Pamela Watkins
Dr. Steve Arbury
Directed Study Proposal
November 23, 2018
Sacred Art Armatures
The paintings I've included in this proposal are not in chronological order. I've presented them as illustrations of the various techniques that were used in creating their designs. Each period had its own set of techniques for designing sacred art, and these conventions evolved over time. In southern Europe in the late medieval period, rabatment, or overlapping squares, was the main way that artists created divisions in the picture plane. Rabatment was either derived from grids or used to make grids, so it produces pictures in which the elements are organized within squares and rectangles. Arcs became important in the Proto-Renaissance period, especially in Florence and Siena, and circles acquired prominence at the beginning of the Renaissance. In the north, designs were underpinned by simple geometric figures rather than rabatment, and Jan van Eyck appears to have instigated a sacred geometry movement that ended with the Reformation.
Unlike the vast majority of armatures of today, the ones I'll be presenting are formal, consciously and meticulously planned, and symmetrical. All of the images are enlargeable.
I've divided the proposal into the topics listed in the menu at the bottom of each page. To read the proposal from beginning to end, use the navigation arrow on the right. If you want a hard copy, the pages can be printed out.
God the Geometer, frontispiece of the Bible Moralisee, c. 1220-30, ink, tempera, and gold leaf on vellum, 34 x 26 cm. Austrian National Library, Vienna.