Thursday, August 5, 2010

Art In The Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages, art mainly served the glorification of God and the idea of a better life in the afterworld. Numerous panels, statues and stained-glass paintings evoke a radiating world beyond, free of fear and misery.Art also served the personal salvation of the soul.  By means of generous donations, those who commissioned a work of art wished to secure their place in heaven, and all posthumous fame is owed to them. The artist was mostly an anonymous craftsman.

Art historians attempt to classify medieval art into major periods and styles, often with some difficulty. A generally accepted scheme includes Early Christian art, Migration Period art, Byzantine art, Insular art, Pre-Romanesque and Romanesque art, and Gothic art, as well as many other periods within these central styles. In addition each region, mostly during the period in the process of becoming nations or cultures, had its own distinct artistic style, such as Anglo-Saxon art or Norse art.

Byzantine monumental Church mosaics are one of the great achievements of medieval art. These are from Monreale in Sicily from the late 12th century.

Richard II presented to the Virgin and Child by his Patron Saint John the Baptist and Saints Edward and Edmund (The Wilton Diptych), about 1395-9

Votive panel from St. Lambrecht, ca. 1430
Photo: Universalmuseum Joanneum

Altar-piece with crucifixion, from St. Lambrecht, ca. 1410
Photo: Universalmuseum Joanneum
Master of St. Martins´panel, St. Martin, dated 1518
Photo: Universalmuseum Joanneum

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