Dr. Nancy Ross

About Dr. Nancy Ross

Dr. Nancy Ross is Contributing Editor for Medieval Art. She received her Ph.D. in the History of Art from Cambridge University in 2007. She specializes in medieval illuminated manuscripts and teaches art history at Dixie State College of Utah.

St. Mark from the Godescalc Gospel Lectionary, folio 1v., c. 781-83
Thanks to Charlemagne, religious reform and cultural revival swept 9th-century Europe. We call this period “Carolingian.”

Carolingian art, an introduction

Middle left (detail), Scenes from the Apocalypse, Paris-Oxford-London Bible moralisée, France, c. 1225-45, detail
A luxury reserved for royals, moralized bibles paired image and text. Their commentary compared 13th-century bad guys to biblical villains.

Bible moralisée (moralized bibles)

The Harrowing of Hell, c. 1440-70, carved painted and gilt alabaster, 58.3 x 31.5 cm (Victoria and Albert Museum)
Straight from the monster’s mouth! Christ leads the way as Adam and Eve escape the jaws of Hell.

The Harrowing of Hell

Lindau Gospels cover (detail)
Few medieval book covers survive. This bejeweled example depicts the crucified Christ and comes from Charlemagne’s workshop.

Lindau Gospels cover

Röttgen Pietà - detail
Taut skin, exposed ribs, a bleeding wound—this Christ suffered in both life and death. Medieval viewers took solace in his pain.

Röttgen Pietà

Christ as the Good Shepherd, Gala Placidia
Jesus is the central figure of this religion, but there are many sects—and great diversity of belief and practice.

Christianity, an introduction