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EARLY MEDIEVAL EUROPE. GARDINER CHAPTER 16-1 PP. 407-415. EARLY MEDIEVAL EUROPE - BACKGROUND. 500-1000 CE was a great formative period of western medieval art Early medieval art is a fusion of: 1. Greco-Roman heritage of N. Western provinces of the Roman Empire

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  2. EARLY MEDIEVAL EUROPE - BACKGROUND • 500-1000 CE was a great formative period of western medieval art • Early medieval art is a fusion of: 1. Greco-Roman heritage of N. Western provinces of the Roman Empire 2. The cultures of the non-Roman peoples north of the Alps 3. Christianity

  3. ART OF THE WARRIOR LORDS • Rome’s power wanes in Late Antiquity -> armed conflict and competition for political authority among non-Roman peoples of Europe • As one group establishes control another presses in behind and compels them to move on • Visigoths -> forced south by the Franks • Franks -> established themselves in France and other parts of W. Europe • Anglo-Saxons -> controlled Roman Britain • Celts -> France and Ireland • Vikings -> Scandinavia • Huns • Vandals • Merovingians • Franks • Ostrogoths

  4. MEROVINGIAN FIBULAE • Pair of Merovingian looped fibulae, mid 6th century, silver gilt worked in filigree, with inlays of garnets and stones • Jeweled fibulae were status symbols among warlords -> pair belonged to a Merovingian woman -> features eagle heads and fish integrated into highly decorative design • Early Medieval art -> mostly small, portable “status symbols” 1. Small scale 2. Utilitarian in nature 3. Abstract ornament 4. Rejection of classical notion of the representation of nature

  5. SUTTON HOO SHIP BURIAL • Purse cover, from Sutton Hoo ship burial in Suffolk, England, ca. 625, gold, glass, and cloisonné garnets, 7 ½ “ • This purse cover is one of the many treasures found in a ship beneath a royal burial mound discovered in 1939 • CLOISONNE = metalworkers produced this by soldering small metal strips, cloisons, edge up, to a metal background, and then filling the compartments w/semiprecious stones, colored glass and glass paste -> a cross between mosaic and stained glass • 4 groups on lower row -> man standing between beasts, in center is eagles attacking ducks/above are 3 geometric designs -> 2 linear and 1 an interlace pattern • Interlace pattern combined w/animal figures -> key EMA

  6. VIKINGS • Vikings = pre-Christian traders and pirates of Scandinavia • In 793 the Vikings land in British Isles and until the mid 11th century they were the terror of W. Europe • Ranged from Ireland, to Russia, to Iceland and Greenland

  7. OSEBERG SHIP BURIAL • Animal-head post, from Viking ship burial, Oseberg, Norway, 825 • The Vikings were master wood carvers -> this post from a Viking ship combines the head of a roaring beast w/surface ornamentation in the form of tightly interwoven writhing animals • Perfect example of the union of 2 fundamental motifs of warrior-lord art 1. The animal form 2. The interlace pattern

  8. CHRISTIAN ART: SCANDINAVIA, BRITISH ISLES, SPAIN • Powerful warlords amassing artworks dominated by abstract and animal motifs • Elsewhere in N. Europe Christian missionaries were est. monasteries and sponsoring art of Christian content • Early medieval art of N. Europe very different from in Italy and the Byzantine Empire • Fusion of native and imported artistic traditions

  9. The Stave Church at Urnes (12th century) has been placed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. • In the early Middle Ages many communities throughout northern Europe erected wooden churches on posts buried in the ground-> staves • In Norway, these constructions were ultimately refined into the exceptional stave churches known today. • These religious structures comprise Norway’s most important contribution to world architectural history.

  10. STAVE CHURCH, URNES • Wooden portal of the stave church at Urnes, Norway, ca. 1050-1070 • By the 11th century Scandinavia had become mostly Christian -> Viking artistic traditions persist • Intertwining of animal and plant decoration of the portal of this Norwegian church

  11. HIBERNO-SAXON ART • Ireland -> Christianization of the Celts began in the 5th century • Irish monasteries were relatively independent, isolated, inhospitable and inaccessible locations -> far from worldly temptations and distractions • Irish monks est. monasteries in Britain and Scotland • HIBERNO-SAXON = the art of the Irish-English islands -> greatest creations were illuminated manuscripts -> books were scarce and guarded treasures

  12. BOOK OF DURROW • Man (symbol of Saint Matthew), folio 21verso of the Book of Durrow, possibly from Iona, Scotland, ca. 660-680, ink and tempera on parchment • Hiberno-Saxon book illumination include some pages w/neither text nor illustration but only pure embellishment -> carpet pages • Book of Durrow -> the four gospel books, each w/ a carpet page facing a page w/the symbol of the evangelist who wrote the gospel • The cloak of Saint Matthew’s man resembles a cloisonné brooch w/abstract ornament

  13. THE FOUR EVANGELISTS • EVANGELIST = one who announces good news • THE FOUR EVANGELISTS = authors of the gospels/the first four books of the New Testament • MATTHEW -> winged man/angel • MARK -> the lion • LUKE -> the ox • JOHN -> the eagle

  14. Note the peculiar, linear style of barbarian art. No modeling, no light and shade, no illusionism. LINDISFARNE GOSPELS • Saint Matthew, folio 25 verso of the Lindisfarne Gospels, from Northumbria, England, ca. 698-721, tempera on vellum • Hiberno-Saxon illuminators were concerned w/abstract design not the depiction of the natural world -> this author portrait of Saint Matthew is an exception -> the inspiration for this may have been a Mediterranean book • Matthew sits in his his study composing his account of the life of Christ -> curtain, seat at an angle, lettering is a combo of Greek and Latin, the winged man symbol, man looking on

  15. Cross and carpet page, folio 26 verso of the Lindisfarne Gospels, from Northumbria, England, ca. 698–721. Tempera on vellum, 1’ 1 1/2” X 9 1/4”

  16. BOOK OF KELLS • Chi-rho-iota (XPI) page, folio 34 of the Book of Kells, probably from Iona, Scotland, late 8th or early 9th century • The greatest achievement of Hiberno-Saxon art is the Book of Kells • Written and decorated in an Irish monastery • The painter transformed the biblical text into abstract pattern, literally making God’s words beautiful -> intricate design recalls early medieval metalwork

  17. HIGH CROSS OF MUIREDACH • High Cross of Muiredach (east face), Monasterboice, Ireland, 923. Sandstone, approx. 18’ high • Early medieval Irish high crosses are exceptional in size • Muirdach’s cross marked his grave and bears reliefs depicting the Crucifixion and Last Judgement • THE CELTIC CROSS = circle intersecting the cross

  18. VISIGOTHIC SPAIN/MOZARABIC SPAIN • San Juan Bautista, Banos de Cerrato, Spain, 661 • Basilican church dedicated to Saint John the Baptist is typical of Visigothic architecture in Spain -> entrance portral crowned by a horseshoe arch

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