Art History: The Sarcophagus Of Junius Bassus

Submitted By Mark-Delarosa
Words: 1235
Pages: 5

Mark Delarosa
Professor Brunner
Art History 01

Art History has unveiled cloaked ideas. Heading into the class I did not anticipate much, simple history format with a heading of the arts. However, after roughly six weeks of lecture as well as an “on the house” ticket to the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, I’m glad to have chosen this class in particular. One cannot ask for a professor with her own spunk and swag to keep the class interesting.

Chapter 7. Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus The Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus is a marble Early Christian sarcophagus used for the burial of Junius Bassus, who died in 359. It has been described as "probably the single most famous piece of early Christian relief sculpture." The sarcophagus was originally placed in or under Old St. Peter's Basilica, was rediscovered in 1597. This sarcophagus is one of the oldest surviving high-status sarcophagi with elaborate carvings of Christian themes, and a complicated iconographic program embracing the Old and New Testaments. Workmanship is of the highest quality available at the time, as one might expect for the tomb of such a prominent figure. The sarcophagus in many respects shows fewer features of the Late Antique style of sculpture typified in the Arch of Constantine of several decades earlier. Late Antique manner; the scenes are three-dimensional and have depth and background. As you can see, drapery hangs on recognizable human forms rather than being arranged in predetermined folds; heads are varied, portraying recognizably different people. This plays a large part in its scale. The sarcophagus has been seen as reflecting a blending of late Hellenistic style with the contemporary Roman or Italian one, seen in the "robust" proportions of the figures, and their slightly over-large heads. The Base is measured 4 x 8 x 4 feet or a ratio of 1:2:1. In summation, Junius Bassus was of the Patrician class, he choose certain images from the Bible not in a political aspect but in order to revise the bible itself and for personal satisfaction. Most people in power were not Christian. The sarcophagus indicates that Junius Bassus was a devout Christian. This was a rare item of its time, and also the artwork depicted shows people not proportionate and not idealized.

Ch.14 Crucifixion with Angels and Mourning Figures This extravagant book cover represents a common theme in Carolingian art, the crucifixion of Christ. Rather than having his eyes closed in death, the crucified Christ stands erect with face forward and eyes wide-open, signaling victory over death. Angels adorn this piece, as do mourners, characters in the Bible who were close with Jesus. The frame is heavily covered with precious jewels, and it is a miracle that this piece of art has been preserved and not stolen. On a personal note, I love the medium, with a display of royal jewels there alludes the idea that this book is royal, not to mention sacred. The original purpose for this book cover is not known, but it seems to fit with the Landau Gospels, beautifully illuminated texts of the Christian Bible. On one hand one may assume it’s purpose is merely to serve as an honor to the gospels. This cover was found in Switzerland, Abbey of St. Gall. How it was constructed was through forms made using repousse, pushing or hammering from the back to create a low relief on the front. Scaled at 14:11 mm

Ch.15 Modena Cathedral
This Cathedral is a Roman Catholic Romanesque church located in Modena, Italy. Although we consider it a cathedral most call it a duomo, as it is in Italian. Built in 1184, this structure serves as an important Romanesque building in Europe.
An architect known as Lanfranco provided the initial design and direction, little is known about him.. The Cathedral is also a burial site for Saint Geminianus, Modena’s patron, whose remains are still exhibited in the cathedral’s crypt. Materials that this duomo is made up of consist of marble, brick, to name a few.