Medieval art is art produced in the Middle Ages in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The medieval period spans from the fall of the Roman Empire in 300 BC to the beginning of the Renaissance period in 1400 A.D.
Many artworks created during this period were financed by the Catholic Church and as such, usually had a strong Christian focus.
Notable auction sales
A copy of the Book of Hours in French, dated to circa 1500 and featuring miniatures that "are amongst the most accomplished and polished work of the Rouen illuminator Robert Boyvin" was sold at Christie's for $204,000.
The book sold from the Cornelius J. Hauck Collection in June 2006 in New York.
Periods of Medieval art
Early Christian art
Early Christian art is the art and architecture created for the Christian church, spanning the period between the late 2nd – 7th century.
The oldest known examples of Christian art came from Roman catacombs or crypts beneath the city.
Mosaic was a popular form of medieval art and was often used to decorate churches and crypts. In about 350 A.D., a mausoleum build for Constantine’s daughter included a vault decorated with mosaics.
Byzantine art is the name used to describe art of the Byzantine Empire, centred in Constantinople (now Istanbul). Byzantine art was mainly focussed on the Orthodox church with much art being paintings of idols and the decoration of churches. The Byzantine period came to a close with the fall of Constantinople to the Turks during the early Renaissance period.
Anglo-Saxon art is English art made between the late 5th century and the 11th century. Artworks typical of this period include tapestries, illuminated manuscripts and iconography.
One of the most famous examples of Anglo-Saxon art is the Bayeux Tapestry which is believed to have been commissioned by Bishop Odo of Bayeux in the 1070s. The tapestry tells the story of the events which led to the Norman Conquest of England.
Mosan art, or Mosan Romanesque art as it is sometimes called, is a style of art originating from the valley of the Meuse in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. Art from this period includes illuminated manuscripts, metalwork, stone carving and architecture.
Migration period art
Migration period art is Germanic artwork made during the Migration period (300 – 900). During this period, following the fall of the Roman Empire, many tribes including the Franks, Visigoths, Celts and Anglo-Saxons began migrating across Europe. During this period, Barbarian artisans created many items from elaborate weapons to jewellery and cookware.
See main article: Migration Period Art
Romanesque art was most popular between 1075 and 1125 in France, Italy, Britain and the German lands. Features defining Romanesque art include: religious illuminated manuscripts, stained glass in churches, murals and small ivory carvings.
See main article: Romanesque art
Gothic art is a style of art produced in Northern Europe. It’s defining features include: its arched deisgn of churches, stained glass and illuminated manuscripts.
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