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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
  • Ottonian refers to 3 rulers
    • Otto(s) who stabilized Holy Roman Empire
  • Architectural work:
    • Benedictine abbey church of St. Michael’s
  • Metalwork at Hildesheim by Bishop Bernward
    • Originally an entrance
    • Old and New Testament figures in high relief by thin, lively figures

Abbey Church of St. Michael’s(Fig.11.11)

Bronze doors, St. Michael’s , Bishop Bernward (fig 11.13)