Temple Gallery Travel

ITINERARY

sicilian mosaics


16th November - 21st November 2017


In association with ETR, Lausanne , Switzerland


for further information and to reserve a place please contact info@templegallery.com


Sir Richard Temple will personally lead the tour and where practical will give a short introductory talk each morning on the historical context and iconographical significance of the art and architecture we will be seeing. ETR’s Programme Leader meets us on arrival and accompanies us throughout the trip. He (or she) arranges museum entries, local travel (by private coach), hotel check-in and generally smoothes the path. Dinner is pre-arranged on each evening except the day we arrive. Breakfast of course is included in the hotel stay. Lunch is up to us. holiday-weather/sicily/november.com gives an idea of what weather to expect.

day one

TRAVEL

THURSDAY 16TH NOVEMBER

Depart 16.55 Alitalia London to Reggio via Rome. (Note: we have an hour between flights, our only time to grab a sandwich – unless we bring our own.) Arrive 22.40 Éhotel.


day two

FRIDAY 17TH NOVEMBER

Morning: Museo Nazionale della Magna Grecia: Riace Bronzes.
Afternoon: by ferry to Messina. Coach to Cefalù (two hours). Artemis Hotel and dinner.

day three

SATURDAY 18TH NOVEMBER

Morning: visit Cefalù Cathedral.
Afternoon: Coach to Palermo. Hotel Politeana and dinner.

day four

SUNDAY 19TH NOVEMBER

Morning: Santa Maria dell' Ammiraglio (La Martorana).
Afternoon: Capella Palatina.

day five

MONDAY 20TH NOVEMBER

Morning Palermo Cathedral, and the Galleria Regionale (Palazzo Abatellis).
Afternoon Monreale.

day six

travel

TUESDAY 21ST NOVEMBER

Depart Palermo at 12.05. Arrive London Heathrow at 16.05.

REGGIO CALABRIA

Museo Nazionale della Magna Grecia

monday 12th june

Monumental bronze statues of 5th century BC, discovered by marine archaeology in 1972 and regarded by many as the finest examples of late Classical Greek work in existence. Basic facts can be acquired from Wikipedia but nothing prepares one for the shock of the actual encounter.

In the museum we will also see Antonello da Messina’s ‘Appearance of the Three Angels to Abraham’ (for a note on Antonello see below).

sicily

By the 6th century the Ostrogoths occupied most of the Western Roman Empire though Justinian, the Emperor in Constantinople, was making plans to reunify the two halves of the empire. Sicily was the first part of Italy to be regained for Byzantium by its greatest general, Count Belisarius. In 535 Justinian made Sicily a Byzantine province though its position was never really secure and it continued to be fought over by Goths, Vandals, Byzantines and Lombards. For three hundred years it was an Arab emirate until it fell to the Normans in 1072 becoming, under Roger I and Roger II, the Kingdom of Sicily until, in 1198, the crown passed to Fredrick II Hohenstaufen, Holy Roman Emperor and one of the most enlightened men of the Middle Ages who established, in Sicily and South Italy, Europe’s first centrally governed kingdom with an efficiently administered bureaucratic system.


By the 6th century the Ostrogoths occupied most of the Western Roman Empire though Justinian, the Emperor in Constantinople, was making plans to reunify the two halves of the empire. Sicily was the first part of Italy to be regained for Byzantium by its greatest general, Count Belisarius. In 535 Justinian made Sicily a Byzantine province though its position was never really secure and it continued to be fought over by Goths, Vandals, Byzantines and Lombards. For three hundred years it was an Arab emirate until it fell to the Normans in 1072 becoming, under Roger I and Roger II, the Kingdom of Sicily until, in 1198, the crown passed to Fredrick II Hohenstaufen, Holy Roman Emperor and one of the most enlightened men of the Middle Ages who established, in Sicily and South Italy, Europe’s first centrally governed kingdom with an efficiently administered bureaucratic system.

palermo and the court of roger ii

Norman descendants of Tancred de Hauteville, arriving in the Mediterranean in 1030, under the leadership of the famous Robert Guiscard, captured Sicily and Malta from the Saracens. Guiscard’s younger brother was Roger I, the Great Count. His son, Roger II of Sicily, was crowned king in 1130. The Kingdom of Sicily lasted until 1194. The Normans left their legacy in many castles and churches, the greatest of which are the UNESCO World Heritage Sites that we will be visiting in Cefalù, Palermo and Monreale.


Institutionally, the Normans combined the administrative machinery of the Byzantines, Arabs, and Lombards with their own conceptions of feudal law and order to forge a unique government. Under this state, there was religious freedom, and alongside the Norman nobles existed a meritocratic bureaucracy of Jews, Muslims and Christians, both Catholic and Eastern Orthodox. The Kingdom of Sicily thus became characterised by Norman, Byzantine Greek, Arab, Lombard and "native" Sicilian populations living in harmony.


Roger II began his rule as Count of Sicily in 1105, became Duke of Apulia and Calabria in 1127, and then King of Sicily in 1130. By the time of his death at the age of 58, Roger, one of the greatest kings in Europe, had succeeded in uniting all the Norman conquests in Italy into one kingdom with a strong centralised government. He was served by men of diverse nationality, such as the Englishman Thomas Brun, a high ranking papal official, and, in the fleet by two Greeks, first Christodulus and then George of Antioch, whom he made, in 1132, ammiratus ammiratorum or "Emir of Emirs", in effect prime vizier. (This title later became the English word admiral). Roger made Sicily the leading maritime power in the Mediterranean. The kingdom passed by marriage to Fredrick II Hohenstaufen, Holy Roman Emperor, in 1194.


Speaking six languages (Latin, Sicilian, German, French, Greek and Arabic), Frederick was a patron of science and the arts. He played a major role in promoting literature through the Sicilian School of poetry. His Sicilian royal court in Palermo, from around 1220 to his death, saw the first use of a literary form of an Italo-Romance language, Sicilian. The poetry that emanated from the school had a significant influence on literature and on what was to become the modern Italian language.

Cefalù Cathedral

Cefalù , built in the 1130s by Roger II, predates Monreale by fifty years. The towers on the façade were added in 1240. The Christ Pantocrator, by the master mosaicist from Constantinople, is regarded as the finest example of late Byzantine art in Italy and one of the greatest icons of Christ in the world.
Detail of the Christ Pantocrator showing the open gospel with ‘I AM THE LIGHT OF THE COSMOS’ in Greek and in Latin.

PALERMO

SANTA MARIA DELL’ AMMIRAGLIO (LA MARTORANA)

Santa Maria dell' Ammiraglio
Mosaic detail showing Roger II
Mosaic detail showing the Nativity
Christ Enthroned

The name Ammiraglio ("admiral") derives from the founder of the church, the Greek admiral and principal minister of King Roger II of Sicily, George of Antioch. Today our eye is presented with a multiplicity of styles: Norman architecture, Arabic arches, Fatimid painting, a Byzantine dome and mosaics reflecting changing tastes through the centuries. The principle mosaics date from its completion in 1151.


Mosaic detail showing Roger II receiving his crown from Christ. Such was the power of this Norman king that he could style himself, as we see here, in the regalia of a Byzantine Emperor (1140-1180).


Christ Enthroned. A more typical image would be that of head and shoulders only, as we see elsewhere in Byzantine art. The enthroned figure is unusual for a dome. Cosmological significance is given great emphasis in many of the iconographical themes in the Martorana.

Capella Palatina


Capella Palatina. The Royal Chapel of the Norman kings of Sicily. Built at different times throughout the 12th century the chapel combines a variety of styles: Norman architecture, Arabic arches, Fatimid painting, a Byzantine dome and mosaics.

palermo cathedral

Stone carving on apse of Palermo Cathedral.
Palermo Cathedral. The famous Gothic portico by Domenico and Antonello Gagini.

Galleria Regionale (Palazzo Abatellis)


Antonello da Messina (1430 – 1479), Virgin Annunciate, 1476. Works by this fascinating painter are rare. He is strongly influenced by the Early Netherlandish or Flemish School though there is no evidence that he ever travelled out of Italy. He may have seen paintings by Rogier van der Weyden and Jan van Eyck that belonged to King Alfonso V of Aragon. He is credited by Vasari as the first painter in Italy to work in oils.

Cathedral Monreale

Interior looking west
The Cathedral, a testament to the Normans as a world power, is built on a Latin plan but decorated with mosaics by Byzantine artists between 1174 and 1182.
Mosaic with King William I
Mosaics depicting Old Testament scenes and events in the Life of Christ.
View from the south east.