Romanesque:“in the Roman style” Pilgrimages increased. Pilgrimages common: Greeks to Delphi oracle, early Christians to Jerusalem, Muslims to Mecca. Veneration of sainst through holy relics. To accommodate the faithful, monasteries built new churches filled with sumptuous altars, crosses, reliquaries. No longer known as the dark period between classical Rome and classical Italy- used to be thought of as rough and uncivilized. Art of the “middle ages” dates from 500 to 1000. Europe still divided into many small political and economic units ruled by powerful families. Barbarian invaders became settled in what is now France, parts of Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands. Ostrogoths (Theodoric) in Italy. Visigoths moved into Spain from Italy. Vikings in Scandinavia. Anglo-saxons in what was Roman Britain, Celts- France and parts of British Isles. Romans never inhabited Ireland.+
Emergence of the Church as a secular power. Migrations from the East account for much unrest. FUSION of images, motifs, and perceptions synthesized Christian, Greco-Roman and barbarian heritages. In the 5th. C CE the animal style dominates the arts. Typically compositions are symmetrical, artists depict animals in their entirety. Signs and symbols essential for the illiterate population. FIBULA- a decorative pin favored by Romans Excavated from graves, these small objects were items of prestige Decorative pin: red- imperial color, passion of Christ Fish- religious
In 1939 treasure laden ship discovered in the ground in Suffolk, England. The saga of Beowulf, from the seventh century, an Anglo-Saxon early piece of literature, describes the hero’s burial with a hoard of treasure in a grave mound near the sea. Sutton Hoo (Hoo means hill) was discovered in 1938. The occupant of the grave had been buried in a ship whose traces were found. Wood and body were disintegrated, and no inscriptions bear his name.
This view along the opened length of Mound One in 1939 shows the shadow of the leaf-shaped long-ship imprinted in the sand by the remains of its timbers and the oxidisation of its rivets. Note the rectangular shape of the collapsed but unburgled burial chamber amidships (British Museum). Among other items found were a gold belt buckle, 10 silver bowls, a silver plate with the imperial stamp of Byzantine emperor Anastasius I (r. 491-518) and 40 gold coins. Two silver spoons inscribed with Saulos and Paulos, St. Paul’s names in Greek before and after his conversion to Christianity. This might allude to the owner’s conversion to Christianity. Many historians think the grave may have belonged to King Raedwald who died in 656 and was baptized a Christian.
The leather of the pouch and the ivory or bone of its lid has disintegrated, the gold and garnet fittings survive. The gold frame is set with garnets and blue checkered enamel, forming figures and rectilinear patterns. The upper ornaments consist of geometrical patterns flanking four animals with interlacing jaws and legs. The theme is of a human attacked by or controlling a pair of animals is widespread in ancient Near East art and the Roman world. Other examples: ?? Bull headed lyre from grave at Ur, 2600 BCE. Gilgamesh and the Lions, Daniel and the Lions Den……… Man between 2 beasts: complex interlacing of animals, men, intricate designs. Heraldic grouping. CLOISONNE technique: metalworking using a soldering technique. Small metal strips or cloisons (French for partitions) using metal borders filled with precious stones. It is a technique that is a cross between mosaics and stained glass window- on a miniature scale. Gardner says that metalcraft was the art of the early Middle Ages in the West- replicated in manuscripts, stone designs, scultpure, and in the architecture of churches.
Images of strange beasts adorned all kinds of Viking belongings: beds, wagons, tent poles, jewelry- and later, churces. Found in the cabin of a ship discovered in Oseberg, norway, and dated 815-20 was a set of animal head posts about 3 feet long. Bodies of 2 women found in the ship. Purpose unknown. Tightly interwoven animals……fundamental motif of the former Roman Empire now becomes the animal form and the interlace pattern. Tendency toward abstraction in Medieval art very important!! Long necked, grotesque or monstrous dog or cat creatures with bulging eyes, snarling mouth, large teeth.
Decoration of the portal at the stave church (stave is a wedge shaped timbers placed vertically) Portal of the church 1050-1070 Intertwined animals, flexible plants, intricate spirals Rhythmic in nature
Book of Durrow: second half of the seventh century. Hiberno-Saxon: IrishManuscript is named for the town in Ireland where is was kept in the late medieval period, but no one knows where it was made. Possibility is the monastery on Iona founded by Saint Columba in the 6thcentury. Bede- the Anglo-Saxon historian Bede wrote that the Celtic monasteries stood “among craggy and distant moutains, which looked more like lurking places for robbers and retreats for wild beasts than habitation for men.” They did become seats of scholarship…..and because they were so isolated, they became open to attack from Vikings, as in the case of the island of Lindisfarne in 793 and Iona in 795. The Book of Durrow is one of the earliest manuscripts, and consists of an introductory page for each Gospel with the symbol of the evangelist who wrote it, followed by a carpet page- a page of pure ornament. The Gospel of Matthew is preceded by his symbol, the man, with a colorful, checked pattern similar to the enamels of Sutton Hoo. The hair frames the face in the tonsure pattern favored by the early Celtic church. Figure seems to dangle against a neutral ground. Border is filled with ribbon interlace. Cloak resembles cloisonne. Elaborate decorative patterns. Medieval scriptorium: Books were made one at a time, with ink, pen, brush and paint. Flocks of sheep had to be killed to provide enough sheepskin for one single Gospel book. Medieval books were created in workshops run by monks and nuns in workshop called a scriptorium in the monastery. Books were written on vellum- animal skin, or parchment, which was heavier and shinier. Skins for vellum were cleaned and stripped of hair and scraped to get the surface ready.
Lindisfarne Gospels: Surface ornamentation, strong use of design, interchange of stylistic motifs and ideas. Written for God and St. Cuthbert- according to Eadfrith, Bishop of Lindisfarne 698- 721. Patterning much more intricate and detailed than Book of Durrow. Serpentine interlacements of writhing animals adorn the page. Motif that dominates is the cross. Zoomorphic forms everywhere. Best example of Hiberno-Saxon art.
Lindisfarne (grid reference NU125421, 55°40′46″N, 1°48′27″W), also called Holy Island (variant spelling, Lindesfarne), is a tidal island off the north-east coast of England, which is connected to the mainland of Northumberland by a causeway and is cut off twice a day by tides — something well described by Sir Walter Scott: For with the flow and ebb, its style Varies from continent to isle; Dry shood o'er sands, twice every day, The pilgrims to the shrine find way; Twice every day the waves efface Of staves and sandelled feet the trace. History The monastery of Lindisfarne was founded by Irish born Saint Aidan, who had been sent from Iona off the west coast of Scotland to Northumbria at the request of King Oswald around AD 635. It became the base for Christian evangelising in the North of England and also sent a successful mission to Mercia. Monks from the community of Iona settled on the island. Northumberland's patron saint, Saint Cuthbert, was a monk and later Abbot of the monastery, and his miracles and life are recorded by the Venerable Bede. Cuthbert later became Bishop of Lindisfarne. At some point in the early 700s the famous illuminated manuscript known as the Lindisfarne Gospels, an illustrated Latin copy of the Gospels of Mark, Luke, Matthew and John, was probably made at Lindisfarne. Sometime in the second half of the tenth century a monk named Aldfrith added an Anglo-Saxon (Old English) gloss to the Latin text, producing the earliest surviving Old English copies of the Gospels. The Gospels were illustrated in an insular style containing a fusion of Celtic, Germanic and Roman elements; they were probably originally covered with a fine metal case made by a hermit called Billfrith. In 793 a Viking raid on Lindisfarne caused much consternation throughout the Christian west, and is now often taken as the beginning of the age of Viking raids. A very famous passage in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reads: "In this year fierce, foreboding omens came over the land of Northumbria. There were excessive whirlwinds, lightning storms, and fiery dragons were seen flying in the sky. These signs were followed by great famine, and on January 8th of the same year, the ravaging of heathen men destroyed God's church at Lindesfarne." Eventually the monks fled the island (taking with them the body of St Cuthbert, which is now buried at the Cathedral in Durham). The bishopric was transferred to Durham in AD 1000. The Lindisfarne Gospels now reside in the British Library in London, somewhat to the annoyance of some Northumbrians. The priory was re-established in Norman times as a Benedictine house and continued until its suppression in 1536 under Henry VIII. It is now a ruin in the care of English Heritage, who also run a museum/visitor centre nearby. The neighbouring parish church (see below) is still in use. Lindisfarne also has the small Lindisfarne Castle, based on a Tudor fort, which was refurbished in the Arts and Crafts style by Sir Edwin Lutyens. The castle, garden and nearby limekilns are in the care of the National Trust and open to visitors. Turner, Thomas Girtin and Charles Rennie Mackintosh all painted on Holy Island.
St. Matthew with open book of the NT, Moses? behind curtain with OT closed. Popular theme of seated poet or philosopher from imported Mediterranean books. Called Insular to denote the fact that they were from English/Irish islands. Mathew sits composing his life of Christ, with the drawn curtain of his study evident. Matthew- seen as Evangelist, the recorder of events. First hand witness, originator of the written Word, (spiritual word and word as record)
Early Medieval Art
Europe After the Fall of Rome:
Early Medieval Art in the West
Time Period 500-1050
Hiberno- Saxon Art
10th-early 11th centuries
Early migratory period of the Early Middle Ages featured portable works done
in the animal style.
Hiberno-Saxon Art: Illuminated Manuscripts, interlacing patterns
Carolingian Art: First revival of classical art beyond the ancient world
Ottonian Art: revives large scale sculpture and architecture
Merovingian looped fibula, from Jouy-le-Comte, France, mid sixth century. Silver gilt worked in filigree, with inlays of garnets
and other stones, 4” long. Musée des Antiquités Nationales, Saint-Germain-en-Laye.
The helmet has become a symbol of the Sutton Hoo burial; yet it survived as a mass of small pieces, and was
only reconstructed after years of painstaking work in the British Museum Laboratory.
Photo: British Museum
At the centre of the chamber was presumably the body - though as the soil was so
acid, it had not survived. Around the body were the most personal treasures. Above is
the great 'purse lid' with elaborate gold decorations on the outside. The purse was
probably attached to a wide leather belt by the three hinges at the top and fastened by
the sliding catch at the bottom. The purse contained 37 gold coins, dated to around
Below left: One of the buckles that fastened the king's belt, made of gold, inlaid with
Figure 16-2 Purse cover, from the Sutton Hoo ship burial in Suffolk, England, ca. 625. Gold, glass, and enamel cloisonné with
garnets and emeralds, 7 1/2” long. British Museum, London.
Figure 16-3 Animal-head post, from the Oseberg, Norway, ship burial, ca. 825. Wood, head approx. 5” high. Vikingskipshuset,
Figure 16-4 Wooden portal of the stave church at
Urnes, Norway, ca. 1050–1070.
Figure 16-5 Man (symbol of Saint Matthew),
folio 21 verso of the Book of Durrow,
possibly from Iona, Scotland, ca. 660–680. Ink
and tempera on parchment, 9 5/8” X 6 1/8”.
Trinity College Library, Dublin.
Figure 16-6 Cross and carpet page, folio 26
verso of the Lindisfarne Gospels, from
Northumbria, England, ca. 698–721. Tempera
on vellum, 1’ 1 1/2” X 9 1/4”. British Library,
Figure 16-7 Saint Matthew, folio 25 verso of
the Lindisfarne Gospels, from Northumbria,
England, ca. 698–721. Tempera on vellum, 1’
1 1/2” X 9 1/4”. British Library, London.
Figure 16-8 Chi-rho-iota page, folio 34 recto of
the Book of Kells, probably from Iona,
Scotland, late eighth or early ninth century.
Tempera on vellum, 1’ 1” X 9 1/2”. Trinity
College Library, Dublin.
Figure 16-9 High Cross of Muiredach (east face),
Monasterboice, Ireland, 923. Sandstone, approx. 18’ high.
Figure 16-12 Saint Matthew, folio 15 recto of the Coronation Gospels (Gospel Book of Charlemagne), from Aachen, Germany,
ca. 800–810. Ink and tempera on vellum, 1’ 3/4” X 10”. Schatzkammer, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.
Figure 16-13 Saint Matthew, folio 18 verso of
the Ebbo Gospels (Gospel Book of Archbishop
Ebbo of Reims), from Hautvillers (near Reims),
France, ca. 816–835. Ink and tempera on vellum,
10 1/4” X 8 3/4”. Bibliothèque Municipale,
Figure 16-15 Crucifixion, front cover of the
Lindau Gospels, from Saint Gall,
Switzerland, ca. 870. Gold, precious stones,
and pearls, 1’ 1 3/8” X 10 3/8”. Pierpont
Morgan Library, New York.
Charlemagne crowned here Christmas Day 800.
Built specifically for Charlemagne.
Central building plan, resembles San Vitale in Italy.
Figure 16-17 Interior of the Palatine Chapel of
Charlemagne, Aachen, Germany, 792–805.
Figure 16-20 Westwork of the abbey
church, Corvey, Germany, 873–885.
Figure 16-21 Nave of the church of Saint Cyriakus,
Gernrode, Germany, 961–973.
Figure 16-22 Saint Michael’s, Hildesheim, Germany, 1001–1031.
Figure 16-23 Longitudinal
section (top) and plan (bottom)
of the abbey church of Saint
Figure 16-24 Doors with relief panels (Genesis, left door; life of
Christ, right door), commissioned by Bishop Bernward for Saint
Michael’s, Hildesheim, Germany, 1015. Bronze, 16’ 6” high. Saint
AP Art History Exam Question:
Compare and Contrast Essay:
Name and date these two pieces, and place them in the correct culture
and context. How are they similar? How are they different? Be
specific and attempt to use the correct art historical terminology.
Figure 16-25 Column with reliefs illustrating the life of Christ,
commissioned by Bishop Bernward for Saint Michael’s, Hildesheim,
Germany, ca. 1015–1022. Bronze, 12’ 6” tall. Saint Michael’s, Hildesheim.
Return of monumental life sized sculpture.
Life sized wooden work
Hanging from the cross for the first time
Figure 16-26 Crucifix commissioned by
Archbishop Gero for Cologne Cathedral,
Germany, ca. 970. Painted wood, height of
figure 6’ 2”.
Figure 16-28 Annunciation to the Shepherds,
folio in the Lectionary of Henry II, from
Reichenau, Germany, 1002–1014. Tempera on
vellum, approx. 1’ 5” X 1’ 1”. Bayerische
Figure 16-29 Otto III enthroned, folio
24 recto of the Gospel Book of Otto
III, from Reichenau, Germany, 997–
1000. Tempera on vellum, 1’ 1” x 9
3/8”. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek,
Historiated Initial at the beginning of words and chapters directly from the Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts.