IMC 2008: Sessions

Session 1321: Nature in Sculpture and Architectural Detail

Wednesday 9 July 2008, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Delia Kottmann, École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris / Technische Universität, Dresden
Paper 1321-aRepresentations of Nature and the Divine Order in Medieval Window Tracery
(Language: English)
Nigel L. Hiscock, School of Architecture, Oxford Brookes University
Index terms: Architecture - Religious, Art History - Sculpture, Ecclesiastical History, Philosophy
Paper 1321-bReflection of Nature Descriptions in the Edirne Early Period of Ottoman Structures
(Language: English)
Murat Karademir, Department of Art History, Selçuk Üniversitesi
Index terms: Art History - General, Art History - Decorative Arts, Islamic and Arabic Studies
Paper 1321-cFrom Agnus Dei to Vespertilio: Animals on Corbels
(Language: English)
Christina Weising, Université de Montpellier III - Paul Valéry
Index terms: Architecture - Religious, Art History - General, Art History - Sculpture, Social History

Paper -a:
Representations of nature in religious architecture are so profuse that their presence might be left unquestioned. Whether adorning capitals and arcades, the ends of choir stalls, or the interiors of chapter houses, they may suggest the earthly decoration of God’s temple, a celebration of his creation, references to the natural order, or a combination of readings.

In order to examine the relationship between nature and architecture, this paper will focus on the harnessing of natural expressionism to the design of window tracery. Taking Lincoln as its locus, with its cathedral church and school, it will investigate nature as part of the natural order within ‘the whole frame of the universe’, with evidence provided by the metrical Vita sancti Hugonis, the writings of Robert Grosseteste, and concluding with the design of the cathedral’s south transept rose, famously known as the Bishop’s Eye, with its synthesis of natural form and Euclidean geometry.
Paper -b:
Since ancient times the components found in nature have been observed with great admiration by human beings. A number of structures constructed have been embellished to beautify the buildings by the components found in nature and to place fundamental meanings to them. In Ottoman period, it has been seen that nature descriptions were popularly used in both religious architecture and civil architecture. That figures were not used particularly in religious architecture enabled nature motifs to be extensively used.
These nature descriptions seen in early-period Ottoman architecture have been collected in fundamental parts of the structures. When we examine them in the sample of Edirne, the second capital of the State, we see that in religious architecture nature descriptions were largely used in internal places such as on the surfaces of walls, mihrab, minbar, desk, and mahfel and in external fronts they were rarely used on the bordures of the main entrance door in religious architecture.
In this period, the major nature descriptions seen in structures were botanical decorations. It draws our attention that flowers and leaves, which are the main components of botanical decorations, were used in this period by being stylized. Apart from the botanical motifs, we notice that heaven descriptions are also important in architecture of this period.
In this presentation, the places where nature-oriented motifs are used in Ottoman architecture and the features of the motifs which are used will be explained. Besides, the nature motifs used in Edirne Ottoman architecture will be discussed according to the purposes and places of their usage.
Paper -c:
Romanesque and gothic corbels offer many images of the animal, but very few vegetal representations. Therefore, marginal sculpture seems to have selected on purpose some specific images of the nature. On the corbels, animals are more than a copy of antique or existing fauna. Real or imaginary animals indicate Christian or pagan interpretations, personify characters, denounce behaviours and bad manners. They illustrate the daily relationships between humans and beasts. Hunted, raised as cattle the animal also serves for human distraction. Bear tamers and hunters are clearly identifiable but the ambivalent perception of a given animal may depend on the historical, moral or natural circumstances.