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Old Dec 5, '07, 2:25 pm
Kristopher Kristopher is offline
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Join Date: June 18, 2005
Posts: 378
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Karl Keating's E-Letter of December 4, 2007

“ … a spondee is a foot of two short syllables, when it really is a foot of two long syllables. … a sonnet consists of fourteen lines, with an octet of eight lines (divided into two quatrains) followed by a sestet of six lines. … Albrecht Durer's "Four Apostles," De Rynck notes, correctly, that the painting is mistitled since one of the figures is the Evangelist Mark, … To understand those paintings, you need to understand the religion out of which they grew and which they try to illustrate. De Rynck just doesn't have that understanding. … “

I’m not concerned about Karl’s lack of knowledge concerning both sonnets, and definitions of literary terms; additionally, I take no real issue with Karl’s broader point, that the viewer of an artist’s work must “ … understand the religion out of which they grew … “, but I am concerned that certain errors might spread from his own.

A spondee is a term not for meter, but for combinations, or the lack of them of syllables either accented, or unaccented. A spondee is one or more syllables, given an accent. If there is one syllable accented, and that one syllable for whatever reason is counted as a foot, then it is monometer, or one foot; additionally, there may be a series of eight syllables, all accented, which would make for a spondee consisiting of eight feet, or of four feet, or of two feet, and one "broken" foot, which would be somewhat similar to an Alexandrine, within a sonnet, one line containing maybe twelve syllables, instead of the standard ten.

A sonnet is fourteen lines; though, there are at least three varieties of sonnets: Shakespearean, Miltonic, and Petrarchan, and there is a Spenserian sonnet as well. The Petrarchan sonnet, I believe, is as Karl stated: an octet and a sestet. The Spenserian sonnet is three quatrains, and one heroic couplet; this is fundamental to a variety of sonnets: Shakespearean, Miltonic, etc. The Petrarchan sonnet has been recognized to some extent as an Italian sonnet: the octet is composed of two quatrains, and the sestet is composed of two tercets. The rhyme schemes vary throughout these forms. You can look this up through Wikipedia, and or a dictionary of literary terms; I use one by Beckson and Ganz. I believe Larry is the first name of Beckson.

So far as Albrecht Durer is concerned: his faith was what the Catholic Church would call heretical; he was a Protestant. Albrecht Durer said of Martin Luther: ‘’that Christian man who has helped me out of great anxieties'', from the following URL:

http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/durer/

The point of the artwork focused around the period of time not only of the Italian Renaissance, and the German Renaissance, and the Elizabethan Renaissance—these all reflect a transformation among Christians, both clergy and parishoners alike—namely: a transformation of literacy. Art served the function of educating even the clergy, many of whom were illiterate, though well-to-do, both of the New Testatment, and of the old. As populations became more literate, not necessarily as a consequence of Guttenberg’s printing press, but as a consequence of theses posted on a university's door, in the vernacular—art became more oriented toward literate people and therefore, it became more classical: more for those who had more money to pay for it. Yes, classical may involve the use of elements such as simplicity, and proportion, and the like, but these are characteristics provided to those who pay; much like stale bread is provided to the hungry and good nutritious bread is provided to the wealthy, to keep them healthy, etc.