Thursday, November 17, 2011

Prevalent Art Styles in Our Area

Greetings, Hohenfels, welcome to Hohenfels Volks, THE place for our place. This lovely Thursday came in cold, remained cold, and leaves us shivering in it’s tightening embrace! Things are warming up spiritually, though, with the approach of the holidays, so look forward to the warmth and glow of family, friends, and cheer!

Today I thought we’d touch on some of the different art and architectural styles you’ll encounter during your journeys through our place. We’re only going to touch on a couple of styles and the basic characteristics. The reason we will discuss these is that as you explore cathedrals, palaces, churches, graveyards, and other parts of the area, you will encounter these quite a bit. It helps to know what you’re looking at when folks ask about your photos, so let’s run through a little. I’m not an art authority, so please let me know if I make any mistakes, so I can correct them.

Let’s start with Romanesque, which seems to have started around 1000 AD and ended about the 13th century. There was quite a bit of Byzantine influence, especially in the churches. The tops of columns were often carved with whole scenes. Statues of the Madonna were quite popular during this period. Most of the bright colors used in the art have faded, with the stained glass being the most colorful examples. To see this style, check out the Schottenkirche, St James’s in Regensburg.

Moving on, we run across the Gothic style or period. Gothic art was a medieval style reflecting the themes of the day. A large amount of Gothic art was religious in its nature. The architecture of the time relied heavily upon pointed arches, ribbed vaults, and the flying buttress. These allowed more emphasis of lines and light, and space in the structure. The labor and time to create these majestic Doms was immense! A trend in Gothic art was the integration of sculpture, stained glass, and architecture. Bamberg cathedral has the only life sized horse and rider statue in Europe since about 500AD, look for the "green man" below the horse's hoof. The Gothic period ran from about 1200 until about 1600. A great example of Gothic architecture is the Dom St Peter in Regensburg or the cathedral in Bamberg.

Next up, we find Baroque styles coming into importance. The baroque period ran from about 1600 until 1800. The general characteristics of baroque art were movement and energy. Strong contrasts of light and shadow, chiaroscuro, were very common in the arts of this time. Themes included scenes of ecstasies, martyrs, and other religious events. Artists tried to portray the emotions and feelings in the soul on their subjects. This time gave rise to the Dutch masters and others who worked with light in new ways, and continue to inspire us to this day! In Hohenfels, we have St Ulrich Church, a Baroque church built between 1716 and 1720. The Asam brothers did the frescoes inside.

Rococo Art is often called later Baroque. The Rococo style led to art that was more decorative and served no other real purpose than decoration. Bold colors were favored. Themes involved hobbies of the rich and the nobles, sensual activities, love, frivolity, and romantic intrigue. It was very ornate and playful, with elaborate details and craftsmanship. For some great examples of Rococo style, check out the Residenz in Munich, as well as the Residenz in Wurzburg.

Learning more about these styles can help us in more ways that one. Knowing them allows us to explain what we shot, but it also allows us to learn new ways to work our camera and art. Remember to share your pics and post your questions at the Hohenfels Volks Facebook page, and or by commenting here!

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