So Why So “Dark”? • Feudal System • The Church & the Monarchy dictated your life-what money you had went to the church • Little value placed on human life, torture and violence were acceptable • Unsanitary conditions caused many to die from disease
No one trusted anyone (where the modern hand shake originated) • Few people, even kings and emperors could read or write • Skulls of saints used as drinking cups on ceremonial occasions • Upon a death of a holy person the body was often dismembered by frenzied crowd • Peasants/serfs could not be educated and no one could rise above their station • Customary to take a yearly bath in May; men and boys bathed first, then women and children then babies “don’t throw your baby out with the bath water”
Age of Faith • Art-a step backwards? No nudes allowed, no interest in realistic representation, painting all but disappears, sculpture goes flat, correct proportions and anatomy are unimportant-focus on the church and salvation of the soul • In 313AD Emperor Constantine made Christianity legal- to worship one God was now acceptable • All art becomes simple to be understood by the common man, using symbolism because they can’t read
Age of Enlightenment?! • During the dark ages barbarians destroyed mush of the art and architecture which had taken the Empire over 300years to build • When Constantine recognized the Christian church and became Christian himself he banished paganism and barbarianism • Thus, the Christian focus was on the salvation of the soul and theologians believed church members would appreciate and believe in the spiritual beauty through material beauty • Result-rapid evolvement of grand buildings for worship, lavish mosaics, frescoes and stained glass
The Medieval Guildsman • The professionalism of the artist made its greatest strides under the organized ,aster craftsmen of the medieval guilds • The irony is that they were largely anonymous • The were trained weavers, furriers, carpenters, masons and sculptors • These craftsmen affected medieval life mainly in their collective capacity, through their ability to control the manufacture and distribution of essential goods • It was the guilds that pulled the craftsman out of the ranks of estate slaves, laborers and serfs to establish associations that could protect their personal freedom, institute higher traditions of work and guarantee their economic survival.
Elements of Art in the Middle Ages • 1. Church design-plan on the outside but lavish inside; meant to instil fear of hell and lure of heaven • 2. Subject matter- religious, visual propaganda • 3. God and man relationship was emotionless-God was the all powerful, unwavering judge • 4. Style-figures are flat, pattern, no space • 5. Composition-simple, symmetrical • 6. Colour-bright, often primary colours, lots of gold • 7. position of the artist-anonymous craftsman
The Middle Ages In the first two centuries after Christ, Christianity grew in popularity pushing out the old notions of the Greek and Roman pantheon and replacing them with another pantheon (all the gods of a people or religion collectively) of the Christian Trinity and Saints. Art in the early Christian era was heavily influenced by Byzantine style because the Roman Empire was ruled from the East. • Middle Ages: • BYZANTINE • ROMANESQUE • GOTHIC
Now that people could worship in the open, they started using public halls called BASILICAS
Art of the Byzantine Empire, centered in Constantinople (now Istanbul). Map of the Byzantine Empire
Head of Constantine Rome, ca. 325 Marble H. 37 1/2 in. (95.3 cm)
Byzantium Byzantine refers to eastern Mediterranean art from AD 330, when Constantine transferred the seat of the Roman Empire to Byzantium (later called Constantinople) until the city’s fall to the Turks in 1453. The focus is on human figures, whose identities reveal three main elements in the formation of the Byzantine empire. Most prominent are the holy figures of the Christian faith--Christ, the Virgin Mary, the saints, and the apostles. Bishops and angels often are portrayed in their company. Central to the political structure was the emperor, who was believed to be divinely sanctioned by God. Art played a vital role in visualizing his powers. Images of cherubs, mythological heroes, gods and goddesses, and personifications of virtues are reflections of the continuing influence of Byzantium's classical heritage.
Byzantine-Central-dome church Hagia Sophia 532-37 AD “holy wisdom” Emperor Justinian assigned the task of building the structure to two mathemeticians, Anthemius of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus. He wanted to build a church as grand as his empire in the great city of Constantinople, the greatest city in the world for 400 years. The church measures 77 x 79 m. and the impressive huge dome soaring 62 m. above the floor has a diameter of about 33 m.
The dome of the Hagia Sophia (Istanbul) undergoing restoration.
Icons Gloomy images, but absolutely necessary when discussing Byzantine art. Often images of tortured martyrs, were typically rigid, frontal poses with large staring eyes. These small wooden paintings were believed to possess supernatural powers.
Saint Demetrios is believed to have been a deacon who was killed in Serbia in the late third century while preaching the Christian gospel. His legend grew in the East. During the Middle Byzantine period he began to be represented in military dress, literally as a soldier of Christ. He is known as the patron saint of both the city of Thessalonike, Greece, and the church of Constantinople. Icon with Saint Demetrios Byzantine, second half of the 10th century Ivory 7 3/4 x 4 3/4 (19.6 x 12.2 cm) The Metropolitan Museum of Art,
Byzantine Mosaics Unlike the Romans who used opaque marble cubes, Byzantine artists used reflected glass cubes to create mosaics that sparkled. Their surface was uneven to reflect even more light. Byzantine mosaics are found on walls and ceilings-especially on church domes and apse. Romans used mosaic mainly in private homes. Subjects were religious, and larger cubes created a more stylized design, as opposed to the Romans who used minute pieces to create a more realistic image.
Miracle of Loaves and Fishes Location: Sant' Apollinare Nuovo c.540
Christ between two angels, St. Vitalis, Bishop Ecclesius Location: San Vitale c.540
Theodora and attendants Location: San Vitale c.540
Romanesque 1050-1200 With the Roman Catholic faith firmly established, a wave of church construction occurred. Builders borrowed elements from Roman architecture, such as rounded arches and columns, giving rise to the term Romanesque. Yet because Roman building were timber roofed and prone to fire, medieval artisans began to roof churches with stone vaulting. In this system, barrel vaults resting on piers could span large openings. Pilgrimages were in vogue at the time, so church architecture took into account the hordes of tourists visiting the shrines of sacred bones, garments and splinters of the true cross brought back by the crusaders. Reliquaries held these sacred artifacts.
St. Sernin Toulouse France c.1080-1120
The church of St. Sernin at Toulouse (c. 1075-1120) is one of the best-preserved examples of the pilgrimage plan churches. • the nave (the highest part of the roof) surrounded by the aisles and crossed by the transept • Trancept- the crossing, surmounted by a tall tower • the apse, (the semicircular or polygonal termination to the choir or aisles of a church) with the ambulatory providing a passage around the monks' area for the pilgrims • the chapels off the apse and transepts, where relics were often on view for for the pilgrims Floorplan of St. Sernin Toulouse France c.1080-1120
St. Sernin Toulouse France c.1080-1120