I thoroughly enjoyed the art of the Etruscans, a culture I’ve only heard of but never studied in the past. I was particularly surprised by the powerful pieces of sculpture created by the Etruscans, almost exclusively made from terracotta. I believe that this culture is not well known mainly because they were soon conquered by Rome. As the Roman Empire grew and flourished along with its art, the Etruscans fell into oblivion being only studied as the people who occupied Italy before the Romans.
What are some of the most important things that the Romans gave us? Do you believe that our world would be the same without the inventions of the Romans? Why or why not?
Among the most important things the Romans gave to the world are their advanced architectural techniques. Their invention of concrete revolutionized architecture and allowed a freedom never experienced before in the arts of the ancient world. This along with other innovations put the basis of later architecture and therefore I believe that most probably our world would not be the same without them.
Do you prefer the art of the Roman empire or the art of the Early Christians? Why did you choose this style?
It is always difficult to make assessments on two artistic styles that served different purposes and arose under different circumstances. However, I believe that, on purely aesthetic reasons, I prefer the art of the Roman empire. The magnificence, beauty and architectural genius of buildings like the Pantheon for example always fascinate me.
If you were living in the Byzantine era and were one of the church fathers how do you think you would feel about religious imagery? Do you think you would be an iconophile or an iconoclast? Why?
I would most probably consider icons holy items representing saints of the Christian beliefs and would be appalled by their destruction. I would however, at the same time, urge believers not to use them as pagan idolatrous symbols.
If you were a monk living in a monastery during the Early Medieval period, what do you think your job would have been? Would you be a manuscript illuminator, a copier of manuscripts, a teacher, a cook, a laborer in the gardens and animal pens, etc.? Why did you choose this job?
I would probably choose to be a manuscript illuminator. That would mean not only that I would be literate but also an artist creating masterpieces of narrative illustration. Illuminated manuscripts became extremely popular objects circulating in the courts of Europe and are still treasured today.
If you were a Romanesque pilgrim, which church do you think you would most like to visit and why?
I would visit the Speyer Cathedral in Germany (began in 1030 and completed in 1106). As it is probably one of the first fully vaulted churches in Europe and combines the Ottonian and Romanesque styles I would like to see the new techniques employed for its construction and the blending of an old and new style.
Which Gothic church would you most like to visit and why? If you have visited any one of them write about your impression of it.
I have visited the Notre Dame in Paris several years ago. The impressive façade of the cathedral dominating the surroundings was only the first step to the mystical experience of the interior: a grandiose building lightened by the various colors of the day light as it entered through the stain glass windows inviting the visitor to imagine the days of its construction.