Sketchbook Roundup 2019 - Week 7

Sketchblog Sketchbook Roundup 2019

This week in “The Ornament of Grammar” adventures, I learned about Pompeian, Roman, Byzantine, Arabian, and Turkish design, as seen through the lens of Owen Jones. I want to keep it short and sweet today, as the design renditions themselves should hopefully fill in the blanks well enough. They are, after all, remixes and are really just a way for me to participate in the material. 
First stop, Pompeii. Key words: borders, dado, panels, friezes, pilasters. Borrowed from the Greeks and Romans, colorful tones and shades. Jones mentions in the book that Pompeii’s “whole style, however, of the decoration is so capricious that it is beyond the range of true art, and strict criticism cannot be applied to it. It generally pleases, but, if not absolutely vulgar, it oftentimes approaches vulgarity.” So judgy! It made me smile.
Mash-up of pilasters and friezes from various houses in Pompeii, recovered at volcanic site in the mid-1700s.
Most of these images were originally produced by Guillaume Zahn in Berlin in 1828. He was considered an authority on Pompeian aesthetic back in the day. Do you mind if I tell you the name of his book?
Okay, here we go: Les plus Beaux Ornamens et les Tableaux les plus Remarquables de Pompeii, d’Herculanum, et de Stabice, & c.
 Unfortunately for Guillaume Zahn, none of his Twitter followers knew about his book-release party because 140 characters was not enough to get the word out... 
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Collection of the sketches Jones made from mosaics at Pompeii and the Museum at Naples.
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More residential interior motifs recovered at volcano site, specifically at Herculaneum.
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Borders from Pompeian homes.
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Next stop: Rome. Key words: self-glorification, scroll growing out of another scroll, leaves (especially the acanthus), elaboration on natural elements. More Jonesian takeaways for you:
In their temple architecture, which being the expression of a religion borrowed from the Greeks, and in which they probably had little faith, exhibits a correspondent want of earnestness and art-worship.
“...by applying acanthus leaves to any form and in any direction, is the chief cause of the invasion of this ornament into most modern works. It requires so little though, and is so completely a manufacture, that it has encouraged architects in an indolent neglect of one of their especial provinces, and the interior decorations of buildings have fallen into hands most unfitted to supply their place.”
And finally, “In the use of the acanthus leaf the Romans showed but little art.”
Well.
Fragment in white marble from the Mattel Palace, Rome. (How much do you love it that my white marble is redpink and teal?)
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Fragment of the frieze of the Temple of the Sun, Colons Palace, Rome. (Acanthus leaves!)
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From the Forum of Trajan. Trajan’s Column was widely regarded by Victorians as the finest example of Roman carving, according to Jones. 
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Fragment from the Villa Medici, Rome.
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Fragment of the frieze of the Roman Temple of Brazia.
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Byzantine: more leaves! Stiff, conventional, geometric, peculiar in style? Jones describes it twice in that manner, but I’m still a little hazy on the specifics. He does say at the end of the chapter that this particular aesthetic laid the groundwork for “the great and spreading Arab race” and that “in the earlier buildings executed by them at Cairo, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Cordova, and Sicily, the influence of the Byzantine style is very strongly marked.”
Portion of the Bronze Door, Basilica of the Nativity, Bethlehem. 3rd or 4th century.
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From St. Denis, Paris.
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From the Porch of Lucca Cathedral, 1204 A.D.
I feel it important to mention here that you may have noticed that the St. Denis example actually falls outside of the geographic region known as the Byzantine Empire. What a fine scholar you are! And I have an answer:
Jones included the work of several Byzantine artists that had an influence on the style; for example, many Greek craftsmen migrated to the West of Europe, and their artifacts were often found there, especially after 1204 A.D., when the Crusaders sacked Constantinople. 
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Mosaic from Hagia Sophia, Constantinople, 6th century.
Another tidbit:
Mosaic was the single most important medium in the decoration of Byzantine churches and palaces, as highly esteemed as painting was in the West. The mosaic artists of that time became especially great at abstracted patternwork, mostly because the depiction of living creatures was prohibited for a time in the East. Later, many of the Western monks who worked on illuminated manuscripts emulated the ornamental details of this style.
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Marble Pavement, San Vitale, Ravenna.
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Cairo, and the Arabian Ornament thereof. Keywords: transition, hexagon, twisted cord, interfacing lines, grandeur, skill. I really enjoyed this collection.
Window from the Mosque of Tooloon, Cairo. Nearly every window in this structure is different, which I thought was cool.
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Soffit of one of the main arches in the Mosque of Tooloon.
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From different mosaics taken from pavements and private houses in Cairo. They were executed in black and white marble with red tile.
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Turkey! We are in Turkey now, discovering the wonders of Turkish ornament. Evidently, what they contributed to Arabian design is akin to the Elizabethan ornamental contribution of the Italian Renaissance.
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From the tomb of Sultan Soliman I, Constantinople.
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From the Yeni D’jami, or “new mosque”, Constantinople.
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Rosace in the Center of the Dome in the Mosque of Soliman I, Constantinople.
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From the Yeni D’jami, Constantinople.
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Portion of the Decoration of the Dome of the Tomb of Soliman I, Constantinople.
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Did I lose steam there at the end while I was explaining these awesome designs? I think I did. But, like I said in the beginning, I’m hoping that the effort expended in design redux can say something about my interest in their worth. They actually have taken a bit out of me this week! It is daunting to traverse so many years of ornament in the course of one week, especially when “real life” is always knocking.
But I hope it adds something to the good part of your day, a part you’d repeat if you had to. Happy Saturday.

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