March 11
Medieval Art



Emperor Justinian

Emperor Justinian mosaic in San Vitale, Ravenna.  c. 547.

Empress Theodora

Empress Theodora mosaic in San Vitale, Ravenna.  c. 547.








Emperor Justinian mosaic in San Vitale, Ravenna.  c. 547.







Empress Theodora

Empress Theodora mosaic in San Vitale, Ravenna.  c. 547.







Theodora detail

detail of Theodora







Historic Context
306 - 337
Reign of Constantine
Edict of Milan legalizes Christianity
Christianity becomes official religion of the Roman Empire
Olympic games abolished
Roman empire officially divided with emperor in Rome and in Constantinople
Gauls sack Rome
Fall of the western Roman Empire
Eastern half becomes Byzantine Empire and survives into 15th century
Eastern church becomes Orthodox Church
Western church becomes Catholic Church
526 - 565
Reign of Justinian
726 - 843
c. 732
Moors (Islamic Arabs) capture Spain and threaten France
Pope calls First Crusade
Turks capture Constantinople







Byzantine Empire

The Byzantine Empire







Basilica - found in the western Empire
Central Plan Church - popular in the eastern Empire


Old St. Peter's Basilica.  Rome.   c. 320 - 335.

San Vitale Floor Plan

San Vitale Floor Plan







Madonna and Child

Madonna and Child on a Curved Throne.  13th century.







Iconoclastic Controversy

Iccon of Christ

Christ, Mt. Athos.  13th century

Icon = from the Greek word, "eikon" for image
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image or any likeness of anything that is in Heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them." Second Commandment
Iconoclasts = image destroyers
Restricted imagery to abstract symbols & decorative elements
Led by Byzantine emperor
Supported mainly in east
Iconophiles = image lovers
Believed that Christ & his image inseparable
Led by monks
Supported in west







San Vitale Altar

San Vitale altar







Christ of the Pentecost

Christ of the Pentecost from Saint Madeleine Cathedral, France.  1125 - 1150.








Mihrab, Isfahan, Iran.  1354.







animal style = generic term for the characteristic ornamentation of artifacts worm and carried by nomadic peoples who, for almost two millennia (BCE into CE) migrated between China and Western Europe.

Oseburg Ship

Post from the Oseburg Burial Ship c. 800 - 8334

Characterized by:
Stylized animal forms with spare & abstract use of the human figure
Heavy use of decorative elements and organic shapes
Usually found on utilitarian object or items of personal adornment
Easily and often traded







Sutton Hoo Purse Cover

Purse Cover from the Sutton Hoo Burial, England.  Before 655.  Gold and enamel.  Length 7 1/2".







Lindisfarne Gospel

Lindisfarne Gospel carpet page.  Late 7th century.  13" X 10".

Meeting of the nomadic animal style with Christianity clearly visible in HIberno-Saxon manuscript illumination
Illuminated manuscript = a hand written and illustrated manuscript from the Western or Islamic traditions, commonly produced on vellum and incorporating gold and silver leaf







Chi-Rho Monogram

Ch-Rho Page from the Book of Kells.  c. 800.








Notre Dame de Chartres

Notre Dame de Chartres, France.  1145 - 1513.







Pointed arch

The pointed arch and flying buttresses







Rose de France

Rose de France window from Notre Dame de Chartres, France.  c. 1233.


Close up view