While Christianity could be argued to have started somewhere between the years 1 and 33 AD, it was not the official religion of the Roman Empire until the Edict of Milan in 313 AD, though by then it had extended throughout the empire and its social structure, thus necessitating the official conversion. So during its early years, it had to practiced in secret, and its art created in secret, independent of any stylistic influences of the time. As it became more established, there was a reaction against the pagan art of the Romans, and Christian art intentionally continued in a different style in order to differentiate itself. While Greco-Roman art was very idealized and aesthetically pleasing, medieval Christian art leaned away from realistic depictions and instead relied on subject matter and symbolism, and therefore concept as its basis. Figures became more abstracted in sculpture and painting, though not for lack of skill on the part of the artists. As the third dimension was denied, the art was more spiritualized, and was meant to be understood as a picture, rather than a direct representation.
[...] It is preceded by the Early Christian style, a less exacting and skillful style of art that came about in opposition to the pagan Greco-Roman style. There are similarities between the two in their ways of representing human figures as more abstracted (compared to the aesthetically pleasing classical figures), but the Hiberno-Saxon style takes it to the next level with the incredible detail and technical precision found in its works. The Hiberno-Saxon style takes its cues from Migration art, which are its roots. [...]
[...] The Carolingian Renaissance initiated in his court at Aachen saw a resurgence of classicism in art and architecture that harkened back to the times of the Christian emperors, as well as presented a blend of Byzantine and Greco-Roman styles that suggested political ties between the Eastern and Western empires a union that was never to be, but made for good pro- Charlemagne propaganda. There was also a great resurgence of learning and culture. In the library at Aachen were collected numerous Christian and classical manuscripts that were kept and copied. [...]
[...] Carolingian art thus began to differ greatly from Migration art as well; as the similarities to the realistic classicism increased, those to the abstracted and interlace styles predominant in the other styles of art decreased. While Carolingian illumination shares some ties with illumination of Hiberno-Saxon manuscripts, it too began to break away from that style. Backgrounds and perspective were introduced, and shaded forms began to become more important than flat, abstracted, decorative designs. With these changes and differences in mind, Charlemagne's goal of returning to the classical art styles of the Christian Holy Roman Empire seems to have been fulfilled. [...]
[...] Smaller than the Basilica plan, it features a round plan and a dome, the dome symbolizing heaven and the circle symbolizing eternity, two important features of the religion Migration Art The gothic tribes migrated in waves throughout Western Europe starting around the year 350 AD; specifically, the Visigoths eventually to Spain and Portugal, the Ostrogoths in 487 to France and Italy, and the Lombards to southern Italy in 568. Also involved in these movements were the Angles, Saxons, and the Frankish tribes. [...]
[...] The picture plane lacks depth; although it is a relief carved in marble, all the figures seem to be on the same plane, with no background details Hiberno-Saxon Art As the tribes of the Migration period settled into stable populations in their new territories and converted to Christianity, they did not adopt the artistic style of the local are but instead applied their own style to represent Christian subjects. The prominent style that emerged was the interlace style. It began to be applied to decorations of medieval religious manuscripts and in Ireland and the surrounding areas became an intricate and complex motif of their illuminated manuscripts of the Gospels. [...]
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