Painting and Mosaic Work
Ancient Roman painting and mosaic work would be used to decorate large
walls of buildings, both publicly and in homes. One method of decorating
is fresco. This is a technique where paint is applied directly onto
wet plaster. Generally, these paints would be earth tones, however sometimes
a vivid red called cinnabar was used. An example of this is found at
Pompeii in the Villa of the Mysteries. This villa contained brilliant
red frescoes depicting rites which happened there.
From late classical Roman times, through the Byzantine era and continuing
today, an important kind of religious art has been icons. Coming
from the Greek word for image, these works of art came in various sizes
and materials: mosaic, ivory, enamel, gold, or painted wood. Icons
are extremely religious, and are used as an image to look at while praying,
as help to direct prayers. However, this has often come into question
as to whether or not this goes against the word of the Bible. These
critics are known as iconoclasts. Despite the position of icon artist
being honorable, few artists are known. This may be due in part to the
fact that many icons were thought to have not been made by human hands;
instead they were thought to have come into being through some kind
of divine act.
Subject: This icon depicts the Holy Trinity in the form of three angels who visited Abraham. The Holy Trinity is the Christian belief of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are the three parts of God contained in one being. A chalice sits at the middle of the table, being blessed by Jesus.
The Artist's Work: Rublev shows (from left to right)
God as the Father, God as the Son, and God as the Holy Spirit. They
are gathered around a table. As is the style of icons, very little blending
is evident. Lines are linear, and one can imagine that as a new work,
it would have been extremely clear. Realism is not rampant in this piece.
Though the figures are recognizable as people, they look surreal. They
flow and bend in a way that makes them look beautiful, but far from
natural. The Son, Jesus Christ, is shown with his hand in a position
of blessing, and all three are shown with halos around their heads and
wings. As usual, very little importance is placed on the background.
It contains a hill, a tree, and a house but there is little feeling
of depth, scale, or meaning to it. This is because the figures are supposed
to 'stand alone', as they are not part of this earth; they are, instead,
part of something more.