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M

edieval art

Fifth through thirteenth centuries in Europe, including Byzantine art

From Russia With Love -- 1963
"And on a lighter note, the interior and interior sounds of Hagia Sophia are in the James Bond, From Russia with Love."
Patricia Trutty-Coohill, Western Kentucky U.
Andrei Rublev -- 1966
"Yet another film on the approach of the artist is Andrei Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev (1992). Set in early 15th c. Russia, the monk artist travels to Moscow to execute a painting program. I found the director's sensibilities for Byzantine painting and medieval culture to be an insightful introduction to advanced study of the period, and the views of church interiors and scenes of monastic life would be appropriate for 101."
Elizabeth Moore, University of Missouri, Columbia
"Andrei Tarkovsky's portrait of the Russian icon painter Andrei Rublev. His actual works are not shown in color until the last eight minutes of the film."
Hon Khiam Leong
Topkapi -- 1964
"a number of Byzantine sites in Topkapi "
Susan Caroselli, Messiah College
Ivan the Terrible -- 1944
"Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible has the wonderful Coronation Scene, shot, I think, in the Kremlin, and the regalia and costumes may even be historical artifacts. Although set in Moscow, the scene conveys the splendor of Byzantine interiors, court costumes, and rituals, as well as the court intrigue associated with Byzantium. Seeing these films in a series the same year I took Art 101 was very effective."
Betsy Rosasco, Princeton University
The Vikings -- 1958
"What about The Vikings (1958) for its opening credits over the Bayeux Tapestry and its wonderful shots of a medieval English castle (good illustrations of scale and impregnability)?"
Diana Dale
A Month in the Country -- 1987
"Although it doesn't, as far as I know, present a copy of an authentic art work, one of the most marvelous examples of visual art portrayed on the screen is the film version of J. L. Carr's 1980 novel, A Month in the Country , in which characters played by Colin Firth and Kenneth Branagh unravel a mystery concerning the authorship of a medieval wall painting in a British country church."
Alex Ross, Stanford University
The Name of the Rose -- 1986
"The Name of the Rose is a veritable primer for Romanesque and Gothic art -- especially the manuscripts the monks are working on in the scriptorium."
Anne Stanton, University of Missouri, Columbia
"Does The Name of the Rose count? The door to the abbey is the south portal of Moissac and numerous manuscripts in the library may be identified -- but that is all written into the book, not something added when the movie was made."
Susan Dixon, Cornell University
Hamlet -- 1990
"Mel Gibson's Hamlet in which the hanging through which Polonius is stabbed is the lion from the Book of Durrow and Ophelia is embroidering the Bayeux Tapestry."
Susan Dixon, Cornell University
Ladyhawke -- 1985
"For your medieval section, have you looked at Ladyhawke which starred Rutger Hauer, Matthew Broderick, Michelle Pfeiffer and Leo McKern? It was shot primarily in Italy and has some wonderful old castles and cities in it. Here is a list of the sites that they used including the catacombs in Rome: Rocca di Calascio, Calascio, Aquila; Castel Soncino, Cremona; Misurina, Dolimiti; Campo Imperatore, Gran Sasso; Torre Chiara, Parma; Castel Arcuato, Piacenza; Rome, Lazio; Catacombe, Rome, Lazio. Ironically, the movie was set in France. It's one of the classic fantasy movies from the 80's."
Deb Fuller
Becket -- 1964
"For an interesting subversion of medieval art in film, you might try Peter O'Toole and Richard Burton in Becket, in which Burton passes through a Vatican waiting-room frescoed, if I recall correctly, with Ravenna mosaics, walks through a Canterbury cloister frescoed with blowups from the Bury Bible , and finally casts himself down in prayer before a 15th-century "Pestkreuz"."
Elizabeth McLachlan, Rutgers University
Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone -- 2001
"The Harry Potter movies were (and still are) shot in Durham and Gloucester Cathedrals, Alnwick Castle and other historic locations. You can see a list and even book a tour to these places online."
Gerhard Bissell
Elizabeth -- 1998
"The interiors are largely shot in Durham Cathedral. Some dazzling shots."
Martha Solomon, Penn State Univ.
Henry V -- 1944
"For the medievalists: Laurence Olivier's Henry the Fifth in which all the palace and landscape scenes are from the Tres Riches Heures."
Susan Dixon, Cornell University
Perceval le Gallois -- 1978
"Highly stylized rendition of landscape, architecture, and gesture recalls and at times actually mimics 13th- and 14th-century French painting and sculpture.† Capitals are at the charactersí ears; space is nonexistent; and colors are all primary or gold.† The film looks as though it were taken directly from a moralizing bible.† †At one point a female character moves from being the figure of Ecclesia to the figure of Synagoga (from Strasbourg Cathedral).† Director Eric Rohmer was exploring the medieval narrative of Cretien de Troyes through medieval visual conventions for narrative. I have always found this film odd and wonderful. Some think itís a dismal failure. †Discussing why this might be brings up challenging questions about the limitations of still and moving images to convey narrative. †For these reasons it might work for an introductory art course or a medieval course in either art or literature.† "
Mary Prevo, Hampden-Sydney College
The Final Conflict -- 1981
"The ending scene of The Final Conflict (Omen III) (1981) takes place in the ruins of Fountains Abbey, Northumberland (I think), especially the east end and apse. The closing shot (and during the ending credits) pulls back from the apse and looks down the nave."
Martha Mincey, Southwest Missouri State Univ.
Van Helsing -- 2004
"With special effects, the cathedral of Notre Dame-Paris is the site to which Van Helsing chases and confronts Mr. Hyde. Both a front view of the two gothic towers and side view from across the river Seine. As Mr. Hyde swings through the church, the stain glass windows are showcased (he crashes through the rose window). (As this scene takes place in 1888, the construction of the Eiffel Tower can be seen in the far off distance at the beginning of this scene.)"
Kendall Larson, Univ. of St. Thomas
The Agony and the Ecstasy -- 1965
"The medieval square of Todi is used as the forecourt of Old Saint Peter's in The Agony and the Ecstasy, by the way"
Susan Caroselli, Messiah College
Rocco and his Brothers -- 1960
"Luchino Visconti's Rocco and His Brothers (1960) features a remarkable scene, shot on the rooftop of the Milan Cathedral. In its expansiveness and complexity, it offers an "experience" of the roofscape not usually available to visitors, and of course the roof itself it not commonly considered by students. The placement of this particular scene on this roof also "fits" the drama that is unfolding in the film. Beautiful!"
Timothy Parker, U. of Texas
Tea with Mussolini -- 1998
"Keep an eye out for Zeffirelli's Tea With Mussolini, to be released this year. It was shot in Florence and San Gimignano (and, I think, Rome). I know for a fact that it will include interiors of the Duomo at S. Gimignano, filmed the last week of June 1998 (we couldn't get inside the Duomo the day they were shooting, so I'll have to watch the movie to see what I missed). The story is set in WW2, but the locations will be unmistakable."
Diana Dale
Obsession -- 1976
"Later movies include Obsession, in which the hero makes a cult object out of San Miniato al Monte. He even builds a plaster model of it for his ranch in Texas. There are also some shots of fresco restoration in action."
Adrienne DeAngelis, Rutgers University
Brother Sun, Sister Moon -- 1973
"The scene in Brother Sun, Sister Moon in which the future St. Francis visits the pope looks as if it was filmed in the 12th century Sicilian church of Monreale."
Stephen M. Wagner, U. of Delaware
" Brother Sun and Sister Moon makes a great transition from Medieval to Renaissance. Shot at San Gimignano so you have the medieval towers. The interiors of the tower where Francis and his family live are interesting in terms of daily life. And furthermore, one gets to see why the Ciompi revolted! But this film has more than just snippets of life. In the way that Zeffirelli story-boards the life of Francis with scenes that depend for their import of the sense of touch -- we look through veils that define picture planes, hands move those veils. Close up shots of hands, feet touching textured surfaces. The scene of Francis giving returning his father's clothes and goods is especially poignant when shown in a college class because so many of the students are just at the time of life where they are ready to break out of the family and strike out on their own."
Patricia Trutty-Coohill, Western Kentucky U.
   
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