Medieval Art

Concurrent Dates

476 CE Western Rome falls
5th c CE Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain
632 CE Death of Mohammed
711 CE Muslim armies enter Spain
11th – 13th centuries CE Crusades
14th c CE Black Plague abounds

Target Concepts

  • Early Christian art is rooted in the traditions of ancient Rome
  • Early medieval art was rooted in the jewelry designs of the native “barbarians.”
  • Crusades and pilgrimage allowed for the exchange of ideas, goods, and art forms
  • Crusades and pilgrimage fueled the growth of cities, the middle class, and the Renaissance
  • Romanesque art sought to associate itself with Ancient Roman power and values by copying Roman artistic and architectural styles
  • The pointed arch allowed Gothic architects to allow for new forms, including greater verticality and larger windows
  • Gothic architecture was obsessed with verticality, light, and unified interior spaces

The Byzantine Empire
Chapter 11

Rebecca and Eliezer at the Well and Jacob Wrestling the Angel
From the Vienna Genesis
Byzantium, Early 6th century CE pigments on vellum
Byzantine Empire, Codex, folio, vellum, parchment, illustration

San Vitale
Byzantium (Italy), Ravenna, 6th CE
Ambulatory, Eucharist

  • Justinian and Attendants mosaic
  • Theodora and Attendants mosaic

Hagia Sophia, by Anthemius of Tralles and Isiodorus of Miletus
Byzantium (Turkey), Constantinople (Istanbul), 6th CE 180’ x 270’ x 240’
Minarets, pendentive

Virgin (Theotokos) and Child between Saints Theodore and George
Byzantium, 7thc encaustic on wood 2’ x 1’
Icon, Theotokos

Early Medieval Art
Chapter 16

Merovingian Looped Fibula
Europe, 6th century CE silver gilt worked in filigree, with inlays of garnets and other stones
Cloisonné, cloisons

Lindisfarne Gospels
Europe, circa 8th century CE ink, pigments, and gold on vellum
Carpet page, zoomorphic interlace, incipit page, illumination

  • St. Matthew cross and carpet page
  • St. Luke portrait page
  • St. Luke incipit page

Romanesque Art
Chapter 17


Church of Sainte-Foy
France, 11th century CE stone
radiating chapels, compound piers, ribs

  • Last Judgment

Reliquary of Sainte-Foy
France, 9th century CE with later additions, gold, silver, gemstones, and enamel over wood

Christ in Majesty with angels and 24 elders
From the south portal of Saint-Pierre
France, 12th century CE marble 17’ wide at base

Bayeux Tapestry
France, 12th century CE embroidered wool on linen 2’ x 230’

Gothic Art
Chapter 18

Gothic Architecture
Giorgio Vasari, Gothic Rib Vault, Flying Buttress

Abbot Suger
Lux Nova, St.Dennis

Chivalry and the Cult of Mary

The Effects of Patronage

Chartres Cathedral
France, 12th century CE height from floor to vault is 118’, 430’ in length, tallest tower is 370′
Jamb statues, fleurs-de-lis, bar tracery

  • The Royal Portal, with detail of Old Testament queen and two kings
  • Notre Dame de la Belle Verriere
  • Rose Window and Lancets
  • Saints Martin, Jerome, and Gregory jamb statues

Notre-Dame of Paris
France, 12th century CE Height from floor to vault is 107’
Flying buttress, finials, crossing spire

The Bible Moralisee
France, 13th century CE ink, tempera, and gold leaf on vellum

  • Dedication Page with Blanche of Castile and King Louis IX
  • Scenes from the Apocalypse

Rottgen Pieta
Germany, 14th century CE painted wood 2’ high

The Plagues of Egypt
From the Golden Haggadah
Spain, 14th century CE pigments on vellum
Passover, seder

  • Rebecca and Eliezer
  • Jacob Wrestling the Angel
  • San Vitale
  • San Vitale, nave
  • Justinian and Attendants
  • Theodora and Attendantss
  • Hagia Sophia
  • Hagia Sophia, plan
  • Hagia Sophia, nave
  • Theotokos
  • Merovingian Fibula
  • Cross and Carpet Page
  • St. Luke Portait
  • St. Luke Incipit page
  • St Foy
  • St. Foy, plan
  • Last Judgment
  • Reliquary of St Foy
  • Christ in Majesty with 24 Elders
  • Bayeux Tapestry
  • Chartres
  • Royal Portal
  • Notre Dame de la Belle Verriere
  • Rose Window and Lancets
  • Saints Martin, Jerome, and Gregory
  • Notre Dame, side
  • Notre Dame, westwork
  • Dedication Page
  • Scenes from Apocalypse
  • Rottgen Pieta
  • The Plagues of Egypt
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