Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Off to a Good Start

Since a significant number of my students are art majors rather than art history, I'm trying to give some assignments that aren't purely writing-oriented. This quarter I'm trying one that looks very promising--the survey students (learning about Gothic to 1850) are designing cathedrals and a mosque. (We aren't covering Islamic art this quarter, but we did last quarter, and I didn't want the assignment to force them into a specific religious outlook.)
How does it work? Well, without going into too much detail, they're in groups of 3-5 (mostly 4) and have a combination of group and individual things to turn in. Each group was instructed to choose a style and period, a geographic location, and various other details. The groups have just turned in their preliminary proposals, which are subject to change and development, and these are pretty exciting. The majority are Gothic, since that's what we've covered in class thus far, but other periods have also been chosen--one Renaissance, three Baroque, and a Mughal mosque.
French Gothic "The outer layer will be in stone + many rose windows with stained glass to accompany it. The structure will be airy + will have a high Gothic vaulting system..."

French Gothic "Stone cathedral. Started 1185. Finished 1230. 130 ft tall. Not a pilgrimage church. At least 2 rose windows. Holds approx. 3,000-4,000."

"13th century Paris. We're going to focus on the Virgin Mary for all our interior design. Our church will feature many rose windows + an ornate alterpiece."

Italian Gothic "It isn't a pilgrimage church. The patron saint is undecided still. Saint Clare or Saint Francis are our options."

Late Gothic in Monaco "The church... has both French and Italian influences throughout its exterior and interior design due to its geographic location... There will be usage of flying buttresses and other common gothic elements..."

"13th-14th century Italian Gothic. This cathedral takes its inspirations from the Siena's Duomo. Since the Duomo was the highlight of construction around this time and was looking close to impossible to finish, some of Nicola Pisano's favorite workers moved on to smaller projects... In the design marble would be throughout. The cathedral would feel more open when walking through its structure. The fa├žade would mimick some ideas of other cathedrals in the area. Silver and mosaics would be abundant."

Renaissance (this may need to change due to England and Ireland's particular versions for the Renaissance) "It will be in honor of St. Patrick who converted the Celts to Catholicism... This cathedral will house some relics from Saints and pieces of the original cross as well."

"The location of our cathedral is the city of Genoa, Italy. It is dedicated to St. Catherine of Genoa (1447-1510)... It will be primarily in the baroque style, but as Genoa is a significant port city it may draw elements from other styles..."

A German baroque cathedral is also in the works.

Mosque in India "The main structure constructed entirely of marble sits upon a high plinth that can be reached from walk ways from the North, South, and West each leading to the three iwan, arch-shaped doorways... Four minarets frame the outer walls, one at each corner of the plinth... There is a fountain in the center of garden courtyard with paths leading to the Main dome area which begins just past the North-South axis..."

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