The Middle Ages: 500-1300

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Brief overview of Medieval Art and Architecture

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The Middle Ages: 500-1300

  1. 1. The Middle Ages c. 500-1300
  2. 2. The Middle Ages Dates and Places: •  5th century •  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. Early Medieval: Anglo-Saxon Dates and Places: •  5th century •  British Isles •  Migration period People: •  Germanic Angles and Saxons invade British Isles (fuse with British tribes already in place) •  Franks invade Gaul (France) 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.
  4. 4. 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 •  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 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.
  5. 5. Early Medieval: Viking Era People: •  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 Artwork: •  Elegant stylization •  Compact monumentality •  Part of objects found in burial ship •  Stylized animal bodies coupled with interlacing patterns Animal headpost, Oseburg, Norway, c. 825. Hardwood (probably limewood); approx. 23 5/8 high. Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo, Norway.
  6. 6. Early Medieval: Hiberno-Saxon Dates and Places: •  7th-9th century •  British Isles People: •  Christians •  In monasteries •  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
  7. 7. 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
  8. 8. 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 animal •  Color patterns repeated in border decoration Lion Symbol of Saint John, from the Book of Durrow, fol. 191v, c. 650-700. Illuminated manuscript on vellum; 9 2/3 x 5 ¾.” Trinity College, Dublin.
  9. 9. Early Medieval: Hiberno-Saxon Example: •  Illuminated manuscript •  Carpet page before gospel text •  Interlace with zoomorphic forms •  No narrative •  Generally regarded as the finest example of the kingdom's unique style of religious art, a style that combined Anglo-Saxon and Celtic themes Carpet page, Lindisfarne Gospels, ca. 698–721. British Library, London.
  10. 10. Early Medieval: Carolingian Example: •  Central plan inspired by Ravenna •  Byzantine style •  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 Plan of the Palatine Chapel, Odo of Metz, Aachen, France, 792–805.
  11. 11. Early Medieval: Carolingian Dates and Places: •  800-900 •  France People: •  Charlemagne, Emperor Holy Roman Empire •  Education important aspect of Charlemagne s Roman revival •  Manuscripts assist in revival •  Some maintenance of Hellenistic traditions Four Evangelists, from the “Treasury Gospels,” a Carolingian Gospel book, palace chapel school, Aachen, France ca. 800–810. Aachen Cathedral Treasury, Aachen, Germany.
  12. 12. Early Medieval: 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.
  13. 13. Early Medieval: Ottonian Dates and Places: •  900-1000 •  Territories included Germany and northern Italy People: •  Heirs of Carolingians •  Holy Roman Emperors •  Revived the disintegrated Holy Roman Empire •  Inspired by Rome Otto Enthroned, Aachen Gospels, 966. Aachen Cathedral Treasury, Aachen, Germany.
  14. 14. Early Medieval: Ottonian Themes: •  Biblical themes •  Church Forms: •  Stylized and conceptual figures •  Expressive exaggeration •  Basilica Section and plan Saint Michael s, Hildesheim, 1001–1031.
  15. 15. Early Medieval: 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 destroyed during WWI.
  16. 16. Early Medieval: Ottonian Example: •  Impact of Roman influence on Bernward and Otto •  Patron is Bishop Bernward •  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.
  17. 17. Early Medieval: 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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