The Temple of Segesta, late 5th century bce, rests elegantly in the beautiful landscape of Western Sicily. Contrary to the upward movement of the pyramid this rectangular structure, as Greek temples were, embraces the land on a horizontal line. The archetypal symbol all over the world for this life, is…..the square or rectangle.
The simple shape means here and now. And as we know the Greeks developed the concept of Humanism. By emphasizing the horizon or horizontal line, the visual and psychological shift is a refocusing on this life and the activities of humans…here and now.
The great pyramids of the Giza (2540+/- bce ) plateau angle down and connect to the earth on the same slant as do the rays of the sun. You see before you, made manifest in rock, the divine golden rays acting as a staircase to the stars. And you, by assisting and attending to the Pharaoh, on his/her (only 1 of her) coat tails, can also ascend on to an eternal life. Of course you will not have the level of riches, in the afterlife, as did the Pharaoh but what mattered so very much was not letting your Ka (soul perhaps) float aimlessly.
This necropolis reminds us of what matters most
eternal life, the further realm.
I paint and travel to embrace that which is different from my own. My art celebrates the variety of metaphoric and ethnic expression with respect to the universal symbols, which underlie and connect us all.
In art and person, Raphael the dandy of the High Renaissance was so different than Caravaggio. Agreeable and elegant he was the total Yin to Caravaggio’s Yang. And Classical rather than Romantic, Raphael was all Renaissance in style.
The School of Athens, is grand in scale leaving the viewer to feel awed.
(Except for the Pope whose apartment this was painted in…) Set like a stage we are audience rather than participants. A horizontal emphasis speaks of a humanistic emphasis but figures and scene are rather idealized. Even Michelangelo who was at the time weary from painting the Sistine Chapel is here painted front and center, resting. To see his self portrait in the Sistine Chapel is quite a different rendering.
Light is consistent overall, each figure having the same illumination. Calm is the order, hence the horizontal. And the central, linear perspective design draws us to the main characters, Plato and Aristotle.
Like Michelangelo’s David, emotion is minimal as is movement. Behavior need reflect this as well and intellect cherished.