A History of Art - Vol. 2

A History of Art - Vol. 2

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A History of Art - Vol. 2

A History of Art - Vol. 2

Read FREE!

Excerpt

For the beginnings of mediæval art we must go back to the first centuries of the Christian Era, and yet further to the civilisation and art of Rome, which had itself assimilated the surviving civilisation and arts of Greece and the East. Thus early Christian Art, whilst inspired by a new ideal, was in its technique the heir both of Roman and of Græco-Oriental Art. In Italy and the Western Empire it was mainly of Roman extraction, as in the Catacombs and the churches of Constantine; in the empire of the Græco-Oriental world it was essentially of Greek and Oriental extraction, as in the splendid development known as Byzantine Art.

In the West art suffered eclipse through the calamitous invasions of the barbarians, while in the East Byzantine Art continued to develop and gave rise to Arab Art, which was later to assume such diverse forms of beauty in the various regions where it held sway.

The first artistic outcome of the revival in the West was Carolingian Art, and, after the formation of the great new nations north of the Alps, appeared and developed successively, also north of the Alps, the robust and severe Romanesque and the soaring, graceful Gothic, which seemed to spring up like a hymn of mystic joy. It flourished throughout Europe, but first in France, where it bore magnificent fruit, and whence it spread to England, Germany, Flanders, Italy, Spain, and Portugal, everywhere with new and original characteristics.

I shall briefly discuss all the above-mentioned arts in this first part of the second volume; Italian Art, from the eleventh to the end of the fourteenth century, I shall reserve for the second part, which will shortly appear.

GIULIO CAROTTI.

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