Welcome to Skylark Studio. Our names are Tom and Alana Campbell.
THE ARTS IN THE RENAISSANCE PERIOD
Tom is a west coast craftsman working in the stone trade. Alana is an artist working in oils, acrylics, watercolor, pastels, and pen and ink. Tom is a master stone craftsman and as a prophet once prophesied to him: "As it is in the natural, so it is in the spirit."
THE ARTS IN THE RENAISSANCE PERIOD
Artists working on wood panels or canvas coated the surface with several layers of gesso, a mixture of materials such as plaster and glue. Then they smoothed and polished the surface. Early Renaissance painters reproduced gold tones by gilding, applying a thin layer of gold over a layer of soft red clay. The clay prevented the delicate sheets of gold from breaking. After the mid-1400s, gilding became less popular and artists began to use gold paint, which allowed them to vary the tone more effectively.
Artists painted on damp plaster to create frescoes. First, they applied several layers of plaster until the wall was smooth. Then they transferred a sketch of the painting to the wall and applied a final layer of plaster. Because plaster dries quickly, they only coated the area that they could paint in one day. After the plaster dried, the only way to make changes was by chiseling out the previous work or painting over it. But the new paint tended to flake off.
Each workshop mixed its own pigments from various materials. About 18 standard pigments were commonly used in the Renaissance. Many of these, particularly the most brilliant, were not suitable for frescoes. Painters made ultramarinea bright blue by crushing the semi-precious blue stone lapis lazuli. Because lapis was extremely expensive, painters rarely used ultramarine on large pieces. One exception is the scene of the Last Judgment by Michelangelo, part of the monumental series in Rome's Sistine Chapel. The pope, who commissioned the work, paid for the ultramarine used in the vivid blue background.
For painting on other surfaces, such as wood or canvas, artists mixed dry pigments with either egg or oil. Oil-based paints dry much more slowly than those made with egg. Developed in the Netherlands in the early 1400s, oil painting did not reach Italy until the 1460s but eventually became common there. Using slow-drying paints, artists could blend and build up layers of color to achieve the richness and depth that distinguish many great works of Renaissance art.
The scriptures declare the glory of God and the firmament His handiwork. The arts were created to give glory to God. Around the late Fourteenth Century, beginning in Italy and centered in Florence, a cultural renaissance, or rebirth, began spreading throughout Europe which radically affected society's attitude towards art and the artist. The coffers of Florence, Rome, and Venice overflowed with wealth. Some of that wealth lavishly patronized Italian Renaissance artists. A new way of thinking called "humanism" was born during the Italian Renaissance, spurred by an influx of classical knowledge. Humanism redirects man away from a Christ centered lifestyle and worship, focusing mankinds attention on man and his daily pleasures and existence. The very basis of this type of focus breaks the first and greatest of God's 10 Commandments, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, mind, soul and strength," is sinful in it's concept.
One theory that has been advanced for the rise of humanism is that the devastation caused by the Black Death in Florence (and elsewhere in Europe) resulted in a shift in the world view of people in 14th-century Italy. Italy was particularly badly hit by the plague, and it has been speculated that the familiarity with death that this brought thinkers to dwell more on their lives on Earth, rather than on spirituality and the afterlife. It has also been argued that the Black Death prompted a new wave of piety, manifested in the sponsorship of religious works of art.
An example of the Pietist Movement's influence on the arts can be observed in the Oberammergau Passion Play is a passion play performed since 1634 as a tradition by the inhabitants of the village of Oberammergau in Bavaria Germany.
The town vowed that if God were to spare them from the effects of the bubonic plague ravaging the region, they would perform a play every ten years depicting the life and death of Jesus. The death rate among adults rose from one in October 1632 to twenty in the month of March 1633. The adult death rate slowly subsided to one in the month of July 1633. The villagers believed they were spared after they kept their part of the vow when the play was first performed in 1634.
Rembrandt’s religious sentiments were Mennonite, quite out of phase with the prevailing Calvinist climate in Holland. Saskia’s father was a Mennonite, and. Rembrandt had Mennonite friends throughout life. Even had the Calvinist iconoclasm of the day not discouraged Christian art, it is unlikely that Rembrandt’s vision of the poor and humble. Christ would have provided an acceptable exegesis to a burgeoning capitalistic Calvinism. Interestingly, after years of obscurity, Rembrandt’s greatness was “discovered” not by the church but by painters and critics who loved him more for his art than for the faith his art portrayed.
In an age when the tradition of Christian painting had been practically abandoned in the Netherlands under the influence of the Dutch Reformed spirit, Rembrandt devoted about one third of his life's work to the depiction of Biblical scenes. Contrary to the trend of contemporary art, in which the "genre" picture, still life, and seascapes predominated, he founded a new style of interpretation of the Bible. To be sure, the young painter frequently drew his themes from the Bible because of the wealth of dramatic material found there, especially in the Old Testament. But after the death of his wife Saskia in 1642 an increasing religious sincerity becomes evident in Rembrandt's work. Especially his etchings and drawings (there are about 600 of these showing Biblical scenes) show Rembrandt's reactions to the message of the Gospel. Officially Rembrandt was a member of the Reformed Church, and as yet there has been no evidence that he severed this connection in spite of serious conflicts with the church council, such as the exclusion of Hendrickje Stoffels from communion in 1653, who lived with him after his wife's death. Nevertheless there is some indication that Rembrandt was in close contact with Mennonite circles and from them received essential religious motivations.
German artist, Albrecht Dürer, who introduced the art of Renaissance Italy to northern Europe. His biography portrays him as one of the most influential artists of the Renaissance and Reformation. He was one of the first German artists to rise above the status of "craftsman," becoming the renaissance ideal of a scholar. When he died on April 6, 1528, he left more than seventy paintings, over one hundred engravings, two hundred and fifty woodcuts, more than a thousand drawings, and books on geometry, fortification, and human proportions. He wrote the first art textbook, which was called Food for Young Artists. The Christian worldview which he brought to the field of art is still relevant today.
As a respected artist and scholar of his day, Durer witnessed the coming Reformation and made the acquaintance of men such as Erasmus, Martin Luther, Melanchthon, and the Emperor Maximilian. Though he created works of art for some of the most influential and wealthy men of his day, he made his woodcuts affordable for ordinary people. In this way, Durer brought the Bible to a wide audience through his brilliant illustrations of the book of Revelation and other themes.
Albrecht Durer, wrote: "Painting is a useful art when it is of a godly sort and employed for holy edification."
Hans Holbein was born in Augsburg, Germany in 1497. The family later moved to Basle in Switzerland. The son of a painter, Holbein soon developed a reputation as a talented artist. Like most artists of this period, Holbein mainly painted religious subjects, specializing in painting altarpieces. However, in the 1520s, Basle came under the influence of the teachings of Desiderius Erasmus and Martin Luther. Luther did not approve of highly decorated churches and so Holbein found it difficult to find work.
In 1526, Holbein moved to England which at that time was still a Catholic country. Soon after he arrived he was commissioned to paint a picture of Thomas More and his family. More was impressed with the painting and began telling his friends about Holbein's amazing ability to accurately represent what people really looked like.
Other wealthy people in England commissioned Holbein to paint their portraits. These included Thomas Cromwell, who was at this time one of the king's advisers. When Henry VIII saw this picture he asked Holbein to become one of the artists working for the royal family. Holbein painted several portraits of Henry. Other artists employed by the king made copies of these portraits. Some of these copies were displayed in England while others were sent to foreign monarchs. In many cases it is the copies rather than the original paintings that have survived.<
THE ARTS & ARCHITECTURE
The Puritans of America in the 1600's were impacted by church art, but used it more conservatively for the enhancement for preaching of the Word. Their designs of artistry manifested in the presentations of the first Puritan church buildings, known as "Meeting Houses." Similar to Calvinist churches, these houses were simple in construction and style to maintain the importance of theology and teaching. The visual arts were scarcely used in the church by the influence of Jonathan Edwards, who thought that imagination and creativity were the works of Satan.
During the Reformation, wood was primary building material for churches. The carpenters used wood and other raw materials to retain the idea of simplicity of the Word. By the end of the 17th Century, churches took on a cross-shaped design, which became a popular building icon. Architects and builders were influenced again by their own cultural heritage in designing churches as nostalgic works of art. Rectangular sanctuaries, raised ceilings, wooden domes, foundation structures and floor plans resembled the cultural roots of Renaissance and Baroque eras. Bell towers, pitched roofs and steeples were also developed and architectural form reached its peak by the 18th Century. Protestants attributed special meaning and significance to their architecture for the purpose of worship.
Wooden pulpits and altars were crafted in plain and conservative designs, they reflected the study of doctrine. A contrasting effect took place during this time as seen in the early days of the Reformation .When stained glass, icons, symbols and paintings influenced and enhanced the senses of worship is now replaced by natural earthly elements of wood and stone. These replaced elements suggest cognitive and intellectual thoughts of God rather than feelings and emotions of worship.
WHEN GNOSTICISM CREEPS INTO THE CHURCH: THE DIVISION OF SECULAR & SACRED
By creating art with secular subjects, therefore, the Reformation artists could glorify God by portraying the natural beauty of His creation and by depicting people, who were created in His image. Many Protestants viewed this as the pure and acceptable use of art, which John Calvin sought.
Catholics of the Counter-Reformation, however, did not share the Protestant view of art, as their paintings clearly revealed. For them art had to have religious or sacred content. It seems that this view may have sprung from the continuation of the monastic ideal (which was prevalent in the Middle Ages) of a life set apart and devoted to the sacred, rather than from the Biblical view that all aspects of a Christians life can glorify God. As a result, the Catholic artists produced radically different art than the Protestants.
The art of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation reflected two contrasting world views. The Protestant world view recognized that people could now approach the Throne of Grace with confidence because of Christ's blood, and they attempted to worship in spirit and in truth. The Catholics saw a need for intermediaries though Christ work was not sufficient and they fell into the trap of reverencing images rather than God alone. In addition, Protestants seemed to recognize that the division between sacred and secular was artificial, whereas the Catholics maintained the tradition of separation between the two. These two world views clashed during the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation, creating art that focused on different themes and that demonstrated that ideas have consequences in the lives and actions of people.
THE PROTESTANT WAR ON THE WORSHIP OF IMAGERY
The Protestant Reformation induced a wave of iconoclasm, or the destruction of religious imagery. Puritan soldiers dispatched by Parliament attacked even the cathedral at Canterbury, which Richard Culmer, Cromwell's general and the leader of the ravagers, called “a stable for idols.” Puritan iconoclasm was a pointed contrast to the image mania of the contemporary Counter-Reformation, the Vatican's campaign to defeat Protestantism that would fill Southern Europe with grandiose Baroque art.
Calvinist churches removed traditional altarpieces and images of saints and replaced them with textual tablets with biblical texts, the Ten Commandments, or the Lord’s Prayer.
The Protestant reformers were bitterly split, however, over the issue of music in church. Luther encouraged the composition of new hymns and was the author of a famous one—“A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” (“Ein' Feste Burg Ist Unser Gott”). In contrast, John Calvin, the father of American Puritanism, maintained that only the word of God should be heard in church; hence songs had to strictly follow the biblical psalms. Like his fellow reformer, Ulrich Zwingli, Calvin opposed the use of organs or any instruments in church: organs were systematically destroyed by Protestant radicals.
Many Protestant sects regarded the display of religious images as idolatry, especially sculpture and large paintings. Book illustrations and prints were more acceptable, because they were smaller and more private. Key Protestant leaders, including Huldrych Zwingli and John Calvin, actively eliminated imagery from churches within their following. As a result in parts of northern Europe, particularly in the Netherlands, the church was entirely removed from the circle of art patronage, placing the dictation of content entirely in the hands of the artists and lay consumers.
The Netherlands suffered its first of these iconoclastic movements in 1566, when Catholic churches, monasteries and convents across a string of neighboring Dutch towns were looted and destroyed. These events marked the start of the Dutch Reformation, and Church property that survived initial attacks was eventually confiscated for Protestant or municipal use. The Netherlands officially adopted Calvinism as its state religion during the 1618 and 1622 Synods of Dordrecht.
With this shift from Catholicism to Protestantism, Church patronage of the arts virtually halted in the Netherlands. Unlike Roman Catholics, Protestants considered depictions of the saints and biblical scenes idolatrous, and preferred their churches to have plain white walls, which were thought to provoke contemplation among worshippers. Though Calvin had strongly denounced “idolatrous” paintings, he sanctioned the use of artwork for decorative or didactic purposes in the home.
Martin Luther, in Germany, allowed for the display of religious imagery in churches so long as viewers were reminded that images are symbolic of the divine, and are not holy in themselves. Some early Protestant leaders reacted to what they viewed as the idolatrous misuse of visual imagery in late medieval Catholicism with a demand for total abolition of paintings and figurative sculpture from the churches. Others, most notably Martin Luther, not only gave a qualified approval to much of the existing ecclesiastical art but actually encouraged the development of a new, specifically Protestant, religious iconography.
The sixteenth-century debate over images was formally inaugurated in Wittenberg, where Luther's university faculty colleague, Andreas Bodenstein von Karlstadt, in 1522 published the first major iconoclastic treatise of the Reformation period. It also was in Wittenberg that the first documented destruction of religious art in the Reformation occurred.
Protestant reformers by and large, rejected the use of visual arts in the church. A wave of iconoclasm swept through the north. Stained glass windows were smashed, images of the saints destroyed, and pipe organs were removed from churches. It is not fully understood why the Renaissance occurred specifically in Italy in the 14th century. The Black Death was a pandemic that affected all of Europe in the ways described, not only Italy. The Renaissance's emergence in Italy was most likely the result of the complex interaction of the above factors.
THE NEO ART PATRON
Church patronage of the visual arts in the Northern Netherlands declined considerably, compelling artists to look elsewhere for customers. They turned to private citizens, who because of the strong economy in the Northern Netherlands, were able to decorate their homes with many images. Indeed, the average middle-class Dutch home contained around forty works of art in the seventeenth century, most of which were paintings or prints like those displayed in Domesticating Virtue.
CATHOLIC REFORM: THE COUNCIL OF TRENT
Italian painting after 1520, with the notable exception of the art of Venice, developed into Mannerism, a highly sophisticated style, striving for effect, that concerned many churchman as lacking appeal for the mass of the population. Church pressure to restrain religious imagery affected art from the 1530s and resulted in the decrees of the final session of the Council of Trent in 1563 including short and rather inexplicit passages concerning religious images, which were to have great impact on the development of Catholic art. Previous Catholic Church councils had rarely felt the need to pronounce on these matters, unlike Orthodox ones which have often ruled on specific types of images. The decree confirmed the traditional doctrine that images only represented the person depicted, and that veneration to them was paid to the person themself, not the image, and further instructed that:
...every superstition shall be removed ... all lasciviousness be avoided; in such wise that figures shall not be painted or adorned with a beauty exciting to lust... there be nothing seen that is disorderly, or that is unbecomingly or confusedly arranged, nothing that is profane, nothing indecorous, seeing that holiness becometh the house of God. And that these things may be the more faithfully observed, the holy Synod ordains, that no one be allowed to place, or cause to be placed, any unusual image, in any place, or church, howsoever exempted, except that image have been approved of by the bishop ..
RENEWED CREATIVITY IN THE REALM OF WORSHIP
By the new cultural standards of southern Germany, the Reformation greatly shaped the art of music in congregational worship. Among reformers, Martin Luther retained much of the Catholic liturgy in church services, but changed the environment of worship. In most cases, the original Latin texts were retained and others were translated into German, resulting in the makings of contrafacta. He employed a good amount of Catholic traditional music in plainsong and polyphony, while incorporating a new freshness of style. He was a singer, composer, hymn writer and great admirer of Franco-Flemish polyphony. By this time in history, innovative Flemish influences already invaded Germany through artists such as Jan van Eyck, Robert Campin, der Weyden, Rembrandt and Albert Durer and composers such as Johannes Ockeghem, Josquin des Prez, Giovanni Palestrina and J.S. Bach. The central position of music in the Lutheran church reflected Luther's biblical convictions both lyrically and musically.
RETURN TO CONGREGATIONAL SINGING
Johann Sebastian Bach's motto in composing and playing music was “To God alone be the Glory” and he became know as one of the main contributors to church music of his time. Cantatas, operas, sonatas and other forms of music grew during this age of musical excellence.
"A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" (Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott), is tremendously powerful, and without doubt, Luther's greatest hymn. It is based on the Bible's Psalm 46, in particular, verse one: "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble."
What is more significant is that the words and music were written and composed by Martin Luther himself. The hymn is known as the national hymn of Protestant Germany and "Battle Hymn" of the Reformation. It is actively used in Protestant churches worldwide.
The rediscovery of congregational singing was one of the important benefits of the Protestant Reformation. Luther, who loved music and used to sing from an early age, very much encouraged congregational singing in churches. He had strong conviction about the use of sacred music.
He expressed his convictions this way: "Music is a gift and grace of God, not an invention of men. It drives out the devil and makes people cheerful." Then he finally wrote, "I would allow no man to preach or teach God's people without a proper knowledge of the use and power of sacred song." It is no surprise that hymn singing has been very much a part of Protestant worship.
One of Martin Luther's greatest contributions to church music was the chorale, which later was enhanced by composers such as Bach, Hadyn, Mozart, Beethoven and many other contempoaries. Chorales and four-part singing were popularized in the 17th century but due to the Thirty Year’s War, church needs changed and people developed better personal worship. Though the choirs shrunk in numbers, members of the church still felt the need for individual devotional with God. Hymns with comforting lyrics and heaven bound themes were emphasized as the war took its toll on the church. Later works became re-inventions, composed of old chant melodies with new spiritualized texts called contrafactas and motets. These re-inventions along with earlier recitatives were later used as a springboard in the developments of Lutheran cantatas and passions. Teleman, Schutz, Handel and Bach were the greatest originators and innovators of Passions. These musical settings were poetic meditations on Christ's crucifixion. Plainsong melodies emulated the sufferings of Christ according to the Gospel accounts.In a passion service, one priest would sing narrative portions, another the words of Christ and a third the words of the crowd in polyphonic portions of motet style. The works of passions also influenced Catholics for their church services and masses.Passions also set the pretext and origins of 16th and 17th Century musicals known as operas.
New and modified instruments of strings, brass, percussion and organ were also developed and utilized in orchestras for church services. No other time in history has music possessed an exhilarating progression and enthusiasm other than the Pre and Post Reformation era. The fresh 15th century ideas of musical instruments and music theory were explored and redefined to form new sounds and styles which pointed toward the Neoclassic era. The father of music theory himself, J.S. Bach, quickly implemented the new developments of music in the church. Protestants such as Luther and Bach capitalized on the new wealth of musical ideas for God's use and glory in the church. Richard Viladesau, in his book "Theology and The Arts," the author comments on Luther's contributions to church music. The writer says:
"Thus the positive evaluation of music in the church was founded on the idea that the music we hear on earth gives us a sensible taste of the spiritual order and finality of all being and, in its truest nature, expresses of all desire for God.
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH FIGHTS BACK
Thus we see the arts employed as spiritual warfare. Faced with the threat of Protestantism, the Roman Catholic church spent lavishly on religious art to revive the faith of their congregations. Rich churches, abbeys and bishops commissioned leading artists such as Rubens. Many trained in Italy, and were influenced by Michelangelo, Raphael and the whole history of Italian art. In Antwerp, they had to paint religious subjects - aiming at spectacular, grand effects, whilst looking very realistic, and conveying a simple emotional message to the faithful.
There is incredible artwork in scripture that expresses praise and thankfulness to God. Whatever we do in word or in deed, scripture exhorts us to do all that we do in the name of Yeshua haMashiach/Jesus Christ. This should govern the work of the artist and be his or her testimony.
The Song of Jericho
Song of the Sea
Vive La France!
The Gift of the Cranes
A Time To Sow
Flowers For The Market
Marche De Poissons
The Tuscan Farmers Market
The French Florist
Glimpse In The The Mirror
Under The Apple Trees
Afternoon In Seville
Up From The Wilderness
The Fencing Lesson
Girl In A Velvet Cape
The Flower Seller
Breton Woman Knitting
Sugar Plum Land
Girl & Her Dog
The Lily of Provence
Palais de Grace
Plowing The Field
Marche Du LaRochelle
Autumn In The Park
Le Fleur Marche
Light The Menorah!
Girl In A Velvet Cape
Wings of Morning: Aijalon Report
The White Rose Gabriel & Amber Dawn and sons Jeiven and Zen The Lark Ascending The Lovers
Aholiab Son Of Ahisamach Horns & Craftmen A Man For All Seasons Art For Glory & For Beauty Skylarks Bezaleel Paint By The Spirit The Sanctified Imagination
The Artist As Prophet Alouette des Champ Claude Monet Skylark's Newsletter Van Gogh's Religious Artwork Claude MonetTom Campbell The Life of An ArtistMinister For Your Wedding Marriage Celebration Writer-Illustrator Alana Campbell's Paintings The Methods & Medias God Chooses Pierre Auguste Renoir Rembrandt Van Rijn Johannes Vermeer
Skylark's Studio Artwork
Skylark's Art Studio At Lowell Village
Tom & Alana Campbell
Telephone (425) 252-2981