History of Medieval Art

History of Medieval Art

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Gardens of Earthy Delights
Hieronymus Bosch

Medieval Art History 

A span of almost 1000 years in between 400-1300 AD, known to be the era of dark ages, immense growth, and changes occurring in society, the time was considered as the start of the medieval period around 476 AD. As we all believe humans society evolves after going through certain phases, so do art. It evolves along with human societies through new experiences, exposures, and experiments.

The medieval art encompasses 8 major artistic movements which include Byzantine, Islamic, Viking, Carolingian, Celtic, Ottonian, Romanesque, and Gothic art.

As there is no proper beginning and end of the middle age era so we can classify medieval art into three major periods;


  1. Early Christians

It is believed that the middle age was the period when Christianity and Catholicism in specific were becoming most popular in the Latin West. This means the rejection of ancient ways and traditions of life and increasing believes of Christianity as monotheistic religion was taking place as a revolutionary change in society.

So as an influence on this revolution, medieval art in churches, and worshiping houses reflects the sweeping popularity of Christianity. The medieval era saw the collapse of the Roman Empire into small political entities, yet this was the time when the criteria of membership of the community evolved. A society is free of race, origin, and ethnicity, and other factors yet in the form of community.

During the middle ages, visual art flourished, developing their artistic ideals and concept. Cathedrals, temples, sculpture, painting, textiles, manuscripts, jewelry, and ceremonial objects from artists were funded by the richest and most prominent members of society to promote art among people. Although these commissioners close to religion yet they also promoted secular art. Looking back to history, most of the artists weren't recognized by the world to date but they did leave an everlasting legacy behind.


  1. Romanesque Art

Medieval art continues to expand throughout Europe through Germany, Spain, England, Italy, and other regions. Medieval art in the beginning while growing symbolizes the wealth and power of churches and monasteries. Later this art can be seen in buildings and infrastructures characterized by thick stone walls and semi-circular arches.


  1. Gothic Art

Later Medieval art was the Gothic art era as a result of the French monarchy. Menacing catacombs, lighter building designs, and flying buttresses were prevalent in the Gothic cathedral.

We can see the evolution of man along with religion highly reflected in medieval art.  The changes in the church's decoration with time can be seen through medieval art. With time, artists become bolder in representing religious figures.

There is much to be collected and researched from the Middle Ages, from religious paintings to scriptures and exciting architectural structures. During this period, the rapid socio-political trends throughout the world led to the development of multiple cultures and styles of art.

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