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A Time In History Essay, Research Paper

A Time in History

I’ve been asked before: “What time period in history would you most like to visit and experience the most?” And I would have to stop and wonder where exactly I would want to go. I use to have much trouble in answering this question. There are countless events and points of time in history that I would absolutely love to get to see with my own eyes and experience with my own body and mind. However, I now find it rather easier to respond without having to stop and think for so long. Somewhere along thereabouts of the 13th century would definitely be one of my choices now. There are many things I would like to see for myself. For one, the works of art produced during that time period would be first on my to-do list. Second, would be to witness the eminency of the architectural wonders built during that age. Last, but not the very least, I would have liked to experience and read, first-hand, the literary works of such authors as Dante, Christine de Pisan, and Boccaccio.

Starting in the 13th century, art was beginning to accelerate to a much higher level of in terms of quality and craft. Artists during medieval times were not so much interested in the human body. They tended not to worry on being naturalistic. Their work depended simply on quality. When the Renaissance came about, artists now became more characteristically inclined with realism. Before the Renaissance, style had aimed for a rich, glowing surface, with elaborate linear designs. Soon after, figures were then being portrayed and painted with a sense of depth, their volume represented by a careful use of light and dark, so that they took on the same strength and presence as works of sculpture (Cunningham 242). Instead of just being confronted with an image, spectators saw the living and breathing figures before them. One artist who took charge in this was Renaissance painter Giotto. His works range from his realistic Madonna Enthroned painted tempera on wood in 1310 to his ever-famous painting, The Lamentation over the Dead Christ, painted fresco in the Arena Chapel in Padua, Italy earlier in 1305. Because of his advances, artists thereafter began to accomplish the same. His works I would definitely like to see for myself.

The accomplishments in architecture during that time, I have to say, are simply genius. Just to think of how these mass cathedrals, palaces, and such other buildings were precisely thought of and built absolutely fascinates me and blows my mind. Gothic architecture, I think, would be a good sight to see. I’d like to see the hard ships of the labor done on such high structures as well as how exactly they put together everything. For example, the stained-glass windows that are found in most Gothic-style cathedrals must have been a long time consuming process. The meticulous work done on these windows is extraordinary. There are too many chapels and cathedrals for me to specifically name all the ones I would like to witness being built. I will name, however, the abbey church of Saint Denis, the Florence Cathedral in Italy and the Palazzo Pubblico, which is also found in Italy.

Finally, the last thing I would admire about the time is the literature. There is nothing better than trying to analyze exactly what an author was thinking at the time he or she was writing his piece. I would love to go back and ask Petrarch of his inspirations for writing; the same for Chaucer, Dante and Christine, for that matter. I would ask Petrarch about his love for Laura. I would talk to Dante about the significance of life. I would engage in philosophical conversation with Chaucer—or at least try to. I would ask Boccaccio to describe his experience with the plague and listen to Christine de Pisan talk to me about her life. That experience, I think without question, would be the most insightful. How interesting would it be to engage in a simple conversation with any one of these genius writers? If I existed during that time frame, I am certain I would be an admirer then of their works.

The only one thing I can think that I would miss of my own culture is our music. I love music. I think music is a great form of expression and it is a definite art form. Regardless of the music genres, everyone always find a way to admire music because they can use it to express feelings, emotions, and thoughts. For many, music has been an inspiration to them. It can touch and change the lives of many. Music is not only a form of expression, but it is also a key to the future. It brings forth new ways of art form and sets the social pace of a society. Music is the language of the world. It is everywhere. I honestly don’t know what I would do without some of my music. I don’t think I would be able to go a day without listening to a good song.

To close, to experience 13th century art, literature, and architecture would be flabbergasting as well as profound to experience. That ever-burdening question does no longer have to be a burden for me. I can proudly say what point in time I would like to visit—and all because of this class. Yes, I would indeed tremendously miss today’s music, but I think having to keep up with paintings, mass structures being built, and beautiful literature pieces being produced, would alone keep me interested.


Cunningham, Lawrence and John Reich. Culture And Values

Harcourt and Brace Company, 1998.

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