Monday, March 31, 2008


Celtic interlace design is an ancient art form that can be traced back to 500BC. However it is not well documented due to the Celts unwillingness to record their history early on. They preferred instead to pass down information from generation to generation.

Perhaps one of the most amazing and historic examples of Celtic knotwork can be found in the book of Kells. The spiral designs filled the borders, letters and empty space of the book. These knots or patterns were also used to decorate monuments (notably crosses and cross slabs) and jewelry.

Celtic knotwork is probably the most widely know of all Celtic art works.

Knotwork has typical characteristics, which include “closed bands or paths” which carry very strict rules. In accordance with Celtic design law, knotwork must alternate over and under in a repeated fashion and more than two “over or unders” in succession are considered to be a mistake. The path of the knotwork is endless and is comprised of ‘convoluted circles’ that keep the pattern design symmetrical.

It is believed that the two lines interlocking in the knotwork represent the real and celestial world and the fact that they're endless is indicative of the Celts belief in the afterlife. Modern mathematics has also been influenced by this design, with the strict rules of the art form being taught in graphs.

Celtic knotwork appears on various materials and has become very popular nowadays appearing on modern jewelry across the globe and also being widely used in tattoo art. There are also elements of Celtic knotwork currently found in wildstyle graffiti..

GEMMA: Oceania Hawaiian Art Sculpture

Oceania is a vast and diverse region, encompassing New Guinea in the west, Hawaii in the north, and Easter Island in the south-east. Societies were typically small-scale, kinship-based groups. Artists of the Hawaiian Islands developed their own variants on Polynesian style. 

Oceanic Art, works of art produced by the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Islands from the beginnings of human settlement to the present, including carving in wood and stone, woven and painted fabrics, decorated weapons such as clubs and spears, large ceremonial houses and canoes, and body arts such as tattooing.

Well-known works are pieces of figure sculpture and masks. However, it is not always appreciated that abstract pattern and design are also important dimensions of Oceanic art, particularly in genres produced by women, such as mats and painted barkcloth. An object such as a mask may only have been one feature of what was originally an elaborate event, including ritual, dance, song, and feasting. The mask represents the story being told in the ritual.

Each island or island group generally had distinctive styles in sculpture, architecture, bark cloth, food vessels, woven mats, and tattooing, among other art forms. The Oceanic tradition of the Hawaiian culture and their art and design utilized various materials and mediums including shell and tortoise shell, wood and stone.

Fine, expressive carvings in wood and stone occur across the region; they typically represent principal gods, the Hawaiian war god, as well as deified local chiefly ancestors. Carving was delicately decorated, featuring geometric forms and the multiplication of face motifs the sophistication of their original function in violent hand-to-hand conflict. 

Oceanic art forms are extraordinarily diverse. Masks and carvings represent particular genres, such as figurative representations of ancestors, spirits, and gods, which are found across the region.


laeten: Incas


The Incas lived between 1200 -1535 AD they were warriors with a powerful army and with strong religious beliefs. Their cities were built high on the steep slopes of the Andes mountains The Incas society was of a hierarchical structure. Army commander and high priest at the top The Incas used gods to explain nature and would decorate everything from ceramics to clothing, depicting all their religious beliefs and daily events.

Ceramics were painted in motifs of birds –waves –cats and bold geometric patterns, most distinctive being cusco bottles or aryballos They would paint them with colours made from mineral sands and plants

Weaving and spinning was highly specialized and was learned at an early age as a main task, also embroidery sewn with bone needles People loved to wear bright colours in braids, ribbon and thread, sequins, beads, feathers and, gold was sewn in to the fabrics Baskets and reed mats were made by plaiting and twining various materials together Feather work was another skilled craft Brilliant coloured feathers were used, eg, from the macaw parrot

A headdress of a general is made of dyed llama wool decorated with bold designs and feathers Inca tunics were made of woven alpaca wool simply made, but the designs were beautiful, decorated with fine gold thread. Dress was a symbol of status the more important the more finer the clothing, decoration these were made for religious ceremonies.

Cotton was grown on the hot lowlands and was worn for coolness. Plants were used to dye the yarn or finished textile, Cochineal was obtained from bodies of dried insects The Spanish were influenced by the Incas when they brutally plundered them in 1535, their bold designs and methods of weaving making ponchos, etc, were some of the influences take from their civilization

Ancient Americas Tweed Reginal library


When Adolf Hitler(1889-1945)come into power he declared he would bring back Germany to it's former glory. It is said that the Nazi Architecture was another form of propaganda with its tall dominating structures of incredible proportions to give hope and to inspire the people as a message of what a great country Germany could be.

In his younger days Hitler applied to study fine art in Vienna but was rejected twice, he was told that his talents lay in architecture, which turned out to be quite true.

Hitler admired the ancient Romans and the Greeks as he regarded them as being early forms of the Aryan race, it was the neoclassicism and art deco or "servere" deco style of architecture that his chief architect Albert Speer emulated on many Nazi sites and monuments.

They did not have one specific style, there was no official architecture of the Third Reich, only the neoclassical baseline that was enlarged, multiplied, altered and exaggerated, sometimes to the point of ludicrousness.

The Nazis built architecture of colossal dimensions to overawe and intimidate. Hitler was preoccupied with architectural monuments that celebrated or glorified a victory ideology, triumphal arches (the largest in the world on Berlin's north-south axis), columns and trophies. As Albert Speer remarked, "The Romans built arches of triumph to celebrate the big victories won by the Roman Empire, while Hitler built them to celebrate victories he had not yet won."

I think there's no denying that Hitler used architecture well in Nazi Germany and also that the architecture was used for more reasons than simply making buildings look good.

Propaganda was far more than likely to be a reason, because the Nazis used propaganda all throughout their reign and Hitler himself admitted that he saw architecture as "The Word In Stone".

Hitler and Speer in Paris, June 23, 1940

Triumphal Arch drawn by Hitler, 1925


ALEC: The Sistine Chapel Ceiling by Michelangelo

Upon completion of the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican approached Michelangelo with an offer to paint its high ceilings. It was thought their key reason for choosing him lay in the fact he was trained by Gnirlandaio, a prolific Florentine fresco painter. Although primarily a sculptor Michelangelo reluctantly accepted the churches offer and worked on the painting between the years 1508 and 1512.

Centuries on and his ceiling frescos are apart of the most renowned artworks of the high renaissance period.

Due to the high architectural nature of the ceilings the painting needed to be completed in three stages

To reach such high places Michelangelo designed his own purpose built scaffolding equipment (made primarily from wooden planks and brackets) which aloud him to lay on his back and work. Michelangelo used a style of painting known as fresco, in which paint is applied in layers to damp plaster known as ‘gionata’. In the early stages the damp plaster proved troublesome as it began to grow mould before Michelangelo could finish the section. The reason why frescos are painted on wet, not dry plaster is that working on dry plaster meant every brushstroke sank in immediately, not allowing the artist to manipulate the colour pigment.

Michelangelo used life size sketches to assist in transferring his designs onto the plaster. This method was time consuming and gradually he began to draw directly onto the plaster. As his confidence grew he also did away with the use of grids.

When applying colour to large areas he used a wash technique and added detail afterwards. To create the effect of beards he used a thick comb. As his style became broader and quicker he was able to complete the scene of ‘God in the act of creation’ in one day.

The ceiling was restored in 1981 to 1994 after centuries of dusk and soot damage. To add to it’s mystique the ceiling is apparently unfinished. Apparently Michelangelo was reluctant to add the colour gold leaf and vivid blue as he thought it would detract from his pastel style.


LEE: Tapestries

Tapestries have been woven for hundreds of years and by a variety of cultures. Primarily used for decoration, privacy around beds, and insulation is castles.

Tapestries are cloth woven with intricate designs that were hung from walls and other objects in medieval times. Tapestries are known to reach sizes up to 18 feet high and 471 feet in length, and taking years to create.

Intricate tapestries became status symbols among the rich and famous of olden times. And were often claimed from slain enemies as trophies of battle.

Many of the most well known tapestries were created In the 15th century in a place named Loire Valley. There were tens of thousands of people employed in the tapestry weaving business, and these professions were often passed down from father to son. On average it would take a 2 man team of weavers up to 2 months to complete a square foot of tapestry.

Some of the most popular images to be woven into tapestries are biblical stories and figures, mythical stories and figures and scenes of peasants and hunters.

Servants would even sketch their masters in battle and create a tapestry afterwards in honour of their master.

Tapestries used no more than 20 colours that were sourced from plants and insects. Woad was used to produce the colour blue, and interestingly enough importing Woad from the east was punishable by death because it was such a profitable activity.

Today few tapestries are hand woven. Most are copies of tapestries seen in museums that are mass produced to be sold at affordable prices to the general population.


Celtic Design - Tane

Tane Richardson

designs.jpgThe Celtic culture or “Celts” were ancient European cultures, who do not all have shared ancestry but were classed by their common language known as Proto-Celtic. They spread by emigration and invasion, through prehistory to the modern period. Celtic art’s characteristic interweaving patterns were derived from nearby Germanic peoples who preceded the Celts. As Celtic cultures spread, the artistic style grew steadily influential throughout Northern Europe, through the mediums of rock-carving, clothing fabric and inking.

The most widely-known traditional Celtic designs are as follows:

celtic cross.bmpThe Cross:

The Celtic cross symbols four roads of four
corners of the Earth, and the meetings at

a central point formed a cross, indicating the

centre of the world.

It incorporates bold line,

stark contrast, and monotone features, yet

the twisting intricacies give the senses a flowing
rhythm within the strict boundary. Notice how the
over- and underlapping lines are not connected

with black, in order to show depth of pattern.

aon-apprent-spirals.bmp Labyrinth:

The Labyrinth was intended to portray a

visual journey through progressive levels

of experience, physical, mental and

spiritual, until the vortex at the center is

reached, symbolising the joining of

heaven and earth. These

patterns are only occasionally symmetrical

yet balance to the same effect. They

involve the stark black and white intricacies prevalent

in all Celtic design. It is visually on a 2D plane, a maze without depth.

The entire labyrinth is unified by the central focus.


Animals and birds were sacred to the

Celtic. Shapeshifting was a common

attribute of the Celtic goddesses. These

patterns morph the shapes of animals yet

strived remain in conformity

with natural form. As with most Celtic art,

it makes use of bold definition in thick

pewter.jpgline, has no shading or gradations and

with stark contrast, portrays a

confident, defiant culture with an

intricate, beautiful spiritual side.



Sunday, March 30, 2008

stacy 4 oceania

MELANESIA: Bismarck Archipelago - New Guinea - Fiji - Maluka Islnds - New Caledonia - Norfolk Island - Solomon Islands - Torres Strait Islands - Vanuatu
MICRONESIA: Guam - Kiribati - Marshall Islands - Nauru - Northern Mariana Islands - Palau - Wake Island
POLYNESIA: Easter Island - Cook Islands - Tahiti (French Polynesia) - Niue - Pitcairn Islands - Samoa - Tonga - Tuvalu - Marquesas Islands (French Polynesia) - New Zealand - Hawaiian Islands
What are the characteristics of the style?

Examine the design elements and principles i.e. point, line, shape, scale, texture, tone, colour, pattern, symbol, proportion, structure, symmetry, form, volume, space, etc
Examine the design principles i.e. balance, contrast or diversity, harmony or unity, rhythm, dominance or emphasis.
Examine the materials and techniques utilized by the style.
What are the historical influences?
Did this style influence other styles?
pass criteria
Information research effectively
references/ Bibliograpphy listed correctly
logical flow of ideas leading to a personal conclusion
Hand in on time due APRIL 8, 2008

Friday, March 28, 2008

Tracy_Celtic manuscript

The Book Of Kells

'Book of Kells' is a manuscript which was written in silence in a monastery and then sent to be illuminated (decorated) by Celtic artist. It has been described as the most beautiful book in the world. It's Summaries of gospel narratives and concordances were compiled by Eusebius of Caesarea in the fourth century. Written around the year 800AD, it has 680 pages written in quill and ink and made of vellum, a material sourced from under the skin of an animal. These pages contain a copy of St Jerome's Latin 

Bible TextBible Text

version of the four gospels and are decorated with ornate drawings and extremely embellished letters. The Book of Kells was named after its home, Kells in County Meath near Dublin. 

The book remained at Kells throughout the Middle Ages; venerated as a relic it survived Viking plunderings, arsons, and regicides, although it was lost and recovered, and stripped of its ornamented treasure binding by thieves in 1007 (The Book of Kells. Luzerne: Faksimile Verlag, 1990). 

The Book of Kells is now held in exhibition at The Trinity College in Dublin and attracts over 500000 visitors yearly.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Paolo - Europe - Gothic - gargoyle

In architecture, a gargoyle is a carved stone grotesque with a spout designed to convey water from a roof and away from the side of a building.
The term originates from the French gargouille, originally "throat" or "gullet";[1] cf. Latin gurgulio, gula, and similar words derived from the root gar, "to swallow", which represented the gurgling sound of water (e.g., Spanish garganta, "throat"; Spanish gárgola, "gargoyle").
A chimera, or a grotesque figure, is a sculpture that does not work as a waterspout and serves only an ornamental or artistic function. These are also usually called gargoyles in laypersons' terminology,[1] although the field of architecture usually preserves the distinction between gargoyles (functional waterspouts) and non-waterspout grotesques.
Reproductions of statues representing gargoyle-like creatures, available in some retail stores, although sometimes functional, are more often than not grotesques modeled after famous gargoyles.


The term gargoyle is most often applied to medieval work, but throughout all ages some means of water diversion, when not conveyed in gutters, was adopted. In Greek temples, the water from roofs passed through the mouths of lions whose heads were carved or modelled in the marble or terra cotta cymatium of the cornice. At Pompeii, many terra cotta gargoyles were found that are modelled in the shape of animals.
A local legend that sprang up around the name of St. Romanus ("Romain") (631–641 A.D.), the former chancellor of the Merovingian king Clotaire II who was made bishop of Rouen, relates how he delivered the country around Rouen from a monster called Gargouille, having the creature captured by the only volunteer, a condemned man. The gargoyle's grotesque form was said to scare off evil spirits so they were used for protection. In commemoration of St. Romain the Archbishops of Rouen were granted the right to set a prisoner free on the day that the reliquary of the saint was carried in procession
Many medieval cathedrals included gargoyles and chimarae. The most famous examples are those of Notre Dame de Paris. Although most have grotesque features, the term gargoyle has come to include all types of images. Some gargoyles were depicted as monks, combinations of real animals and people, many of which were humorous. Unusual animal mixtures, or chimeras, did not act as rainspouts and are more properly called grotesques. They serve more as ornamentation, but are now synonymous with gargoyles.