Essay on the Middle Age Art, Architecture, and Music Relation to the Church

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  8
Wordcount:  1953 Words
Date:  2021-06-18

Art is the visual, performance, or auditory creations that individuals make to express their emotions and view of beauty through the utilization of their imaginations and skills (Dissanayake 2015). Visual arts is a category of art that is composed of art forms such as paintings, videos, photos, drawings, ceramics, crafts, and sculptures. These forms of art usually focus on the creation of images and objects. Performance art is the art category that is expressed through the incorporation of vision and sounds. Some of the common examples of performance art are such as a magic show, dance, a circus act and a spoken words performance. Music is an auditory form of art that utilizes sound organized in time as its medium of expression (Dissanayake 2015). Music usually involves the formation of a melodious sound facilitated by the combination of pitch, dynamics, and rhythm. In the modern day era music as a form of art can be grouped into various genres such as rock, pop, jazz, blues, hip-hop, country music, and RnB. These genres usually tell a lot about the artists' culture and way of life. Musicians can incorporate instruments such as the guitar, piano, and trumpets that assist them in forming a melodious tune when they compose music.

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The earliest form of art was created by man present in the prehistoric Stone Age period dated between 3000000 and 700000 years ago. This period is divided into three main eras the Paleolithic which consisted of individuals who were majorly hunters and gatherers. The Mesolithic period composed of hunters and gatherers who practiced fishing and Neolithic era comprised of people who were involved in agricultural activities and hunting. The evidence of the oldest form of history is the petroglyphs which are dated to the Lower Paleolithic era (Gillette et al. 2014). Petroglyphs is a Greek term that refers to stone engraving created on the hard surface by acts such as scratching, carving, engraving and chiseling. The paintings depicted their way of life and were mostly of images of animals most probably the once they used to hunt. They also made numerous hand prints symbolizing a family set up. Most of this artwork was done on rock surfaces in caves where they lived.

During the middle age period that is dated from 500 to 1400 A.D the art and music in this era were profoundly influenced by religious beliefs and practices. The era is characterized by artistry phases such the Early Christian art era, the Byzantine era, the Migration period era, the Insular art era, the Romanesque era and the Gothic art era that were dominant in Europe and also some parts of the Middle East and Northern Africa. According to Jensen (2013), the Early Christian era began at around 200 A.D period even before the beginning of the middle age period. The first forms of artistry that are linked to this time were the paintings made on Rome catacombs of Christian believers who were mostly religious leaders. The catacombs of Rome which were underground burial sites were filed with the various Christian paintings. The Catacomb of Callixtus is one of the burial sites in Rome where most of the Christian religious leaders such as the pope were buried. Pope Callixtus is believed to be the one who created the tomb upon the request from Pope Zephyrinus. Pope Callixtus was however buried in a different tomb the Catacomb of Calepodius.

The burial services for the religious leaders were conducted in the Catacombs which were large enough to accommodate believers. The tombs were regarded sacred, and not everyone was allowed to go in. Most of the paintings made were of symbols of women praying and the scriptures inscriptions. These paintings acted as a form of prayer for the dead to rest in peace. The 400 A.D period saw the weakening of the Roman Empire rule which led to the strengthening of Christianity since most of the people had converted to Christianity (Yasin 2009). During that time Christianity became the main religion and was primarily supported by the government. The growing number of Christians saw the creation of massive worship halls build in the ancient Rome architectural designs. The halls were decorated with figures that mostly told the stories of Jesus. However, the image of Jesus varied from church to church.

The halls acted as worship places thus Christians did not have to pray in secrecy due to fear of being convicted. The Christians in this era also used to sing through chanting. The songs were mostly worshiping songs that had very few words. Saint Ambrose of Milan was one of the first composers of the songs composed during that period. The hymn called Veni Redemtor gentium,' which means the Redeemer of nations is one of his hymns (Yasin 2009). These short worship songs were used to sing while presenting sacrifices, and before starting prayers sessions. In the year around 540 to 604 A.D in the era of Pope Gregory, the Roman chant referred to as the Gregorian chant was composed this chant is sang to date in various Roman Catholic Churches.

The Byzantine art era was initiated by the rulers of Byzantine Empire that were formed after the division of the Roman Empire. The empire was built at around 500 A.D period and took control of the Eastern part of the Roman Empire and was dominated by individuals speaking in Greek. The empire fell in 1453 after the Ottoman Empire army captured Constantinople which was the capital of the empire. The army was under the command of a 21 year old boy called Mehmed who was the seventh ruler of the Ottoman Empire referred to as the Sultan. During the reign of the Byzantine Empire Christianity was the main religion under Byzantine rule. The Christian leaders led to the creation of many domes like churches that were decorated with various monumental frescos (Haldon 2009). Frescos refer to colored paintings that are done on wet plaster surfaces. The paintings were large and depicted the various Bible stories. The stories helped in giving the Christians at that time the mental picture of the different acts presented in the Bible thus enabling to understand the scriptures better. The paintings, however, did not last since the colors were washed away by rains.

The priests advocated for the construction of various churches all over the empire to discourage the influence of other religions to the citizens of the empire. During the Byzantine era, most of the artists used ceramics and various metals such as iron, silver, browns, and gold to decorate the church buildings. Most of the artists were members of different monasteries thus most of the artworks made portrayed religious messages. This held the churches to continue directly influencing the citizens to follow Christian religion practices. The painting of Christ and Saint Menas that is in Musee du Louvre in Paris, France is an example of a painting done by one of the artists who lived in the Byzantine reign era aimed at influencing citizens into Christian religious practices. Artists did not make many sculptures during this period as compared to the ancient Rome reign. This was because the sculptures were seen as forms of art that would encourage idolatry (Yasin 2009). This discouraged those who had converted to Christianity from going back to idle worship thus promoting the growth of Christian churches. Music in this era was similar to that in the Early Christian period where the priests were the leading musicians, and only men were allowed to sing.

The migration era took place in the period from 300 to 700 A.D. This period is characterized by the Christianization of individuals who migrated into the area where the different territories of the divided Roman Empire from Eastern- Europe. Most of those who migrated were from areas such as Germany. According to Nelson and Shiff (2010), the immigrants were referred to as barbarians by the Greeks since they practiced different religious acts that seemed violent to them. The barbarians had portable carvings of detailed gods made of metal, wood, or stone which they worshiped. The Greeks introduced them to Christianity, and most of them were assimilated. The barbarians' migration led to the adaptation of the early Anglo-Saxon, Norse art, Merovingian art, and Visigothic art into the Greek form of art. For example, the Greeks started crafting crosses that were more detailed with different patterns and symbols. They incorporated the use of animals into their drawings, for instance, they drew birds such as the doves to symbolize peace and animals such as snakes to symbolize the devil. The incorporation of such animals into their artwork helped them to explain to the barbarians more about their Christian religion effectively. This enabled them to assimilate them into Christianity easily. The Anglo-Saxon form of artistry also helped in the designing the patterns of the symbols on the Greek coins which were used in trading activities. The Sceattas, for instance, are great examples of coins that were designed in Anglo-Saxon inspired artistry. The coins were thick silver coins used in the eight century for trade.

The Insular art era is dated to the period from 600 to 700 A.D. The artistry in this era was composed of a mixture of style and elements from the Migration era, the Early Christian influence, and the Celtic art. The period is characterized by the utilization of geometric lined shapes. Christian artists used the combination of these styles in making of the high crosses that were placed in churches or on the grave of Christians symbolizing a Christian was buried at that particular location. The geometric details from the Insular art era were also used in the decoration of the utensils used in the churches such as the win cup and the church plates (Nelson and Shiff 2010). The details were used in decorating the covers of the scriptural books such as the Bible and in the decoration of the letters written by church leaders such as the priest. The paintings of church leaders and various characters in the Bible were also bordered with the geometric details from the artistry derived from the combination of the three styles. The designs used made it easy for one to recognize the Christian religious artifacts produced in that era. The Lindisfarne Gospel book which was written in the eighth century and is currently located in the British Library in London was decorated through the utilization of the Insular art era style. In architecture, the style of this era was used in the decoration of the church ceiling borders and the pillars of the churches.

The Romanesque art was divided into two eras the Pre-Romanesque period and the Romanesque era. The Pre-Romanesque era was architecture and art forms such as pictures that had the influence from the Southern part of Europe that is composed of Italy, Southern part of France, and Spain (Mann 2009). The style was present in the tenth century and had elements of the western part of the Rome from regions such as the Frankish Empire. The art composed of the inclusion of circles in drawings. The architects during that period started utilizing this form of artistry, and most churches, for example, were built in ring-like shapes. This era initiated the famous drawings of Jesus Christ, angels and other religious leaders that had a faint circle over his head. The rings were used to symbolize holiness and purity. This made it easy for one to understand the messages relayed from the portraits painted. The eleventh century Bamberg Apocalypse paintings in Bamberg State Library in Germany are examples of paintings that were drawn in the Pre-Romanesque era style.

The Romanesque era is composed of art that was developed in the period between the eleventh and twelfth century. This style was initiated in France and moved to other parts of Europe such...

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