Early Medieval Art (revised)

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Survey of Early Medieval Art

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  • They produced excellent boats which allowed them travel east to Russia and west to Iceland and Greenland and even, for a short time, to Newfoundland in North America.  And they conquered and colonized large territories in what is now Ireland, England , France — and even Russia.
  • Early Medieval Art (revised)

    1. 1. Early Medieval Art 476-1330s
    2. 2. The Middle Ages Dates and Places: • 5th century through 1300 • British Isles • Migration period People: • Germanic Angles and Saxons invade British Isles (fuse with British tribes already in place) • Franks invade Gaul (France) Map of the Early Christian World and Barbarian Invasions, c. 500
    3. 3. The Middle Ages • The period under study, known as the Early Middle Ages, also known as the “Dark Ages” or Early Medieval period, covers the 5th through 14th century, roughly 476 (fall of the Roman Empire) through the 1330s, or the end of antiquity in the fifth century and the Renaissance, or rebirth of classical learning, in the fifteenth century and sixteenth centuries Map of the Medieval Europe, c. 1190
    4. 4. Early Medieval Period • After fall of Roman Empire, many different groups/tribes of people move and settle throughout Europe – Period often referred to as Migration Period Migration Map of Europe showing paths of Barbarian tribes, Early Middle Ages
    5. 5. Early Medieval Art • The Early Medieval period was referred to as “the Dark Ages” as early as the 14th century by Petrarch (1304- 1374), an Italian poet and scholar of the fourteenth century, who found no redeeming qualities in civilizations after the loss of the Classical tradition in education and learning until the Renaissance St. Matthew author page, from folio 18 verso Gospel Book of Archbishop Ebbo of Reims, c. 816-835. Ink, gold, and colors on vellum, 10 ¼” x 8 ¾.” Bibliothèque Municipale, Épernay, France.
    6. 6. Early Medieval Art • In the European West, Medieval art is often broken into individualized periods. These date ranges vary by location. 476-800 – Early Medieval Art c.780-900 – Carolingian Artc.900- 1000 – Ottonian Artc.1000-1200 – Romanesque Artc.1200-1400 – Gothic Art Animal headpost, Oseburg, Norway, c. 825. Hardwood (probably limewood); approx. 23 5/8” high. Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo, Norway.
    7. 7. Early Medieval • During this time the church emerges as a dominant force central in European unification (and Christianization) • Even still, loyalties to family and clan governed social and political institutions as feudalism became the chief political organization Chi-rho-iota page, Book of Kells, late 8th or early 9th century. Illuminated manuscript on vellum; 9.5” x 13.” Trinity College Library, Dublin
    8. 8. Early Medieval Period • Middle Ages not as dark as Petrarch would have us believe • Middle Ages an exciting period of aesthetic exchange, saw the birth of modern institutions like the university and cities • Continues to draw upon the influence and example, the ideals and culture of antiquity Map of Medieval Universities and major monasteries.
    9. 9. Early Medieval Art: The Vikings People: •Pagan traders and pirates •Scandinavian warriors inhabited Norway, Sweden, and Denmark •Known for paganism, vicious raids, and violent nature •Extensive travel related to developments in boating •Christianized late 8th-12th centuries Dates and Places: •“Viks” were their trading places along the Norwegian coastline Animal headpost, Oseburg, Norway, c. 825. Hardwood (probably limewood); approx. 23 5/8” high. Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo, Norway.
    10. 10. Early Medieval Art: The Vikings • We know that the Vikings made their ships from wood and that they excelled in wood carving • They produced excellent boats which allowed them travel east to Russia and west to Iceland and Greenland and even, for a short time, to Newfoundland in North America. And they conquered and colonized large territories in what is now Ireland, England , France — and even Russia. The Gokstad ship, on display at the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, Norway with a detail of its excavation in 1880.
    11. 11. Early Medieval: Viking Era Artwork: · Post discovered 1903 with Oseburg ship · Part of burial ship dedicated to 2 women robbed before discovery · Elegant stylization known as “Animal Style” · Compact monumentality · Part of objects found in burial ship · Stylized animal bodies coupled with interlacing patterns · Creature resembles a lioness · Importance lies in its example of an aesthetic uninformed by Roman tradition— specifically, the display of interlace patterns Detail animal headpost, Oseburg, Norway, c. 825. Hardwood (probably limewood); approx. 23 5/8” high. Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo, Norway.
    12. 12. Early Medieval: Anglo-Saxon People: •Germanic tribes once subjugated by Romans •Hail from modern day Denmark and northern Germany •Invade British Isles, which had been colonized for centuries by Celts (occupants of lands stretching from the British Isles to Galatia (modern day Turkey) The migrations according to Bede who wrote some 300 years after the event, however there is evidence that the original settlers came from many of these continental locations
    13. 13. Early Medieval: Anglo-Saxon • Sight found shortly before the outbreak of WW II • Long boat measuring approximately 86 feet • It remains the biggest and most complete Anglo- Saxon ship ever found • Rivers and sea key to communication and travel, parallel between sea travel and travel to after-life Sutton Hoo Ship Burial, c. 700 (British Museum, London)
    14. 14. Early Medieval: Anglo-Saxon Example: • Discovered in 1939 in Sutton Hoo cemetery overlooking water • Burial ships (buried in earthen mound) • Wealthy and important member of Anglo-Saxon tribe, possibly King Raedwald (d.625) • Migration art (small portable objects) • Art demonstrates mix of Celtic, Roman, and Germanic styles • Excel in metal work • Design echoes Early Christian interlace patterns and certain Ancient Near Eastern iconography and themes • Symmetrical design • Metalworkers held in high regard for skill Sutton Hoo purse cover, from East Anglia, England, c. 630. Gold with garnets and cloisonné originally on ivory or bone (since lost), 8” long. British Museum, London.
    15. 15. Early Medieval: Anglo-Saxon • This was the lid of a leather purse that contained 37 gold coins that were all minted in the Frankish kingdom • At the bottom, we see an eagle attacking a duck – The eagle probably symbolizes the king • The red garnet stones are traditional, but the millifiore glass that can be seen in the the leg joints are new and are part of an English tradition • Man flanked by two animals, which must have had significance – a motif seen in the art of the Ancient Near East, and probably represents power Sutton Hoo purse cover, from East Anglia, England, c. 630. Gold with garnets and cloisonné originally on ivory or bone (since lost), 8” long. British Museum, London.
    16. 16. Early Medieval: Hiberno-Saxon Dates and Places: • 7th-9th century • British Isles • Monasteries become centers of learning and production People: • Hibernians (Roman term for Ireland) – Spiritual and cultural leaders Western Europe – Never part of Roman Empire • Christianized by missionaries from England in 5th century • Monasteries were founded by desire to emulate Egyptian and Near Eastern examples of solitude in wilderness • Working in scriptoria • Living in isolation Tunc Crucifixerant XPI, from the Book of Kells, fol. 124r, late 8th or early 9th century. Illuminated manuscript on vellum, 9.5” x 13.” Trinity College Library, Dublin
    17. 17. Early Medieval: Hiberno-Saxon Themes: • Gospel books • Symbolic images Forms: • Interlace inherited from warrior lords • Stylized human and animal forms • Illuminated Chi-rho-iota page, Book of Kells, late 8th or early 9th century. Illuminated manuscript on vellum; 9.5” x 13.” Trinity College Library, Dublin
    18. 18. Early Medieval: Hiberno-Saxon Example: • Early example of medieval manuscript illumination • May have originated in Ireland, from there permeated into England and western Europe • Illuminated manuscript author page before gospel text • Design-driven optical illusions created in interlace • Design seems independent of humanistic taste of Greco-Roman tradition • No narrative • Stylization of man like animal style • Color patterns repeated in border decoration Man Symbol of Saint Matthew, from the Book of Durrow, folio 21, c. 650-700. Illuminated manuscript on vellum; 9 5/8” x 6 1/8.” Trinity College, Dublin.
    19. 19. Early Medieval: Hiberno-Saxon Example: • Illuminated manuscript produced Northumbria, England • Presumed to be the work of a monk named Eadfrith and translator Aldred • Carpet page before gospel text • Interlace with zoomorphic forms • No narrative, Irish monks prefer decoration to illustrating biblical text • Generally regarded as the finest example of the kingdom's unique style of religious art, a style that combined Christian with Celtic and Germanic elements Carpet/Cross page, Lindisfarne Gospels, ca. 698–721. Tempera on vellum, 13 ½” x 9 ¼.” British Library, London.
    20. 20. Early Medieval: Hiberno-Saxon • Scribes often hid details including animals and sometimes angels or people within their design Carpet page, Lindisfarne Gospels, ca. 698–721. British Library, London.
    21. 21. Early Medieval Art: Carolingian Interior of Charlemagne’s palace chapel (Palatine Chapel), Odo of Metz, Aachen, France 792–805. Dates and Places: • 800-900 • Aachen, France center People: • Charlemagne, Emperor Holy Roman Empire • Education important aspect of Charlemagne’s Roman revival • Manuscripts assist in revival • Some maintenance of Hellenistic traditions
    22. 22. Early Medieval Art: Carolingian • Charlemagne’s empire bridges gap between Hiberno- Saxon art and Mediterranean tradition Map of the Empire of Charlemagne to 814
    23. 23. Early Medieval Art: Carolingian • Charlemagne sought to create a “New Rome” • His center, the Palace at Aachen, is modeled on Constantine’s Lateran Palace in Rome and included a basilica, called the Royal Hall The Lateran during medieval times, from a 17th-century engraving by Giovanni Giustino Ciampini Reconstruction of Palace complex at Aachen
    24. 24. Early Medieval Art: Carolingian Example: • Central plan inspired by Ravenna’s San Vitale • Byzantine style • Westwork makes early appearance • Renewal of architecture of Christian Rome • Charlemagne’s palace chapel • Availability of ruler royal tradition dating to Egypt and equates ruler with the sun • Architecture reinforces Charlemagne’s claim to Holy Roman Empire Odo of Metz, Plan of the Palace Chapel at Aachen, France, 792–805.
    25. 25. Early Medieval Art: Carolingian • Debt to San Vitale noticeable in the section plan • Geometric clarity • Columns and bronze gratings imported from Italy • Roman details, including columns, for decorative and symbolic purposes • Throne in tribune space behind Westwork Section plan of Palace chapel of Charlemagne at Aachen
    26. 26. Early Medieval Art: Carolingian • Charlemagne gathered the best scholars of his day at Aachen to reestablish ancient Roman learning and to establish a system of monasteries and cathedrals as centers for learning • Modeled reign after Constantine and Justinian proclaiming a renovatio imperii romani or “renewal of imperial Rome” • Artists pull from antiquity for inspiration Four Evangelists, from the Treasury Gospels, a Carolingian Gospel book, palace chapel school, Aachen, France ca. 800–810. Aachen Cathedral Treasury, Aachen, Germany.
    27. 27. Early Medieval Art: Carolingian • Charlemagne rules 768 as king of Franks until death in 814 • On Christmas day, in 800, Charlemagne is crowned by Pope Leo III as emperor of Rome in St. Peter’s • He is, in effect, the first Christian emperor, successor to Constantine Equestrian statue of Charlemagne or Charles the Bald, 9th century. Bronze, height 9 ½.” Musée du Louvre, Paris
    28. 28. Early Medieval Art: Carolingian • Discovered by Alexandre Lenoir in the treasury at Metz Cathedral in 1807 and is inspired by equestrian statues from antiquity, such as that of Marcus Aurelius in Rome. The representation of Charlemagne or, more probably his grandson, Charles the Bald, as a horse-riding figure highlights the Carolingian emperors' interest in the thematic repertoire of antique art. The monarch, holding a globe and a sword (now missing), asserts his authority as a conqueror. Equestrian statue of Charlemagne or Charles the Bald, 9th century. Bronze, height 9 ½.” Musée du Louvre, Paris Equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, ca. 175CE.
    29. 29. Early Medieval Art: Carolingian Example: •Author page •Artist demonstrates knowledge of Roman tradition of painting— modeling of form, shading of face, hands and feet, wet drapery •Wide frame makes it seem like a window •Artist possible from Byzantium or Italy St. Matthew author page, from the Gospel Book of Charlemagne (Coronation Gospels), 800-810. Ink and colors on vellum, 13” x 10.” Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
    30. 30. Early Medieval Art: Carolingian • The four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, were traditionally represented by their symbols The Four Evangelists and their symbols The Four Evangelists, their symbols, and their meaning
    31. 31. Early Medieval Art: Carolingian Example: •Author page •Some Classical influence •Follows typical presentation of author pages •Unique is the vibrant energy •Wet drapery covers the figure •Energy present in the design of the grassy hills, trees, and architecture •Quality of line aids energetic fever St. Matthew author page, from folio 18 verso Gospel Book of Archbishop Ebbo of Reims, c. 816- 835. Ink, gold, and colors on vellum, 10 ¼” x 8 ¾.” Bibliothèque Municipale, Épernay, France.
    32. 32. Early Medieval Art: Carolingian Jeweled upper cover of the Lindau Gospels, c. 880, Court School of Charles the Bald, 350 x 275 mm, cover may have been made in the Royal Abbey of St. Denis (Morgan Library and Museum, New York) Example: •Probably made for Charlemagne’s grandson •Highly decorated book cover to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (plus other writings) •Continuation of classical tradition •Iconography on front cover preview of text inside •Design of cover promotes brilliance of sun and effect •Repoussé technique •Return of naturalism from the abstract
    33. 33. Early Medieval Art: Carolingian Example: • Marriage of new interest in naturalism and the persistence of medieval style • Architectural niche (Greco- Roman influence) • Drapery stylized with indication of organic form • Shading defines body • Footstool evidence of artist’s effort to reconcile the early medieval traditions with Greco-Roman tradition Saint John, from the Coronation Gospels, fol. 178v, late 8th century. Parchment, 12 ¾” x 10.” British Library, London.
    34. 34. Early Medieval Art: Ottonian Dates and Places: • 900-1000 • Territories included Germany and northern Italy People: • Heirs of Carolingians • Advantageous marriage allows Otto II to claim title as Holy Roman Emperor • Revived the disintegrated Holy Roman Empire • Inspired by Rome Otto Enthroned, Aachen Gospels, 966. Aachen Cathedral Treasury, Aachen, Germany.
    35. 35. Early Medieval Art: Ottonian Example: • Ottonian artists replicate Carolingian style with blend of Byzantine style • Otto III shown with imperial regalia (crown, eagle scepter, and cross-inscribed orb)surrounded by representatives of church and state Otto III Receiving the Homage of the Four Parts of the Empire and Otto III Between Church and State, from the Gospel Book of Otto III. Ottonian, ca. 997-1000. Tempera on vellum, each folio 13” x 9 3/8.” Staatsbibliothek, Munich
    36. 36. Early Medieval Art: Ottonian • The representations of Slavinia, Germania, Gallia, and Roma recall the poses of the Magi noticeable on the hemline of Theodora’s gown Otto III Receiving the Homage of the Four Parts of the Empire and Otto III Between Church and State, from the Gospel Book of Otto III. Ottonian, ca. 997-1000 Detail of Theodora’s hemline from the mosaic in San Vitale, Ravenna
    37. 37. Early Medieval Art: Ottonian Themes: • Biblical themes • Church Forms: • Stylized and conceptual figures • Expressive exaggeration • Basilica Section and plan Saint Michael’s, Hildesheim, 1001–1031.
    38. 38. Early Medieval Art: Ottonian Example: • Ottonian Renaissance (951- 1024) • Basilica • Towers at both ends • Alternate-support system • Modular plan based on crossing • Two transepts • Architecture bridges gap between Carolingian and the superficial simplicity of the Romanesque Saint Michael’s, restored abbey church, Hildesheim. 1001–1031. The building had been badly damaged during WWI.
    39. 39. Early Medieval Art: Ottonian Example: • Impact of Roman influence on Bernward and Otto III • Patron is Bishop Bernward (tutored Otto III) • Inspired by Early Christian doors • First large-scale work cast in one piece since antiquity Bronze doors Saint Michael’s abbey church, Hildesheim, 1015. Doors with relief panels. Bronze, 16’6” high. Dom-Museum, Hildesheim.
    40. 40. Early Medieval Art: Ottonian Bronze doors Saint Michael’s abbey church, Hildesheim, 1015. Doors with relief panels. Bronze, 16’6” high. Dom-Museum, Hildesheim. Diagram of bronze doors
    41. 41. Early Medieval Art: Ottonian Example: • Commissioned by Bishop Bernward • Story of Original Sin and redemption • Prefiguration, emphasis on typology in left-right pairing of Old and New Testament scenes • Relatively high relief • Expressive exaggeration • Figures maintain tradition of Byzantine and Carolingian styles and foretells Romanesque aesthetic • New drama combined with linear, fluid rhythm Adam and Eve reproached by God, detail from the bronze doors, Saint Michael’s abbey church, Hildesheim; completed 1015. Doors with relief panels. Bronze, 16’6” high. Dom-Museum, Hildesheim.

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