Friday, January 6, 2017

Art History I

Art History I 


Ancient Art / Paleolithic art

Venus of Willendorf, Oolitic limestone, c. 28,000 B.C.E – 25,000 B.C.E.
Discovered, 1908 near Willendorf, Naturhistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria.

The Venus of Willendorf is an 11.1-centimetre-high (4.4 in) statuette of a female figure estimated to have been made between about 28,000 and 25,000 BCE. It was found in 1908 by a workman named Johann Veran or Josef Veram during excavations conducted by archaeologists Josef Szombathy, Hugo Obermaier and Josef Bayer at a paleolithic site near Willendorf, a village in Lower Austria near the town of Krems. It is carved from an oolitic limestone that is not local to the area, and tinted with red ochre. The figurine is now in the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna, Austria.

Several similar statuettes and other forms of art have been discovered, and they are collectively referred to as Venus figurines, although they pre-date the mythological figure of Venus by millennia.

The Venus  of Ostrava Petrokovice

Art Historians use the term BCE to mean Before the Common Era

Her great age and pronounced female forms quickly established the Venus of Willendorf as an icon of prehistoric art. She was soon included in introductory art history textbooks where she quickly displaced other previously used examples of Paleolithic art. Being both female and nude, she fitted perfectly into the patriarchal construction of the history of art. As the earliest known representation, she became the “first woman,” acquiring a sort of Ur-Eve identity that focused suitably, from a patriarchal point of view, on the fascinating reality of the female body.

How would we compare The Venus of Willendorf, The Venus of Ostrava Petrokovice, and The Venus of Dolni Vestonice in terms of visual appearance?

Altamira Cave, Prehistoric art, Altamira Bison, Spain, discovered in 1880
The first example of cave art to be discovered.

The Chauvet cave discovered in 1994.

The Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave in the Ardèche department of southern France is a cave that contains some of the best preserved figurative cave paintings in the world, as well as other evidence of Upper Paleolithic life. It is located near the commune of Vallon-Pont-d'Arc on a limestone cliff above the former bed of the Ardèche River, in the Gorges de l'Ardèche.

Discovered on December 18, 1994, it is considered one of the most significant prehistoric art sites and the UN’s cultural agency UNESCO granted it World Heritage status on June 22, 2014. Its paintings, along with those of Lascaux and the Cave of Altamira, have been dubbed a "prehistoric Sistine Chapel."

Lascaux Cave discovered in 1940.

Lascaux Cave, is the setting of a complex of caves near the village of Montignac, in the department of Dordogne in southwestern France renowned for its over 600 excellently detailed parietal wall paintings, that decorate the interior walls and ceilings of the cave in impressive compositions." Among some of the best-known Upper Paleolithic works of art depicted are primarily large animals, typical local and contemporary fauna that corresponds with the fossil record. The paintings are the combined effort of many generations and dating (still debated) ranks variably to around 17,000 years BP. Lascaux was inducted into the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list in 1979, as element of the Prehistoric Sites and Decorated Caves of the Vézère Valley.


Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England, 2 miles (3 km) west of Amesbury and 8 miles (13 km) north of Salisbury. Stonehenge's ring of standing stones are set within earthworks in the middle of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds.

Archaeologists believe it was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the first bluestones were raised between 2400 and 2200 BC, although they may have been at the site as early as 3000 BC.

One of the most famous landmarks in the UK, Stonehenge is regarded as a British cultural icon. It has been a legally protected Scheduled Ancient Monument since 1882 when legislation to protect historic monuments was first successfully introduced in Britain. The site and its surroundings were added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1986. Stonehenge is owned by the Crown and managed by English Heritage; the surrounding land is owned by the National Trust.

Stonehenge could have been a burial ground from its earliest beginnings. Deposits containing human bone date from as early as 3000 BC, when the ditch and bank were first dug, and continued for at least another five hundred years.

Pyramids of Giza

There is 10 pyramids in the Giza plateau and built by Selected people with skills

The Pyramid of Cheops was completed around which years 2560 BCE

The largest pyramid was built as a tomb for Pharaoh Khufu.

Egyptian tomb painting.

Symbolic elements were widely used and strict laws were applied, Colossal scale sculpture became the most important symbol of divinity in Egypt. The pictures found in Egyptian tombs were connected with the idea of afterlife, they drew from memory, according to strict rules which ensured that everything that had to go into the picture would stand out in perfect clarity.

Ancient Egypt Daily Life Domestic


Chefren's Pyramid outer casing closeup, 100-25tb

Thutmose, Bust of Nefertiti, 1370 BCE – 1330 BCE, Egyptian Museum of Berlin


EPIGONOS, Dying Gaul

Doryphoros by Polykleitos

Praxitele, Hermes abd the Infant

Aphrodite of Knidos by Praxiteles

Veiled and masked dancer

Riace Warrior A

Nike Victory of Samothrace

Venus de Milo

Write an essay describing the characteristics and contributions of Ancient Egyptian art or Ancient Greek art.

Visual Arts Movements - ca. 30,000 B.C.-ca. 400 A.D.


Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) Art - 30,000-10,000 B.C.

Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age) Art - 10,000-8000 B.C.

Neolithic (New Stone Age) Art - 8000-3000 B.C.

Bronze Age Art - 2500-800 B.C.

Iron Age Art - 750-50 B.C.

Ancient Civilizations


Sumerian Art - 3000-2300 B.C.

Akkadian Art - 2300-2150 B.C.

Neo-Sumerian Art - 2150-2000 B.C.

Babylonian Art - 1900-1600 B.C.

Assyrian Art - 900-612 B.C.

Neo-Babylonian Art - 625-539 B.C.


Early Dynastic Art - 3500-2686 B.C.

Old Kingdom Art - 2686-2185 B.C.

Middle Kingdom Art - 2133-1750 B.C.

Early New Kingdom Art - 1570-1353 B.C.

Amarna Art - 1353-1332 B.C.

Late New Kingdom Art - 1332-1075 B.C.

Late Period Art - 750-332 B.C.

Macedonian Dynasty Art - 332-304 B.C.

Ptolemaic Dynasty Art - 304-30 B.C.

Art under the Roman Emperors - 30 B.C.-395 A.D.

The Cycladic Islands/Crete

Early Minoan Art - 2800-2000 B.C.

Middle Minoan Art - 2000-1700 B.C.

Late Minoan Art - 1550-1400 B.C.

Phoenician Art - 1500-500 B.C.

Nomadic Tribes

Luristan Art - 700-500 B.C.

Scythian Art - 600-300 B.C.

Persian Empire Art - 539-331 B.C.

Classical Civilizations

Greek Art

Mycenaean Art - 1550-1200 B.C.

Sub-Mycenaean Art - 1100-1025 B.C.

Proto-Geometric Art - 1025-900 B.C.

Geometric Art - 900-700 B.C.

Archaic Art - 700-480 B.C.

Orientalizing Phase - 735-650 B.C.

Early Archaic - 700-600 B.C.

High Archaic - 600-520 B.C.

Late Archaic - 520-480 B.C.

Classical Art - 480-323 B.C.

Early Classical - 480-450 B.C.

High Classical - 450-400 B.C.

Late Classical - 400-323 B.C.

Hellenistic Art - 323-31 B.C.

Early Hellenistic - 323-250 B.C.

High Hellenistic - 250-100 B.C.

Late Hellenistic - 100 -31 B.C.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Art History II

The art of the Etruscan

The art of the inhabitants of Etruria, central Italy, a civilization that flourished 8th - 2nd centuries BCE.

Apollo of Veii


During the Bronze Age Etruscan were the descendant of a people called the Villanovans, who had occupied the north and west region of Italy. Etruscans were heavily influenced by Greeks and Phoenician culture; they learn how to do a lot of things and create individual styles included sculpture, bronze work, pottery, and painting.

They build cities with stone walls. Most cities were surrounded by walls with protective gates and towers. The Etruscan created house-shaped funerary urns and decorated the interiors of tombs to resemble houses; their houses were rectangular mud-brick structures build either around a central courtyard or around an atrium. The Porta Augusta is one of the a few structures of the Etruscan architecture. A tunnel like passageway between two huge towers is one of the significant round arch, which is extended into a semicircular ceiling called barrel vault. The round arch it was not an Etruscan invention, but the support of the arch called keystone at the top center was the most important piece of it. They also build big stone temples and put big statues in them. The statues made of clay were often on the roof of temples. Also dug canals and ditches to irrigate their fields. The basic construction material of an Etruscan temple was mud brick. The columns and entablatures were made of wood or a quarried volcanic rock, called tufa. Etruscan temples had a stone room, the cella, on the inside, and they were on a platform that raised them above the ground. The columns were only across the front, not all the way around. And the platforms of Etruscan temples were much higher than Greek temples. The Etruscans built their tombs out of stone, and they liked their tombs to look like their houses.

Etruscan artist excelled at making monumental terracotta sculpture, decorative panels, houses, and tombs. Some tombs were carved out of the rock to resemble rooms in a house.

The Etruscans built their homes around a atrium or a central courtyard.

Most examples of Etruscan painting come from excavated tombs, whose frescoes depict scenes of everyday life, mythology, and mortuary rites, typically in bright coloursand a vigorous, animated style. Scenes of feasting, dancing, swimming, fishing, and playing evoke a confident people who enjoyed life to the full, and who even in death depicted themselves in a joyous and festive manner. The decline of their civilization, in the shadow of Rome's expansion, is reflected in their later art, which loses its original joie de vivre and becomes sombre.

One of the most surviving examples of Etruscan sculpture is of funerary art, such as sarcophagi from cerveteri mainly made of clay or terracotta. The Sarcophagus of the Spouses, a sixth century BC archaic style, depicts a married couple reclining together on a dining couch. This sarcophagus informs on the differences in the public and private roles of the sexes in Etruscan and Greek society. Greek men and women dined separately. There are a few examples of Etruscan bronze sculptures; one of this is she wolf and the head of a man Brutus they also created small items for either funerary or domestic use such as a bronze mirror.

Etruscan pottery closely modeled itself on Greek styles such as black and red figure ware and Greek style craters and drinking vessels. They also used developed their own style of pottery known as Black Bucchero pottery, a black styled pot incised rather than painted. The Etruscan’s put their skills with the kiln to use in creating pottery products that indirectly tells us much about Etruscan society. Most of these examples come from funerary remains.

Terracotta hut urns, which were used for cremated remains, were styled on the typical Etruscan dwellings of round wattle and daub huts. Most of the Etruscan frescos survive in tomb art. Paintings are two dimensional, uses an array of bright colors and show animated action. Many other frescos feature funeral feasts and death rites that are not Greek in style, such as scenes interpreted as gladiatorial contests in portraits of Etruscan funeral games. Etruscan tombs also give a general overview of Etruscan life. Frescos also show scenes from daily life-fishermen about their work, banquet scenes and dancing, with birds and animals intermingling with human figures showing the importance of nature in day to day life. As with pottery and statues, many funeral scenes again show both sexes dining together.

The Etruscan statuses represent a clear vision of the artist because shows with details the personification of their gods, leaders, and authority people as Apollo of Veii of the time or to represent a value mythic story or victories. Most of the Etruscan and Roman status represent authority and persuasiveness by the pose of the status.

With the time and experiences this regular clay technique got more value when they combined their project with metals such bronze and concrete thinking of making their creations more durable and more stable a fortunate for us in this time. With their necessity of created new things and express their skills they create a new stage in the art history and conserving pass the time been the base of education. Today with all excavations, recompilation and study of all the terracotta figures, pottery, jewelry, jars, paints in etruscan material charactering for the terra-cotta color and they easy texture to mold. Etruscan, today Roma and Italy are the richest places of art history in their museums and plazas. Places as Porta Augusta, Perugia, Italy, and buildings that represent their arquitecture showing how intelligent they were because they used complicated techniques by that time, they were observing the room temperature to use the clay as well the weight.


The Lombards where among those who established kingdoms in the heart of what had been the Roman Empire. 


Of the paintings, which survive from the Roman classical world, many are frescoes from the area of Campania around Naples. Campania includes Pompeii, Herculaneum, and other towns whose buildings, paintings, and sculptures were preserved by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79.

The Romans painted directly on the walls of their rooms, and also on portable panels. In Third and Fourth Style wall paintings, we can even see imitations of portable paintings - these are paintings of paintings, as it were. Domestic interiors were claustrophobic - windowless and dark - so the Romans used painted decoration to visually open up and lighten their living spaces.

Wall paintings at Pompeii provide valuable insights into Roman erotic art in the mid-1st century BC. In the House of the Vettii lies a representation of a deity weighing his enormous phallus with a pair of scales counterbalanced with fruit and crops.

Fourth Style appears in Pompeii following the earthquake of 62 AD, and continues in the Roman world well into the second century AD. Style IV is heterogeneous, and incorporates elements from all of the earlier styles. Architecture becomes more realistic, and the wall tends to open up again, but not so far as in Style II. Developing from Style III, paintings are given an illusion of portability by being set into trompe-l'oeil aediculae, screens, and tapestries. Further developments include the imitation of stage backgrounds, and an "intricate" style consisting of arabesques on white ground, as in Nero's Domus Aurea in Rome.

Oculus of The Pantheon

The circular opening in the ceiling of the Pantheon is called a oculus.

The Pantheon

The word Pantheon literally means all the gods. 

Pont du Gard

Column of Trajan


Technical elements of Roman painting include the fresco technique; brightly colored backgrounds; division of the wall into multiple rectangular areas ("tic-tac-toe" design); multi-point perspective; and trompe-l'oeil effects.

Arch of Constantine

The art of fresco as practiced in Classical times was described by Vitruvius (De Architectura) and Pliny The Elder (Naturalis Historia.) A wall was prepared by the application of 1-3 coats of mortar (lime and sand) followed by 1-3 coats of lime mixed with finely powdered marble; colored pigments were applied while the wall was still damp. Sometimes tempera and liquid wax were added after the wall had dried.

The cornerstone of Christian philosophy is the text, The City of God.

Barbarians are people from outside the empire who could only “barble” Greek or Latin. 

In its own day, the Gothic style was called the “modern” style

The Romanesque period marks a new era in the social and economic life of Europe

The word Romanesque means “in the Roman manner.”

The period from 1150 - 1400 is known as the “Age of Cathedrals.”

In the Gothic period, colors symbolized important elements; blue signified heaven and fidelity and white, purity.

Intellectual life in the Romanesque period involved the establishment of the first universities in the cities of Bologna; Paris; Oxford; Cambridge.

In its own day, the Gothic style was called the “modern” style.

Piazza dei Miracoli, Pisa

The Cathedral of Pisa was designed by the master builder Busketos

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is actually the baptistry of the Cathedral complex at Pisa

Notre Dame de Paris

In the Gothic period, Thomas Aquinas made Paris the intellectual center of Europe.

The glowing, back- lit colors of stained glass and the soft sheen of mural paintings dissolved the solid forms of masonry, while within the church the reflection of gold, enamels, and gems on altars and gospel book covers, on crosses and candlesticks, captured the splendor of Paradise on Earth.

Intensity of color is often created by building up many thin layers of paint using a technique called glazing.

The Romanesque technique of portraying narrative scenes in the geometric confines of column capitals is called a historated capital.

The Book of Kells

The Book of Kells is a stunningly beautiful manuscript containing the Four Gospels. It is Ireland's most precious medieval artifact, and is generally considered the finest surviving illuminated manuscript to have been produced in medieval Europe.

The Book of Kells was probably produced in a monastery on the Isle of Iona, Scotland, to honor Saint Columba in the early 8th century. After a Viking raid the book was moved to Kells, Ireland, sometime in the 9th century. It was stolen in the 11th century, at which time its cover was torn off and it was thrown into a ditch. The cover, which most likely included gold and gems, has never been found, and the book suffered some water damage; but otherwise it is extraordinarily well-preserved.

In 1541, at the height of the English Reformation, the book was taken by the Roman Catholic Church for safekeeping. It was returned to Ireland in the 17th century, and Archbishop James Ussher gave it to Trinity College, Dublin, where it resides today.

The Book of Kells 

Book of Kells was written by Celtic monks

One of the most beautiful, original, and inventive of the surviving Hiberno-Saxon Gospel books is the Book of Kells. 

The Book of Kells was written on vellum (calfskin), which was time-consuming to prepare properly but made for an excellent, smooth writing surface. 680 individual pages (340 folios) have survived, and of them only two lack any form of artistic ornamentation. In addition to incidental character illuminations, there are entire pages that are primarily decoration, including portrait pages, "carpet" pages and partially decorated pages with only a line or so of text. 

As many as ten different colors were used in the illuminations, some of them rare and expensive dyes that had to be imported from the continent. The workmanship is so fine that some of the details can only be clearly seen with a magnifying glass. 

During Medieval times, books were either written on vellum or parchment.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Art History III


Venus of Urbino, Titian.

Titian created one of his great paintings of a nude for the Duke of Urbino.

School of Athens, Raphael.

Raphael and Michelangelo were in the service of Pope Julius II in the early years of the sixteenth century.

Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo.

Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci.

Mona Lisa (La Gioconda or Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo) It is a painting in oil on a poplar panel, completed circa 1503–1519. It is on permanent display at the Musée du Louvre in Paris

Leonardo Da Vinci began painting the Mona Lisa in 1503 or 1504 in Florence, Italy. According to Da Vinci's contemporary, Giorgio Vasari, "...after he had lingered over it four years, left it unfinished...." It is known that such behavior is common in most paintings of Leonardo who, later in his life, regretted "never having completed a single work".

He is thought to have continued to work on Mona Lisa for three years after he moved to France and to have finished it shortly before he died in 1519. Leonardo took the painting from Italy to France in 1516 when King François I invited the painter to work at the Clos Lucé near the king's castle in Amboise. Most likely through the heirs of Leonardo's assistant Salai, the king bought the painting for 4,000 écus and kept it at Château Fontainebleau, where it remained until given to Louis XIV. Louis XIV moved the painting to the Palace of Versailles. After the French Revolution, it was moved to the Louvre.

David, Michelangelo.

On August 16, 1501, Michelangelo was given the official contract to undertake this challenging new task. He began carving the statue early in the morning on Monday, September 13, a month after he was awarded the contract. He would work on the massive biblical hero for more than two years.

On January 25, 1504, when the sculpture was nearing completion, Florentine authorities had to acknowledge there would be little possibility of raising the more than 6-ton statue to the roof of the cathedral.

Michelangelo's David differs from previous representations of the subject in that the Biblical hero is not depicted with the head of the slain Goliath, as he is in Donatello's and Verrocchio's statues. Most scholars consider that the work depicts David before his battle with Goliath.

Michelangelo's David pose is unlike that of any earlier David; Donatello and Verrocchio had both represented the hero standing victorious over the head of Goliath, and Andrea del Castagno had shown the boy in mid-swing, even as Goliath's head rested between his feet, but no earlier Florentine artist had omitted the giant altogether. The contrast between his intense expression and his calm pose perhaps suggests that David is represented after he has made the decision to fight Goliath but before the battle has actually taken place.

In 1504 David was installed next to the entrance to the Palazzo Vecchio. It took four days to move the statue the half-mile from Michelangelo's workshop into the Piazza della Signoria.

The Pietà, Michelangelo.

Michelangelo’s Pietà (or Rondanini Pietà) is one of the great tomb markers in the Vatican.

Pietà is one of Michaelangelo’s great nonfinito works. The structure is pyramidal, and the vertex coincides with Mary's head. The statue widens progressively down the drapery of Mary's dress, to the base, the rock of Golgotha. The figures are quite out of proportion, owing to the difficulty of depicting a fully-grown man cradled full-length in a woman's lap. Much of Mary's body is concealed by her monumental drapery, and the relationship of the figures appears quite natural. Michelangelo's interpretation of the Pieta was far different from those previously created by other artists, as he sculpted a young and beautiful Mary rather than an older woman around 50 years of age.

Michelangelo made the sculpture Moses for the Tomb of Julius II.

Il Cenacolo or L'Ultima Cena, Leonardo da Vinci.

The Last Supper by Leonardo was painted at a monastery in Milan

The Last Supper measures 450 × 870 centimeters (15 feet × 29 ft) and covers an end wall of the dining hall at the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy. The theme was a traditional one for refectories, although the room was not a refectory at the time that Leonardo painted it. The main church building had only recently been completed (in 1498), but was remodeled by Bramante, hired by Ludovico Sforza to build a Sforza family mausoleum. The painting was commissioned by Sforza to be the centerpiece of the mausoleum. The lunettes above the main painting, formed by the triple arched ceiling of the refectory, are painted with Sforza coats-of-arms. Leonardo began work on The Last Supper in 1495 and completed it in 1498.

Sophisticated patrons, like the Medici, appreciated allusions to ancient Greek and Roman literature and commissioned Botticelli to paint mythological subjects, like the Birth of Venus.

Birth of Venus, Sandro Botticelli.

David, Donatello.
In the early part of the 15th -century, the Italian painter Masaccio provided new direction for Florentine painting.

With the bronze David, Donatello reintroduced the life-size nude, once so evident in the ancient world.

Scholars do not know the circumstances surrounding the creation of Donatello’s bronze David.

In 15th-century Italy, wealthy families, such as the Medici in Florence, were powerful and influential patrons of the arts.

Gate of Paradise, Lorenzo Ghibirti.

In 1425 Lorenzo Ghiberti was commissioned to design a pair of bronze doors for The Battistero of San Giovanni in Florence. He labored on the task for 27 years, fashioning a masterpiece that Michelangelo called "truly worthy to be the Gates of Paradise" for its remarkable beauty and grandeur.

Sculptor, painter, draftsman, architectural consultant, stained-glass designer, entrepreneur, author of a treatise on the arts, and the first artist to write an autobiography, Ghiberti could honestly declare in his Commentaries that "few things of importance were made in our city that were not designed or devised by my hand.”

Michelangelo Buonarroti (1476-1564) is reported to have called the Baptistery's eastern doors the Gates of Paradise, a reference to heaven's beatific entrance. The essays in Gary Radke's catalogue justify the Italian High Renaissance master's legendary praise of Lorenzo's Ghiberti's work some five centuries later.

Dome at the Cathedral of Florence (Dome of Heaven)

Brunelleschi designed the Dome at the Cathedral of Florence, symbolically represents the Dome of Heaven.

The governing body for the city of Florence met in the Palazzo Della Signoria.

Saint Luke was the patron saint of painters.

Giorgio Vasari wrote the first survey of Italian art in 1550.


The Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects

Giorgio Vasari
Often called "the first art historian", Vasari invented the genre of the encyclopedia of artistic biographies with his Le Vite de' più eccellenti pittori, scultori, ed architettori (Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects), dedicated to Grand Duke Cosimo I de' Medici, which was first published in 1550. He was the first to use the term "Renaissance" (rinascita) in print, though an awareness of the ongoing "rebirth" in the arts had been in the air since the time of Alberti, and he was responsible for our use of the term Gothic Art, though he only used the word Goth which he associated with the "barbaric" German style. The Lives also included a novel treatise on the technical methods employed in the arts. The book was partly rewritten and enlarged in 1568, with the addition of woodcut portraits of artists.

Cennino Cennini’s Il Libro dell’Arte (The Book of Art) instructs the artist in the technique of painting as well as the proper lifestyle for the artist.

The Cathedral of Florence is also known as San Giovanni.

Santa Maria del Fiore, Cathedral of Florence.

Post Renaissance

Saint Theresa of Avila in Ecstasy, Bernini.

The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music. The style started around 1600 in Rome, Italy and spread to most of Europe.

The popularity and success of the Baroque style was encouraged by the Roman Catholic Church, which had decided at the time of the Council of Trent, in response to the Protestant Reformation, that the arts should communicate religious themes in direct and emotional involvement. The aristocracy also saw the dramatic style of Baroque architecture and art as a means of impressing visitors and expressing triumphant power and control. Baroque palaces are built around an entrance of courts, grand staircases and reception rooms of sequentially increasing opulence.

Incredulity of st Thomas, Caravaggio.

The Burial of the Count of Orgaz, El Greco.

El Greco (1541 – April 7, 1614) was a painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance. "El Greco" (The Greek) was a nickname, a reference to his ethnic Greek origin, and the artist normally signed his paintings with his full birth name in Greek letters, ΔομήνικοςΘεοτοκόπουλος (Doménikos Theotokópoulos).

El Greco was born on Crete, which was at that time part of the Republic of Venice, and the centre of Post-Byzantine art. He trained and became a master within that tradition before traveling at age 26 to Venice, as other Greek artists had done. In 1570 he moved to Rome, where he opened a workshop and executed a series of works. During his stay in Italy, El Greco enriched his style with elements of Mannerism and of the Venetian Renaissance. In 1577, he moved to Toledo, Spain, where he lived and worked until his death. In Toledo, El Greco received several major commissions and produced his best-known paintings.

El Greco's dramatic and expressionistic style was met with puzzlement by his contemporaries but found appreciation in the 20th century. El Greco is regarded as a precursor of both Expressionism and Cubism.

Perseus with the Head of Medusa, Benvenuto Cellini.

Benvenuto Cellini was one of the most important artists of Mannerism.

Mannerism was the first style supported by the Catholic Church as propaganda for the Inquisition.

Mannerism is a period of European art that emerged from the later years of the Italian High Renaissance around 1520. It lasted until about 1580 in Italy, when a more Baroque style began to replace it. Mannerism is notable for its intellectual sophistication as well as its artificial (as opposed to naturalistic) qualities.

Benvenuto Cellini (3 November 1500 – 13 February 1571) was an Italian goldsmith, sculptor, painter, soldier and musician, who also wrote a famous autobiography. Besides his works in gold and silver, Cellini executed sculptures of grander scale. The most distinguished of these is the bronze group of Perseus with the Head of Medusa, a work (first suggested by Duke CosimoI de Medici) now in the Loggia dei Lanzi at Florence, his attempt to surpass Michelangelo's David and Donatello's Judith and Holofernes. The casting of this work caused Cellini much trouble and anxiety, but it was hailed as a masterpiece as soon as it was completed. Cellini made his most famous work in the French court at Fontainebleau.

Cellini's Saliera, made in Paris, 1540–1543; Gold, partly covered in enamel, with an ebony base.