Imagining of Community in European Art and Architecture, 1140-1617: Envisioning Transcendence Of, Authority In, and Foundations for Community

Author: Greene, David B.
This book takes up six sets of works of art that imagine community. These works do not illustrate concepts of community or make community an explicit theme. Nevertheless, the particular techniques and structure of each work project an imagining of community that is unique to the piece. Studying the six sets together opens prospects for re-imagining community and lays the groundwork for re-imagining the relation of arts and society. This book contains twelve color photographs and three black and white photographs.


“Greene has given us a work of great range, crossing disciplinary boundaries and pursuing imaginative visions in painting, architecture, philosophy, religion and politics.” – Prof. Melissa Butler, Wabash College

“Greene’s study invites scholars and artists to recognize the intersections of art and community — and provides the essential tools to examine other potent works and to weigh their significance in the imagining and shaping of community. As such, the book is an essential treatment of its subject.” – Prof. James Fisher, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Table of Contents

Preface by Melissa Butler
Imagining Community: Belonging and Not Belonging to a Community
1. Issues of Participation and Transcendence
(1) Imagining and Conceiving Community
(2) Describing Imaginative Participation and Transcendence in the Visual Arts
2. Three Case Studies of Pictorial Space, Viewers’ Location and the Imagining of Community Participation and Transcendence
(1) Herman, Paul and Jan Limbourg, Trés riches heures
i. Multiple Scales, Angles of Vision, and Perspectives
ii. Space-Expanding Diagonals
iii. Multiple Locations and the Joining of Participation with Transcendence
iv. Précis
(2) Perugino, Delivery of the Keys i. Linear Perspective and Its Impact on Imagining Community
ii. Non-linear Nearness and Its impact on Imagining Community
iii. Précis
(3) Tintoretto, Vulcan Surprising Venus and Mars
i. Theatricality
ii. The Mirror
iii. Précis
3. Summary I: Self-Identity/Self-Transcendence and Participation in/Transcendence of Community
4. Summary II: Self-Identity/Self-Transcendence and Continuity/Change in Individuals and Community
Imagining Legitimate Power: Transforming Community by Transforming Power
1. Issues of Power, Legitimacy and Civic Obligation
2. Botticelli’s Lorenzo de’ Medici
(1) Contradictions in the Medici Identity
(2) Botticelli’s Medici Paintings
i. Three Religious Paintings: Divine Space, Medici Space, and the Legitimacy of Medici Power
ii. Primavera: Transforming Love, Self-Fulfillment and Civic Life
(i) Platonism and Trinitarian Thinking
(a) Contemplative Life and Civic Virtue
(b) Mature Love
(c) Platonic and Trinitarian Thinking
(ii) Botticelli’s Trinitarian Thinking
3. Summary I: Botticelli’s Achievement—New Markers of Resemblances and the Transformation of Political Power
4. Summary II: Botticelli’ s Achievement—Re-imagining the Legitimacy of Power and the Legitimacy of Art
Imagining the Foundations of Community: The Well-Founded Building and the Well-Built Community
1. The Search for a Foundation for Art and Community
2. Public Architecture and Community
(1) The St.-Etienne Cathedral in Sens and the San Lorenzo Church in Florence
i. Harmony
ii. Diffusion of the Worshiper’s Presence
iii. Linear Energy
iv. Horizontal Energy
v. The Incarnation in Christ and the Incarnations in Stone

vi. Individuals and Community
(2) The Blue Mosque in Istanbul
i. Harmony
ii. The Line to Mecca
iii. Immeasurable Space
iv. The Beauty of the Mosque and the Beauty of Allah
v. The Meaning of Beauty: The Self-Revealing and the Revelation of Allah
vi. The Mosque, the Revelation of Allah, the Self- Revealing of Allah, and Community
3. Summary I: A Community and Its Architecture—Each the Foundation of the Other
(1) Equiprimordiality of Foundations that Presuppose Each Other
(2) Allusions to Religious Architecture as Allusions to Well-Foundedness
(3) Eventfulness
(4) Founded Communities and Their Artifacts
i. The Well-Founded Community’s Need for Artifacts
ii. Some Characteristics of Founded Communities’ Artifacts
iii. Secular Communities and Their Artifacts
4. Summary II: Transition to Future Studies of Arts and Community
Appendix: Rethinking the Autonomy of Art