The History of the Medieval Art Movement and What You Should Know

Published Categorized as Art Movements, Medieval Art
Medieval Art (500–1400)
Medieval Art (500–1400)

The history of the medieval art movement is a bit unknown. However, it has been popular in recent years due to its uniqueness and beauty.

The art movement was popularized in the late 19th century by British Pre-Raphaelite’s Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris, who wanted to represent the beauty of life at that time instead of depicting scenes from biblical mythology.

It was also popularized by the paintings of artists like James McNeill Whistler.

Today, there are many famous contemporary artists that follow this style including Canadian painter Philip Goodwin and American Artist Christopher Smart.

The Basics of Medieval Art Movements

Medieval art is a term that refers to all art created in Europe and England during the Middle Ages, or roughly from the close of the 5th century to the beginning of the 15th century.

The most common art technique used during medieval times was illuminated manuscripts. Medieval artists used different techniques such as mosaic, fresco, and stained glass to create their work.

Themes in Medieval Art

Some of the common themes that were seen in paintings during the Middle Ages are religious icons, portraits of saints, crucifixions, and martyrdoms. Artists would also paint scenes from the Bible or depict events from the lives of saints.

Artists often mixed Christian symbols with pagan symbols to make sure that people understood their message. They also used stories from other religions to teach people about Christianity. These artists wanted to make sure that people understood both Christianity and other religions.

The Renaissance & Gothic Styles in Medieval Art

The Renaissance Style focuses on realism and naturalism while the Gothic style is symbolic and utilizes exaggeration.

The Renaissance period was a time of Italian art where artists started to look at life in a more realistic way. This change in art style is called the Renaissance which means “rebirth” in Latin. Artists were looking to create paintings that depicted faces, fingers, hair, eyes, and clothes realistically. The changing of the art form reflected the social changes that were happening at this time as well. For example, people during this time wanted to focus on human emotion and not religious themes anymore.

The Gothic style emerged in Northern Europe and focused on exaggerated shapes and shadows to create contrast with light sources. The use of contrast added depth within the work which made it seem more three-dimensional than previous styles.