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Middle Ages

Art and Literature

Manuscript from Middle Ages
Manuscript from the Middle Ages
Bernhard von Clairvaux by Unknown
History >> Middle Ages

Art during the Middle Ages was different based on the location in Europe as well as the period of time. However, in general, Middle Age art can be divided up into three main periods and styles: Byzantine Art, Romanesque Art, and Gothic Art. Much of the art in Europe during the Middle Ages was religious art with Catholic subjects and themes. The different types of art included painting, sculpture, metal work, engraving, stained glass windows, and manuscripts.

The end of the Middle Ages is often signaled by a great change in art with the start of the Renaissance Period.

Byzantine Art

The start of the Middle Ages is often called the Dark Ages. This is the period of time from 500 to 1000 AD. The main form of art during that time was Byzantine art produced by artists from the Eastern Roman Empire, also called Byzantium.

Byzantine art was characterized by its lack of realism. The artists did not try to make their paintings realistic, but focused on the symbolism of their art. Paintings were flat with no shadows and the subjects were generally very serious and somber. The subjects of the paintings were almost entirely religious with many paintings being of Christ and the Virgin Mary.


Rochefoucauld Grail by Unknown

Romanesque Art

The period of Romanesque Art started around 1000 AD and lasted to around 1300 with the beginning of the Gothic Art period. Art prior to that is called pre-Romanesque. Romanesque art was influenced by both the Romans and Byzantine Art. Its focus was on religion and Christianity. It included architectural details like stained glass art, large murals on walls and domed ceilings, and carvings on buildings and columns. It also included illuminated manuscript art and sculpture.

Gothic Art

Gothic art grew out of Romanesque art. Gothic artists began to use brighter colors, dimensions and perspective, and moved toward more realism. They also began to use more shadows and light in their art and tried out new subject matters beyond just religion including animals in mythic scenes.

Artists of the Middle Ages

Many of the artists from the early Middle Ages are unknown to us. Some of the most famous lived during the latter part of the Middle Ages and are often considered to be part of the beginning of the Renaissance. Here are a few artists that made a name for themselves at the end of the Middle Ages: Literature

The majority of the literature produced during the Middle Ages was written by religious clerics and monks. Few other people knew how to read and write. Much of what they wrote was hymns, or songs, about God. Some also wrote philosophical documents about religion. One of the most popular books of the Middle Ages was the Golden Legend, by archbishop of Genoa Jacobus de Voragine. It told stories about the lives of the Saints during Medieval times. Some secular, meaning non-religious, books were written as well.

Here a few of the more famous literary works from the Middle Ages: Take a ten question quiz about this page.

More subjects on the Middle Ages:

Overview
Timeline
Feudal System
Guilds
Medieval Monasteries
Glossary and Terms

Knights and Castles
Becoming a Knight
Castles
History of Knights
Knight's Armor and Weapons
Knight's coat of arms
Tournaments, Jousts, and Chivalry

Culture
Daily Life in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages Art and Literature
The Catholic Church and Cathedrals
Entertainment and Music
The King's Court

Major Events
The Black Death
The Crusades
Hundred Years War
Magna Carta
Norman Conquest of 1066
Reconquista of Spain
Wars of the Roses

Nations
Anglo-Saxons
Byzantine Empire
The Franks
Kievan Rus
Vikings for kids

People
Alfred the Great
Charlemagne
Genghis Khan
Joan of Arc
Justinian I
Marco Polo
Saint Francis of Assisi
William the Conqueror
Famous Queens


Works Cited

History >> Middle Ages for Kids





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