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Mary’s tunic – Medieval Chartres

By | 2018-04-15T16:50:57+00:00 August 4th, 2017|History|

Mary's tunic, preserved in a glass case in the treasury of Chartres cathedral in France According to a popular story, about 800 AD, Irene, the Empress of the Roman Empire in Eastern Europe and West Asia, wanted to become more friendly with Charlemagne, the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire in Western Europe. By making an [...]

Republic of Florence – Medieval Italy

By | 2017-08-02T21:22:37+00:00 August 2nd, 2017|History, Medieval|

Romanesque baptistery in Florence, Italy When the last of the Carolingian Holy Roman Emperors died in 924 AD, northern Italy - including Florence and nearby Genoa - fell under the power of the Counts of Canossa: first Boniface III, then his daughter Matilda. Florence did very well under their rule: in 1059, Florence was able to rebuild its Christian baptistery in a beautiful Romanesque style. [...]

Giotto in Florence and Assisi

By | 2018-04-15T16:34:28+00:00 August 1st, 2017|History|

St. Francis giving away his cloak, from Assisi, Italy, probably by Giotto Giotto was an Italian painter around 1300 AD. Giotto was originally from Florence. He was born about 1265 AD. As a teenager, he may have been a student of the great painter Cimabue. It's possible that he suffered from dwarfism. When Giotto (jee-OTT-oh) grew up, he [...]

Medieval German art

By | 2018-04-10T22:56:55+00:00 August 1st, 2017|Art, Medieval|

Evangelists on an ivory plaque, Cologne(?), ca. 1000 AD (Now in Metropolitan Museum, New York) At first, German art after the fall of Rome was a lot like Visigothic or Merovingian art. People call German art made after the 900s AD "Ottonian" after the German emperors who were ruling at that time. Because these Otto emperors thought of themselves as being Holy Roman [...]

Rouen cathedral – medieval France

By | 2017-07-31T10:03:41+00:00 July 31st, 2017|Architecture, Medieval|

Rouen cathedral (begun 1202 AD) The people of Rouen, in northern France, decided to build themselves a new cathedral in 1200 AD, just after people started building Chartres cathedral, and only about forty years after they began building Laon Cathedral and Notre Dame in Paris. Rouen nave Unlike these other cathedrals, though, it took more than three hundred years to [...]

Inside Reims cathedral – Nave and Transept

By | 2017-07-31T09:49:52+00:00 July 31st, 2017|Architecture, Medieval|

Elevation of the nave inside Reims cathedral One difference between Chartres cathedral and Reims cathedral was that at Reims they didn't build a deep gallery over the aisle. Instead, they just put in a shallow, fake gallery, that looked lighter. As at Chartres, this gallery is tiny compared to the big arches underneath. On the [...]

Reims cathedral – medieval France

By | 2017-07-31T09:44:21+00:00 July 31st, 2017|Architecture, Medieval|

Reims cathedral (begun 1211 AD) Reims was already an important Christian church in 496 AD, just after the fall of Rome, when the first Christian king of France, Clovis, was baptized there (the remains of the baptismal font are still there under the cathedral). After that, most kings of France were crowned in Reims (pronounced RANCE). The bishops of Reims wanted their [...]

Pisa – the Duomo – medieval Italy

By | 2017-07-31T09:36:31+00:00 July 31st, 2017|Architecture, Medieval|

Cathedral of Pisa (the Duomo) This is the cathedral of medieval Pisa, in Italy. The architects built the cathedral in the Romanesque style around 1064 AD. The rounded arches are typical of the Romanesque style. So is the floor plan of the building, with many little bits sticking out all over. Façade of Pisa's Duomo The outside of the [...]

Inside Notre Dame – Paris, France

By | 2017-07-31T09:26:25+00:00 July 31st, 2017|History|

Notre Dame of Paris nave After they had pretty much finished the nave of Notre Dame of Paris, the builders worked on the crossing. Then they started on the apse. They finished the apse in 1182 AD, and the nave in 1196. Then they began working on the transept. But they soon ran out of money to [...]

Notre Dame of Paris – Medieval Cathedral

By | 2018-04-12T00:07:58+00:00 July 31st, 2017|History|

Notre Dame of Paris (1160s AD) In 1160 AD, a hundred years after Matilda built the Abbaye aux Dames in Caen, and about the same time as they were building the new cathedral at Laon, the Bishop of Paris, Maurice de Sully, decided that Paris should also have a big newChristian church - after all, how could the French king allow his capital to [...]