This week we show images, one is representational are and one is geometric art.
First is Christ Enthroned. I painted this for the childrens coloring book, Meet the Angels. It went on the back cover. It shows Christ, as described in the vision of Ezekiel and the Book of Revelaton, enthroned with the four faces of the Cherubim in each corner. Around the throne also are many six-winged seraphim – just wings and faces – and who are transparent so the colours of the background show through. This is a standard iconographic image and if you look on Google images for ‘Christ Enthroned’ or ‘Christ in Majesty’ you will see many in this style. It is painted in egg tempera. The almond shape around Christ is called a Mandorla (Italian for almond!) and represents the cosmos.
The other images are examples of cut stone floorwork and are geometric designs in the ‘Cosmatesque’ or ‘Cosmati’ style. It is named after the Cosmati family which, over several generations, developed this distinctive style of work. If they were covering a large area, such as a whole church floor, they worked on three scales. For the grand form they tended to compartmentalize into rectilinear shapes. Then the sub-form would be a geometric design consisting of faceted polygons or interconnected circles. The final stage would be an infill of with very small repeated regular geometric shapes such as squares, triangles of hexagons (which are the three forms that can put together without creating gaps).
One of the standard designs is the ‘quincunx’. This the generic name for the arrangement of five equivalent shapes that has four arranged symmetrically around the fifth which is centrally place (it is also a game-winning word in Scrabble so it’ll pay to remember this, if for no other reason). The five dots on dice, for example, are in a quincunx shape. I understand the name comes from the Latin for five-twelfths, a coin of this fraction value of the currency had this name and often had this arrangement of dots on it.
This one is in Westminster Abbey:
..and this is in Santa Croce in Rome:
In the context of geometric patterned art, it is the shape of four smaller circles spinning of larger secondary one was not limited to the Cosmati craftsmen. It is seen in both Eastern and Western Churches and across many centuries and was seen in (Read More)