History of Art through the Middle Ages (Project)

Travel Journal to Points of Interest from the Early Middle Ages, Romanesque, and Gothic Worlds

Travel, whether it was to the Middle East to fight in the Crusades or on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, was an activity that shaped the Middle Ages.

For this assignment, put yourself in the place of a person living during Middle Ages who traveled throughout Europe. Select a total of six representative pieces of art or architecture that date from this period in history. You should have 2 examples from each of the time periods in the Middle Ages: two examples from the Early Middle ages, two that represent the Romanesque, and two that represent Gothic art. Each example should reflect the essential characteristics of its time period. Your objects need to date between 400 CE and 1300 CE—the time span that encompasses the Early Middle Ages, Romanesque, and Gothic periods.

·  two examples from the Early Middle ages, 400-1000 CE (Chapter 11)

·  two that represent the Romanesque, 1000 and 1100 (Chapter 12)

·  two that represent Gothic art, 1100-1300 (Chapter 13)

When you return from your travels, prepare a journal that includes the following information for each of your six representative works of art:

1.  A photograph of the object—Provide an image of your example.  See my help document on how to get your images.

2.  Identifying information:  Good news!  This will all be located in the caption for your image!  Just copy what it has there!

Name of the artist (if available)

Title of the work  Artwork titles are in Italics or Quotes!

Date of the work

Medium/materials used to create the work

3.  Then, write a paragraph of 4-6 sentences that:

a.  Describes the visual characteristics that makes the object representative of its style This will be the characteristics of the style it represents.  For example, if you choose a Gothic church, then perhaps one of your characteristics you will discuss will be the stained glass windows since Gothic art was all about light (colored light let in through the windows) and height.  (pointed arches?  soaring vertical height of interior?)  Be sure to give details of where these interesting points can be found.  Be specific in your descriptions.  Most of all, use ART VOCABULARY.

b.  Places the work within its social and historical context and explains why it is culturally significant — This is where you discuss the cultural/historical context of your destination.  For example, if you chose Santiago de Compostela as your Romanesque example, you would discuss how it is a pilgrimage church.  You would define the characteristics of a Romanesque pilgrimage church (wide side aisles that allowed pilgrims to filter in passed all the relics), an important sculptural message above the portals (like the Last Judgment), and why the pilgrims were making the journey to these churches in the first place (to venerate saints’ relics.)

Watch some videos on Smarthistory that model how you talk about art.

Early Medieval:  Anglo-Saxon art, Carolingian art, Ottonian art



·  Finally, in a well-developed paragraph of 6-8 sentences, summarize what you have learned from your travels, highlighting key similarities and distinctions between the six objects you selected for discussion.  This is your conclusion.  Summarize the styles for the three time periods and explain how each fits into the respective style/time period.  Compare and contrast the styles and make sure you name each example in your summary/conclusion.   Is it a typical example of that style, the first example to have a certain characteristic, the best example of this style, etc.  You have six objects to discuss so that’s at least one sentence summary for each and then a couple of more to tie it all together.

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