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    • #7508
      jlchamberlain
      Keymaster

      During the Early Medieval era illuminated manuscripts took the place of more traditional painting techniques. How did Classical and Byzantine art influence the form and function of these richly decorated manuscripts?

    • #7570
      Laura Barber
      Participant

      The earrings in the jewelry of Queen Arnegunde were similar to popular Byzantine styles, indicating that they may have been imported. Many of the gospel books of the time also contained Roman, Classical, or Byzantine influences. The Book of Kells, for instance, contained rather elaborate drawings that were not (for the most part) directly related to religion. This is perhaps in an attempt to avoid the creation of graven images. Earlier periods were prolific in expressing religious imagery through depictions of the Virgin Mary and other saints, but the Medieval period begins to stray away from this. Byzantine art also contributed to the more flat features present in how humans were drawn in Medieval artwork, such as in the Gospel Book of Durrow.

    • #7572
      Lucas Warthen
      Participant

      We see representations of the Byzantine era and Classical era throughout the Early Medieval art period. Evidence of the Byzantine era largely shines through with all the religious aspects of the Medieval era’s art, whereas the classical is harder to find. Classical is harder to relate due to the belief being polytheistic religion at the time and most of their art revolving around those gods. However, inspiration can be seen in carvings and some art pieces that are present in the Medieval period. The Grave Stele featured in the High Classical period is one such rock carving that depicts profiles of people similar to that of The Book of Durrow. The profiles are also seen in ceramic paintings of muses, such as on the White-Ground Ceramic Painting from the early classical period. Some animals are also present in art throughout the classical period but their meanings are lesser and often pertain to gods that they represent or are symbols for.

    • #7575
      Kaitlyn
      Participant

      The influence of the Byzantine art stood out to me a lot more than Classical period influence did. It is clear to see that art focused on religion during the medieval times. I think a lot of the inspiration for such pieces came from the influence of the Byzantine artworks, especially in the way that we don’t see the creation of graven images but we do see images centered around Christ. I think the early medieval period took a lot of inspiration from the Byzantine and Classical period and turned it into their own unique interpretations, such as the Book of Kells.

      • #7599
        Miranda Jackovich
        Participant

        To Kaitlyn
        I agree that the Early Medieval era resembled the Byzantine art more then the Classical art. There’s a bigger gap in time between the Classical and Byzantine period. What factors do you think influenced the Medieval art the most; such as religion or fashion?

      • #7615
        Bob Hook
        Participant

        Kaitlyn, I agree with you. I think the Christian religion provided the continuity between the Byzantine cultural images and many of the Medieval era. The image of the cross and Christ on a cross are images that are easily identifiable by our society. They are cultural landmarks that we easily recognize.

      • #7685
        Raven Shaw
        Participant

        At first I thought the only influence I could see was Byzantine too. The early Middle Ages is definitely more influenced by the Byzantine era, but the later Middle Ages seems to be more influenced by the Classical era, because of the patronage of Charlemagne. He encouraged the monks to imitate Classical art, so we see a lot of draping fabric later on, and more relaxed poses.

      • #7735
        rdnelson4
        Participant

        Kaitlyn,
        I agree that I didn’t see much Classical period influence as Byzantine. At least it didn’t jump out at me. I like your point that perhaps the purpose of abstract images not really depicting religious scenes but being religious in nature was an attempt to follow the Second Commandment: Do not make idols or graven images

    • #7581
      Maggie May
      Participant

      These manuscripts depicted images which were religious in nature but did not directly depict religious icons, so as to avoid graven images, which harkens back to the periods of iconoclasm in the Byzantine period. The influence of the Byzantine period is strong in Early Medieval times. Less obvious but still present is the influence of the Classical period, which can be observed in the style of art portrayed. These manuscripts were beautiful examples of art work of the time.

    • #7597
      Miranda Jackovich
      Participant

      The Early Medieval era was a combination of Nordic and Celtic culture that incorporated a religion originating along the Mediterranean with a culture of its own. ‘The High Crosses of Ahenny’ from County Tipperary, Ireland incorporated the Byzantine cross with traditional celtic knot motifs. ‘The Coronation Gospels, Gospel of Matthew’ displays the classic Greco-Roman robes. Some pieces from ‘The Jewelry of Queen Arnegunde’ (580-590 CE) share similar characteristics to Byzantine jewelry and are believed to be imported. Many different factors including art, fashion, and religion were brought to the region through trade and conquest. With multiple cultures influencing the Early Medieval era it created a unique culture of its own that we ironically know as the ‘Dark Ages’.

      • #7633
        Miranda Johansson
        Participant

        Miranda – I completely agree that it is ironic that we refer to this time period as the “dark ages.” You bring up many good examples of how cultures were being shared, and how the art during this time was influenced by other cultures. Great post – thank you for this insight!

    • #7598
      csayreswoody
      Participant

      Taking a look at The Trinity and the Magdeburg Ivories I must say that Byzantine era was a big influence on the Early Medieval era. If you would to compare the two and the similarities you can see how in each art piece there are people standing around either their god or a icon of their era. In both these times it seems that they enjoyed gathering in groups to talk about things or worship god which ever they prefer. The manuscripts wasn’t exactly the same but they were pretty close.

      • #7640
        tmbergan
        Participant

        Csayreswoody, maybe both of these eras like to show gathering groups conversing with one another because that’s how they spread the word of their religion. Or maybe it could be showing the togetherness of the people like you would see in a church? Just some ideas for why this seems so common in their artwork.

        • #7694
          csayreswoody
          Participant

          makes sense after looking at your point of view

    • #7610
      Lacey Miller
      Participant

      During the Early Medieval era illuminated manuscripts took the place of more traditional painting techniques. How did Classical and Byzantine art influence the form and function of these richly decorated manuscripts?

      I think the manuscripts are highly influenced by Byzantine. The idea of being highly illuminated is recognized in this early medieval era as well as the Byzantine, the use of gold, and decorative edges, etc. The medieval era just expanded the decorativeness. I suppose it can be tied to the classical era with their attention to detail, and a little bit of the repetitive design.

      • #7614
        Laura Barber
        Participant

        Re: Lacey
        I agree that the Byzantine style can definitely be seen in the art of this time period, but there were some major alterations in style and overall design.

      • #7643
        Gabe
        Participant

        Hey Lacey, I also made the connection of extreme attention to detail with for instance the feathers of the Nike from the Classical period. Whoever was creating these works obviously care a lot about them. I wonder if there is some meaning to the intricacy, like if they meant to convey the intricacy of the deity or the intricacy of the word of God or something like that. Interesting!

    • #7611
      Lacey Miller
      Participant

      Kaitlyn- I totally agree that the Byzantine influence was much more obvious.

    • #7616
      Bob Hook
      Participant

      I think the inclusion of Christ, saints and angels and other religious symbols in the illuminated manuscripts are definitely the influence of Byzantine art. I think you can find Classical influence in the addition of animals and human figures woven in among the pages of the manuscripts. I think The Book of Kells is a prime example of this, with angels, a human head, cats, and mice sharing a host wafer all on the page with the Greeks letters Chi and Rho the first two letters in the name Christ.

      • #7634
        Miranda Johansson
        Participant

        Bob – I thought the Book of Kells was so much fun to look at! I really enjoyed all the little hidden images within it. And I completely agree with you regarding the various manuscripts having many different influences from Classical art – the incorporation of nature into the art, in relation to humans, is indeed very interesting to see.

        Thank you for this post!

      • #7688
        Lucas Warthen
        Participant

        Hey Bob,

        I couldn’t agree with you more. The fact that there is a little bit of everything, especially seen in the Book of Kells as you pointed out, are prime examples of the influence of Byzantine art. It is almost like a mixing pot of many of the other time periods.

    • #7623
      Tamara Toy
      Participant

      I feel that the Byzantine influence is definitely more obvious than a Classical one. The Book of Durrow and the Coronation Gospels both favor the religious influence of the Byzantine area. This is when Christianity is firming up its grasp on The British Isles, pushing out the Pagan religion of the Celts and Scots (for the most part), so it makes sense that Medieval art would heavily favor Byzantine art as much as it does. In fact, I see very little influence of Classical art in this period. Most of the art is religious in nature, with little art representing a living person. Instead, Medieval art is more focused on religious meanings and consuming all means into a religious context, of some sort.

      • #7638
        tmbergan
        Participant

        Tamara, interesting catch that they don’t have much art representing living people. The fact that they were trying to push more Christianity over Pagan religious views would definitely explain why there’s so much more artwork telling the stories and meaning of the newer religion.

      • #7680
        Dean Riley
        Participant

        Tamara, you are correct that the art was very much based on religious images. I’m sure the rise of the church had much to do with this and since I’m sure that the church was the one “sponsoring” many of these artists, that the church was able to dictate what art was produced.

      • #7693
        csayreswoody
        Participant

        I can’t agree with your more on how the art did mainly display religion or religious views. It also seem to be true that the art was more so telling a story in many different ways. I also do agree that the classical period had very little influence on this ear of art than most people would think it had.

      • #7736
        rdnelson4
        Participant

        Tamara,
        I agree that the Byzantine influence is far more apparent to me than the Classical one. I like your observation that very few art pieces depict as actual person. I also agree that meaning and ritual is what most the Medieval era art is focused on.

    • #7632
      Miranda Johansson
      Participant

      The manuscripts, books, and gospels, that we have seen from the Celts and Anglo-Saxxons are intricately and beautifully decorated. They are obviously not that easy to read, and honestly remind me a little of an adult Christian coloring book.
      In the Classical and Byzantine era, religious art was intended to invoke emotions and inspire people to repent. The message was about the salvation of mankind, and art intended to speak of this miracle. One thing that you definitely can see has influenced the art of the Early Medieval times is the gold, colors, and intricately decorated pages and artwork. If we look at the Illuminated Manuscripts from the Mid Byzantine era, we can see that the thick decorated borders and pastel looking colors are very similar to the manuscripts of the Early Medieval time.

      I think the form and function that the Byzantine art heavily influenced on Early Medieval art is that there needs to be an underlying message for the audience to understand. Not everyone could read during this time, so a lot of communications where through images if not orally. The message was of reflection on salvation.

    • #7639
      tmbergan
      Participant

      The Medieval Era seemed to be a lot more heavily influenced by Byzantine art rather than Classical art. We saw a lot of depictions of Christ and angels in both Byzantine and Medieval artworks, and none of which were made out to be like a “graven image’ like we would have seen during the classical period. Golds and other bright colors are used to highlight little details and values as we see in the Book of Kells, and in the Jewelry of Queen Arnegunde, we see that medieval and Byzantine may have traded jewelry and other works of art with one another which may emphasize the similarities they shared.

      • #7657
        ckocsis
        Participant

        I totally agree! The Byzantine influence is much more obvious than that of classical art. People are less realistic looking and Graven images are avoided, much like they were in the Byzantine Era.

    • #7641
      Gabe
      Participant

      I was actually surprised how intricate and beautiful the illuminated manuscripts were! I can certainly see why anyone would accept whatever was written in the Lindau Gospel, it is impressive as heck! This effect seems comparable to the impressiveness of classical Greek and Roman sculptures and depiction of the emperor for instance. In both cases it serves the purpose of a kind of propaganda, impressing people with it’s authority. The influence of Byzantine art comes through in the content, especially in light of our discussion of graven images, the intricate detail is beautiful, yet doesn’t depict a figure or the deity. Instead the intent is probably to transfer the impact of the art strictly into the words of the gospel, and the concept of the Christian deity.

    • #7647
      Jessi Willeto
      Participant

      As we know it, Byzantine art was highly symbolic and was mostly centered around Christianity and the fight against iconoclasm. The symbolism of the manuscripts is reminiscent of that — they are not meant to be worshipped or have a any “graven images’ but are meant to be viewed and support the Christian narrative. The book of Kells shows that representation of christian symbols while still maintaining their main function.

    • #7649
      Jessi Willeto
      Participant

      RE: tmbergan
      Ooh, I like how you brought up the color scheme. It’s quite right, I think gold helped emphasize the “holy’ and religious aspect of it all in the Byzantine era and the medieval era.

    • #7650
      Jessi Willeto
      Participant

      RE: Tamara Toy
      I agree, I actually could not think of Classical ones that would relate to medieval art more so than Byzantine ones. I see medieval art either being highly religious, or focused on utility such as armor, weapons, clasps and other things to be used.

    • #7655
      Aubri Stogsdill
      Participant

      Like in Byzantine art, we see in the illuminated manuscripts that humans are not depicted in a ‘realistic’ way. They are generally depicted in a way that would have a viewer believe them to carry more spiritual attributes rather than relatable human attributes. Art was not used in the dark ages to bolster humanistic values, rather the images in the manuscripts would have primarily been used to carry a religious message. As this was a time when Christianity was prominent, the message of the gospels was often portrayed in these manuscripts. The primary goal was to tell stories, not so much to heighten the perspective of political leaders like we have seen in other periods. It is also clear that while they were not fully ‘following’ the second commandment, like the Byzantines, the people in the dark ages did not want to create images that could be worships as deities.

    • #7656
      Aubri Stogsdill
      Participant

      RE Lacey,

      You’re so right! The concept of being illuminated, and creating a work of art that certainly doens’t look like anything we would see in the real world is very prevalent in this time period. I hadn’t thought of the repetitive and intricate design as an indication of the classical period, but you are so right. Great point!

    • #7658
      ckocsis
      Participant

      I think the illuminated manuscripts from the Medieval era are much more influenced by the Byzantine era than Classical art. People are still represented much less realistically than they were in classical art, and the intention of the illuminated manuscripts was to tell stories and relay religious messages, which was an idea that started in the Byzantine era, and was taken further with illuminated manuscripts. Another thing taken from the Byzantine Era was the avoidance of Graven images, they don’t seem to take it as seriously as the Byzantine people, but the lasting effect of iconoclasm is definitely noticeable.

    • #7661
      Aalieyah Creach
      Participant

      a Lot of the illuminated manuscripts made during Early Medieval times have a very similar painting style when comparing both art styles. When you look at classical and byzantine artwork you can tell that a lot of it seems to portray a glow of religion. However when it comes to the early medieval manuscripts, although it looks as if it is religious, it actually looks as if it is portraying a higher form of human. Not someone like god but a human that is very important or connected with spirituality.

    • #7663
      Aalieyah Creach
      Participant

      Re: Jessi Willeto

      Very well done on explaining the connection between the two art styles and what they represented. Very informative too, iconoclasm was not something i even noticed nor connected while looking through the art pieces but i agree that it is definitely there.

    • #7664
      Valene
      Participant

      Byzantine arts were mostly concerned with religious expression albeit hiding religious faces through much of it to avoid the graven images issue. The early medieval era was clearly still influenced in how there was still some cross images used in manuscripts and it seems like graven images were still worried about. The Book of Kells was a beautiful example of the manuscripts showing this times period views on the Christian religion.

    • #7670
      Sam Saccomen
      Participant

      I saw more of a Byzantine influence rather than classical influence overall. Their art was always focusing on religion during this era, which to me points right to Byzantine art. Byzantine art had many images of religion and were against graven images, which to me explains the lack of artwork of this period. Although Byzantine art was the stronger influencer we see inspiration of the classical period also in the sense of images of angels and animals, however it is very limited. Overall, I believe Byzantine art was the main influence for the medieval times.

    • #7671
      Sam Saccomen
      Participant

      Miranda, I thought you had many valid examples and points. I really enjoyed your first example which clearly shows the medieval times used Byzantine influence in their art. Really good post!

    • #7679
      Dean Riley
      Participant

      The art of this time took influence from the other eras by bringing attention to the characters of the Christian religion without making them into idols and graven images. In the Book of Durrow, Matthew is shown. He is shown in such as way though that it doesn’t make him into a deity.

      • #7697
        Valene
        Participant

        Re Dean Riley:
        I agree, the Christian aspect of this time frame is being carried over form past eras but without being graven or idols. Its interesting how a newer religion could make such huge changes in not allowing portraits in their art to finally allowing it.

    • #7684
      Raven Shaw
      Participant

      In the early Celtic art the images were flattened, very much like the Byzantine art in how they were aiming for communicating ideas rather than portraying realism. The scrolling flowers and trees reminded me of the classical roman relief carvings that represented abundance and fertility.

      Carolingian art started to bring back the classical style of creating depth, and started showing people in more natural poses instead of just showing them head-on. A great example is the image of St. Mark in the Godescalc Gospel Lectionary.

      Charlemagne encouraged artists to study and copy the classical artists when illuminating their manuscripts. They ended up playing with light and shadow, and created more dynamic images than in the earlier Middle Ages.

    • #7734
      rdnelson4
      Participant

      Much of the art created from the Byzantine Empire was more symbolic than realistic, and this can be seen in Medieval era art as well. For example, the Virgin with Child and Saints and Angels Icon is far less realistic than portraits from earlier civilizations, just like the depiction of Saint Matthew on the cover of the Book of Durrow is almost primitive compared to the highly detailed work of the Greeks and those of the Romans. As dominated by religion as the Byzantine Empire, the Medieval era artwork as not only religious in content, but also used in religious ceremony, for instance the illuminated manuscripts being used in religious procession. I’m not sure if I see the influence coming from Classical art as strongly as that of the Byzantine Empire.

    • #7937
      Jess
      Participant

      It is interesting to see that classical art isn’t as influencial as byzantine art is during the early medieval period as seen in the Book of Kells as well as the Book of Durrow. The art in the early medieval era really honed in on religion and telling religious stories.

    • #7948
      Guy Gaswint
      Participant

      The Byzantine Era influence on medieval art is more easily recognizable due to it’s hyper-focus on religion. I feel that the medieval art still does not have a lot of the style and technique from the classical era and the content is largely different. When looking for influences from the classical era on medieval art the most prominent and distinguished examples I could find were the images of angels in the Book of Kellis.

      I feel that it makes sense that Byzantine art would have the greater influence on Medieval art as they are closer time periods. My parents generation has a greater influence on my generation than say my great grandfathers generation. The Byzantine era split from Classical era styles and that shift carried over to the Medieval Era as part of art evolution.

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