OPENINGS through AGES

Post 693 –by Gautam Shah

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17 Roman Market street

Openings have been expressions of whatever was happening inside, and also as exclusive exterior statements.

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ROMANESQUE windows were overshadowed by colonnades and piers, but the adjacent areas became very articulated. Here jambs or sides were formed with a series of receding moulded planes. The arch above also had the receding concentric rings, following the lines of the recesses of jambs below. The Romanesque fluted pier first replaced the Greek-Roman columns, and later the capitals and entablatures. Two or three stormed -triforium clerestories were created to lit up the interior, manage the semicircular openings. Several windows with semicircular heads were sometimes grouped together and enclosed in a larger arch. Windows often head a central support element in the form of a column or a pier. A wheel-shaped window, placed over the main West door later became the Rose-window.

3 Openings concealed in arcades Roman villa carthage

EARLY CHRISTIAN PERIOD, windows were small in proportion to the entire mass of the facade. The size was accentuated with chamferred sides and sills but the basic opening gap was functionally bare minimum. It provided adequate light, but not the heat gain that was required in North European climates. Windows gradually began to fill the Romanesque semicircular arched openings. Internally the structure was framed. Externally the walls began to carry loads at the base points of arches. Semi circular arches began to be replaced by pointed arches. These reduced the span of opening, and reduced the load on the pier. Closely spaced light piers and pointed arches created an interior space that was tall and vertical.

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1 Romanesque Openings

Roman circular arch was well a respected architectural element. Traditional Christians would not change it to anything else. But Goths came to dominate large territories across Europe. They were perceived to be marauders and lacking any thing ‘decent’. Goths never accepted Roman manners or architecture but began to adopt Moorish technology and simple cultural values and artistic customs. Most important, they adopted a simplistic form of Christianity, the Arianism, allowing birth of Gothic. Gothic was then perceived as a derisive term for the ‘uncivilized and destructive lifestyle’ of Goths.

19 A baptistry of the Arians in Ravenna

GOTHIC STRUCTURES carried thrusts to the piers through the buttresses, virtually eliminating the wall. Windows occupied all the space freed by walls. To make windows stable against wind pressure and support, the leaded glass panes of large windows had sub frames of transoms and mullions. Tracery was used to mould the rectilinear character of the sub frames. By varying the pitch of the pointed arch, unlike semicircular arched openings, it was possible to have windows of different widths for the same floor height. Window tracery, was a later invention of the Gothic period. The stained glass replaced the traditional wall treatments like mosaic or paintings in oil or stucco. Building materials like marble were exposed for their grain.

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Lantern church’ with perpendicular windows rising from floor to vault, was not a suitable style for non church buildings like palaces, colleges, etc. Windows were also not required to be as large in sunny parts of Europe like Spain and Italy.

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This led to REVIVAL OF ROMAN STYLE wall with punctured windows. Windows were once again square headed, comparatively small, multi-functional, eye levelled and easy to merge into variety of interior treatments. These windows were abutted with pilasters, half columns and also by offset arcade of full columns.

church_columnar_italy_viterbo_stone_wood_blanket_dom-489532In Spanish architecture of LATE GOTHIC ERA AND EARLY RENAISSANCE, the window and its appended decorative elements created a composite facade element. In Italian Renaissance the facade was like an interwoven fabric spread all over (Doges palace, Venice) and terminating at a very strongly articulated architectural element. In horizontal directions these elements were eaves, sills, pediments, etc. in vertical direction the pilaster, column, doorway etc. terminated the flow. Windows were adorned with balustrades, and galleries. Buildings were topped with statues, lanterns, domes, drums, accentuating the vertical lines of the window opening. The remaining surface of the wall was intensely emphasized through rusticated masonry or moulded bands. In other European locations (Germany) the window composition was repeated to create a strong linear facade. Corner window and Oriel were used.

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In ITALIAN RENAISSANCE the facade was like an interwoven fabric spread all over (Doges palace, Venice) and terminating at a very strongly articulated architectural element. In horizontal directions these elements were eaves, sills, pediments, etc. in vertical direction the pilaster, column, doorway etc. terminated the flow. Windows were adorned with balustrades, and galleries. Buildings were topped with statues, lanterns, domes, drums, accentuating the vertical lines of the window opening.

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Kennel Old Town Dresden Baroque

BAROQUE ARCHITECTURE which emerged in the later part of Renaissance, many conventions were removed. Wall surfaces instead of being linear now began to be curved and undulating. Window openings were often oval, circular but deeply recessed. Vertically sliding windows or sash windows were favoured for its ease of opening, controlled ventilation. Sash windows had rectilinear subdivisions, filled with better quality see through clear water-white glass. Sash windows were painted white, and placed in brick masonry work (English later Renaissance).

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In early part of RENAISSANCE the exteriors truthfully reflected the interior space modules, but very rarely the function. The facade was a mask. The make-believe continued till it was despised as vulgar by the POST INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION PERIOD.Tadao Ando - Water Temple 水御堂 40

 

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STYLING the ABSTRACT

Post 622 –by Gautam Shah

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Expression is main intention in fields like literature, art, architecture, fashion, and other branches of design. The expression has content that is implicit, subtle or explicit. Besides the content the expression emerges from a mix of medium and technique. The content as inspiration or realization depends on the intensity of personal relevance and comes in from many different fields. The medium and technique derive from many different geographies and eras.

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View of Gopuram (Gate Tower) Sri Mariamman Temple  Singapore > Wikipedia image by AngMoKio

The expression is sometimes made devoid of any content. But, one is never satisfied with the abstraction, and to achieve a better result it is tried over and over again. It results into an ‘abstract style’. The abstract style in absence of the content is strongly rooted with the medium and technique. Somewhere the ‘abstract’ begins to acquire a metaphoric meaning.

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Explicit expression TWA flight centre JFK Airport NYC > Wikipedia Flickr image by pheezy

‘Style is a characteristic or group of characteristics that we can identify as constant, recurring, or tenacious.’ + ‘Artistic style is the sum of constant, recurring or coherent traits identified with a certain individual or group.’ -Living With Art, Rita Gilbert

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Capriccio Palasttreppe > ART By Bernardo Bellotto 1721-1780

Such metaphoric content is matured by someone, but is invigorated by others in different time and space. And if the content, medium and techniques are different from the origins of inspiration, then ‘what is that‘ –Style or the Manner are reassessed. If style is holistic concept consisting of several characteristics, accepted and practised coherently by several persons across different fields of expressions, than Manner is a set of selected components that substantively codifies the ‘stylized expression’. Styles are creations that are distanced in locations and occasions, but with some re-collective connection. A stylized expression may not have cogency to the original. It is the mental image or glory that becomes the manner.

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Dragon gate at Guell Pavilions by Gaudi

Manners or ‘stylistic elements often reflect a period, a socio-political-economic environment. The scrutiny of the expressed forms into lines or shapes, frontal or angular views, foreground or background, the tempo, sensorial aberrations, colour or tonal gradations, etc. is imprecise. So manner criticism relies more on discreet terms to connote restrained, evasive reasonableness. A ‘manner’ is full of cramped codes, with silly and arbitrary rules.

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Atlantis supporting the balcony Tyszkiewicz-Potocki palace Warsaw > Wikipedia image by Bartosz MORAG

‘Mannerism, derived from the Italian maniera (manner) is a specific phase of the general Renaissance style, but manner is used very widely.’ Manner derives from Anglo-French manere, > Old French maniere > from Vulgar Latin *manaria (Spanish-manera, Portuguese-maneira, Italian-maniera, Dutch-manier, German-manier, Swedish-maner), > from fem. of Latin manuarius (belonging to the hand), from manus ‘hand’.

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Wassily Chair (Model 3B) designed by Marcel Breuer in 1925-26 at Bauhaus > Wikipedia image by Lorkan (Flickr)

Style and Manner both need, time and process to spread and sink into the society. The process of spread was accelerated manifold during the industrial age, due to faster means of travel and communications. The styles and manners, however, were recognized, and equally rapidly forgotten. These though incarnated themselves in other fields.

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Wall mural on singers of seventies > Wikipedia image by Alain Bertrand

Cubism remained with painting, sculpture and architecture and has not found expression elsewhere. Deconstructivism of literature by Derrida did not come to architecture till means of realization like CAD tools were available. Sensualism, psychedelic arts and make-believe in the cinema and graphics, are expressions still tied to the passage of time. Perhaps some different techniques of expression and realization are due. The concept of minimalism and sustainability may converge, and manifest as architecture of thinness and gravity defying stances. Compared with this literature is protuberant, still relying on elaboration and on metaphor.

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Luxor temple Egypt > Cartouches for Ramesses II > Wikipedia image by Asta

In fields like art, sculpture, architecture, fashion and other branches of design, which rely on expression through use of material and technology, changes in physical sciences are going to be the driving forces. In other fields of expressions like literature, performing arts, communications, the changes in behavioural and biological sciences will re-define the perception mechanism of the content.

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Story telling > ART by Albrecht Anker 1884

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STYLING the STYLE – Part 1

Post 592 by Gautam Shah

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A style is a distinctive involvement by an individual. This approach is perceived by others to have diverse potential for application, in the same or different practices. The expression, in the physical work or the discourse, results from the local environment, such as the climate, geography, the society and the times. This gets also reflected in many other aspects of innovators’ personal lifestyle, and in some form dissipates in the society. So a personal style becomes universal by emulative confirmation. Some elements of the original style seem to persist in spite of the new environment, such as culture, technology, field of application and mode of expression.

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Tribuna of Uffizi > Wikipedia image by Johann Zoffany (1733-1810)

Mannerism spreads in a different locality, time period, different forms and fields. This shifting of emulation by individuals could be for a while, sporadic, but a group coalesces to propound it vigorously as cultural heritage or innovative approach. The select components include colour, pattern, form, emphasis, representation or construction, perceptive likeness and abstract or unknown conveyance of meaning.

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Pictorial brick depicting a Chinese Courtyard Wikipedia image by Editor at Large

The first art-form to be emulated were the uttered sounds. A community impresses other ‘neighbours’ by the arrangement, succinct meaning and the ‘manner’ of conveyance. These were intricately connected to universal conditions like postures, gestures, tools, foods, and rituals like hunting, caring for children, birth, death etc. The local character to the utterances was endowed by the spatial acoustics (of terrain and built spaces) and environmental affectations. The next art forms were the personalization of the body, tools, utilities and habitable environs. These patterns and colours were regional and tribe-based, due to local material resources and used for ‘universal conditions’.

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BaKongo masks Kongo, Africa > Ethnicity of manners > Wikipedia image by Ndoto ya Afrika

These forms were initially representations of the ‘culture’ but not stylized expressions. But few individuals were proficient in it. These were the mannerist of the society, appreciated for the skill and copied by others. But the mannerisms spread from local to regional segments. The spread was slow in time, and became diffused with distance. The operative distance was what one could travel, and recall the practice. The mannerists were not classicists to be discussed or commented upon by the critics. And wherever these practices, were fortified by terrestrial seclusion or political isolation, became ethnic traditions.

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Arrest of St Mark in Synagogue with Muslim dress influences > Wikipedia image by Giovanni di Niccolo Mansueti (1485-1527)

No one had qualms about adapting, converting and mixing influences like Gods, fables, heroes, religious rights, drama characters, dogmas, recipes, motifs, festivals, dresses and adornments. This was part of personal creativity, but was also used for convincing a sponsor or buyer for it. Roman art is influenced by neighbouring cultures but was also used for the rulers. ‘Roman art periods are branded with rulers or dynasties’ and not by the art-creators. Roman arts and crafts in spite of adaptations from others, and after being ‘emulated by other across times and territories, maintains its own essence.

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Cross regional influences Philae Columns Egypt > Wikipedia image by Mohammed Moussa

Any art-form, be it a personal statement or representation of ‘manner’ can be analyzed, on hindsight, into various effects. It originates from time and space realities. Its components find justification or raison d’etre when distanced. Most styles are identified by critics or rivals more for deriding it rather than appreciating it. Historic art and architectural styles were identified after the relevant periods were nearly extinct, or its originators not in practice. This was perhaps due to lack of faster communication and wider dissemination. Lack of communication did not allow immediate coalescence of thoughts and dissemination was slow as image transmission was nearly nonexistent. The art-forms, such as art, architecture could only be visited or transmitted over longer duration. The essence of the style, however, spread through many crafts, artefacts, adornments, performing arts, literature, etc.

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Monkeys as Judges of Art > Wikipedia image by Gabriel von Max (1840-1915)

This spread became faster and intensive during the Industrial age for several reasons, publication of quality images through print media, faster and easier travel by steam-power over land and sea, weakening of the moneyed sponsorship by likes of church, industrial houses, political powers, etc. and greater distribution of arts and crafts. Creative people began to interact with others more frequently, who unlike the non-practicing critics were less derisive. The creators on their own were more conscious of meaning of expression and were self-critic.

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Shawls of 19th C France > Wikipedia image by Durin

StyleBeards

Beard Styles

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