Article Review for European Art History

 

 Article review for European art history.

"Muscipula Diaboli," The Symbolism of the Mérode Altarpiece

Schapiro’s article on the Mérode Altarpiece links the mousetrap that Joseph fashioned towards the patristic era and considered the humanity of Christ as a trap for the devil. The usage of the ancient texts has been very common in the iconological analysis for interpreting the representation of any everyday objects as a theological symbol is common in the iconological analysis. This theological connotation was present in the minds of Middle Ages' Christians and can directly be related to these Christians to the sense of triptych’s main image. 
The article begins by stating that contradictory opinions on the knowledge of devil centering on the incarnation. Schapiro has further framed this symbolic interpretation on the basis of social context and considers the importance of Joseph in the late Middle Ages along with the broader connotations of the mousetrap towards sexuality and cleanliness. This results in the creation of a finely nuanced elucidation of the painting where the varying layers of the meaning merge to sustain each other, and the domestic world helps to provide the objects for explaining the purity of Mary as poetic and theological symbols and also as an indicator for the miraculous presence of God. Further, the ascetic figure, as well as the occupation of Joseph, is provided by the family's religious-social conception; the mousetrap which is a theologian metaphor for the redemption simultaneously provides a rich condensation of the diabolical symbol and their repression and erotic and therefore the trap can be regarded as a female object along with being a tool for destruction of sexual temptation. Therefore, this article presents a brilliant iconological piece of study. In my opinion, the article is structured in a rare but efficient manner. One should notice that the article is worth praising as the author Schapiro, considers the domestic significance of the mousetrap and attains a high-level position in the iconological studies and deals with the primary as well as a conventional subject matter of the work and on the same side does not fail to provide an intrinsic meaning to the content. This explanation of the mousetrap suggested by the occupation of Joseph can be considered as a whimsical invention of the artist. It also discusses the views of St. Augustine, and considers the redemption of man by the sacrifice of Christ and also employs the metaphor of the mousetrap for explaining the necessity of the incarnation. According to that, Christ's human flesh is signified as bait for the devil who, in seizing it, brings about his own ruin. The image included in the article present an exemplary effort of equating St. Joseph with the mousetrap, and therefore positions itself at the seminal point towards the Josephite iconography.  

The Central Tympanum at Vézelay: Its Encyclopedic Meaning and Its Relation to the First Crusade

Adolph Katzenellenbogen has published a groundbreaking article pointing to the influence of the Crusades, especially in medieval iconography. Adolph Katzenellenbogen, in his intense connotation of the central tympanum of Vézelay, has suggested towards its iconography has been reflecting an ‘‘encyclopedic Mission of the Apostles’’ and that has been prefiguring the mew missions of the first crusaders. The first Crusade after being created captured Jerusalem in 1099. But in 1146, before the Second Crusade would be launched at its very threshold, Adolph Katzenellenbogen saw this act as a justifying as well as celebrating the crusades metaphorically in an intelligent manner and in this manner the contemporary sources reflected the language. His presentation on the command in the language for echoing the Christ’ in the Mission of the Apostles is commendable and illustrated his readers towards capturing Jerusalem on the? the fourteenth of July. This day had been depicted as ‘‘the day when the apostles dispersed throughout the world for full? living their mission.’ Adolph Katzenellenbogen’s perspective on the continuing of work of the apostles by the crusaders and their conquering of the world for the Christian faith directly into the faraway lands is presented in a very insightful manner for the readers. 
Adolph Katzenellenbogen’s interpretation of the iconography of the Vézelay tympanum as the representation of the Pentecost: which is a large Christ figure that sits enthroned along with the lines of fire that are being extended from his fingertips towards the heads of his twelve surrounding apostles is spectacularly being done. His notification of the St. Bernand delivering his call, in front of the tympanum, for the second crusade presented recognized parallelism between the contemporary mission of the Crusaders and the mission of the apostles. This study on the central tympanum at Vézelay had framed out a methodological approach towards the medieval visual culture has taken into the account the phenomenological, social, practical, and the historical impact of these crusades especially on medieval Europe.
His interpretation of the central tympanum at Vézelay does not rely independently on the direct translation of the series of texts, particular text into the stone but has indeed inculcated the sculptural program into his study as a multivalent reflection on various complex series of the social and theological concerns. This narrative of the central tympanum at Vézelay is a beautiful and unique creation that has been drawing from various sources and textual as well as visual sources for expressing a coherent as well as expansive sets of the ideas. His further claims of the archivolt's compartments of the tympanum have been represented not as individual nations or the people but have represented them as humans having a variety of frailties who had to cure only by preaching the Gospel, which was deaf, blind, mute and so forth. 

Reconfiguring the Gods on the Parthenon Frieze

This article deals with the low-relief frieze classical art that is executed for the Parthenon on the Athenian Acropolis between 447 and 432 B.C.E. It presents the reasons for the obscurity and attendant proliferation on friezes’ interpretations. Further iconography with the possible meaning of the gods and their groupings on the frieze has been illustrated significantly. 
Jenifer Neils has discussed a daunting subject of the Parthenon frieze which is a monument that is emerged out as a scholarly enterprise in itself. In this thoughtful and thorough article, she has presented the importance of revisiting the topic again. She has proceeded with taking a comprehensive approach rather than considering frieze from an entirely iconographic point. Neils has emphasized the importance of the Agora and Acropolis as the foci for the activities involving religion and has put a special focus on the Panathenaic procession. She has intelligently questioned the role of Perikles and has suggested the people relying too much on Plutarch and hi involvement and have ignored the silence of famous writers like Plato. She has seen the building as a monument for the Athenian piety which was being sponsored by the demos. 
Neils has further identified the frieze figures present in the frieze by using comparanda and especially from the vase painting. Her stressing on the arrangement of the groups which are directly associated with the Athenian ritual is informational. These identifications are further being aided by the increased knowledge of the readers of the Athenian culture from the iconography of the cult. This part of the article is engagingly as well as clearly written and is precisely documented.
She deftly discussed the previous explanations regarding the iconography of the frieze and also includes the identification of the scene by Connelly as the sacrifice of the daughters of Erechtheus. She further rejected this explanation as she identified the pivotal figure of a baby boy on the basis of the iconographic evidence centered on the fact that these females are not presented with their ankles uncovered. She has preferred a better and more generic explanation as compared to those which are usually advanced. Finally, she also discussed the artistic legacy of frieze, and she admits that it is rather difficult in underpinning the information with certainty due to missing of the Greek art. Despite she indicates that the legacy is significant and has herself presented it beautifully. This article is handsomely mounted, persuasively argued and comprehensive in nature. This article provides itself as an invaluable tool for drawing entire frieze and is quite informational. 

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