simon j logo
websites   projects   writing   speaking   blog    
  homeblog  
 
  here and now  
 
Hi and thanks for landing here. It might seem a bit backward, but I decided to start blogging only because I've been enjoying Twitter so much. While I love the 140 character limit of tweets, I realised that a blog would give me a place where I could have the luxury of saying a bit more. I've also set up here because I have a blogging project in mind... but more on that later.
Right now my face is stuck in the following books...
Paradise Lost   Bring Up the Bodies  
Forest Church   The Geometry of Type  
Categories
advertising  art  Bible  books  cartoons  church  design  Facebook  icons  internet  Istanbul  JC  kitsch  London  movies  music  offence  overheard  pictures  poetry  politics  Pope  Qur'an  random  science  technology  theology  travel  TV  Twitter  typography  writing 
Travels
Seven churches 2013
Bach pilgrimage 2012
Flying to Byzantium 2010
Previously
April 2014
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
 
 
blog
Photo of the Devotion by Design exhibition
Devotion by design

Posted on 31 July 2011, 22:28

I skipped church this morning and went to see the National Gallery’s Devotion by Design exhibition instead. It wasn’t a bad swop, as the exhibition is about Italian altarpieces from before 1500, and these amazing creations were presented in darkened rooms with the sound of liturgy and music in the background… all very atmospheric.

The exhibition, which runs until 2 October, is quite ‘how to’. That is, it’s very interested in how these multi-image pieces were constructed, allowing you to poke around behind two huge altarpieces to see the carpentry beneath their glittering, golden faces, and the surgery they have endured over the centuries.

One room explains how the people who commissioned and paid for the altarpieces imposed their own choice of saints and sacred stories on the artist. If there was more than one institution commissioning the piece, then the haggling over the cast list of who should appear in the picture could go on for a very long time.

What I missed was a good explanation of the role of altarpieces in church worship, or their impact on the ordinary worshipper. After all, in the age before television and giant advertising images, these pictures must surely have had huge impact, especially as they were positioned so you were looking right at them during the high point of the eucharist. The hyper-realism of some of the painting also draws you into an encounter, despite yourself, with the saints shown there.

I leafed through the exhibition catalogue in the shop afterwards, and it had good material on the place of altarpieces in the church’s liturgy, so it’s a shame that wasn’t reflected in the exhibition itself.

That said, Devotion by Design is thoughtful and intriguing, especially if you’re interested in the construction, technique, negotiation and contracts that underlie these powerful images used in Christian worship.

click to post about this on facebook   click to bookmark on delicious   click to post about this on reddit   click to post about this on twitter   Tweet this
Comments

That sounds fascinating.

RuthintheDesert, Mon 1 Aug, 01:16


Add your comment

Name

Email

Your comment

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:


Please note that all comments are read and approved before they appear on the website... sad but true

 
  twitter
 
      Follow me on...
     
    follow me on twitter follow me on facebook follow me on pinterest subscribe to this blog via rss
     
     
    contact   about