Art is the main component a history of any culture or civilization. Different lines and curves symbolize different factors of which history was built. In the medieval times sculptures are one of the most popular and most evident forms of art. In the current time, sculptures are a representation of the past. Many tourist spots had been placed with different sculptures and carvings which signify any subject matter that the artist would like to prevail. in the current times, many of the monastic monuments are only marketing a certain audience depending on the style and content of the art form. It is noticed that most of the sculptures are within the Churches or huge spaces in an area.
In the written work of Peter Low he stated that sculptures are intended to have two varieties of functions. The first intention of the sculptures is to announce and help to build a “sacred space that began, they emphasized, at the portal’s threshold” (Low, 2003). The second function is that these sculptures are stated to “spoke of the individual lay visitor’s place, responsibilities and rewards both within that sacred space and in the Church as a whole” (Low, 2003). Through the two functions, main concept that it upholds is bringing the specific or variety of biblical texts in to life. With such, the author is stating that the sculptures are performing a religious imagery to the public during the Middle Ages. Most of the artists bridge the same gap between the arts and the contents of the bible. In addition to this, author discusses that this ancient text [Bible] is concerned with people who are mostly distant, to different events as well as place with features both devotional actions and modern European Faithful including the building inside and in front of the place where activities take place.
Due to the different art work done presented in the article this paper would only be limited to on sculpture in order to present the purpose and history of each artwork, thus connecting the significance of the authors work and his analysis of the sculptures.
The first sculpture is called the Narthex Portal of Ste-Madelein de Vezelay which was installed between the years 1104 and 1132 in order to mark peaceful entrance which is leading to the nave provided for the visiting laity which performs different functions. The sculpture highlights the sophistication and dramatic aura of the place. Accordingly, the sculpture does not only create an atmosphere in the nave but it also emphasizes the description of a certain scene in the book of Act specifically (2:1-12) through the imagery of the verse coming from Paul in Ephesians 2:11-22. This narthex themed sculpture was never themed with any type of passage. But it is the construction of the Universal Church using a series of theological concepts has suggested architectural metaphors which led to the conclusion that such sculpture is derived from a biblical passage.
The author Peter Low have stated that there is a great significance with regards to the biblical accounts of the Ephesians passages and the Pentecost passages that is related to the main Narthex Portal. But then, the sculpture is obviously far from straight forward due to the hidden architectural concepts it presents. It is discussed that, “The makers of the sculptural programs at Vezelay drew on the disparate range of sources, textual and otherwise, and it was only by such heterogeneous means that they were able to enliven the Scripture, and thus to imbue the communal body and actions of the portal’s viewers with the salvific spark of Christian Revelation” (Low, 2003). Thus, there is an admission that the sculpture do not evidently presents the content that it had brought about to its viewers. There is a great need for many of the audience to appreciate the statement provided not by just looking at the sculpture but appreciating it with great knowledge regarding theological and historical view point. Again, the sculpture is only intended for those that are willing to go to great extents in order to appreciate it.
In the whole article, the author Low have generally stated that sculptures are a huge part of the medieval and middle aged history. As part of the history, we as students must be reminded that during these times, the rise of the theological times is deeply the main trend during those times. The Catholic Church has the main authority with regards to the society of the people. There were early concepts of good and bad which is mainly based on the bible. Not only this, the Catholic Church was the foremost capable of manipulating the political situation and decisions of the Kings for the reason that they have divine power which was held from God.
Therefore, that influence and power is directly seen sculptures. The message in which most of the sculpture is stating is with regards to the biblical passages which could be assumed to serve and inspirational message to the creator of the sculpture. In another light, the sculptures could be due to imagination of the artist during those times.
The Ste-Madelein de Vezelay for example is one best example of the product of the medieval ages which is evidently stating some passages during such era. There might be an assumption that the passage in the books of Acts and Ephesians are the most applicable verse during those moments of the Catholic Church’s power to the people.
In the gender perspective, sculptures are mostly sensual structures that attach the body of a woman in most of the works of the artist. As most people said, the body of a woman is a work of art due to the magnificent lines it has which could not be seen with anything else. Given that priest and other religious beings celibate, the only product of their love of women could only be evident through the sculptures made. Thus the sculptures are one way of expressing that priest and religious beings are only humans who are in need to express their sexuality. However, due to the taboo issues of sex and marital relations with women, priest are restricted and limited that they could not have pleasure. Hence they only find pleasure in sculpted materials which could express their feelings.
In the current generation, most people do not enjoy sculpture as a form of art. Most of the youth today are interested in music, film, painting and the likes as the best expression of their creativity. Sculptures are only made for educated persons who have learned how to appreaciate different sides of the art. Those that know every detail of arts as well as different specializations attached to it. Thus sculpture requires only a certain type of people or class which requires certain amount of education. It is known that only limited people in the world are able to learn sculpture or have majors in the subjects of culture if he or she is not placed in a certain class in the society.
In the end the article written by Low is something that could be directly understood by any person who has learning with theology as well as arts. I personally did not appreciate the type of writing which Low had presented to me while reading it. Most of the time, I get confused with the types of issues he is presenting. Evidently, all the statements that the author has discussed led to the concept of religion and its attachment to the subject of arts. Although his concepts could be right and intelligent, the content was not for those who do have the experience reading his writings. There are different concepts which are needed to be analyzed by an educated person with the subject of art in order to attain a greater understanding of the paper.
In my personal view point, the author should have given a simpler version of this writing if he is stating that only those who are willing to learn and research regarding the attachments of theology and arts. Seemingly, there are people who he desires to learn sculptures and other branches attached to it. In addition, the historical background of the sculptures is not enough to fully describe the situation regarding these matters. There are no figures of pictures which presents any aspects of the sculptures the author is describing. Thus, the reader is having a difficult time relating to the statement Low have given.
Additionally, most young people would not be able to relate to the statements he had given whether it is about history, religion, or sculptures for the current generation is covered with all the technologies and modernity that the past is not even something that they would put interest with. However, if a person would like to move away from the modernity of the world and enjoy the arts of the past, subsequently sculpture is one unique way of appreciating the history