamond, David G. The Bulfinch Pocket Dictionary of Art Terms. Boston: Little Brown, 1992.

Aegean Art

“Collective term for the art of a variety of ancient cultures (ca. 2800 B.C. to ca. 1400 B.C.) on the islands and along the coasts of the eastern Mediterranean Sea. The most important were Cycladic, Minoan (on the island of Crete), and Mycenaean (on the coast of mainland Greece).”

Excerpted from: Diamond, David G. The Bulfinch Pocket Dictionary of Art Terms. Boston: Little Brown, 1992.