Wednesday, 14 November 2012

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Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Pointillism and Divisionism - Definition - Art


Georges LemmenThe Beach at Heist, c. 1891/2, 
Musée d'Orsay Paris
<-- Pointillism,  also known as Divisionism, is a technique of painting in which small distinct dots of varying colours are applied to a medium, and the pattern from these dots forms an image. As the tin dots become blended in the viewer's eye. The technique was developed in 1886 by Georges Seurat and Paul Signac. The technique is a branch of Impressionism and many of the proponents were involved in the Impressionist movement. Other terms which are used in reference to this technique are Divisionism and Neo-Impressionism. The term Pointillism was initially derogatory and used by art critics in 1880s to ridicule works of art which employed this technique.
The Papal Palace, Avignon, oil on canvas, 1900, Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Horizon line in art perspective - painting definition


Leonardo Da Vinci's - The Last Supper
Click to enlarge
 A simplistic view of the horizon line in art, is to consider it as your 'eye-level line'. The horizon line in art is a perspectival line. In the real world, the horizon line is where the sky meets the sea. However in a fictive space, that is a painting's perspective, it is the level of the viewer's eye in relation to the scene of the painting. The horizon line is an imaginary line to which all converging lines recede (in other words where all things recede). The horizon line is an important part of a painting's compositional arrangement, it is important in arranging a realistic scene and the line needs to be straight as the artist then applies perspective rules to objects within the painting in relation to this line.

Top tip:
Horizon line can be regarded as your eye-level line, the level which you are intended to view the painting at, and for an accurate rendition of recession within the painting.

Leonardo Da Vinci's - The Last Supper
with illustrated horizon line
Click to enlarge

Viewpoint in painting - Art Definition


A painting's viewpoint is the height from which the viewer and/or painter sees the subject. The viewpoint is crucial as it determines where the horizon line is within the painting. The creation of a consistent and continuous horizon line is fundamental in imbuing a painting with perspective. The artist defines the viewpoint for the viewer and in turn the viewpoint helps shape our conceptualization of the subject matter, for example in dictating the direction or elevation from which we view a scene within a painting. Thus giving precedence to particular areas of a canvas over others.

Also known as a viewer's vantage point into the fictive space; the concept of viewpoint is closely linked to perspective.

Gustave Courbet's - The Stone breakers 1849
The viewpoint is level with the scene in the foreground,
the painting has a low perspective which accelerates
our view into the background.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Entasis Definition - Ancient Greek Temple Architecture


Two Doric columns from the
Temple of Poseidon at Paestum
showing Entasis 
Entasis can be defined as a slight convex curve in the shaft of a column or pillar. Entasis was introduced as a corrective system to counter the visual illusion of concavity produced by a straight shaft.

In architectural terms, entasis can be considered to be the application of a convex curve to a surface for what can be described as essentially aesthetic purposes. Entasis was often applied to columns during classical antiquity, particularly the Doric order and occasionally the Ionic order. The columns used to articulate temple facades would curve slightly as their diameter is decreased from the bottom of the column upwards. Some columns, as evident in the picture, would be at their widest at a point above the base of the column, however this method appears aesthetically displeasing for the viewer.

Entasis was an architectural system devised to combat the optical illusion created by viewing a column from a distance at a viewpoint which is often lower than the foot of the column.

Key periods in history where entasis was applies:

  • Classical Greece.
  • Hellenistic era.
  • Roman period.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Country House Rescue Series 4 with Simon Davis


Channels 4's new Country House rescue series was truly both a pleasure and a joy to watch; coupled with the affable charm of the new host the series is bound to go to greater heights. Here is a snap shot of the properties which were visited in series 4:

Episode 1: Colebrooke Park

Episode 2: Chapel Cleeve

Episode 3: Bantry House

Episode 4: Great Fulford


Episode 5: Meldon Park


Episode 6: Craufurdland

Caryatids Definition - Ancient Architecture


The Caryatid Porch of the Erechtheion,
Athens,  421-407 B.C.
A Caryatid is a stone carving of a draped female figure, which is used both as a decorative architectural feature and primarily as a column to support the entablature of a an ancient Greek temple. Or for a Grecian-style building which emulates various motifs inspired by classical architecture.


Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Giovanni Antonio Canaletto - The River Thames with Saint Paul's Cathedral on Lord Mayors Day


Giovanni Antonio Canaletto - The River Thames with Saint Paul's Cathedral on Lord Mayors Day
Painted 1746
Style: Rococo, Genre: Veduta, Technique: Oil, Material: Canvas
Serving as inspiration for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Flotilla 2012.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Pointillism and Divisionism - Definition


Georges LemmenThe Beach at Heist, c. 1891/2, 
Musée d'Orsay Paris
Pointillism,  also known as Divisionism, is a technique of painting in which small distinct dots of varying colours are applied to a medium, and the pattern from these dots forms an image. As the tin dots become blended in the viewer's eye. The technique was developed in 1886 by Georges Seurat and Paul Signac. The technique is a branch of Impressionism and many of the proponents were involved in the Impressionist movement. Other terms which are used in reference to this technique are Divisionism and Neo-Impressionism. The term Pointillism was initially derogatory and used by art critics in 1880s to ridicule works of art which employed this technique.
The Papal Palace, Avignon, oil on canvas, 1900, Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Doric Order Definition


The Doric Order,
The Temple of Poseidon
At Paestum 460 450 B.C
The Doric order is the oldest and most simplistic of the ancient orders. The Doric order was both robust and imposing; and was therefore deemed to be suitable for use in temple architecture. The columns of the Doric order and are often without bases. The shafts of the Doric order's columns are articulated with concave curves called flutes.

The capitals of the Doric order have a rounded section at the bottom which is called the echinus and the capital is surmounted by a square at the top which is called the abacus. The capitals of the doric order are plain and are often unadorned.

The composition of the Doric order's entablature is: a frieze with alternating vertical channels, known as Triglyphs. The architrave rests upon the capital of the column. The frieze and architrave are separated by a thin band called the regula. The frieze, architrave and regula form a large and distinctive part of a temple's form. The Doric order has been put to use in many notable buildings of ancient antiquity such as the Parthenon.
On the left is part of a Doric entablature and column. On the right is a plan of the Parthenon
With two rows of columns on the entrances.

To what extent were the lives of the working classes improved by Gladstone and Disraeli respectively in their ministries between 1868-1880?


Both yes and no. Some significant pieces of legislative reform and institutional reform introduced by Gladstone in his Great Ministry.

Forster’s Education Act established the principle of universal elementary education. The state was taking on board the responsibility and the costs of educating all children up to a certain age.

This had a link with meritocracy because Gladstone wanted the working classes to be aspiring: education would encourage workers to be more reflective and focus on moral and ethical progress. This was not necessarily appreciated by the working man and woman. Gladstone’s high-minded ideals was very far removed from the daily experiences of the ordinary family who were trying to scrape together a living. Ensuring that children had to receive schooling meant that there was less money coming into the family household. Disraeli’s Education Act 1876, clarified Forster’s Act and made employment of children under 10 illegal. Arguably, Neither Gladstone or Disraeli had any significant understanding of the plight of working class lives especially in a pre-welfare age.

Gladstone was the first PM to recognise the rights of Trade Unions to exist. His legislation of 1874 gave the unions legal protection and the freedom to exist and collect subs. On first reading, then, it would seem that Gladstone truly understood the concerns of working men and collective security against unscrupulous employers. However, the Act did not allow Unions to go on strike which irritated the Radicals. It was a half-hearted measure that alarmed the Whig-conservative elements and frustrated the hopes of working men. Many saw it as a pointless decision, and it took Disraeli in 1875 to allow Union the right to strike.

Disraeli’s legislation differed from Gladstone’s in that he was much more practical in his social reforms. Gladstone’s reforms required cooperation from the working classes; it places demands on them to respond. Disraeli’s approach was to provide non-controversial legislation that was benefit to all in society.

How important was Gladstone’s contribution to the development of Liberalism from 1852-1868?


·     Free Trade and his Budgets
·     Gladstone’s Ideology helps to define Liberalism and unify Liberal Party
·     Gladstone and Parliamentary Reform

Some historians would argue that Gladstone made a significant contribution to Liberalism especially with his focus on free trade and low government spending. Gladstone had inherited this belief from his mentor, Robert Peel. It was over free trade and the Repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846 that forced Gladstone and the Peelite rump out of the Conservative Party.

As Chancellor of the Exchequer in the early 1850s Gladstone passed a number of budgets which reduced the costs of every day goods such as tea, coffee and sugar. In comparison with Disraeli’s attempts to introduce a malt tax, which would have benefited the farmers and taxed the urban classes, Gladstone claimed he was making Britain a cheap place to live for everyone. Gladstone inherited Peel’s legacy, and he genuinely believed that free trade was the panacea (cure for all ills) for the British economy. This would stimulate investment and in turn create more jobs and wealth.

There is no doubt that Gladstone’s budgets helped to create the economic climate in which there was a boom: the 1850s was a period of massive growth and wealth creation, the high point (apogee) of Britain’s industrialisation. In the mind of the working classes and many of the middle classes cheap food and boom was the result of Gladstone’s prudent managing of the economy. This in turn boosts liberalism in popular culture and the Liberal Party becomes associated with wealth creation. This is of huge political significance for Gladstone and for the Liberal Party. 

Symbols were of great importance to Gladstone and it could be argued that he knew how to gain political support from his actions. Gladstone promoted himself as a man of the people; he was referred to in the popular press as the ‘People’s William’, as someone who was promoting the cause of the working classes, rather like a crusader. The irony in this was Gladstone was very much against democracy- his ‘Pale of the Constitution’ speech in 1864 suggested that everyone was potentially entitled to the vote but this was a manifesto that was beyond the hopes of most working people. The rhetoric and propaganda was arguably more persuasive than the reality. Gladstone’s image was replicated on all sorts of paraphernalia such as chamber pots and mugs, seen with chopper in hand. Gladstone was seen as a man of the people, and this no doubt had a beneficial effect on the Liberal Party.

There was some substance to the argument that Gladstone contributed to the popular appeal of Liberalism: his abolition of the paper duties especially overcoming opposition from the House of Lords, as well as his high moral tone suggested that Gladstone was the man of the moment. No doubt he was helped by the beneficial economic circumstances. But not all is so clear. Not least the extent to which Gladstone himself was a genuine liberal. Some would say he is best described as a liberal-conservative, and that his liberal views extended only so far as free trade and the economy.

There is an argument that Gladstone needed the Liberal Party more than the Liberal Party needed him. No doubt the power of his personality provided an element of unity amongst the Whigs, Peelites and Radicals who made up an uneasy coalition. Gladstone became a symbol of the party, with his focus on retrenchment and free trade. In his day, Palmerston was equally popular for his successful and active foreign policies.

·     Gladstone almost returned to the Conservative Party in 1858. He was invited back by Derby. But, he made a political judgment that he was more likely to become leader of the Liberal Party! Makes Gladstone seem less of a hero and more of an opportunistic politician.
·     Disraeli had first mentioned the possibility of Parliamentary Reform in the late 1850s. Gladstone rubbished this idea, but then went on to introduce his own bill in 1865. Shows no real commitment. Changing views according to the political situation.

How far was Disraeli’s contribution the main factor in the development of the Conservative Party to 1868?


One of the most dramatic contributions Disraeli made towards the development of the Conservative Party during his tenure; can be argued to be transforming the party’s emphasis from protectionism to free trade. This decision marked a significant change from when Robert Peel was party leader and Disraeli sought mobilise the protectionist interest within the party in defiance of peel. Another major development in the Conservative Party under Disraeli was an increasing focus on Social Reform; it was Disraeli’s intention to improve the living conditions of the poor.

Disraeli’s main contribution during this period was to provide strong authoritative leadership for the Conservative Party. Strong leadership was required, as the party had a few years earlier suffered a major schism over the Corn Laws. As chancellor if the Exchequer Disraeli’s contributions towards the Conservative Party, were ever present. For instance, Disraeli’s first budget of 1852 was designed to appeal as widely as possible to enfranchised citizens, in an attempt to attract maximum support for his party and thus improve the party’s chances of survival in government. Examples of Disraeli’s grand plan in the 1852 budget are: proposed reductions in the Malt Tax in order to help farmers, further reductions on Hop Duty in an attempt to win over the beer and ale drinking classes, in addition to decreasing Tea Duty to help the whole nation. All of these measures were viewed as highly popular initiatives. However Disraeli had to levy a higher house tax in order to compensate for these reductions, but this was at a time when the majority of the populace did not own the property that they lived in, so this did not substantially effect the Conservative’s popularity.

Disraeli’s first taste of a major public office was when he became Chancellor of the Exchequer, such a role was important in preparing him for his later role as Prime Minister. Disraeli subsequently remained indispensable to the Conservatives and had persuaded Lord Derby to abandon protection, which had been along with Crown, Church and Constitution, a fundamental part of Conservative policy. On the other hand, Disraeli was accused of hypocrisy on this issue and was not, as a man who had been constantly plagued by debt, viewed as a suitable Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Disraeli was a keen parliamentarian and his influence in the House of Commons contributed significantly towards the development of the Conservative Party. Disraeli provided the Conservative Party with strong coherent leadership, and in addition he was also the master of political timing. Evidence of Disraeli’s political timing can be seen when he recognised the opportunity in 1865 to oppose Gladstone’s reform bill, only to go on and propose his own similar legislation in 1867. Disraeli was a vital in this respect to the development of the Conservative Party. For the first time in the party’s history, thanks to Disraeli’s actions, the Conservatives passed a significant piece of legislation, whilst taking advantage of rifts within Liberal Party. Disraeli was showing the general populace that the Conservatives were capable of providing reform that was beneficial for the nation, and that the party could effectively lead the nation. In addition, the Second Reform Act also brought the Conservatives the working class vote, which was important for the Conservatives as they strove to realise one-nation Toryism. This meant that the Conservative Party was no longer narrowly focused on the landed classes, who were slowly loosing their influence in society. Therefore Disraeli masterminded the expansion of the Conservative Party, giving the party a more National emphasis. Thereby giving the party the capability to win seats both in the town and countryside, all over Britain. Furthermore, to get the vote you had to own property, and property-owning people generally aligned themselves to the Conservative Party, both due to their core principles, but also because of the party’s emphasise on the right to property. The significance of this act was that it gave the Conservatives a rare success during a period where they were struggling to define themselves. Finally, it can be argued that Disraeli influenced Conservative policy through his novels and it was from these novels that he develop the idea of One Nation Conservatism, this policy later came to define the party.

Disraeli no matter how much he influenced the development of the Conservative Party, he cannot be argued to be the sole contributing factor towards the party’s development. The alternative argument is that Disraeli’s contributions towards his party only really happened because he was simply fortunate in the lack of political rivals and that the divisions in the Conservative Party propelled him from mediocrity to the front bench. This is because the Conservatives lack anyone else who could lead them, especially after Gladstone had left the party. Furthermore Disraeli’s ascension through the party ranks was even more remarkable because the party grandees who set party policy did not trust him, firstly because he did not come from a traditional Tory background and secondly because he was Jewish, at a time when the Jews were still being viewed as outsiders. Consequently his relationship with Lord Derby was poor, and he was prevented as Chancellor of the Exchequer from most notably reducing taxes for the urban middle classes, whom Disraeli wanted to garner political from support in order to increase the party’s power base. Derby suggested that Disraeli lacked the ability and capacity to win the support of this vital group. The alternative argument is that Disraeli made very little contribution towards the development of the Conservative Party. The majority of the Conservative party at the time regarded Disraeli as an opportunist and an adventurer, as a result they attempted to minimise his role, by blocking some of his key actions.

It could also be argued that Disraeli simply put into place what Robert Peel had envisaged. As Disraeli recognised that the party itself needed to promote ideas such as Free Trade in order to secure power. Disraeli first implemented such initiatives towards free trade in 1852. Furthermore, it can be argued that after a period of ten years in opposition the Conservative Party began to adapt to the agenda that had been set by the government, which was fronted by Palmerston and the united Liberal Party.

To conclude, Disraeli’s contribution to the development of the Conservative Party was both significant and extensive. However, the development of the Conservative Party by 1868 cannot be entirely attributed to just one man. Initially the Conservative Party were simply using Disraeli’s skills as an orator, in addition to taking advantage of his broad appeal to all social classes. However, it is clear that Disraeli was in actuality motivated towards the development of the party and he strove to do so off his own back. The reasons for this are debatable: he most probably did so to strengthen the party, but also to stamp some of his own ideas into party policy as well. By 1868 Conservatism was still not clearly defined and Disraeli being Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time did not have the capability to offer any major political ideology for the party to unite around. Nevertheless, his contribution towards free trade and parliamentary reform was significant enough to unite and shape the party, which eventually united to form a strong Conservative government under Disraeli’s leadership, whereby he was able to stamp his political ideology of One Nation Conservatism and implement much needed social reform.


Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Piranesian Architecture Definition


The National Gallery of London, 1838
The term is derived from the Italian architect Giambattista Piranesi. The Italian architect and artist, made etchings and sketches of Rome, as the ruins of ancient Rome contributed to the revival of neoclassicism. Piranesian therefore relates to architecture which embodies elements of neoclassicim, as the architect who lends his name to the term was an important figure in the revival of classically inspired architecture.


Example of the term used in a sentence, in relation to buildings which possess the characteristics of neoclassicism and many of the features found in classical antiquity are:

  • The building exhibited Piranesian grandeur.
  • The facade of the building has a Piranesian effect.
The Sainsbury Wing

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Primo Pensiero - Art Drawing Definition


Jesus and the adulteress
By Rembrandt van Rijn
Primo Pensiero refers to an initial rough drawing or sketch. Or Primo Pensiero in the visual arts can mean a first thought or idea applied to and realised in an initial drawing or sketch. (Read More After Break)

Friday, 18 May 2012

Evaluate the view that Gladstone did more than Disraeli to involve Britain in European affairs during the period 1868 to 1880?


It could be argued that both Gladstone and Disraeli were eager to see Britain involved in European affairs. Gladstone can be viewed as eager because of his belief in a Concert of Europe to work for the morale good. Disraeli also believed Britain’s involvement in Europe was important in order to prevent Russia from threatening Britain’s trade route to India, although not strictly to do with European affairs, it does illustrate Disraeli’s motivation towards a more Empire focused policy. Disraeli took the opportunity to give Britain a decisive position in Europe through an active foreign policy, but he remained cautious in his dealings with major European powers. Gladstone also believed that Britain had a significant role to play in European affairs, however unlike Disraeli he saw Britain’s role as one which would work in concert with other major European powers, rather than solely for the interests of Britain.

Gladstone was highly motivated towards the integration of Britain into European affairs. A central factor in Gladstone’s pursuit for greater openness of British foreign policy, in relation to Europe, was through British involvement in the Franco-Prussian War. Gladstone was seeking for Britain to serve as a mediator in this dispute and therefore prove to the rest of the world that Britain was willing to cooperate. It can be argued that by adopting the role as mediator, Gladstone was seeking to preserve the balance of power in Europe at the time; his aim was to prevent any one country gaining a significant amount of power in Europe. As Gladstone had realised that it would be very hard to keep Britain in a state of isolation, the country needed, in his eyes, to be far more progressive and interventionist in order to preserve her interests abroad. His belief in the Concert of Europe came to apparition when Gladstone tried to oppose Prussia’s forcible taking of the French provinces of Alsace and Lorraine at the end of the short war. Gladstone made Britain take the lead in standing against the annexations of Alsace and Lorraine. However, the British government were opposed to such as policy as they preferred to focus on the Empire rather than disputes in Europe that did not concern them. Furthermore, another major move of Gladstone’s towards the greater integration and involvement of Britain in European affairs through calling a Conference to deal with the Black Sea issue in 1871. This threat was a major threat to the balance of power in Europe; this was because Russia was increasing the strength of their armed forces in the Black Sea area. This increase in military strength in the area was problematic for Britain because it threatened their major trade routes. As a result it required the ‘Ottoman Empire’, regarded as the “sick man of Europe”, to be propped up by the British. The Russian denunciation of the Black Sea neutralisation clauses of the 1856 Treaty of Paris, was the sought of unilateral announcement that Gladstone detested. The Conference did not succeed in reversing the Russian move to break the clauses, but the principle that in the future such actions should be subjected to international ratification was accepted.
Continue to Part 2

Evaluate the view that Gladstone did more than Disraeli to involve Britain in European affairs during the period 1868 to 1880? Part 2


Further evidence of Gladstone’s support for further British involvement in European affairs can be seen in the Eastern question. Gladstone protested over Disraeli’s lack of action in uniting the great European powers to deal with the Bulgarian atrocities that saw 12,000 Christians massacred. Ever since the Crimean War Gladstone felt that Britain had a responsibility for the fate of Christians in the area, Britain unlike other countries wanted to abide by the Treaty of Paris 1856. Gladstone’s outrage and desire to intervene was in his eyes justifiable. However, Gladstone was not without his opportunism. As Gladstone had done very little politically for the previous two months. It was only when protest meetings occurred in August that Gladstone felt something if a morale crusade could be launched. Despite his absence from politics at the time, Gladstone had touched a chord in the British publics’ psyche, which as a result shocked the populace to the very core as revelations that the Bulgarian massacres were on a scale that had never been seen before, started to emerge. Gladstone’s efforts resulted in embracing Disraeli; it also should Gladstone to be far more interested in European affairs. Disraeli’s embarrassment was brought about by his dismissal of the early reports of the massacre.

In contrast to Gladstone’s move towards multilateralism, Disraeli favoured a far more unilateral approach to foreign affairs especially in terms of Europe; Disraeli was therefore unwilling to provide any concessions. Disraeli was therefore determined to stand up to Russia and his triumph in Berlin might serve to support his success. Disraeli was determined to pursue a traditional British foreign policy; one that was empire centric, Disraeli thus believed that the Turks would serve as a useful bulwark for British interests. Disraeli’s policy would involve Britain more in European affairs, but the reason for this, it can be argued was to provide greater protection for the British Empire, by propping up Turkey in order to ensure British trade routes to Asia.  When Russia began to attack Turkey and the Turkish Empire appeared on the verge of collapse. British public opinion began to swing back to the idea that Britain should be involved in preventing Russian expansion in Europe. Therefore, ever the political opportunist Disraeli seized the initiative in an attempt to gain greater public support. As a result Disraeli took the decision to move a British fleet into the eastern Mediterranean in January 1878, the fleet would act as a deterrent to any further Russian expansion.
Back to Part 1
Continue to Part 3

Evaluate the view that Gladstone did more than Disraeli to involve Britain in European affairs during the period 1868 to 1880? Part 3


On the other hand, historians have criticised Gladstone for failing to stop Bismarck in the Franco – Prussian war. This indecisiveness on Gladstone’s part resulted in Prussia having the ability to tip the balance of power in Europe. Some historians have taken their criticism of Gladstone’s lack of action further, arguing that Gladstone’s apparent success in Europe depended largely on Bismarck’s pressure on Russia. In addition Gladstone failed to appreciate the defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian war as being a significant shift in the balance of power. However, Disraeli’s eastern policy can equally be criticised for its brinkmanship and failure to secure a permanent settlement at Berlin.

To conclude, Gladstone and Disraeli’s relative success in Europe could be assessed both in terms of their moral and practical approach to policy. Both Gladstone and Disraeli sought to involve Britain, to a greater extent, with European affairs. Disraeli’s focus was to pursue Britain’s traditional imperial foreign policy, he began to outline in his speeches in 1872, though not always with success, especially towards the end of his second ministry. This was because Disraeli did not want to tie Britain down to European affairs, which did not concern or relate to the British’s interests, namely the Empire and it’s maintenance. Gladstone however, was the greater advocate of British involvement in European affairs, as he sought European harmony via Concert diplomacy, which was regarded as a far more multilateral approach. Gladstone’s spectacular intervention in foreign affairs in 1876 over Bulgaria, served to raise the political temperature between Gladstone and Disraeli. Finally, Gladstone also believed that Britain had a significant role to play in European affairs, a role that would work in concert with other major European powers. However, ultimately when involved with dealings in Europe, both Gladstone and Disraeli were simply reacting to circumstances that were largely beyond their control.
Back to Part 2

Types of Classical Orders - used in the architecture of antiquity


The types of orders used in the architecture of antiquity are:
  • Doric Order
  • Ionic Order
  • Corinthian Order
  • Tuscan Order
  • Byzantine Order
  • Composite Order; often a combination of the first three orders' best characteristics.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Edouard Manet - Olympia - and his Tachism Technique


Edouard Manet - Olympia
1863, shown at the 1865 Salon
Click to Enlarge
Edouard Manet (1832-1883) was a unique figure in nineteenth century French Painting. Manet's style of painting represented a crucial junction in the art world, between the old classical approaches to painting and the avant-garde. The classically trained Edouard Manet through his approach to art straddled Neo-Classicism, Realism and Impressionism. (Read More After Break)

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Avant - Garde Art Defintion


Gustave Courbet's - The Stone Breakers 1849
This painting is an important demonstration
of new approaches towards subject matter and representation
in nineteenth century French art
Click to Enlarge
The term Avant-Garde refers to an individual or creative group who are in the vanguard of their respective fields and are breaking new ground. In the visual arts Avant-Garde refers to innovation and the application of new concepts and techniques in the creation of art. Avant-Garde artists are at the forefront either ideologically or with regard to treatment of subject matter, or both. From a historical perspective Avant-Garde as a concept can be attributed to the growth of the bourgeoisie in nineteenth century France. (Read more after Break)

Gladstone and Disraeli - Approach to Foreign Policy Part 1


On one level they did appear to be driven by differing ideologies: Gladstone was very concerned to ensure that there was a moral element to British Foreign Policy. The British should be concerned with spreading civilisation and Christian values. There was a contradiction at the heart of Gladstone’s belief in upholding the empire which promoted self-determination for some peoples but not for others. Gladstone’s Foreign Policy was liberal in that it focused on ‘progress’: education was essential in that it would enable people to realise their potential.

Gladstone and Disraeli - Approach to Foreign Policy Part 2


In comparison, Disraeli seemed to relish in the business of empire. In 1872 in the Crystal Palace and Manchester Speeches he set down the maintenance of the British empire and British  interests, such as trade, as a central part of his belief in Tory Democracy. He was prepared to engage the British in campaigns regardless of cost. And he was the master of opportunity. For example, Disraeli jumped at the purchase of the Suez Canal Shares: Gladstone called it a ‘ruinous and mischievous misdeed’, but it was an important sign that the British government was prepared to defend her overland routes to India. It was interesting that Gladstone when he returned to power in 1880 did not reverse the purchase. Indeed, the irony is that Gladstone in 1882 ordered the bombing and complete occupation of Egypt in order to preserve British interests: arguably, this was much more of a forward policy than anything Disraeli proposed.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Naturalism in art - a Renaissance development


A crucial development in the Renaissance was the ability of artists to successfully imitate nature, naturalism in art is the ability to emulate and represent nature in a lifelike manner whether in painting or through sculpture. As a result, artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Giorgionne and Titian were in effect able to transpose nature at its most beautiful and apply it both realistically and convincingly to the canvas.
The Sleeping Venus,
By the Italian Renaissance Master Giorgione
1510 c.
Oil on Cancas, Click to Enlarge
The emergence of a naturalistic vision within Renaissance art was a crucial development (innovation) and was an important factor in the artistic revival taking place at the time.

“How far were the aims and achievements of the Council of Trent influenced by the Protestant Reformation?”



“How far were the aims and achievements of the Council of Trent influenced by the Protestant Reformation?”

Most certainly, there is no doubt that the Protestant Reformation had impacted upon the Council of Trent and its subsequent decisions. The Catholic Church’s continual corruption had to be stopped, in order for revival to be achieved, and the Popes would have to lead the example in order to achieve this. When the Council of Trent was finally called it served as a catalyst for further reform, as it was generally believed at the time that a general council of the church would save her as an institution. The Council of Trent was part of The Roman Catholic Church’s response to the Protestant Reformation. It served as an ecumenical council of the Catholic Church, it clarified Catholic doctrine and promulgated reforms: fixing the number of sacraments, issuing decrees on clerical morals and ordering the establishment of seminaries. In addition, the Council of Trent, (1545-63), led a doctrinal attack on Lutheranism and clarified Catholic orthodoxy. It helped to establish new reforming religious orders, especially the Jesuits, for missionary work, and the Inquisition was received to root out heresy. Furthermore Catholic monarchs, such as Charles v and Philip II of Spain, campaigned against Protestant states, taking direct action to quash them. At the heart of the issues discussed by the General Council in 1545, were its aims to remove clerical abuses and define the Catholic doctrine.

Luther demanded in1520 the calling of a general Church Council in order to reassess the methods in which the Church taught how salvation was gained. Luther wanted the Catholic Church to accept his reading of St Paul, otherwise known as ‘justification by faith and faith alone’. Even Charles V the Emperor had hoped for a general Council to be called in order to deal with the Protestant and Lutheran issues once and for all. Pope Paul III in 1536 became convinced that only a general council of the Church would rescue the organisation. At the time it was widely held that Germany would become completely Protestant and Henry VIII had already made the break with Rome. Protestant ideas seemed to be spreading to the Northern Italian towns too. This served as a motive for the Catholic Church to make its priority for the key aims of the Council of Trent to focus and distinguish between Protestant and Catholic beliefs. For instance, the teaching on transubstantiation was reinforced, as was, the importance of priests, belief in purgatory and the central importance of the papacy.



“How far were the aims and achievements of the Council of Trent influenced by the Protestant Reformation?” Part 2




Despite the Catholic Church rejecting the Protestants’ theological arguments, they did adopt and accept some of the more practical approaches to religion and religious practice. Moreover, the use of the consistory, the emphasis put on the sermon, and the importance attached to the role of education, and the social and spiritual welfare of the people, were all key features protestant practices. The Jesuits especially used preaching as a method of achieving and transmitting the ideas of the ideas of the Council of Trent. In addition the Protestants also emphasised education, focusing on the written word, literacy. As the religion itself was focused on the bible. As a result Protestants could openly communicate their religion. In response to this religious education, the education, the Catholic Church set up schools, such as in Poland under the Jesuit’s control. As this was a way of emphasising Catholic teaching and thought, most of these ideas were implemented after the Council of Trent.

Although Protestantism had the effect of speeding up Catholic reform; thereby serving as a catalyst for the subsequent calling of the Council of Trent. However, there probably would have still been a general Council, as there were problems with the Fifth Lateran Council 1512-1517, where there were attempts to reform such as the education of the clergy long before Luther had even revolted. But has the contribution of the seminary been in place before the Reformation or because of the Reformation, and did Trent set up seminaries because it sought to promote priestly education as a means of challenging Protestantism? To answer this the initiatives for the quest of priestly education going back before pre-reformation reform must be considered. For instance popes such as Pope Eugenius II in 826AD worked towards the establishment of facilities for training clerics. It is not simply the case of Trent countering the Protestants views and adapting its aims in order to suit this initiative. Many of Trent’s aims and decisions were in fact, as previously stated, pre-determined by prior medieval councils.


Art Timeline of Art Movements


This article will consider the major art periods and movements since the turn of the first century A.D.
(Please Note: that this is not a comprehensive list and only includes what are deemed to be the most significant art movements; also there is overlap within the areas of modern art movements)

The Romanesque Era

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Disraeli: Arguments regarding social reform


Disraeli: Arguments regarding social reform

Disraeli built on the Gladstonian legacy: many of the reforms finished-off what Gladstone had already commenced. The Public Health Act (1875) was a good example of this. As it responded to a Royal Commission Report first set up by Gladstone. (Read more after Break)


Sunday, 22 April 2012

Ionic Order Definition


An Example of the Ionic Order
The ionic order forms one of the three orders, also referred to as organisational systems of classical architecture. Namely Greek and Roman architecture. The order was developed by the Greeks for their temple architecture. The name ionic is derived from the Ionian Islands where the style of architecture was first employed. (Read more after Break)


Gladstone’s reforms during his first ministry


Education Act: progress and meritocracy were key elements of Liberal thinking and ideology. (Read more after Break)


Gladstone’s reforms during his first ministry Part 2


Gladstone disliked the approach taken by Palmerston to foreign policy. Palmerstone pursued an aggressive ‘gunboat-diplomacy’ style, which Gladstone found distasteful and ‘un-British’. (Evidence of this can be seen in the Don Pacifico affair in 1850). (Read more after Break)

Friday, 20 April 2012

Benjamin Disraeli’s Social Reforms


Gladstone loses the election of 1874: Gladstone and his cabinet are accused of being like a ‘range of exhausted volcanoes’. Disraeli takes power with a majority government.

Why did Disraeli win?

·     Too much legislation in his first ministry, proved overwhelming. Alienated too many groups in the country. There was disquiet and discontent from the Whiggish element of the Liberal Party: feared Gladstone was becoming too radical. For example: disestablishment of the Church of Ireland and the Irish Land Act (appeared to challenge property rights -  these acts were regarded by the Tories as conflicting with their core principles and posed a significant threat to the landed-gentry).

·     ‘Tory Democracy’. This slogan has been associated with Disraeli’s speeches in 1872 in Manchester and at the Crystal Palace. Trying to create an all encompassing concept which the country could unite around.

Basically, Disraeli was trying to unite the country around certain key themes.

1) Wanted to preserve institutions such as the monarchy, the Church and the constitution. The 3 Cs.
2) Uphold the British Empire and its interests.
3) Believed there should be some degree of social legislation, to improve society for the less fortunate.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Disraeli and Foreign Policy



Disraeli and Foreign Policy

Associated with an aggressive and ostentatious foreign policy. Proud of the British Empire and wanted to defend British interests. Genuinely believed that Britain had a duty to spread her values and civilisation to the peoples of the world. (Read more after Break)

Remove Blogger Navigation Bar



In order to remove you blogger navigation bar you must do the following:
1. Login to your Blogger account
2. Navigate to Layout > Edit HTML
3. In the Template Code find </b:skin> and just above that add the following Code:
#navbar-iframe, #navbar, .navbar {height:0px; visibility:hidden; display:none; margin: 0 !important;}
4. Now remember to backup your template as a precaution and then proceed to Save the Template.
5. Now your Navbar should be completely removed from your Blog.

To reverse what you have done, simply back track to your template, and find the code you added as highlighted above and proceed to remove it.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Single Point Perspective


Single Point Perspective combines the ideas of a single vanishing point on a horizon line and traditional linear perspective. (Read more after Break)

Benjamin Disraeli the Man



Benjamin Disraeli

About the man:
·  He was deeply attached to the following institutions, of the country: Crown, Church and the Constitution. (Read more after Break)

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Blood of the Condor - Film Synopsis


The film the Blood of the Condor seeks to address and convey to its audience the complex and exploitative situation; which indigenous Bolivian communities face in the form of their interactions with Western development projects. The film was filmed in 1969 in Bolivia and was initially released in Argentina. At the heart of the film is a complex narrative which is seeking to express the negative impact of Western led initiatives in Third World and developing countries. The film is composed of a series of flashbacks which relate to the opening scene; surrounding institutionalized domestic violence and abuse when a wife is unable to conceive a child and therefore she is unable to fulfill her marital and maternal obligations. The next scene shows the chieftain of the village, and the protagonist of the film being severely wounded in an execution attempt by corrupt police and officials by firing squad; which is in fact the end of a chronological sequence of events, however the scene is shown at the beginning of the film to engage the viewer and trigger them into wanting to find out what has happened.

The film is distinctly art-house in its construction and the film takes many compositional notes from European cinema at the time; in an attempt by the film maker to cater to European audiences of the time; in order to convey the important message of the film. The focus of the middle segment of the film follows the heroine, and wife of the chieftain in her attempt, along with her brother-in-law, to save her husband following the wounds that were inflicted upon the chief by the corrupt Bolivian officials. The plot conjures up a degree of paranoia. The Bolivian community organise a protest against the supposed existence of a sterilization clinic, which is believed to be trying to eliminate the indigenous tribe. The leaders of the Peace Corps in the area, who run the clinic and are believed to be conducting forced sterilization; are then set-upon by the natives who target their hostilities towards the Peace Corps. After taking up arms, and relating to the earlier flashback at the beginning where the leader is shot, we are faced with an urgent need for a blood transfusion to save the life of the leader; which is in turn continually delayed at the hospital due to bureaucratic ineptitude and a lack of funds on behalf of his wife. The viewer is then presented with the leaders brother who desperately searches for a means to raise the money to pay for his brothers medical treatment, before he succumbs to the wounds inflicted upon him at the start of the film. But in terms of the time sequence the events which took place leading to the leaders shooting wound have happened at the end.

Friday, 13 April 2012

To what extent were Gladstone and Disraeli’s foreign policies from 1870 to 1880 driven by different ideologies ? - Part 9


In conclusion, both these views of Gladstone and Disraeli’s foreign policies can be criticised. As Gladstone wanted to intervene over Alsace and Lorraine in 1871 and his Bulgarian pamphlet can be seen as opportunist, as despite his support for these interventions he attacked others such as the Berlin agreements even though they resulted from a European Conference. Whereas Disraeli can be seen as upholding the principles of Palmerston by following a traditional foreign policy, whereby he supported Turkey against the looming threat that was Russia. At the same time his Imperial adventures were not necessarily his own ideas, many of these exploits were brought about by his men on the spot who made their own independent decisions; he was simply reacting in order to maintain the balance of power. It could therefore be argued that both men had preserved essential British interests as they saw them and thus both had a fundamentally cautious outlook.

Back to Part 8                                                                                                          
   
                   

To what extent were Gladstone and Disraeli’s foreign policies from 1870 to 1880 driven by different ideologies ? - Part 8


By comparison, Disraeli appeared to relish in the business of Empire. During 1872 in his Crystal Palace and Manchester speeches, Disraeli set down the maintenance of the British Empire and British interests, such as trade, as a central part of his belief in Tory Democracy and the preservation of Empire. Hence, he was prepared to engage the British army in campaigns regardless of the cost. For example, Disraeli jumped at the chance to purchase shares in the Suez Canal. Gladstone called the purchase of the shares a ‘ruinous and mischievous misdeed’, but in actuality it was an important sign that the British government were prepared to defend her overland routes to India. It was interesting that when Gladstone returned to power in 1880, he did not sell off the shares. Indeed, the irony is that Gladstone in 1882 ordered the bombing and complete occupation of Egypt in order to preserve British interests: arguably. Arguably this was much more of a forward-looking policy than anything Disraeli had proposed.

Part 7                                                                                                          
Part 9   
                   

To what extent were Gladstone and Disraeli’s foreign policies from 1870 to 1880 driven by different ideologies ? - Part 7


The same could be argued of Gladstone’s approach to the Franco-Prussian War. Gladstone was concerned not to involve Britain in this European War, and as a result was heavily criticised by Disraeli for allowing the future of Europe to be shaped by the victor of war that was so close to home. By opting out Gladstone had ensured peace for Britain at the time, but this meant that her influence in the post-war discussions would be limited. There is no doubt that Gladstone’s opinion of this war was that it had nothing to do with Britain and her imperial interests, in addition there would have been substantial financial costs involved in such an engagement, which he worried about immensely. Therefore, Gladstone’s foreign policy can be declared as a juxtaposition of high morality with a commitment to financial regulation and retrenchment.

Part 6                                                                                                          
Part 8   
                   

To what extent were Gladstone and Disraeli’s foreign policies from 1870 to 1880 driven by different ideologies ? - Part 6


The Alabama Arbitration illustrated Gladstone’s true nature in terms of where he saw Britain’s geo-political position; in addition to this it showed that he was afraid of conflict. When the Americans demanded compensation for the sinking of one of their ships, Gladstone capitulated to the pressure from America. Gladstone justified his actions by claiming that it was morally right that Britain should pay up: the British public as a result were dissatisfied, not because of the compensation itself but because Gladstone appeared too quick to reach such a demeaning solution. Gladstone’s act also seem to destabilise the balance of power, by making Britain appear to be an inferior country to America as a result of so readily catering to it’s demands. Disraeli was equally as critical of Gladstone’s actions for not standing up for British prestige and by undermining Britain’s standing in the world.

Part 5                                                                                                          
Part 7   
                   

To what extent were Gladstone and Disraeli’s foreign policies from 1870 to 1880 driven by different ideologies ? - Part 5


Disraeli’s philosophy on the other hand was militaristic and he appeared to, as Prime Minister, glory in Britain’s imperial possessions. During his ministry there were some very significant foreign policy campaigns. Whereas on the other hand Gladstone sought to emphasize the ‘Concert of Europe’, which meant emphasising diplomacy and discussion, which is evident in his approach towards the Franco-Prussian War, Disraeli by contrast involved the British government in active campaigns.

Part 4                                                                                                          
Part 6   
                   

To what extent were Gladstone and Disraeli’s foreign policies from 1870 to 1880 driven by different ideologies ? - Part 4


On one level Gladstone and Disraeli appear to be driven by differing ideologies: Gladstone was very concerned to ensure that there was a moral element to British foreign policy. He believed that the British should be focused with spreading civilisation and Christian values. However, there was a contradiction at the heart of Gladstone’s belief in upholding Empire, which was to promote the self-determination for certain peoples such as Europeans, but not all because places such as India were vital to Britain’s economic prosperity. Gladstone’s foreign policy was liberal in that it focused on ‘progress’, he viewed education as essential in that it would serve to enable people to realise their potential.

Part 3                                                                                                          
Part 5   
                   

To what extent were Gladstone and Disraeli’s foreign policies from 1870 to 1880 driven by different ideologies ? - Part 3


Historians have argued that the moral imperative and co-operation in Europe were central to Gladstone’s plans for Britain’s foreign policy. In addition Gladstone did not want Britain to engage in frivolous issues that would entangle Britain’s resources elsewhere. This was viewed as a sly remark on Disraeli’s foreign policy, as he had deployed troops to Afghanistan and South Africa. Furthermore Gladstone disliked Disraeli scoring diplomatic success with regard to the Cyprus Convention and the Congress of Berlin 1878. As Gladstone believed Disraeli was using Britain’s political muscle to interfere with other nations, in order to suit the demands of the Empire. Disraeli’s actions were thus in direct conflict with Gladstone’s foreign political ideologies, especially with regard to diplomacy and a Concert of Europe whereby cooperation would be the key. Hence Gladstone’s support for the London Conference in 1871 and his opposition to the Suez Canal shares. Furthermore Gladstone’s Christian ethics came into play over the Bulgarian atrocities, which saw Gladstone attack Disraeli’s attempt at ‘Beaconsfieldism’. Disraeli on the other hand, can be argued to be a supporter of a more active and interventionist form of foreign policy, as outlined in his speeches of 1872, possibly an opportunistic attempt as Disraeli was seeking to take advantage of the unpopularity of Gladstonian initiatives towards foreign policy. Evidence of Disraeli’s actions can be seen in the British governments accumulation of Suez Canal shares, Disraeli’s anti-Russian stance and the Congress of Berlin, which all serve to support this view of Disraeli.

Part 2                                                                                                          
Part 4   
                   

To what extent were Gladstone and Disraeli’s foreign policies from 1870 to 1880 driven by different ideologies ? - Part 2


Gladstone and Disraeli had strongly contrasting views of the role of Empire. Disraeli was motivated by upholding and preserving Empire, he was principally concerned with maintaining Britain’s routes to India and he took great pride in purchasing the Suez Canal shares in 1875 and gaining control of Cyprus, a key strategic point along Britain’s trade route, three years later. Gladstone viewed Disraeli’s obsession with the route to India as absurd and he bitterly attacked Disraeli’s acquisitions of various territories. Gladstone believed in the rule of international law and he supported the cause of self-determination of nations, yet he remained conscious of the need to protect British interests.

Part 1                                                                                                          
Part 3   
                   

To what extent were Gladstone and Disraeli’s foreign policies from 1870 to 1880 driven by different ideologies ?



To what extent were Gladstone and Disraeli’s foreign policies from 1870 to 1880 driven by different ideologies ?

On one level both Gladstone and Disraeli appear to be driven by differing ideologies: Gladstone was very concerned to ensure that there was a moral element to British foreign policy. By contrast Disraeli’s philosophy was militaristic and expansionist. It was with regard to foreign and imperial policy that we can see the extent to which Gladstone and Disraeli’s ideologies conflicted with one another. Both men were driven by contrasting ideologies, in terms of foreign policy there was a clear divide between Gladstone and Disraeli’s political outlook. In theory at least Disraeli’s aim was to increase Britain’s power, influence and imperial superiority, his motive was to preserve and develop the British Empire. For Gladstone however, this was not the correct path to take with respect to Britain’s foreign policy. Gladstone condemned the way in which Disraeli’s government acted with regard to foreign policy. Disraeli’s government only acted in the interests of Britain, and did not as Gladstone detested, take note of whether their actions were “right or wrong morally”. Gladstone’s foreign policy was considerate and diplomatic; his view incorporated a ‘Concert of Europe’ and the self-determination of nations. Disraeli however, thought in terms of great power politics, gunboat diplomacy and the protection of Britain’s Empire at all costs.

Gladstone and Disraeli 1800 -1898 timeline



Gladstone and Disraeli 1800 -1898 timeline

1804 – Disraeli is born.

1809 – Gladstone is born.

1832 – Gladstone first enters the Commons as a Tory MP who opposed parliamentary reform, defended slavery and the Anglican Church.

1837 – Disraeli enters parliament, representing the rotten borough of Maidstone. He was a Tory and backed Peel.

1839 – Disraeli marries the wife of his sponsor, his wife was twelve years older than him, and he was able to pay off his debts.

1841 to 1843 – Gladstone assumes junior office under Peel.

1843 to 1845 – Gladstone has Cabinet office under Peel. And he shows his support for Free Trade. He is member of the Cabinet as president of the Board of Trade in Peel’s Conservative government.

1844 – Disraeli and the ‘Young England’ group begin to attack Peel’s policies. Disraeli’s novel Coningsby attacks the Tamworth Manifesto as ‘an attempt to construct a party without principles’.

1845 – Peel passes Maynooth grant. As a result 149 Tory MPs opposed it.

1846 – Repeal of Corn Laws. The Tory party subsequently splits into Protectionists and Peelites. Gladstone sides with Peel and Disraeli with the Protectionists led by Derby.

1852 – Disraeli first holds Cabinet office as Chancellor of the Exchequer under Palmerston and then Russell.

1859 – The Conservative’s franchise reform bill is defeated. Palmerston and Russell agree to bring down the Tory government (meeting at Willis rooms). Palmerston becomes Prime Minister.

1859 to 1866 – Gladstone becomes Chancellor for the second time. He joins the Whigs out of ambition and dislike of Disraeli. (Read more after Break)

Key Turning Points – Catholic Reformation 1500 - 1600



Key Turning Points – Catholic Reformation 1500 - 1600

Fifth Lateran Council (1512 -1517)
This was a serious attempt to address the problem of clerical education and discipline. Often considered as the first sign of commitment towards reform. Despite the Roman Catholic Church being corrupt at the time, they were still committed to the reform process.

Sack of Rome (1517)
The affect of this was to localise the crisis within the church. It served to bring the problems facing the church to the forefront of the papacy’s concerns. Making reform urgent.

Paul III’s commissioning of the Consilium de Emendenda Ecclesia (1535)
This was part of the papacy’s programme of seizing the spiritual, political and ideological initiative from the growing Protestant threat. This served as a moment of self-realisation for the Papacy. As the Vatican for the first time realised its inadequacies as an institution and for the first time were attempting to rectify the situation. As a result they sought to resolve these issues through reform. (Read more after Break)

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