By: S Barloon and T Brown
Artistic Movements:

How would you characterize the time period from an artistic standpoint?

- The Medieval artistic period was characterized by Christianity in many different forms of art. As the period developed, the portrayal of Christianity and religious figures in the art changed from iconic to more realistic, natural, and emotional. During the period churches and buildings were being constructed with architecture that reflected the times and decorated with period art. Almost all art was being done to promote and glorify Christianity, whether it be paintings, sculptures, metal works, or architecture.

What were the three most important artistic movements?

1. Byzantine art focused almost exclusively on Christianity and images of God, Jesus, the Virgin Mary, saints, and martyrs.
2. The Byzantine movement lasted from about the 5th century AD to the fall of Constantinople in 1452. It was centered in the Eastern Roman Empire, specifically Constantinople and the Orthodox Church. The Byzantine movement contributed to church and society by using rich materials in the art, such as ivory and gold, that displayed the Empire’s wealth and the subjects the art depicted showed society’s values and sophistication. After the Iconoclastic period, which spanned from 730-842, Byzantine artists were no longer allowed to portray human figures and took to floral and other designs to show off their stuff. The Iconoclastic movement put a serious damper on the art for the rest of the period.
3. Byzantine art didn’t focus on any one medium but rather a variety of mediums all depending on what the church wanted at that time. Byzantine art was done in bright, vivid colors with the figures appearing stiff and often floating. Gold, ivory, and silver were used in mosaics, jewelry, textiles, sculptures, and paintings.
4. The use of icons for religious purposes was viewed as an innovation at the time.
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1. The Romanesque movement was an expansion of the previous ever so popular Byzantine movement. It added these new and improved Roman construction techniques such as the acanthus-leaf motif and the decorative use of drill holes, which took the art world by storm. It was characterized by frescoes (paintings on wet plaster) and the use of rounded arches.
2. Increasing population, political stability, and economic prosperity during the time influenced a building boom, in which many of the new buildings and churches were ordained with Romanesque style art and architecture. Romanesque art was also influenced by the Insular style of Northern Europe and the Byantine movement. The Crusades began in 1095 and led to an increased trade between Northern Europe and Islamic nations, which influenced the Romanesque movement.
3. Two important elements of the Romanesque movement were illuminated manuscripts, which are manuscripts with decorations, and monasticism, which is fully devoting one’s self to spiritual work. Many of the manuscripts were decorated with gold and silver. Other mediums were metalwork, sculpture, and fresco.
4. There were few major innovations during this movement because it was a continuance of former Eastern European movements. Things like round arches, frescoes, and illuminated manuscripts were pretty specific to the period.
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1. Gothic art was more of the picture book form of art. It told a nice little narrative through pictures for both Christian and secular art. Gothic art replaced the iconic religious forms of the Byzantine movement with more human figures. The Gothic period was characterized by tall ceilings, pointy arches, flying buttresses and stained glass windows.
2. In the late 12th and 13th centuries the ridged and simple statues used in the previous movements would be replaced by a more relaxed and naturalistic style of sculptors emphasizing individualism in the faces and bodies. In the 14th and 15th centuries painters started to stray away from the use of secular images and began to portray scenes of hunting, historical events and heroic overtones.
3. The main Gothic art mediums were sculptor, panel painting, stained glass, fresco, and illuminated manuscript, which became very popular by the 14th century. The Gothic style was more dark and emotional than the previous, as well as more detailed and realistic.
4. The major innovations during the Gothic movement were advances in architectural technique such as the pointed arch, ribbed vaults, and the buttress do to contact with the Arab world during the Crusades. The heavy Romanesque piers were replaced by slender clusters of columns and the window sizes grew enormously as well as the height of vaults and spires.
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Who were the three most important artists from the period?

Cimabue – Byzantine artist who pioneered the movement toward naturalism

Simone Martini – Italian Gothic artist

Limburg Brothers – Gothic artists most famous for their illuminated manuscripts

Theophan the Greek
Gaddi, Taddeo
Gentile da Fabriano
Nanni di Banco

What world events were important during this period and how did these events affect the artistic movements of the period?

The fall of Constantinople in 1452 was an important event because it led to the end of the Byzantine movement and the beginning of the Celtic movement. Also, the Iconoclastic period, which lasted from 730-842, because it brought about less iconic and more design based art. The Crusades, which began in 1095, connected Islam and Northern Europe which brought about the Romanesque movement by combining the European and Islamic art to from one beautiful design.

Artistic Movements Work Cited