By Kim W. Woods
This quantity contains essays on key subject matters of medieval and Renaissance paintings, together with analyses of sacred artwork, Gothic structure, the artwork of the crusades, and paintings at courtroom. Key artists akin to Simone Martini and Botticelli are incorporated, in addition to defining monuments of the interval comparable to the Basilica of Saint Denis and Westminster Abbey.
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Extra info for Art & Visual Culture 1100-1600: Medieval to Renaissance
39 What remains interesting in this description is the surface that functions as the support is no longer on the canvas (to refer back to the example of Caravaggio), or even of the work, but rather is installed in the position of the spectator - the affective surface produced in the emotional perception. In the above example of The Conversion of St Paul, it is for this reason that the night remains dark, impenetrable and without content (a black hole), since its only sensible mirror is produced in the affective response of the spectator.
In short, Wolfflin wanted to construct a code for deciphering a set of dominant cultural and aesthetic values, or the logic behind the evolution of one set of values into another; an evolution which was already programmed by the alternation of the classical-baroque opposition that follows the rhythm of cultural cycles post-Renaissance. Focillon's formalism is even more analogical than Wolfflin's, especially when he compares the system of cultural and aesthetic forms to the evolution of an organic system.
This will be die one constant mat is evident throughout die different usages it later receives. In Wolfflin's study, and later in Henri Focillon's La Vie des formes (1934), this formalism achieves die status of a mediod (which Omar Calabrese calls 'a logic of morphogenesis'), which was influenced in great part by die work of die twentiem-century Spanish critic Eugenio d'Ors, who is made responsible for die dislocation of the baroque from its identification with a unique historical period. 63 Following Omar Calabrese's commentary on diis morphological function in his Neo-Baroque (1992), we might summarize Wolfflin's own morphological method in the following manner: • Each work or series of works is a complex manifestation of certain elementary 'forms' that can be defined in a series of oppositions, since form is perceptible only tiirough a system of differences.