Manual Historical Dictionary of Renaissance Art (Historical Dictionaries of Literature and the Arts)

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William A. Everett , Paul R. Historical Dictionary of Architecture 2nd ed. Allison Lee Palmer. Historical Dictionary of Russian and Soviet Cinema 2nd ed. Peter Rollberg. Historical Dictionary of Renaissance Art 2nd ed. Lilian H. Built from the rubble of earlier structures, these massive pyramids were constructed on a rectangular ground plan with their corners oriented to the compass points.

While some ziggurats could be entered at ground level to arrive at the altar rooms, storage spaces, and courtyards, other ziggurats were entered by sets of broad stairways that led directly to the roof temple. Subsequent Mari, Babylonian, Assyrian, and Persian peoples in Mesopotamia continued to construct increasingly complex temples, palaces, fortresses, and monumental entry ways, decorated with painted murals, painted and glazed clay mosaics, and limestone relief sculp- tures.

Excavations along the Indus River Valley, most notably at Mo- henjo Daro and Harappa in Pakistan, also reveal that around BC, well-organized city plans included straight streets, multistory housing made of some of the earliest fired brick, and sophisticated drainage sys- tems.

Historical Dictionary of Fantasy Literature (Historical Dictionaries of Literature and the Arts)

A palace complex at Mari in modern-day Syria, built for the Amorite king Zimrilim ruled BC , demonstrates the in- creased importance given to political structures that incorporated tem- ples and ziggurats into larger urban complexes. Located about miles north of Babylon, the city of Mari is described in ancient docu- ments as containing noble private homes, paved roads lined with al- abaster, a good sanitation system, and buildings created for an increas- ingly large number of complex, large-scale industries, including bronze foundries and shops.

The palace, destroyed by Hammurabi, appears to- day only in fragments of wall murals located in the Louvre Museum in Paris; these fragments reveal scenes of the palace's famous gardens and courtyards. At its height, the Persian Empire not only absorbed most of the Mesopotamian world, but included parts of Anatolia and some of the Aegean islands.

Ancient Egypt is best known for its monumental architecture, which symbolized the ideas of both power and permanence. From the great pyr- amids at Giza, outside Cairo, to the massive temple compounds located along the banks of the Nile River, this regional architecture consists of a complex religious structure focused on the preservation of the soul, called the "ka," after physical death. Permanent architectural structures, together with mummification and ancestor worship, ensured this form of immortality. Egyptians were described by the Ancient Greek historian Herodotus as extremely religious, and he further stated that no other country "possesses so many wonders, nor.

Annual flooding along the Nile River provided a fertile soil that allowed for irrigation and agricul- tural prosperity, and in prehistoric times a large population began to set- tle into permanent communities along the river. Around BC these communities were forcefully unified under the ruler Menes, whose au- thority was unquestioned, divine, and therefore permanent.

Architecture symbolized this idea of permanence and stability through a consistency of design and a monumental form. While Mesopotamian ziggurats functioned as elevated tombs, this pyra- mid was a funerary monument that held the body and possessions of the deceased deep within the solid stone structure.

A burial shaft leads through the pyramid down into the burial chamber, while a separate chapel and worship chamber could be accessed via a secret doorway into the pyramid wall. Enclosed by a tall limestone wall, the pyramid, temple, and royal pavilion are further enclosed with a series of fictive building fronts, courtyards, and false walls, while the pyramid itself has a false doorway, all in order to protect both the body and the rich pos- sessions carried by the deceased into the afterlife.

These are the com- plex funerary rituals that have fueled an interest in Egyptian architec- tural culture, from the era of Herodotus through the military campaign of Napoleon, when Egyptology became a widespread fascination that has endured to this day.

Its complex plan, with multiple stories, courtyards, and underground storage areas, all within a very large square footage, is cer- tainly consistent in its complexity with the labyrinth-like design created by the mythical architect Daedalus to prevent the escape of the mino- taur kept by King Minos. The Citadel at Mycenae in Greece dates to around BC and consists of a heavily fortified complex lo- cated on a hilltop, consistent with Homer's descriptions of Agamem- non's burial site.

The foot-thick stone walls of the city of Tiryns, lo- cated 10 miles away from Mycenae, certainly reveal in their defensive design the celebration of great strength, consistent with the city's most famous mythical inhabitant, Hercules. These early Helladic peoples then came together with nomadic Indo- European peoples to form one of the greatest ancient civilizations in history, that of classical Greece. Ancient Greek architects established a new standard of architectural aesthetics, one that mimicked the propor- tions of the human body to create highly sculptural, freestanding struc- tures of timeless beauty.

Constructed by Ik- tinos and Kallikrates, this elevated rectangular temple with a continu- ous colonnade of Doric columns, a gabled roof now collapsed inward, and the remains of an inner shrine, reveals in its clear, simple design a form of logic and order invented by the Ancient Greeks. In this build- ing, measured with a degree of mathematical exactitude not found in earlier structures, we find the earliest design principles that codify with precision different column orders, capital types, height and width re- quirements, and appropriateness of external decoration.

These princi- ples are embedded in Greek philosophical thought and have created a timeless, universal concept of beauty that has been revived countless times through history. Romans used architecture not only for reli- gious inspiration, but also to cultivate an image of political power and superiority.

While Ancient Roman roads connected all parts of the far- flung empire and water was brought to the people via carefully engi- neered aqueducts, architects blended regional materials with stone to create large, uniformly designed structures that stood as monuments of Roman superiority. The domed Pantheon AD and the Basil- ica of Constantine AD 3 in Rome were both overwhelming in scale, with the largest unencumbered interior spaces ever built.

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This overwhelming scale necessitated new technical innovations such as the dome, the barrel vault, and the cross-vault, as well as the invention of stronger materials such as concrete, made from the nearby volcanic rock. Broad avenues separated market areas from religious zones, while neighborhoods were separated by social class. One important aspect of Roman society was an increased emphasis on leisure activities, which resulted in the development of such building types as the bathhouse and the arena. Vitruvius, a Roman architect and engineer who lived in the first century BC, wrote the earliest known treatise on architecture, called De architectura; it discusses in separate chapters both technical and aesthetic principles of ancient Roman architecture, as well as dif- ferent building types.

This tremendously influential treatise was redis- covered in the early years of the Renaissance and was central to the re- vival of classicism in that era. Religion remained the main source of inspiration for architecture, however, and in the West this is even more evident in subsequent cen- turies with the establishment of both Christianity and Islam.

With the help of the far-reaching Roman Empire, Christianity quickly spread and was accepted in the early s by the Emperor Constantine. Thus, through the next several hundred years, private worship in the house church grew into public gatherings held in large basilica-plan churches built across western Europe.

Modeled on ancient Roman government buildings, these large structures became potent symbols of Christianity. The Early Christian church of St.

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Peter, built in Rome around AD , was the most important church because it marked the site where the Apostle Peter was buried. By the early s its old age and disrepair necessitated a completely new structure, which was begun during the papacy of Julius II by the architect Bramante. While the western church was typically formed as a longitudinal, or basilica-plan, church, the eastern churches were more often centrally planned.

The church of Ha- gia Sophia, built in Constantinople modern-day Istanbul by An- themius of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus in the s, transcends Im- perial Roman buildings in scale, with a massive dome resting on pendentives that link the round dome to the square plan of the floor. The square base then opens up into a massive unencumbered interior, while windows around the base of the dome and along the walls of the church bathe the golden mosaic interior with light.

After the Ottoman conquest of , Hagia Sophia was transformed into a mosque with minarets built at the exterior corners of the structure. By that time, mosques could be found across all of Asia, Europe, and into Africa as well. Muslim rulers followed Roman principles of scale in their construction. The Great Mosque of Samarra, Iraq, built in the mids, was the largest mosque in the world, covering ten acres, half of which consisted of an open courtyard, while the rest was covered by a wooden roof supported by closely set piers.


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The quibla wall faces Mecca; in its center is a niche called the mihrab, which likely symbol- izes where the Prophet Mohammed would have stood in his house at Medina to lead prayers. On the other side of the Muslim world, the Great Mosque of Cordoba, Spain, from around AD , reveals an in- terior that epitomizes the beauty and richness of Islamic architecture: stripped, horseshoe-shaped arches, multi-lobed arches, and gilded mo- saic dome over the mihrab.

As Islam spread into Africa via extensive trade routes established across the continent, mosques began to appear in the native adobe material. The Great Friday Mosque built in the flourishing trade town of Djenne in Mali in the s and rebuilt in is the oldest structure in the world made entirely of adobe, or dried clay and straw bricks.

Towns, or wooden beams that project out from the walls, reveal the internal wood reinforcement of the stucco-covered adobe walls.

Historical Dictionary of Renaissance Art

The wooden beams create a rhythmic design to the exte- rior wall that is otherwise punctuated with relatively few windows. The facade of the rectangular mosque has three stepped towers with a mihrab in the center. Throughout the Middle Ages, architecture continued to be used to carve out identity and establish areas of authority. The Palatine Chapel in Charlemagne's palace complex in Aachen, Germany, built around , perhaps emulates such imperial structures as the Church of San Vitale in Ravenna.

The Ottonian rulers, who drove out Viking invaders and shifted the authority of the Holy Roman Empire to the regions around modern-day Germany, continued this tradition of monumental masonry construction. It was also during the early Middle Ages that monasteries became architecturally prominent, epitomized around by the plan of the Monastery of St.

click Gall in Switzerland; it shows a grid-like layout of buildings surrounding a basilica-plan church, cloister, refectory, and dormitories. These self-sufficient compounds often provided hospitals, schools, and a local industry for the general populace, often creating, despite the more reclusive qualities of monastic life, the beginnings of late medieval urban settlements.