Overview Guide: Early Europe and Colonial Americas

200–1750 C.E.

Introduction to the Middle Ages

Introduction to the Middle Ages

By Dr. Nancy Ross

The dark ages? So much of what the average person knows, or thinks they know, about the Middle Ages comes from film and tv. When I polled a group of well-educated friends on Facebook, they told me that the word “medieval” called to mind Monty Python and the Holy Grail,...

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Medieval manuscripts, an introduction

Medieval manuscripts, an introduction

By Dr. Nancy Ross

What survives More medieval books survive from the Middle Ages than any other artistic medium. Scholars refer to the hand-made books of the Middle Ages as manuscripts. Books that contain artistic decoration are called illuminated manuscripts. Manuscripts that survive...

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Byzantine art, an introduction

Byzantine art, an introduction

By Dr. Ellen Hurst

To speak of “Byzantine Art” is a bit problematic, since the Byzantine empire and its art spanned more than a millennium and penetrated geographic regions far from its capital in Constantinople. Thus, Byzantine art includes work created from the fourth century to the...

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Introduction to mosque architecture

Introduction to mosque architecture

By Kendra Weisbin

From Indonesia to the United Kingdom, the mosque in its many forms is the quintessential Islamic building. The mosque, masjid in Arabic, is the Muslim gathering place for prayer. Masjid simply means “place of prostration.” Though most of the five daily prayers...

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Gothic architecture, an introduction

Gothic architecture, an introduction

By Valerie Spanswick

Forget the association of the word "Gothic" to dark, haunted houses, Wuthering Heights, or ghostly pale people wearing black nail polish and ripped fishnets. The original Gothic style was actually developed to bring sunshine into people's lives, and especially into...

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Humanism in Italian renaissance art

Humanism in Italian renaissance art

By Dr. Heather Graham

Eager to serve the interests of their classically-inclined patrons and to demonstrate their own ingenuity, visual artists explored new approaches to form inspired by surviving art and architecture from antiquity as well as ancient authors’ discussions of them.

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