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The Early Middle Ages. 7 th to the 10 th Century Roman Empire Decline German Invasions Affecting Artistic Development and Other Radical Changes in Social & Political Organizations In addition to the German invasions were those from Islam. Islamic Art. Idolatry forbidden

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The early middle ages

The Early Middle Ages

7th to the 10th Century

Roman Empire Decline

German Invasions Affecting Artistic Development and Other

Radical Changes in Social &Political Organizations

In addition to the German invasions were those from Islam.

Islamic art
Islamic Art

  • Idolatry forbidden

  • Consisted mainly of abstracts, floral patterns, or other geometric objects

  • Sculpture almost nonexistent

  • Abundance of monumental architecture & architectural decorations

Islamic art expressions


A place to pray and face towards Mecca

Sahn: enclosed courtyard that all mosques have.

Qibla: prayer wall

Mihrab: small nitche to indicate the direction of Mecca.


Tall minarets

Large and elaborate

Islamic Art Expressions

Hagia Sophia changed into a mosque


  • Islam means “submission to God’s will”

  • Founded by the prophet Muhammed

  • Message is “brotherhood of Man” & equality before God (Allah)

  • Differs from Christianity

    • No priesthood, no religious hierarchy, sacraments or requirements of literagy

    • Does include rulers and leaders in prayer

Islamic instruction
Islamic Instruction

  • Faithfully conduct their daily lives

  • Circumcise male infants

  • Pray to Allah five times a day facing Mecca.

  • Worship in the mosque on Fridays

  • Give to the poor, Fast and practice abstinence in the daylight during Ramaden

  • Allowed multiple wives

The great mosque cordoba
The Great Mosque, Cordoba

  • Mosque built in capital city

  • Striking example of Islamic art

  • Double arches first used here were duplicated in additions.

    (11.1,11.2, 11.3 & 11.4)

    Christians later turned this into a cathedral but it still conveys the original orientation of Islam.

Northern european art
Northern European Art

  • Influenced by the Germanic tribes

  • New focus on artistic and political activities

  • No monumental structure, paintings or sculpture was done to the constant invasions

    • Invaders stimulated a new craft. . .

      • Metalwork designs and techniques

Anglo saxon metalwork
Anglo-Saxon Metalwork

  • Purse cover from the 17th century.

  • Found among a pagan ship wreckage treasures suggesting royalty

  • Is of gold decoration; cloisonne enamel originally on ivory or bone & dark red garnets.

  • Early Christian intelace designs and Near Eastern motifs

SuttonHoo purse cover from East Anglia, England, 630 AD

Merging animal forms suggest invasion


  • Earliest surviving European epic

  • German folklore with strong Christian morality.

  • A strange king child found adrift Denmark “Scyld Scefing”

Famed was this Beowulf: far flew the boast of him,son of Scyld, in the Scandian lands.So becomes it a youth to quit him wellwith his father's friends, by fee and gift,that to aid him, aged, in after days,come warriors willing, should war draw nigh,liegemen loyal: by lauded deedsshall an earl have honor in every clan.

Hiberno saxon art
Hiberno-Saxon Art

  • Ireland escaped invasions at this time

  • St. Patrick spread Christianity throughout Ireland and for years later it became a haven for scholars, missionaries, monasteries, . .

  • Christian art also prevailed across Ireland.

    • Style has been called Insular and Hiberno-Saxon (Hiberno is Latin for “Ireland”)

Manuscript illumination
Manuscript Illumination

  • Illuminated manuscripts produced by monks in monasteries.

  • Illustrated the Word of God; Visual pleasures

  • Used a strict unity of color and form.

    • Crisp, clear sometines contrasting colors; flat surfaces; patterning

Lion Symbol of St. John, from the Book of Durrow, After AD650. Represents St. John, Evangelist as a lion . . . .later an eagle.

Carolingian period
Carolingian Period

  • Book of Kells

    • Corresponds with the crowning of Charles the Great-Roman empr.

  • Charlemagne ruled over the Holy Roman Empire and surrounding territories and revived culture.

  • Network of learning was created

    • Latin manuscript texts. . .7LibArts

11.7 Tunc Crucifixerant XPI, from the Book of Kells (Matthew 27:38) Then they crucified Christ & with him two thieves


  • Charlemagne’s rule involved the Roman revival of culture with manuscripts

  • Manuscripts worked towards development of a practical form of portable artistic and educational communication

  • They continued after Charlemagne’s death but more apocalyptic approach

    • Flatter space, figures connected by geometric design rather than landscapes.

Revelation the four symbols of evangelsits
Revelation & the Four Symbols of Evangelsits

  • Revelation-last book of the New Testament

  • Written by St. John

  • John’s account of Christ’s word in his appearance to him.

    • Visionary work with scripture, literary tradition and symbols: lion, bull, man, eagle.

      • Lion: St. Mark; Bull: St. Luke; Man: St. Matthew, Eagle: St. John.

11.8 Four Evangelists, from a Carolingian Gospel Book


  • Each monastery:

    • School

    • Network for artists and scholars to communicate.

    • Religious and Administrative Center for economic functions

    • Communal living quarters for Monks

Plans for monstery of St.Gall, Switzerland; plan placed church in the center; building around in order of importance of education

Ottonian period
Ottonian Period

  • Charlemagne’s grandsons were ineffective rulers of the European reign & fell to invaders.

  • After the Vikings takeover, the Saxons crowned Otto I as Otto the Great, emperor.

  • Ottonian refers to rulers named Otto who worked to continue Charlemagne’s revival of Classical antiquity.

Major works of the ottonian period
Major Works of the Ottonian Period

  • Architectural work:

    • Benedictine abbey church of St. Michael’s

  • Metalwork at Hildesheim