By John C. van Dyke
John Charles van Dyke (1856-1932) used to be an American artwork historian and critic. He used to be born at New Brunswick, N. J., studied at Columbia, and for a few years in Europe. together with his publication chronicling the background of portray from cave work to the fashionable period. absolutely illustrated.
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Additional info for A Text-Book of the History of Painting (Illustrated Edition)
ILLUMINATION. PARIS, NINTH CENTURY. There was no chance for painting to rise under the prevailing conditions. Free artistic creation was denied the artist. An advocate of painting at the Second Nicene Council declared that: "It is not the invention of the painter that creates the picture, but an inviolable law of the Catholic Church. It is not the painter but the holy fathers who have to invent and dictate. " Painting was in a strait-jacket. It had to follow precedent and copy what had gone before in old Byzantine patterns.
He would have been great in any time, and yet he was not great enough to throw off wholly the Byzantine traditions. He tried to do it. He studied nature in a general way, changed the type of face somewhat by making the jaw squarer, and gave it expression and nobility. To the figure he gave more motion, dramatic gesture, life. The drapery was cast in broader, simpler masses, with some regard for line, and the form and movement of the body were somewhat emphasized through it. In methods Giotto was more knowing, but not essentially different from his contemporaries; his subjects were from the common stock of religious story; but his imaginative force and invention were his own.
For many centuries the religious motive held strong, and art was the servant of the Church. It taught the Bible truths, but it also embellished and adorned the interiors of the churches. All the frescos, mosaics, and altar-pieces had a decorative motive in their coloring and setting. The church building was a house of refuge for the oppressed, and it was made attractive not only in its lines and proportions but in its ornamentation. Hence the two motives of the early work—religious teaching and decoration.