The medieval Church was enormously wealthy. Over the centuries, Christians had donated to Christendom so many thousands of acres of land that, by the end of the 12 century, the Catholic Church was the largest single land holder in western Europe.
Against the rising tide of European monarchies, the papacy took measures to ensure its independence and its dominance.
The Roman Catholic Church formed the bedrock of medieval European culture. It exercised great power and authority not only as a religious force, but also as a political institution.
Burned at the stake – being the preferred punishment for female heretics. The accused were deprived of legal counsel and were usually tried in secret. Inquisitors might use physical torture to obtain confession, for the Church considered injury to the body preferable to the eternal damnaiton of the soul.
Christianity addressed the question of personal salvation more effectively than any other world religion. Through the sacraments, a set of sacred acts that impart grace ( the free and unearned favor of God) medival Christians were assured of the soul’s redemption from sin and, ultimately of eternal life in the world to come. The seven sacraments – touched every significant phase of human life; At birth, baptism purified the recipient of original Sin; confirmation admitted the baptized to full church privileges; ordination invested those entering the clergy with priestly authority; matrimony blessed the union of man and woman; penance acknowledged repentance of sins and offered absolution; Eucharist – the central and most important of the sacraments – joined human beings to God by means of the body and blood of Jesus; and finally , just prior to death, extreme unction provided final absolution from sin. By way of the sacraments, the Church participated in virtually every major aspect of the individual’s life, enforcing a set of values that determined the collective spirituality of Christendom.
Entering a Benedictine convent at the age of 8, she went on to become its abbess, A scholar of both Latin and her native German, she wrote three visionary tracts, treatises on natural science, medicine, and the treatment of disease an allegorical dialogue between the vices and the virtues, and a cycle of 77 songs arranged for devotional performance. She is one of the first great Christian mystics, Her works on such topics as the nature of the universe, the meaning of Scripture, and the destiny of the Christian soul are eloquent and original. In her landmark treatise Scivias, short Scito vias domini (know the Ways of the Lord) She recounts ecstatic visions filled with vivid images that have come to her in a “voice from Heaven”. She didn’t create the artwork for her book, but she designed how they would look.
Sufism placed emphasis on visionary experience and the intensification of physical sensation through music, poetry, and dance, Religious rituals featuring whirling dancers known as “dervishes” transported the pious to a state ecstasy.
Italian, father nicknamed him “Francesco”. Legends written after his death credit him with numerous miracles and cures. One of the most popular legends related that toward the end of his life, during a period of withdrawal and fasting, his spiritual identity with Jesus was confirmed by his reception of the stigmata – the physical marks of the Cruscifixion.
Medieval towns lured framers and artisans to buy freedom from the lord of the manor – or simply runaway from the manor. Over the years, there emerged a new class of people, a middle class (“midway” between serfs and feudal lords). Although by the 12 th century town dwellers constituted less than 15 % of the total European population, the middle class continued to expand and ultimately it came to dominate Western society.
Medieval drama, like Greek drama, had its roots in religious performance: specifically, the Catholic Mass. Like the “Play of Herod”. 11 th-13 th centuries plays expanded in staging techniques, Performances moved from the choir to the church doorway, and then into the town square. While medieval plays were a popular form of entertainment, they were principally didactic (with message), functioning as sources of religious and moral entertainment. The earliest existing morality play, Ordo virtutum (play of the Virtues), was written by Hildegard of Bingen . This twelfth-century drama is essentially and allegorical dialogue between vice and virtue.
On a symbolic level, the poems describes the spiritual pilgrimage for the Christian soul from sin (Hell), through purification (Purgatory), and ultimately, to salvation (Paradise). He rejected the Latin of churchmen and scholars and wrote in his native Italian, the language of everyday speech. Dante called his poem a comedy because the piece begins with affliction (hell) and ends with joy (Heaven).
– He points to hell with his right hand. The mount of Purgatory with its seven terraces is behind him. Florence’s cathedral (with its newly finished dome) represents Paradise on the poet’s left. Domenico di Michelino (14171491), Dante and His Poem , 1465. Fresco, 10 ft. 6 in. x 9 ft. 7 in.
Where they are punished according to the nature of their sins: the violent are immersed for eternity in boiling blood and the gluttons wallow like pigs in their own excrement. By the law of symbolic retribution, the sinners are punished not for but by their sins. Those condemned for sins of passion- the least grave of sins-inhabit the conical rings at the top of hell, while those who have committed sins for the will lie farther down. Those guilty of sins for the intellect are imprisoned still lower, deep with in the pit ruled by Satan . Thus, Dante’s hell proclaims a moral hierarchy and a divinely graded system in which the damned suffer their proper destiny.
Of the many landmark contributions of medieval Christendom to modern western society – including trail by jury and the Catholic Church itself p one of the most significant was the university. Education in medieval Europe was almost exclusively a religious enterprise, and monastic schools had monopolized learning for many centuries. By the 12 th century, however, spurred by the resurgence of economic activity, the rise of towns , and the influx of heretofore unavailable texts, education shifted from monastic and parish settings to cathedral schools located in the new urban centers of Western Europe. At bologna, Paris, Oxford, and Cambridge, to name but four among some 80 universities founded during the Middle ages, the best minds of Europe grappled with the compelling ideas of their day often testing those ideas against the teachings of the Church. Exams for the bachelor of arts (B.A.) degree, usually taken upon completion of a 3- 5 year course of study, were oral. Beyond the B.A. degree, one might pursue additional study leading to mastery of a specialized field. The master of the arts (M.A.) degree qualified the student to teach theology or practice law or medicine. Still another 4 years of study ere usually required for the doctoral candidate, whose efforts culminated in his defense of a thesis before a board of learned masters. (tradition required the successful candidate to honor his examiners wit a banquet)
Like a tourist destination people would come from miles to see the church and its relics. If the Catholic Church was the major source of moral and spiritual instruction in medieval Christendom, it was also the wellspring of artistic productivity and the patron of some of the most glorious artworks ever created. Within a period of 150 years, more than 1,000 monasteries and abbey churches ere raised throughout Western Europe.
Reliquaries - a container or shrine where relics such as the remains of a saint are kept. Reliquary statue of Sainte Foy, Conques, late 10th-11th century. Gold and gemstones over a wooden core, 33 1/2&quot; high. Like the Crusades, pilgrimages were an expression of increased mobility and economic revitalization. Since pilgrims, like modern tourists, constituted a major source of revenue for European towns and churches, parishes competed for them by enlarging church interiors and by increasing the number of reliquary chapels.
While the floor plan of the typical Romanesque church followed the Latin cross design of early Christian and Carolingian churches, the new system of stone vaulting allowed medieval architects to build on a grander scale than ever before, To provide additional space for shrines, architects enlarged the eastern end of the church to include a number of radiating chapels.
The forbidding image of Christ as Judge greeted them from the center just above their heads as th4ey entered as the west end of the building. Framed by an almond-shaped halo, Jesus displays his wounds and points to the realms of the afterlife: heaven (on his right) and hell (on his left) . Surrounding the awesome Christ, flame like saints and angels and grimacing devils await the souls of the resurrected, They are pictured rising from their graves in the lintel.
Chartres Cathedral located southwest of Paris, that all of the most characteristic features of the Goth styli- architecture, sculpture, and stained glass – reach a classic synthesis .
Notre Dame de al Belle Verriere; Our Lady of the Beautiful Glass 12 th cen.
Medieval paintings were not, as they are in modern times, intended to decorate the walls of domestic or public interiors. Rather , they were either created as panels for religious altarpieces installed in church chapels , or they took the form of miniatures to adorn manuscripts.
Medieval altarpieces probably took inspiration from the stark but expressive Byzantine icons that were produced in great number in Greek Orthodox Christendom. The typical Gothic altarpiece consisted of a wooden panel or panels smoothed and covered with gesso ( a chalky whit plaster), on which images ere painted in tempera (a powdered pigment made with egg yolk) . The dry, flat surface colors provided a rich contrast with areas such as halos and backgrounds that were brightly embellished with gold leaf that reflected the light of altar candles, Installed on or behind the church altar, the altarpiece might display scenes from the life of Jesus, the Virgin Mary or a favorite saint or martyr.
One of 25 remaining Hindu temple-shrines, rises like a beehive-shaped stone mountain, its facades embellished by a multitude of high-relief sculptures drawn from Hindu lore and literature. Compare this to Notre Dame no two artistic enterprises could stand further apart in their imagery, Whereas the medieval church discouraged the representation of nudity as symbolic of sexual desire and sinfulness,
Hinduism invited the display of sculptured nudes, often erotically posed, The exaltation of the body as a vessel of abundance, prosperity, and regeneration, so evident in Hindu temple sculpture, reflects the Hindu respect for the union of human and divine love.
If a single icon had to be chosen to represent the extraordinarily rich and complex cultural heritage of India, the Shiva Nataraja might well be the most remunerative (paying somebody or rewarding somebody with money) candidate. It is such a brilliant iconographic invention that it comes as close to being a summation of the genius of the Indian people as any single icon can. Sculptures of Shiva dancing survive from at least as early as the fifth century, but it was under the rule of the great Chola dynasty of southern India (ca. 860–1279) that the world-famous iconographic type evolved. The setting of Shiva's dance is the golden hall of Chidambaram, at the center of the universe, in the presence of all the gods. Through symbols and dance gestures, Shiva taught the illustrious gathering that he is Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer. As he danced he held in his upper right hand the damaru , the hand drum from which issued the primordial vibrating sound of creation. With his lower right hand he made the gesture of abhaya , removing fear, protecting, and preserving. In his upper left hand he held agni , the consuming fire of dynamic destruction. With his right foot he trampled a dwarflike figure ( apasmara purusha ), the ignoble personification of illusion who leads humankind astray. In his dance of ecstasy Shiva raised his left leg, and, in a gesture known as the gaja hasta , pointed to his lifted leg to provide refuge for the troubled soul. He thus imparted the lesson that through belief in him, the soul can be transported from the bondage of illusion and ignorance to salvation and eternal serenity. Encircling Shiva is a flaming body halo ( prabhamandala , or surrounding effulgence) that not only establishes the visual limits of this complex and dynamic composition but also symbolizes the boundaries of the cosmos. Source: Shiva as Lord of the Dance (Nataraja) [Tamil Nadu, India] (1987.80.1) | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art
This polychrome wooden figure of Guanyin is possibly the best-preserved and most magnificent sculpture from this period of Chinese Buddhist art. A bodhisattva, unlike a Buddha, refrains from entering Nirvana until all sentient beings have attained enlightenment. Guanyin, the bodhisattva most associated with compassion by Chinese Buddhist followers, is depicted here in a pose of royal ease. Gentle and calming, the Guanyin bodhisattva would appeal to patrons in need of emotional support and guidance. With coloring dated to no later than the mid-16th century, the sculpture’s vivid tonal intensity adds to the bodhisattva’s emotional approachability.
Notational signs traditionally written above the words to indicate tonal ascent or descent. Polyphony was a western invention; it did not make its appearance in Asia until modern times.
Chapter 6 the medieval church
<ul><li>Formed the bedrock of medieval European culture. </li></ul><ul><li>Great power and authority as a religious force and political institution. </li></ul>
<ul><li>1022 founded the College of Cardinals as the sole body responsible for the election of the Pope. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Religious obedience </li></ul><ul><li>Excommunication- exclusion from the sacraments </li></ul><ul><li>Interdict – the excommunication of the entire city or state – used to dissuade secular rulers from opposing papal policy </li></ul>
<ul><li>In 1233 pope established the Inquisition. </li></ul><ul><li>A special court designed to stamp out heresy. </li></ul>
<ul><li>They brought to trial individuals whom local townspeople denounced as heretics. </li></ul><ul><li>Physical torture might be used to obtain a confession. </li></ul>
<ul><li>If they failed they might impose exile or excommunication </li></ul><ul><li>or turned over to the state to be hanged or burned at the stake. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Enforcing periods of no war. </li></ul><ul><li>Assumed moral and financial responsibility for the poor, the sick, and the homeless. </li></ul><ul><li>Organized hosp itals, refugees and orphanages. </li></ul>
<ul><li>A set of sacred acts that impart grace. (the free and unearned favor of God) </li></ul><ul><li>Since only church officials could administer the sacraments, the clergy held a “monopoly” on personal salvation. </li></ul>Raphael, Disputation over the Sacrament , 1509-1511. Fresco, 26' x 18'.
<ul><li>Not until the 16 th century would European West acknowledge a clear separation. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) </li></ul><ul><li>Landmark treatise Scivias. </li></ul><ul><li>She recounts ecstatic visions filled with vivid images that came to her in a “voice from Heaven.” </li></ul>
<ul><li>All world religions have produced mystics </li></ul><ul><li>Individuals inspired to reveal truths that lie beyond human understanding </li></ul>Dancing Dervishes, from a manuscript of the Diwan (Book of Poems) of Hafiz, Herat School, Persia, ca. 1490. Colors and gilt on paper, 11 3/4 x 7 3/8 in.
<ul><li>Medieval humanist </li></ul><ul><li>Roman Catholic Church’s worldliness inspired movements of reform devoted to reviving the early Christian ideals of poverty , chastity , and humility. </li></ul><ul><li>He came to be known as a missionary to all of God’s creatures </li></ul><ul><li>He was canonized in 1228 </li></ul>Giotto, Legend of St Francis: Sermon to the Birds, 1297-99
<ul><li>The rise of towns in a period following the first Crusade (1095) was one of the landmark developments of this time. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Mystery Play-biblical history </li></ul><ul><li>Morality Play-struggle of good and evil </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Everyman (death has come to take everyman) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Miracle Play-the life of Christ </li></ul>A favorite stage device for the Mystery Play, was the hell’s mouth
<ul><li>Florentine poet Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) </li></ul><ul><li>An adventure packed journey through the realm of the dead. </li></ul><ul><li>Every aspect of Dante’s Commedia caries symbolic meaning. </li></ul>
<ul><li>With grim moral logic, the sinners are each assigned to one of the nine rings in hell. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Italian illuminated manuscript </li></ul><ul><li>Middle of the 15 th century </li></ul>Priamo della Quercia executed the illuminations for the Inferno and Purgatorio and all three historiated initials, Giovanni di Paolo those for Paradiso.
His illustrations of the Paradiso are greatly admired for their visual interpretation of the poem: the artist doesn't just transcribe Dante's words but seeks to render their meaning.
<ul><li>Blake's 102 drawings illustrating Dante's Divine Comedy commissioned by John Linnell </li></ul><ul><li>British poet, painter, visionary mystic, and engraver, who illustrated and printed his own books . </li></ul>1824-27 (1757-1827) London
As we generally find with Blake's illustrations to the works of other writers, he has paid close attention to the details of Dante's poem . From his early years, he experienced visions of angels and ghostly monks, he saw and conversed with the angel Gabriel, the Virgin Mary, and various historical figures.
In Greek myth Cerberus was a horrific dog who stood watch at the gates of Hades, the world of the dead.
Agnolo Brunelleschi was a thief whose punishment was to be attacked for all eternity by a serpent. Their two bodies merge into one another, so that Brunelleschi’s appearance befits his sin. Blake shows the moment at which the serpent begins to inhabit Brunelleschi’s body, as its jaws engulf his head and it sinks its claws into his skin.
Mosca de’ Lamberti , who through endorsing Buondelmonte’s murder was at the root of the factional strife in Florence. So Dante brings together sowers of discord in religious history,
<ul><li>12 th century </li></ul><ul><li>Education shifted from monastic and parish settings to cathedral schools located in the new urban centers of western Europe. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Enshrined relics </li></ul><ul><li>Remains of saints and martyrs brought increased mobility and economic revitalization </li></ul>
<ul><li>This life-sized reliquary held the cranium of the child martyr and favorite local saint of Conques. </li></ul><ul><li>On feast days, the image, sheathed in thin </li></ul><ul><li>sheets of gold </li></ul><ul><li>and semiprecious </li></ul><ul><li>stones, was carried </li></ul><ul><li>through the streets </li></ul><ul><li>in sacred procession. </li></ul>
Romanesque and Gothic Sites in Western Europe, ca. 1000-1300
<ul><li>11 th and 12 th century </li></ul><ul><li>Round arches </li></ul><ul><li>A uniform system of stone vaults in the upper zones of the nave and side – aisles. </li></ul><ul><li>Floor plans followed the </li></ul><ul><li>Latin Cross design </li></ul>
Romanesque - Aerial view of Sainte-Foy, Conques, Auvergne, France. c. 1050-1120.
Vezelay, exterior tympanum (Mission of the Apostles) Sculpture used to teach religion to people since most could not read. This type of sculpture is called architectonic since it is part of the architecture.
<ul><li>Gothic Art is the style of art produced in Northern Europe from the middle ages up until the beginning of the Renaissance. Typically rooted in religious devotion, it is especially known for the distinctive arched design of its churches, its stained glass, and its illuminated manuscripts. People moved from the countryside into towns. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Represented a clear break with the classical past </li></ul><ul><li>Developed in northern France </li></ul>
<ul><li>Gothic landmark </li></ul><ul><li>12 th century </li></ul><ul><li>Housed the tunic that the Virgin Mary was said to have worn at the birth of Jesus. </li></ul><ul><li>Surpasses all others in the art of stained glass </li></ul>
Tympanum, lintel, and archivolts of the central portal, west façade, Chartres Cathedral, c. 1145-1170 .
There are several features that Characterize Gothic construction. There is an overall feeling of verticality as architects tried to make the interiors as high as possible, as if reaching toward heaven. Chartres Cathedral
South wall of Chartres Cathedral, 13th century.
Chartres Cathedral, Nave with Labyrinth, 1194-1260
Notre Dame, Paris. View from the east, 1163-1182.
Sainte Chapelle, Paris, from the southwest, 1245-1248.
Fan Vaulting broke the vaulting into many umbrella spokes and also lightened the pressure of the ceiling
Gargoyles: a protecting ornament on a building carved in the shape of a fantastic animal or grotesque creature; meant to look like spirits fleeing or being driven from the holy building, could also have been to entice non-believers to enter the cathedral.
<ul><li>Grotesques and a gargoyle waterspout on a tower terrace of Notre Dame, Paris, as restored in the nineteenth century. </li></ul>
Sculptors and Masons at Work window, Chartres Cathedral, ca. 1220
Rose window and lancets, north transept, Chartres Cathedral13th cent.
Charlemagne panels; stained glass from Chartres ca. 1220-1225
<ul><li>Visual illustrations for medieval manuscripts </li></ul><ul><li>Walls or panels paintings that were assembled as church altarpieces </li></ul>
Simone Martini (c. 1284-1344), Saint Louis Altarpiece , c. 1317. Tempera on panel, main panel 78' 3/4" x 54' 1/4 ".
Duccio (c. 1255-1319), Maestà , from Siena Cathedral, 1308-1311. Tempera and gold on panel, 7' x 13' 6 1/4".
Mukteshvar temple of Shiva, Bhubaneshvar, Orissa, India, c. 950.
Vishnu Dreaming the Universe or Vishnu Sleeping on Ananta , relief panel, south side of Temple of Vishnu, Deogarh, Uttar Pradesh, India, early 6th century.
<ul><li>Southern India </li></ul><ul><li>11 th century, Hindu, encircled by a celestial ring of fire the four – armed deity holding symbols of creation and destruction is one of medieval India’s most famous bronze icons . </li></ul>Shiva Nataraja, India, 10th century C.E. Bronze
<ul><li>China, most revered of sculptured images </li></ul><ul><li>Beings who have postponed entrance into nirvana in order to assist others in attaining enlightenment </li></ul>Guanyin, tenth to early twelfth century. Wood with painted decoration
<ul><li>Musical notation was invented in the monasteries </li></ul><ul><li>Polyphony – music consisting of two or more lines of melody </li></ul>Lady Musica and Musicians . From Boethius, De Arithmetica .
<ul><li>Dies Irae – (Day of Wrath) reflected the new spirit of dramatic expression in medieval Christendom. – 57 line hymn </li></ul><ul><li>Motet – a short polyphonic choral composition based on a sacred text </li></ul>Lady Musica and Musicians . From Boethius, De Arithmetica . Naples