Materials, Methods, and Masterpieces of Medieval Art

Materials, Methods, and Masterpieces of Medieval Art

Materials, Methods, and Masterpieces of Medieval Art

Materials, Methods, and Masterpieces of Medieval Art

Synopsis

A comprehensive and informed analysis explores the startlingly diverse and sophisticated fine arts in the Middle Ages.

• Includes 76 illustrations

Excerpt

Both figuratively and literally, the Middle Ages were very colorful. Embellishment was applied to buildings, objects, and bodies—abundant and opulent ornament preferred to the simple and subdued. Colorful paintings, mosaics, and tapestries covered walls; stained glass glittered in windows and dappled interiors with patterns of colored light; precious objects of gold and silver glittered and glowed with enamel and gems. Members of the upper class adorned themselves in elegant attire, and the clergy donned sumptuously embroidered ecclesiastical vestments, while armor was the ultimate military mode. The most intricate designs were likely to be exquisitely executed with painstaking craftsmanship, often on an almost microscopic scale. Although the visual arts of the Middle Ages were extremely colorful, today much of that color has diminished or disappeared, the pigments and threads faded, the gold abraded, the silver tarnished.

To understand and appreciate the art of the Middle Ages, perhaps more so than art created during other eras, it is necessary to be familiar with the materials and methods employed. This volume is intended to provide a comprehensive overview of the techniques utilized by artists working in Western Europe during the medieval period. Each chapter focuses on a specific medium and the materials and methods employed. The advantages and disadvantages of each medium are assessed, as are its potentials and limitations. Medieval sources of instructional advice for artists are discussed. Additionally, each chapter includes a chronological study of major masterpieces created in that medium, thereby demonstrating its development. The style of each work of art is seen to be . . .

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