Birth of the Field of Art History

The birth of the field of art history is largely due to Winckelmann (1717–68), a German art historian called “The Father of Art History and Archaeology.” He was the first scholar to write a history of art rather than artist biographies and wrote The History of the Art of Antiquity, published in 1764. His book impacted the field of art history because Winckelmann redefined this field, contrasting the differences of ancient and modern cultures. Therefore, his text is seen as foundational during a time when art history was becoming an established discipline.

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Winckelmann

The objects he focuses on are Greek sculptures, which he molds as the cultural ideal and foundation of antiquity that seemed at odds with modern perspectives. As an eloquent writer, Winckelmann analyzes these ancient sculptures. Of course, he is a product of his time, reflecting the Enlightenment concern of the progress and decline in ancient and contemporary culture.

Winckelmann’s writing differs from earlier writings about ancient art. First, his writing is ambitious because he was concerned with art history in relation to external circumstances. His writing contributed to not only the wealthy buying masterpieces but also the less wealthy pilgrimaging for aesthetic education in Italy.

Second, his text emphasized on analyzing the visual and style. This approach would influence later art historians attempting to understand the aesthetic qualities of artworks depending on the social and cultural circumstances of the time when they were created. Winckelmann sought to distinguish true Greek art versus Roman and modern copies. However, now some of these are seen as Greco-Roman copies.

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Apollo Belvedere statue

For example, the Apollo Belvedere statue, claimed by Winckelmann to be the finest surviving examples of the Greek ideal, is actually Roman. Therefore, art of antiquity was seen as part of the history and the development of various styles.

Although Winckelmann stands out as a unique figure in the birth of the field of art history, other figures from 1650 through 1830 also impacted this emerging field. Fellow German scholar and writer Lessing also loved antiquity.

Lessing critiques Winckelmann’s analysis of the sculpture Laocoon and his sons created around 25 BCE and argues his own thoughts, which presents “entering the conversation” about a specific artwork from the beginning of art history. Although both Lessing and Winckelmann have Neoclassical and Platonic tendencies, their theories present unique German perspectives because of the events occurring in Germany and the country’s separate states. By looking back to antiquity, these German scholars paved the way for the future of art history as a field of study.

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Laocoon and his sons statue

Both Kant and Burke became central figures in the history of art during the Romantic period. Kant, a German philosopher, reflects the culmination of the debate of Beauty and Taste in the eighteenth century as well as the target for later perceptions of aesthetics. Kant’s concept of the artist genius—who could express, enrich, and communicate understanding and experience in such a way that normal discourse could not—would continue throughout the Romantic period. The Irish-born British statesman and writer Edmund Burke acknowledged the aesthetic value of art, which was based not from imitation or idealization alone but also from emotions. Also, he explored the sublime, the impressions of awe and how tranquility was shadowed with horror. As a result, Burke expanded the art cannon of what could be considered to have Beauty.

The Earl of Shaftsbury, Reynolds, and Diderot influenced the birth of the history of art, as well. As the “Father of Aesthetics,” the Earl of Shaftsbury considered aesthetics as a separate branch of human experience that presented an interrelationship of morality and beauty. He believed that the development of an interest in fine arts would result in the improvement of the general level of British morality and politeness. Therefore, in order to develop interest in art, creating a history of art would be necessary.

Reynolds argued that studying great ancient art was more important than natural talent. Once again, in order to study art from the past, a history of art would be needed.

Lastly, from 1759 to 1781, Diderot wrote critical writings about the Salon exhibitions organized by the Academie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture. In his writings, Diderot takes his reader beyond mere description and judgment in order to discuss art as well as truth, nature, and morality. Thus, Diderot’s writings present a study of art, its history, and the questions that we continue to ask today.

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Academie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture

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Various Meanings and Representations of the the Virgin Eleousa During the Byzantine Empire

There are multiple representations and titles of Mary, the mother of Christ. Such representations include the Hodegetria (i.e., the one who shows the way), the Regina angelorum (i.e., a regal Virgin Mary accompanied by angels),[1] and the Virgin Eleousa (i.e., tenderness or mercy), in which she is shown holding the Christ child and pressing her cheek against his. While drawing attention to her son, the two become cocooned in a reciprocal, cherished bond of love between mother and son.[2]

The title of Eleousa uniquely describes Mary’s qualities rather than merely stating an action or an event. While this title differs from the others, people interpreted the meaning of this icon in various ways during the Byzantine era. Some of these meanings included the Virgin Eleousa icon as the mother of God; as the mother to all humanity; as a figure foreshadowing the sacrifice of Christ; as a sorrowful mother at Christ’s death; and as an advocate or intercessor. Additionally, Eleousa with St. Stephen represented the triumph over iconoclasm, and Eleousa with symbolic stars represented Mary’s virginity and relation to the Trinity. This paper focuses on the importance of the Virgin Eleousa in Byzantine society; even though Mary was viewed politically as a protector of the capital, the Virgin Eleousa was venerated by religious leaders and citizens of the empire because the icon represented her tender, merciful side with which people connected.

Eleousa as spiritual protector of Constantinople
Constantinople, also known as “Queen of Cities,” was the religious and political center of the Byzantine empire.[3] The state regulated the production of art rather than art being controlled by artistic guilds, suggesting that art could work for nationalistic purposes. Additionally, Christian images were even considered powerful because, according to various accounts, art could supposedly heal viewers who were sick, protect those in need, and even hurt those who mocked it.[4] Therefore, Byzantine art, most often being controlled by the state or wealthy patrons in the capital, influenced how the viewer perceived the power of Christianity as well as the empire.

Figure 1. The Virgin Glykophilousa, Triglia, Bithynia, thirteenth century.

Figure 1. The Virgin Glykophilousa, Triglia, Bithynia, thirteenth century.

The leaders of Constantinople adopted a woman, Mary, as the protector of the city,[5] and military leaders devoted themselves to her for protection from intruding armies. Alexios I Comnenos, who was devoted to the Virgin, is told to have waited to fight against the Norman invaders because he wanted to see Mary appear at the Church of the Virgin Blachernai before going into battle.[6] Coming from the same iconographic tradition, Virgin Glykophilousa is similar with the Eleousa type, just with different names that mean “sweet-loving” or “merciful” Mary, in that order (Fig. 1).

[7] The inscription on the icon Virgin Glykophilousa reads ΜΗ(ΤΗ)Ρ Θ(ΕΟ)Υ Η ΕΠΙCΚΕΨΙC, which essentially stresses Mary’s role as protector of the people.[8] Hence, the Virgin was not only a political protector of Constantinople but also an important religious figure.

Eleousa as Mother of God and mother of humanity
Even before the Council of Ephesus in AD 431, people were significantly devoted to the Virgin.[9] As Theotokos, which is Greek for “Christ-bearer,” Mary was the considered the person who bore Christ, but the term avoided anything about who she was as as person and did not imply any other relationship between the two. During the sixth century, there were only a few images of Christ being held by Mary.[10] It was not until after iconoclasm that the motherhood of Mary was promoted and became explicit in texts and images.[11] In the Church of the Buckle (Tokali Kilise), there is an early example of the Eleousa icon that is also commonly called Mary, the Mother of God (Fig. 2).

tokali kilise

Figure 2. Virgin Eleousa, Göreme, Turkey, early tenth century.

This church, a cave that was carved into the soft, volcanic stone, was a sanctuary and a large monastic center in the Byzantine Cappadocia, which is now central Turkey. Surprisingly, this icon is one of the few that actually survives from the early tenth century, and this image would become standard, appearing more often during the Byzantine empire. In the niche in the sanctuary corridor, the fresco icon of the Virgin Eleousa is shown.[12] The Virgin holding Christ closely against here, and both of their checks touch affectionately. We see Christ’s arms around Mary’s neck. The image is tender and is supposed to evoke an empathetic reaction.[13] While this image is emotionally charged, it is clearly an iconic type, meaning the image was meant for private and communal prayer and devotion.[14]

Second, the Virgin Elousa has also been seen as a mother to humanity, which places less emphasis on the divine characteristic of Mary. Using the same example as in the previous paragraph, the fresco icon of the Virgin Eleousa has been seen as representing motherhood in general because she is eye-to-eye with the viewer (Fig. 2). She was called the mother of all because she was considered the skenoma, or the abode, for Christ. As a mother to all humans, she possessed a rare quality of affection and devotion—connected to her maternal feelings and character.[15] The Virgin Eleousa could be seen as an Eve figure since she becomes the mother of all those who enter the Christian Church and are born again.

Eleousa as a figure foreshadowing Christ’s sacrifice
This section will analyze the Eleousa as a figure foreshadowing Christ’s sacrifice by comparing the large icon of Our Lady of Tolga, which is called Tolga I or Tolgysky I, and the small icon of Our Lady of Tolga, which is also known as Tolga II or Tolgsky II (Fig. 3 and Fig. 4).

Figure 3. A large icon of Our Lady Tolga (so-called Tolgsky I or Tolga I), Yaroslavl, Russia, last quarter of the thirteenth century.

Figure 3. A large icon of Our Lady Tolga (so-called Tolgsky I or Tolga I), Yaroslavl, Russia, last quarter of the thirteenth century.

Figure 4. A small icon of Our Lady of Tolga (so-called Tolgsky II or Tolga II), Yaroslavl, Russia, around 1314.

Figure 4. A small icon of Our Lady of Tolga (so-called Tolgsky II or Tolga II), Yaroslavl, Russia, around 1314.

While these icons were created in Russia, it is believed that the icons were influenced by the Theotokos of Vladimir (Fig. 5). Both icons were created in the Tolga convent near Yaroslavl, which is how both received their nicknames. The large icon shows the Virgin Eleousa seated on a throne with the Christ child, grabbing his mother’s neck, on her left knee. Above the throne, two angels are shown with hidden hands. The Virgin Eleousa shows a sophisticated, direct expression and is considered to be one of the most emotional Russian icons from the thirteenth century.[16]

Figure 5. Theotokos of Vladimir (also known as Our Lady Vladimir, Vladimir Mother of God, or Virgin of Vladimir), Moscow, Russia, 1130.

Figure 5. Theotokos of Vladimir (also known as Our Lady Vladimir, Vladimir Mother of God, or Virgin of Vladimir), Moscow, Russia, 1130.

In contrast to the large icon of Our Lady Tolga, the small icon has significant changes that emphasize the Eleousa as a figure foreshadowing Christ’s sacrifice. Legend has it that the Virgin miraculously appeared to the Bishop Prokhor during the same time as the creation date of this icon, 1314. Here no throne is depicted, and the Christ child is sitting instead of standing, as in the large icon. Mary’s face has a much more mournful expression, which is seen with strong lines. The texture becomes more lush, while white coloring on the figures, such as on the forehead, neck, eyes, nose, and chin, emphasize the connection between mother and child. The smaller icon is considered to be more intense and dynamic than the larger icon because we see a pitiable Virgin Eleousa lamenting the fact that her innocent baby will one day die and sacrifice his life for all humanity.

Additionally, Mary’s hands are in a different position, which are seen as holding the Christ Child even closer to her than as seen in the larger icon.[17] Therefore, the later, smaller version of the Our Lady Tolga seems to present a more powerful image of the Virgin Eleousa, who clearly loves her son and suffers at the thought of his sacrifice that will one day occur.

Eleousa as sorrowful mother at Christ’s death
After the iconoclastic period, Byzantine artists added a new subject, the Lamentation of the Virgin. The earliest Lamentation scenes come from the eleventh century where we see Mary lamenting over the body of Christ, which occurs after the deposition of the cross but before the placement in the tomb.

The Lamentation scene is not described in the canonical Gospel texts, but it is described in Byzantine hymns and sermons as well as in the Apocrypha. In the ninth century, George of Nicomedia wrote what he imagined the Virgin to say: “I am now holding him without breath whom lately I took in my arms as my own dearest one.”[18] In the fresco of Lamentations over Christ’s Body from the St. Panteleimon, Mary is shown in a kind of kneeling or sitting position with her son in her lap (Fig. 6).

Figure 6. The Lamentation over Christ’s body, Nerezi, Serbia, twelfth century.

Figure 6. The Lamentation over Christ’s body, Nerezi, Serbia, twelfth century.

Byzantine artists and citizens would have connected the lamenting Mary with the Eleousa type, since both depict Mary with Christ in a loving embracing and touching cheek-to-cheek. The connection between both is even more apparent in the literary writings of the time of what Mary said: “I raised you in a mother’s arms . . . . Now I raise you up in the same arms, but lying as the dead.”[19] Therefore, even though the Christ is no longer a child but an adult man, Mary is still seen as the Virgin Eleousa in the Lamentation portrayals.

Eleousa as intercessor
During the Byzantine period, the Virgin Eleousa was often seen as an intercessor or advocate.[20] Mary’s role was an important one on behalf of humanity, which probably even furthered the popularity of icons depicting the Virgin with Christ child. Additionally, this cult of the Virgin could have created more depictions of an affectionate relationship between Mary, as the intercessor, and Christ, as the judge.[21] In connection to the depictions of Mary being joyful over the birth of Christ and being sorrowful as foreshadowing the death of Christ, the emotional element of the icons would enhance the role of Virgin as intercessor.[22]

Byzantine people would feel connected to the Virgin in her role as intercessor because they would probably hope that her sensibility would have her advocate on their behalf. Liz James describes the icon of Mary in the Church of Pangia Arakiotissa in Cyprus as a Virgin Eleousa, even though there is only Mary and no Christ depicted in the same area (Fig 7).

Figure 7. The Virgin Eleusoa, Lagoudera, Cyprus, twelfth century.

Figure 7. The Virgin Eleusoa, Lagoudera, Cyprus, twelfth century.

However, Mary’s head is tilted, as we have seen so often with the Virgin Eleousa, and Christ is shown on the other side (Fig. 8).[23] Most importantly, the depiction reveals a tender and merciful Mary advocating on behalf of humanity.

Figure 8. Christ Antiphonitis, Lagoudera, Cyprus, twelfth century.

Figure 8. Christ Antiphonitis, Lagoudera, Cyprus, twelfth century.

In this icon of Virgin Eleousa as intercessor, the text written describes the conversation between Mary and Christ. While Mary’s left hand rests on her chest, her left hand, which is covered, presents the scroll with the petition to her son. The words of Mary are in black, while Christ’s are in red. Additionally, the names of neither Christ nor Mary are explicitly mentioned, but context reveals who says which lines:

  • [Christ]            What do you ask, Mother?
  • [Mary]             The salvation of mortals.
  • [Christ]            They have provoked me to anger.
  • [Mary]             Be compassionate, my Son.
  • [Christ]            But they have not repented.
  • [Mary]             And preserve for them your grace.
  • [Christ]            Atonement is possible.
  • [Mary]             I give you thanks, O Logos.[24]

Here we see a dialogue[25] with a vengeful, angry Christ and a benevolent, sympathetic Mary. Her pleas appear to convince Christ that his suffering and grace is sufficient to save imperfect souls. Icons were believed to be performative because of the rituals associated with them and because of the miracles that occurred through the icons themselves.[26] With this depiction of the Virgin, the icon is performative, since the Virgin Eleousa performs as an advocate on behalf of humanity by speaking with her son.

Eleousa with symbolic stars, representing Mary’s virginity and connection to the trinity
Icons sometimes depicted three crosses, whether on icons showing Mary or saints. While depicting only one cross would represent Christ’s sacrifice, three crosses would be symbolic of the Trinity. This correlation could be why Catholics cross themselves in order to show their faith in the Trinity as well as draw strength from the cross of Christ. During the middle Byzantine period, sometimes the crosses were replaced with stars and could continue to be symbols of the Trinity, which would become even more popular in the late and post-Byzantine periods. Many variations in how the stars were depicted developed during this later time (Fig. 9).

Figure 9. Stars, late Byzantine period.

Figure 9. Stars, late Byzantine period.

However, these stars have been also associated as symbols of Mary’s virginity—before, during, and after the birth of Christ. This symbolism could be connected to how Byzantine hymns and chants described Mary’s virginity as luminous and how “she is exalted in astral symbolism as the star that heralds the sun.”[27] Therefore, the stars could be symbolic of Mary’s virginity, which would be emphasized by showing the Christ Child on Mary’s lap.

Unfortunately, there is no longer an icon of Mary and the Christ Child with the stars that survives. However, George Galavaris uses the example of Our Lady of the Don, which shows Eleousa and Christ Child, that may have been created by Theophanes the Greek during the fourteenth century. Galavaris uses this Eleousa icon to show a comparison of an ekphrasis, or literary description, that John Eugenikos published in the fifteenth century of a similar-looking icon that had the stars shown (Fig. 10).

Figure 10. Our Lady of the Don, Theophanes the Greek, Moscow, Russia, the fourteenth century.

Figure 10. Our Lady of the Don, Theophanes the Greek, Moscow, Russia, the fourteenth century.

It is possible that this ekphrasis could be describing an Hodgetrai type or a Glykophilousa type actually, since it is difficult to tell based on the description. Nonetheless, Eugenikos writes that “the three shining stars appearing on the forehead and the shoulders should not be considered as having a secondary significance. They are symbols of the Grace of the luminous Trinity which as soon as it dwelt in her caused the One to be revealed from here.”[28] Thus, these stars could be symbolic of not only Mary’s virginity but also Mary’s relation to the Trinity.

Eleousa icon with St. Stephen the Younger, representing triumph over iconclasm
The monastery of St. Neophytos, or Enkleistra meaning “place of reclusion,” is located in Cyprus, and on its west wall, a frieze shows twelve saints, including St. Stephen the Younger as the twelfth saint depicted (Fig. 11).[29]

Figure 11. St. Stephen the Younger, Tala, Cyprus, twelfth century.

Figure 11. St. Stephen the Younger, Tala, Cyprus, twelfth century.

His name is inscribed on both sides of his halo, and he is painted at a lower level than the other saints because of how the cave bulges. This St. Stephen the Younger has brown hair and a pointed beard, a halo with rows of pearls, an ochre tunic, a scapular with strips, crosslets, and rosettes, a mantle with cords that hangs down around his knees, and a black belt with rosettes.

Here we see St. Stephen holding a depiction of an Eleousa icon as well as a scroll both in his left hand. The inscription on the scroll says the following: “If a man does not reverence our Lord Jesus Christ and his spotless Mother depicted on an icon, let him be anathema.”[30] The Christ child grabs his mother’s neck and extends his right foot while the left foot’s sole is seen. Both halos on Christ and Mary are gilded, while Christ’s halo has a cross. In comparison to the other saints, St. Stephen the Younger was a martyr during the Byzantine Iconclastic period and is the only one shown holding an icon. It is possible that this portrayal of the Eleousa icon was meant to represent another icon also in this monastery.[31] However, choosing an iconophile saint implies that the artists, who would mostly likely also be inconphiles, used the Eleousa and St. Stephen the Younger together to represent the triumph of venerated, religious icons over the destruction of iconoclasm.

Conclusion
The Virgin Mary was venerated by citizens, no matter their socioeconomic status, and was believed to be able to protect the great Byzantine empire and the city of Constantinople. However, that was not her only purpose, and the Virgin Eleousa was revered by many because viewers saw the mother of Christ as the mother of humanity and an advocate on their behalf. While showing her incredible selflessness and love towards the Christ child, the face of the Virgin Eleousa portrays a knowing mother who knows the trials her perfect son would one day face for the salvation of the world.

When this icon was presented with St. Stephen the Younger, it represented the triumph over iconoclasm. Additionally, seeing stars and this icon together represented not only Mary’s virginity but also the trinity. Although the mother of Christ was seen as a political protector, especially in Constantinople, people also revered the Virgin Eleousa as an icon of reverence and sincere religious belief, representing beauty and spiritual truth.

ENDNOTES

[1] Robert P. Bergman, “The Earliest Eleousa: A Coptic Ivory in the Walters Art Gallery,” The Journal of the Walters Art Gallery 48 (1990): 46–47.

[2] Cecily Hennessy, Images of Children in Byzantium (Burlington: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2008), 202.

[3] Annabel Jane Wharton, “Tenderness and hegemony: exporting the Virgin Eleousa,” World art: Themes of unity in diversity, edited by Irving Lavin (University Park: Pennsylvania Stat University Press, 1989), 71.

[4] Hennessy, Images of Children . . ., 72.

[5] Although never officially declared as the spiritual protector of the city of Rome, the Virgin Mary played a significant role for Romans, as well. (See John Osborne, “Images of the Mother of God in Early Medieval Rome,” Icon and Word: The Power of Images in Byzantium, ed. by Antony Eastmond and Liz James [Burlington: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2003]: 135–136.)

[6] Wharton, “Tenderness . . .,” 73.

[7] Pamela Z. Blum, “A Madonna and Four Saints from Angers: An Archeological Approach to an Iconographical Problem,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin, 34, no. 3 (Winter 1973): 48.

[8] “Virgin Glykophilousa (‘The Visit’),” Byzantine Museum, accessed November 30, 2015, http://www.ebyzantinemuseum.gr/?i=bxm.el.exhibit&id=44.

[9] Bergman, “The Earliest Eleousa . . .,” 46.

[10] Ioli Kalavrezou, “The maternal side of the Virgin.” Mother of God: Representations of the Virgin in Byzantine art (New York City: Abbeville Publishing Group, 2000), 41.

[11] Ibid., 42.

[12] Wharton, “Tenderness . . .,” 74

[13] Bergman, “The Earliest Eleousa . . .,” 48.

[14] Kalavrezou, “The maternal side of the Virgin . . .,” 43.

[15] Ibid., 42.

[16] Viktor Lazarev, Russian icon painting from its origins to the beginning of the 14th century, accessed November 22, 2015, http://www.icon-art.info.

[17] Ibid.

 [18] Henry Maguire, Art and Eloquence in Byzantium (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981), 102.

[19] Ibid., 102–103.

 [20] Images of the Virgin Paraklesis, or the Virgin as Intercessor, are sometimes also labeled as the Virgin Eleousa. (See Nancy Patterson Ševčenko, The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, s.v. “Virgin Paraklesis,” [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005], accessed November 29, 2015, http://www.oxfordreference.com.erl.lib.byu.edu/view /10.1093/acref/ 9780195046526.001.0001/acref-9780195046526-e-5759?rskey=u60AVV&result=7.)

[21] Bergman, “The Earliest Eleousa . . .,” 52.

[22] Henry Maguire, “The Depiction of Sorrow in Middle Byzantine Art,” Dumbarton Oaks 31 (1997): 166.

[23] Robert S. Nelson, “Image and Inscription: Please for Salvation in Spaces of Devotion,” Art and Text in Byzantine Culture, ed. Liz James (Cambridge: Cambridge Un. Press, 2007), 112.

[24] Ibid., 112.

[25] Dialogues were considered to be “a well-established rhetorical device of Byzantine homilies” (See Robert S. Nelson, “Image and Inscription: Please for Salvation in Spaces of Devotion,” Art and Text in Byzantine Culture, ed. Liz James [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007], 112.)

[26] Averil Cameron, Byzantine Matters (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014), 84.

[27] George Galvararis, Colours, Symbols, Worship: The Mission of the Byzantine Artist (London: The Pindar Press, 2012), 136.

[28] Ibid., 139.

[29] Cyril Mango and Ernest J. W. Hawkins, “The Hermitage of St. Neophytos and its Wall Paintings” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 20 (1966): 121.

 [30] Ibid., 156.

[31] Alexander Kazhdan and Nancy Patterson Ševčenko, The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, edited by Alexander P. Kazhdan, s.v. “Stephen the Younger” (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), accessed November 29, 2015, http://www.oxfordreference.com.erl.lib.byu.edu/view/10.1093/acref /9780195046526.001.0001/acref-9780195046526-e-5135?rskey=u60AVV&result=16.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bergman, Robert P. “The Earliest Eleousa: A Coptic Ivory in the Walters Art Gallery.” The Journal of the Walters Art Gallery 48 (1990): 37–56.

Blum, Pamela Z. “A Madonna and Four Saints from Angers: An Archeological Approach to an Iconographical Problem.” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin, 34, no. 3 (Winter 1973). 30–57.

Carr, Annemarie Weyl. “Donors in the Frames of Icons: Living in the Borders of Byzantine Art.” Gesta 45, no. 2 (2002): 189–198.

Cameron, Averil. Byzantine Matters. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014.

Chatzidakis, Nano. “A Fourteenth-Century Icon of the Virgin Eleousa in the Byzantine

Museum of Athens.” Byzantine East, Latin West: art-historical studies in honor of Kurt Weitzmann. Ed. Doula Mouriki. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995.

Cotsonis, John. “The Virgin and Justinian on Seals of the ‘Ekklesiekdikoi’ of Hagia Sophia.” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 56 (2002): 41–55.

Galvararis, George. Colours, Symbols, Worship: The Mission of the Byzantine Artist. London: The Pindar Press, 2012.

Hennessy, Cecily. Images of Children in Byzantium. Burlington: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2008.

Kalavrezou, Ioli. “The maternal side of the Virgin.” Mother of God: Representations of the Virgin in Byzantine art. Ed. Maria Vassilaki. New York City: Abbeville Publishing Group, 2000.

Kazhdan, Alexander and Nancy Patterson Ševčenko. The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. Ed. Alexander P. Kazhdan. s.v. “Stephen the Younger.” Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. Accessed November 29, 2015. http://www.oxfordreference.com.erl.lib.byu.edu/view/10.1093/acref/9780195046526.001.0001/acref-9780195046526-e-5135?rskey=u60AVV&result=16.

Lazarev, Viktor. Russian icon painting from its origins to the beginning of the 14th century. Accessed November 22, 2015. http://www.icon-art.info.

Maguire, Henry. Art and Eloquence in Byzantium. Princeton: Princeton Un. Press, 1981.

Maguire, Henry. “The Depiction of Sorrow in Middle Byzantine Art.” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 31 (1977): 123–174.

Mango, Cyril and Ernest J. W. Hawkins. “The Hermitage of St. Neophytos and its Wall Paintings.” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 20 (1966): 119–206.

Nelson, Robert S. “Image and Inscription: Please for Salvation in Spaces of Devotion.” Art and Text in Byzantine Culture. Ed. Liz James. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Nersessian, Sirarpie der. “A Psalter and New Testament Manuscript at Dumbarton Oaks.” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 19 (1965): 155–183.

Osborne, John. “Images of the Mother of God in Early Medieval Rome.” Icon and Word: The Power of Images in Byzantium. Ed. Antony Eastmond and Liz James. Burlington: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2003.

Ševčenko, Nancy Patterson. The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. Ed. Alexander P. Kazhdan. s.v. “Virgin Paraklesis.” Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. Accessed November 29, 2015. http://www.oxfordreference.com.erl.lib.byu.edu/view/10.1093/acref/9780195046526.001.0001/acref-9780195046526-e-5759?rskey=u60AVV&result=7.

Talbot, Alice-Mary. “Epigrams of Manuel Philes on the Theotokos Tes Peges and its Art.” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 48 (1994): 135–165.

“Virgin Glykophilousa (‘The Visit’).” Byzantine Museum. Accessed November 30, 2015. http://www.ebyzantinemuseum.gr/?i=bxm.el.exhibit&id=44.

Wharton, Annabel Jane. “Tenderness and hegemony: exporting the Virgin Eleousa.” Worldart: Themes of unity in diversity: acts of the XXVIth International Congress of the History of Art. Edited by Irving Lavin. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1989.

Plato and His Republic

Plato’s dialogues on art are the oldest surviving discussions that we know about in the Western world, which have continued to influence significantly our discussions about art. In fact, Plato would influence Neoplatonism during the medieval era. The Neo-Platonist Plotinus focused on Plato’s theory of art imitating Beauty and eternal Truth.

Techne is a broad term Plato uses, which includes music, painting, mathematics, medicine, and other skilled disciplines. Therefore, techne or art is not always connected with aesthetics.

The term mimesis has been known to mean “imitation” or “representation.” Yet Plato uses this term in different ways. First, in Books II–III of Republic, mimesis occurs when someone represents a character by acting onstage. Second, in Book X, the artistic act of producing images (whether of things or people) is mimetic (Cooper 4).

This world, continually changing, and its physical things (e.g., art, music, nature, and geometry) are all imperfect copies. Plato’s Forms or Ideals include Beauty, Justice, and the Circle, and these Forms are perfect as well as more real than objects here on Earth. While the world of Forms is rational and constant, the world of the physical is changeable and only imitates the Forms.

In Republic, Plato argues that art is a copy of a copy because (first) art imitates the physical, which (second) imitates the Forms. However, in Symposium, Plato argues that the artist can be inspired and reveal the Ideal essences. For example, in Greek art, the late classical sculptures represent the gods with ideal bodies with perfect proportions, thus presenting the Ideal existing in the imperfect world.

Plato reasons that the free exchange of ideas would result in Truth. Yet, he believes that the arts function through images instead of ideas. This is problematic because art could distort—rather than clarify—the Truth.

Book VII of Plato’s Republic presents “The Allegory/Myth of the Cave.” Readers are asked to imagine prisoners chained and facing a wall inside a cave. Because of another wall, a fire, and puppets on sticks, the prisoners can only see shadows, but they think these shadows are Reality. If the prisoners were released, they would learn that (first) the shadows are copies of the puppets and (second) after going outside, the real objects were represented by the puppets.

Art imitates objects and ordinary events. The power of art occurs because of its ability to influence emotions and behavior as well as to lead us away from truth towards illusion. Art is powerful and, therefore, dangerous. In Plato’s ideal republic, art should be used for education and should be censored.

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flower power, pink peonies power

Dear reader,

Peonies just scream classiness, don’t they? Well, probably not scream, but you get the idea.

One day, I just hope to have a garden full of pink peonies!

They really are such romantic flowers, but I find a power in their beauty, in their elegance, in their essence.

xoxo,

the bbb blogger

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fun, funky, fresh

georgia may jagger by ellen von unwerth for vogue russia january 2015 image from here

georgia may jagger by ellen von unwerth for vogue russia january 2015
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Ringing in the New Year with a wardrobe update is always exciting, right? I love fashion—I do. It’s fun. It’s funky. It’s fresh. Or sometimes it can be.

But a trend I’m not sure how I feel about is the whole Polyvore fad.

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  • Matching is great. The OCD part of me really gets it.

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nay

  • Most people, in real life, don’t have the luxury to match every single item of their closet with their Starbucks cup o’ joe. It’s just too unrealistic.
  • Also, is it like Pinterest on steroids?

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  • The whole world is able to see all the weird trends that happen in the fashion world. Like McDonald’s gear (as shown below). Is this public sharing that great? Who knows.
  • Is this fad going to fade out like Myspace? We’ll see.

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How to Recognize and Resolve Writing Burnout

Sally dreamed of becoming a successful writer. For several years, she had been working as a freelance writer. Her upcoming project was due in a few hours. At first, Sally was enthusiastic about the new project, which she’d been working on over the last two weeks. But every time she picked up her laptop to write a sentence, no inspiration struck.

After the initial excitement of the project wore off, Sally felt increasingly rushed to finish the assignment. Additionally, she started to avoid writing whenever she could: she would do a load of laundry, scrub the kitchen floor, shampoo the carpet, vacuum the stairs—anything to avoid writing. Disagreements and arguments between clients and Sally seemed to happen regularly.

Now, well after midnight, Sally stares blankly at her computer screen, realizing that her eleventh hour is quickly coming to a close.

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Identifying the Problem: What is Writing Burnout?

The fictional anecdote above could happen to any freelance writer. Whether freelance writers have worked independently for several years or have been working on one project for several months, writing burnout can happen. Burnout means that an individual experiences mental or physical exhaustion because he or she is overworked or stressed. Writing burnout is a real problem. But what are the signs of writing burnout, and what can be done about it?

Throes of Creation by Leonid Pasternak (image found here)


How to Recognize Writing Burnout

Recognizing writing burnout can be difficult for many freelance writers. On the LinkedIn group page called “Freelance Writers,” web writer and small business owner David K. William posted an article and asked how to deal with burnout. William posted Tiffany Faming’s article called “3 Signs You Are Approaching a Writing Burnout.” In this article, the three signs Faming warned of were the following: first, “you don’t want [the article to be] perfect, you just want it done”; second, “you’ll take any opportunity to avoid writing”; and third, “you’re having problems with clients.” Although these signs may seem obvious, freelance writers must be aware of how they are feeling in order to identify burnout.

In the story at the start of this essay, Sally experienced all three of these signs. First, she tried to rush through writing to complete the project. Second, she cleaned instead of writing (which is always a bad sign). Third, Sally argued with clients more often than normal. If freelance writers experience one or all three of these signs, they are probably feeling writing burnout. After addressing the telltale signs of burnout, what can freelance writers do about the lack of inspiration?

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The Responses: How to Resolve Writing Burnout

If freelance writers begin to feel exhausted from writing, they should find options to resolve the problem. On the LinkedIn group page, David K. William’s question was how to deal with writing burnout. In the comments section of this post, freelance writers offered their ideas they use in their own work. Their suggestions fall under two main categories: take a break or continue working. These two ideas could appear contradictory; however, freelance writers must determine which suggestion works best for them.

First: Take a break.

On the LinkedIn page, many freelance writers suggested taking time away from projects. For example, freelance writers could stop writing and start reading. Ronald Joseph Kule, a contributor to the LinkedIn discussion, explains, “When facing burnout, I realize this phenomenon as a stuck, one-way flow: too much outflow. So, I pick up one of my books written by another author and sit and read it in a different physical space from where I work.” Reading books may not only help freelance writers clear their minds but also help inspire them to write like other talented authors. In another comment, Roger Livesey explains that after reading blogs, he not only becomes more motivated to write again but also learns something new from what he read. After reading, the new information freelance writers learn could inspire their writing. Taking a break can help freelance writers beat burnout.

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Of course, there are other options of what a freelance writer could do to beat burnout. Creative options—away from the writing arena, of course—should help freelance writers. For example, freelance writer Susan Shuman explains that she takes a break by finger painting or coloring. Being artsy instead of wordy could be a good way to get out of a funk. Another option for some freelance writers is drinking. As David Cooper, another contributor to the LinkedIn discussion, explains, “[G]o to the nearest bar like Ernest Hemingway did,” or as Frank Cagno describes, have a drink and have fun to “clear your mind.” Religious and/or non-alcoholic freelance writers will not take this suggestion for moral reasons. However, having fun and clearing your mind—even when drinking is not involved—can help beat burnout.

Second: Continue working.

On the other hand, rather than taking time off from writing, the second suggestion is to continue working. This process can involve continuing to write the current piece or focusing on other tasks, such as editing or writing something else. Elizabeth Haynes explains on the LinkedIn comments section, “Mostly I just have to force myself to write, albeit in smaller chunks than usual. No writing = no paycheck.” Money is always a motivating factor, especially for freelance writers. Freelance writers could feel more motivated by pushing through and working in smaller chunks at a time, instead of feeling overwhelmed by the whole project. Haynes continues, “[S]ometimes getting an influx of new work gets me moving again. Sometimes if things are slow I have a harder time writing than when I’m really busy.” Although constantly pushing work out will certainly lead to burnout, staying busy is beneficial for freelance writers.

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Another way freelance writers can feel motivated is by editing or rewriting other parts of their work. Editing is an essential part of the writing process, but editing can also help freelance writers feel motivated again. In the LinkedIn post, another freelance writer, Matt Duncan, claims that “editing my work helps me get over a block. Editing [is] the part of writing that is the least creative and I find that the creative side of my brain [will] fight to work when I’m not using it.” Editing may not seem creative for some freelance writers; therefore, working that part of the brain—the supposedly less creative side—could motivate a freelance writer. Additionally, freelance writers could try rewriting previous sections of their work. In the LinkedIn post, Vicki Roth describes her process: she likes to “take something [she has] written before and rewrite or correct it.” By rewriting, freelance writers could not only dispel burnout but also create better writing.

Although taking time off or continuing work may seem like contradictory options, both are valid for freelancer writers to try if they feel unmotivated. What works for one writer may not work for another. For freelancer writers, what is important is to be aware of how their bodies are responding, mentally and emotionally. However, if these options do not dispel burnout, what else can freelance writers try?

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Additional Ideas of How to Resolve Writing Burnout

There are many ways to resolve writing burnout. The opposite of burnout is to stay inspired. Elsie Larson is the creator and writer of the blog A Beautiful Mess, a company that hinges on inspiration, imagination, and creativity. Her success story is based on her ability to avoid burnout. When working on different projects, she suggests five tips to stay inspired: first, “carry a journal”; second, “find a new muse”; third, “develop a creative playlist”; fourth, “refresh your workspace”; and finally, “prove yourself wrong” by making a list of “the impossible” and then accomplishing those goals. When freelance writers evaluate how they are feeling about a project, they can try these ideas to continue staying inspired.

Maybe freelancer writers need to get away. Where should freelancer writers go to find inspiration? As Elsie Larson suggests, freelance writers could try a flea market, the library, a local historic district, or a bookstore. Perhaps they would prefer to go outdoors: have a picnic, take a country drive, or check out a flower shop. These ideas are just a few places for freelance writers to go to avoid writing burnout and to become more inspired.

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Conclusion

Freelance writers must recognize their career goals and work hard. As wealthy freelance writers, the reality of writing burnout is important to be aware of and to recognize. Freelance writers should be conscious of how they are feeling about work. Then freelance writers can adapt to their needs easier. As a result, wealthy freelance writers may be emotionally and mentally fit—in the workforce and in life.

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 Works Cited

One Year Anniversary

Exactly one year ago, I started my blog! What started out as a class assignment has turned into a beautiful blog! ❤ Thank you for your support. Celebrate with me! Do something beautiful, for yourself, for someone you love, for a stranger, whatever! Then post in the comments below. What did you do? I wanna know!

Thanks! 🙂  I hope you all have had a beautiful year.

xoxo,

the bbb blogger

happiness secret

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“In the story The Little Prince, the fox was wiser than he knew when he said, “Now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye” (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince, trans. Katherine Woods [1943], 70). The odyssey to happiness lies in the dimension of the heart. Such a journey is made on stepping-stones of selflessness, wisdom, contentment, and faith. The enemies of progress and fulfillment are such things as self-doubt, a poor self-image, self-pity, bitterness, and despair. By substituting simple faith and humility for these enemies, we can move rapidly in our search for happiness.”

~James E. Faust, “Our Search for Happiness”

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