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Introduction to the Medieval World: Extra Class

Extra Class: Medieval Art and Architecture

Assigned Reading:



I. Introduction A. Medieval buildings Rural/Peasant - cottages Urban/Use of Stone or brick -Town - town walls/stone -Noble - Secular - castles, manor houses/stone Religious - Cathedrals, Abbeys, smaller churches - reflect a value system - of how to spend small surplus. [mention St. John the Divine] B. Art Sculpture [Mention graven images] Painting Tapestry Book illumination Fundamental concept of western art - so obvious you don't think about it - is that art relates to the subject it portrays - not the observer - cf. Islamic art. II. The Cloisters Medieval Collection of the Metropolitan Museum Founded by John D. Rockefeller [Value of robber barons] From a collection he spent the early years of this century building up. Centerpiece is its four cloisters Arranged so as to illustrate Artistic development of the middle ages - mainly in western Europe - France, Spain, England. Less so of Italy of Germany III. Churches -Religious faith -More space than necessary -Chapels -Altars -color -Cathedrals - could take a century to construct - a sign of the wealth of the high middle ages. IV. Romanesque 1000 or earlier - Ralph Glaber remarked `the world was putting on a white mantle' of churches. -Develops in Lombardy first - but in Italy use of marble gives a different effect - e.g. Pisa - 1068-1118 -Rounded arch: requires heavy pillars, but allows stone vaulting. -Heavy and somber - but also fantastic and exuberant -Beginning of signing art - Gilbertus fecit hoc at Autun V. Gothic -Not called gothic at the time - it was a Renaissance insult. -Reflects a more intense emotionalism -But also pure engineering development -a desire to push roofs higher -led to pointed arches -need to support thrust of walls a ceilings Signs of the Gothic in Buildings -Pointed arches -Vault ribs -Buttresses - allow windows - stained glass - light and airy 1140s-early 1300s - Gothic -Abbot Suger - St. Denis -Chartres -Notre Dame -Westminster Abbey - 435 men worked on it in midsummer 1253 -some fell down - Beauvais -Greater importance of the mass. -Decorative schemes - tendency towards naturalism VI. Late Gothic Move to elaboration of themes - more and more detail Seen in paintings as well Symbolism increases in importance VII. Monasteries -Could be as elaborate as great cathedrals. -For centuries Cluny was second largest Church in the west. -Others were simple. St. Benedict's rule provided a model for monastic life. -In Celtic and Byzantine monasticism, buildings could be all over the place. -In Benedictine monasteries, you had to have certain buildings -a church -a chapter house -a refractory -a dormitory -led to remarkably similar types of monastic buildings - often centered around cloisters. VIII. "Minor" Arts -Book illumination -Church furnishing -Weaving -Tapestry -reliquaries -Monstrances -censors

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© Paul Halsall, 1996.

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The Internet History Sourcebooks Project is located at the History Department of  Fordham University, New York. The Internet Medieval Sourcebook, and other medieval components of the project, are located at the Fordham University Center for Medieval Studies.The IHSP recognizes the contribution of Fordham University, the Fordham University History Department, and the Fordham Center for Medieval Studies in providing web space and server support for the project. The IHSP is a project independent of Fordham University.  Although the IHSP seeks to follow all applicable copyright law, Fordham University is not the institutional owner, and is not liable as the result of any legal action.

© Site Concept and Design: Paul Halsall created 26 Jan 1996: latest revision 20 January 2021 [CV]