Gothic ArchitectureThe style of architecture during the Middle Ages wascalled Gothic.For nearly four hundred years Gothic style dominated thearchitecture of Western Europe. Gothic architectsdesigned town halls, royal palaces, courthouses andhospitals, they fortified cities and castles to defend landsagainst invasion, and they created bridges and hostelriesto facilitate communication. But it was in the service ofthe Church that the Gothic style attained its mostmeaningful expression, for the Church was the majorbuilder of the Middle Ages, providing the widest scope forthe development of architectural ideas and calling forththe best talents.The considerable size of many Gothic monuments meantthat they were expensive to construct, and sizesometimes also delayed the completion of the work.
Gothic ArchitectureThe size of the Cathedrals required the use of a “Flying Buttress”. Abuttress is a support -- usually brick or stone -- built against a wall tosupport or reinforce it. A flying buttress (shown below) is a free-standing buttress attached to the main structure by an arch or a half-arch. Used in great Gothic, the flying buttress allowed masterbuilders to create taller and visually lighter structures that reachedtoward the heavens.
Gothic ArchitectureAnother feature of Gothic architecture was stained-glass. Since the walls themselves were no longer the primarysupports, Gothic buildings could include large areas of glass. Huge stained glass windows and a profusion ofsmaller windows created the effect of lightness and space. Because most lay people (people who are not Churchofficials) were illiterate, the windows would illustrate Bible stories. Also, the mass was said in Latin, not thevernacular or common language of the people, so it was one of the few ways for the people to understand thereligion.In addition to religious figures, many Gothic cathedrals are heavily ornamented with strange, leering creatures.These gargoyles are not merely decorative. Originally, the sculptures were waterspouts to protect the foundationfrom rain. Sculptures also illustrated lessons from the scriptures.Because of the statues, windows, and other decoration, Churches have been referred to as “Books of Stone” Gargoyle Gothic architecture was still used after the Middle Ages. St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan is a local example, built in 1868.
Medieval ArtMedieval art covers a vast scope of time and place, over 1000years of art history in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.It includes major art movements and periods, national andregional art, genres, revivals, the artists crafts, and the artiststhemselves.Art historians classify Medieval art into major periods andmovements. They are Celtic art, Early Christian art, MigrationPeriod art, Pre-Romanesque and Romanesque art, Gothic art,Byzantine art and Islamic art. In addition each "nation" orculture in the Middle Ages had its own distinct artistic style andthese are looked at individually, such as Anglo-Saxon art orViking art. Medieval art was of many crafts, such as mosaicsand sculpture; and there were many unique genres of art, suchas Crusade art. Medieval artists in Europe depended, in varying degrees, upon artistic heritage of the Roman Empire and upon the legacy of the early Christian church. These sources were mixed with the vigorous "Barbarian" artistic culture of Northern Europe to produce a remarkable artistic legacy. Indeed the history of medieval art can be seen as the history of the interplay between the elements of classical, early Christian and "Barbarian" art.
Medieval ArtThe purpose of Medieval art was to glorify the life and death of JesusChrist, to provide peasants with a depiction of God’s kingdom and a visionof a glorious afterlife and to assure that the Church remained a dominantforce in the lives of its citizens. Most religious artists after the fourth century, when Christianity dominated as the chief religion of the Roman world, chose to reject the ideals of perfection in form and technique. Rather, these monastic artists sought to present images which would draw the spectator into the inner eye of their work, pointing to its spiritual significance. This attitude towards art reflected the religious ideals of the monk artist. The monastic values of the day advocated a rejection of the physical body and the material world, certainly the representation of man in art replicated these ideals. Man and Woman were not represented as images of physical perfection. Rather their appearance was nondescript; their function was to represent a historical or biblical character in a symbolic tableau from the Old or New Testament. The predominating features of these characters conveyed religious ideals. Consequently, certain features, uplifted hands and eyes, for example, became stock elements in medieval art.
Medieval Art Painting during the Gothic period was practiced in 4 primary crafts: frescos, panel paintings, manuscript illumination and stained glass. Weeping on Christ dead 1303-1305
Illuminated Bibles, Libraries and Scriptoriums•In most places around Europe, the clergy were the only literate people to be found. •Therefore, it is not surprising that monasteries became centers of learning along with cathedrals.•Monks came to see themselves as protectors of knowledge and culture in Europe. This role was especially prominent in Ireland where the Irish monks protected much of Western learning from disappearing during those uncertain times.
Illuminated Bibles, Libraries and Scriptoriums The classic Bible illuminated manuscript took several monks two years or more to produce. •Many of the larger monasteries were famous for their scriptoriums – giant rooms where monks would sit for hours everyday copying books by hand. •Monasteries were relatively safe places to keep these expensive books.•An illuminated manuscript is a manuscript in which the text is supplemented by the addition of drawings or designs and decorated with gold or silver.
Music of the Middle agesThe Medieval music of the Middle Ages generally consisted of the music of the church. However, Travel, prompted by the Crusades, led to a newand unprecedented interest in beautiful objects, elegant manners, poetry and music. Middle Ages music in Europe was influenced by Arab lovesongs. The ideals of courtly love were introduced further influencing the content and styles of the music of the Middle Ages. The TroubadoursTroubadours were poet musicians. They did notwrite religious poems. They wrote romancesabout knights and ladies. These romances weretold in the form of poems set to music. Theirsongs were very popular because they wereabout love and heroes and chivalry. These musicians would go from town to town, playing love songs. They might also play drums, harps, and bagpipes, which were all popular instruments of the times.
Music of the Middle ages It was important for a knight not only to be able fight but also to be able to play musical instruments and to dance. The oldest Medieval musical instrument was the human voice, but the harp, fiddle, flute, lute, and other instruments were developed! During the early Medieval period, Churchhymns and songs were performed. The earliest Church organ dates back tothe 8th Century. Later, many songs were love poems to women and storiesabout Heroic Kings and adventure. Many of the musical instruments of the Middle Ages were the forerunners to our modern musical instruments.
Music of the Middle Ages Gregorian Chants •Gregoran chants are a body of chants of the Roman Catholic Church, most of which are part of two liturgical rites, the Mass and the Offices. Origins are traditionally are ascribed to the period of Pope Gregory I 590-604. The sacred music of the Gregorian Chant was also known as plainchant, or plainsong and named after Pope Gregory. •This music consisted of a single line of melody with a flexible rhythm sung to Latin words by unaccompanied male voices. Manuscripts date from ninth century and used a system of modes, specific patterns of whole and half steps. This single line of melody, called monophony, characterized music until about 1000 AD.
Convents and the Role of Women• Although the monastic life seems strange to many of us today, it was a very attractive option for many people in the Middle Ages – including women.• Monasteries for women were called Convents.• To become a nun was very respectable and could bring a woman great prestige.
Role of Women How were women viewed by Medieval Society? • St. Augustine was the first Christian theologian to develop the idea of Original Sin. This was the sin committed by Adam and Eve. Needless to say, Eve was perceived to be the more sinful of the two. Women had very few options as far as the way society would perceive them:- The Virgin Mary was the ideal woman – chasteyet still a loving mother and devoted wife.- Witches and Prostitutes were at the other endof the spectrum.
Why did women become nuns?•Some were dedicated by their families at a youngage as fulfillment of a religious promise made by theparents.•True piety – these women were genuinely devotedto their religion and wanted to spend their livespracticing their religion. So instead of marrying aman they chose to become “brides of Christ”.•Remaining chaste saved a woman from becominglike Eve and brought her redemption.•In some cases it was a way to escape marriage andchildbearing – both of which could be verydangerous for a woman in the Middle Ages.•The promise of education and a life ofcontemplation – something they could not have inpublic/married life.
Witch Hunts The vast majority of witches were condemned by secular courts with local courtsespecially noted for their persecutory zeal. The standard procedure in most countrieswas for accused witches to be brought before investigating tribunals and interrogated. In some parts of Europe, torture was rarely used; but where the witch-hunts were most intensive, it was a standard feature of the interrogations.Obviously, a large majority of accused who "confessed" to witchcraft did so as a resultof the brutal tortures to which they were exposed. About half of all convicted witches were given sentences short of execution. The unluckier half were generally killed in public, often en masse, by hanging or burning.
Witch Hunts The witch-hunts waxed and waned for nearly three centuries, with greatvariations in time and space. The rate of witch hunting varied dramaticallythroughout Europe, ranging from a high of 26,000 deaths in Germany to a low of 4 in Ireland. Most burning of witches took place during the Early Modern European Era of the 15th-17th centuries. Women were accused of casting evil spells and doing the deeds of Satan. The were considered heretics of the Church!
Literature Theological works were the dominant form of literaturetypically found in libraries during the Middle Ages. Catholic clerics were the intellectual center of society in the Middle Ages, and it is their literature that was produced in the greatest quantity. Epic poems such as Beowulf and The Song of Roland were written. Political poetry was written also, especially towards the end of this period. Travel literature was highly popular in the Middle Ages, as fantastic accounts of far-off lands (frequently embellished or entirely false) entertained a society that, in most cases, limited people to the area in which they were born as seen by the prominence of Geoffrey Chaucers Canterbury Tales.
Literature The Divine Comedy is an epic poem written by Dante Alighieri between 1308 and his death in 1321. It is widely considered the preeminent work of Italian literature and is seen as one of the greatest works of world literature. Dante shown holding a copy of the Divine Comedy, next to theentrance to Hell, the seven terraces of Mount Purgatory and the city of Florence, with the spheres of Heaven above.The poems imaginative and allegorical vision of the afterlife is a culmination of the medieval world-view as it had developed in the Western Church. It is divided into three parts: Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. On the surface, the poem describes Dantes travels through Hell, Purgatory, andHeaven; but at a deeper level, it represents the souls journey towards God. At this deeper level, Dante draws on medieval Christian theology and philosophy.
Illumination of Bibles Gothic Architecture Literature What role did the Monks have in society? Examine the examples provided of Gothic architecture. What factors influenced literature during the Middle Ages? Describe the featured characteristics. How did medieval architects accomplish such monumental structures? What were the scriptoriums and what was produced there? Why is Dante’s Divine Comedy so important during this time? Why are cathedrals referred to as “Books of Stone”? Cultural Achievements Medieval ArtEvaluate the examples of medieval art provided. What are some Music Role of Women What were many women accused of doing? Why andcommon themes? How did Music change during the Middle Ages? Why? what happened to them? Write a song that a Troubadour might have performed! (At Why did Women become Nuns?Explain the purpose and goals of medieval art? Do you think it least 4 lines)succeeded in achieving these goals? How were women perceived in the Late Middle Ages? Why? On the back of this page, draw a picture of the greatest cultural achievement of the Middle Ages