Amor Sciendi
Amor Sciendi
Interdisciplinary Art History Educator

Amor Sciendi aims to create interdisciplinary lessons through Art History. The videos were created by James Earle, Kate Nelson, and Gavin Nelson with the help of many others. James Earle has a Master's degree in Renaissance Studies from the University of London and has taught cultural history for over six years.

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COURSE: Rennaissance Art History
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Raphael’s painting, “The School of Athens” depicts two of the founding fathers of western philosophy, Plato and Aristotle, surrounded by other famed intellectuals from various years and countries, all in a very Roman space. It’s a visually pleasing painting, but what does it mean? What was Raphael’s purpose for creating it? In this art history lesson, learn the meaning behind “The School of Athens,” as well as the physics behind the hallmark of Roman architecture: the arch.

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Michelangelo’s “The Last Judgment” is a stunning Sistine Chapel fresco that depicts the biblical “Second Coming” of Christ, but it also reflects the religious schism of the 16th century, as well as the developments in art and trade (with the prominent bright ultramarine sky—derived from the Afghani lapis lazuli). This art history lesson explains how this painting came to be, and reveals why this work of art, commissioned and approved by the pope, was altered after Michelangelo’s death.

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Painted in 1533, Hans Holbein’s “The Ambassadors” is a double portrait of two French Ambassadors, who were apparently successful in all aspects of life, evidenced by the items they are painted with. But an anamorphic skull in the bottom half of the portrait requires an entirely different perspective to view it, and not the men and their accomplishments. How and why did Holbein incorporate this skull into the painting? Amor Sciendi is here to help explain this metaphorical image.

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There are about as many interpretations of Piero della Francesca’s painting “The Flagellation of Christ” as there are art historians; and though we may never know who all the figures are or what exactly is being depicted, there is more to this painting than meets the eye. Piero della Francesca was a mathematician, and the composition of this painting is based largely in geometry. This image proves that we don’t have to know everything about a painting to be able to learn from it.

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Most likely you are familiar with Botticelli’s painting, “The Birth of Venus”; you may not have known that it was a Botticelli, but chances are you’ve seen the image. But do you know the mythology behind the painting? “The Birth of Venus” tells the story of the Roman goddess of love’s birth from sea foam (foam that was fertilized by Zeus’ castrated genitals—yikes), in both a beautiful, and mathematically genius way. Learn about the Golden Rectangle and what it is doing in this famous painting.

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The Sistine Chapel is one of the most famous pieces of art and architecture in the world, and in the center of Michelangelo’s enormous fresco is “The Creation of Adam,” a visual representation of the story of God creating Adam from the dust of the earth. Michelangelo’s portrayal of both Adam and God reflects the Neo-Platonic values of the time, but perhaps the most interesting interpretation of this painting is that of God’s vehicle being a brain, and the life he is giving Adam, consciousness.

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Other Lessons by Amor Sciendi
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While frescos and mosaics depicting religious events may have been popular throughout European history, the Alhambra does not reflect traditional Western thought. An Islamic palace from the period when the Moors ruled Spain, the Alhambra contains no images of God or man. Instead, it is covered in symmetrical and abstract patterns, pointing the viewer to reflect not on the temporal and physical attributes of the divine, but on the eternal beauty of the mind of God.

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Pablo Picasso is well known for his unrealistic portraits and figures, but what exactly do his stylistic choices mean? In this art history lesson on “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon,” learn about the culture of 1907, and what a painting of five naked women in a brothel has to do with Einstein. True art is often a commentary on the world in which it is produced—learn why Picasso, despite being an accomplished painter in the traditional sense, chose to paint in his own abstract and angular style.

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