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Medieval Art

byzantine church icons

The Middle Ages


Medieval Art


The time from the end of the Roman empire in the 5th century right up to the Renaissance in the late 15th century is known as the Middle Ages. 

This period marked difficult and violent times in Europe as rival leaders battled for land and power. 

Life was disrupted by constant fighting so much that little time was made for art. 

During these medieval times the spread of Christianity in Europe led to the flourishing of Christian art.

Middle Ages 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.


Byzantine art developed in the period of around 330 and 1453 AD. The Byzantium Empire was the eastern part of the Roman Empire which survived after the western part collapsed. 

Byzantium painters made Christian pictures using the same techniques as the Romans painting wooden panels with egg tempera or wax based paints. 

However the Byzantium painters did not try to be realistic. They moved away from previous styles of realism as they believed them to be sinful. Byzantium's thought of paintings as holy. 


Icons of the Church


These icons are works of art that represent holy people. Icons were made for people to look at while they were praying and the artist's names are usually unknown. 

icon middle ages art King David
icon of Christ byzantine art
 icons of Church

Romanesque Art

The period of Romanesque Art started around 1000 AD and lasted to around 1300 with the beginning of the Gothic Art period. Romanesque art was influenced by both the Romans and Byzantine Art. Again its focus was on Christianity and religion. It consisted of large wall murals domed ceilings, stained glass and wall carvings.  It also included illuminated manuscript art and sculpture.

temptation of Christ art

The Temptation of Christ, Romanesque Fresco

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