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Merovingian dynasty

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Author Topic: Merovingian dynasty  (Read 2489 times)
Christa Jenneman
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« Reply #75 on: August 10, 2009, 02:42:39 am »

Although these kingdoms were never homogeneous, they shared certain common cultural features. Traditionally nomadic, they began to settle and become farmers and fishermen. Archaeological evidence shows no tradition of monumental artwork, such as architecture or large sculpture, preferring instead "mobile" art with a utilitarian function, such as weapons, tools and jewelry. The art of the Germanic peoples is almost entirely personal adornment, portable, and taken to the grave where it would act as an appeasement to dead spirits to protect the living.
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Christa Jenneman
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« Reply #76 on: August 10, 2009, 02:42:58 am »

Three styles dominate Germanic art. The polychrome style originated with the Goths who had settled in the Black Sea area; and the animal style, found in Scandinavia, north Germany and Anglo-Saxon England. Finally there was Hiberno-Saxon style, a brief but prosperous period that saw the fusion of animal style, Celtic and other motifs and techniques.
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Christa Jenneman
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« Reply #77 on: August 10, 2009, 02:43:29 am »

Polychrome style

During the 2nd century the Goths of southern Russia discovered a new found taste for gold figurines and objects inlaid with precious stones. This style was borrowed from Scythians and the Sarmatians, had some Roman influences, and was also popular with the Huns. Perhaps the most famous examples are found in the fourth century Pietroasele treasure (Romania), which includes a great gold eagle brooch (picture). The eagle motif derives from East Asia and results from the participation of the forebears of the Goths in the Hunnic Empire, as in the fourth-century Gothic polychrome eagle-head belt buckle (picture) from South Russia.

The Goths carried this style to Italy, southern France and Spain. One well known example is the Ostrogothic eagle fibula from Cesena, Italy, now at the museum in Nuremberg (see picture). Another is the Visigothic polychrome votive crown (picture) of Recceswinth, King of Toledo, found in a votive crown hoard of c. 670 at Fuente de Guarrazar, near Toledo. The popularity of the style can be attested to by the discovery of a polychrome sword (picture) in the tomb of Frankish king Childeric I, well north of the Alps, in the 5th century.
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Christa Jenneman
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« Reply #78 on: August 10, 2009, 02:44:01 am »



Alemannic belt mountings, from a 7th century grave in the grave field at Weingarten.
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Christa Jenneman
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« Reply #79 on: August 10, 2009, 02:47:45 am »

Animal style

The study of zoomorphic decorations was pioneered by Bernhard Salin in the early 20th century. He classified animal art of the 400-900 period into three phases: Scandinavian styles I, II and III. For the Migration Period, the first two styles are of importance.
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Christa Jenneman
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« Reply #80 on: August 10, 2009, 02:47:58 am »

Style I. First appears in northwest Europe, probably originating from the traditions of nomadic Asiatic steppes peoples, it became a noticeable new style with the introduction of chip carving applied to bronze and silver in the 5th century. Characterized by animals in the margins of works that are twisted, exaggerated, surreal, fragmented body parts filling every available space, creating an intense detailed energetic feel. It can be clearly seen in the Norwegian Vendel sword hilt from Grave V, Snartemo Hägebostad, Vest Agder, Norway (see picture). Also in this fibula (picture) from Öland Island, ca. 400-450 A.D.
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« Reply #81 on: August 10, 2009, 02:48:09 am »

Style II. After about 600 Style I was in decline and Salin's Style II rose in popularity. Displacing the surreal and fragmented animals of Style I, Style II's animals are whole beasts, elongated and intertwined into symmetrical shapes. Thus two bears are facing each other in perfect symmetry, forming the shape of a heart. Examples of Style II can be found on the gold purse lid (picture) from Sutton Hoo (ca. 625).
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« Reply #82 on: August 10, 2009, 02:49:29 am »

Christian influence

The Church in the early Migration period emerged as the only supranational force in Europe after the collapse of the Roman Empire. It provided a unifying element and was the only institution left that could preserve classical civilization. As the conversion of Germanic peoples by the end of the 7th centuries in western Europe neared completion, the church became the prime patron for art, commissioning illuminated manuscripts and other litergurical objects. The record shows a steady decline in Germanic forms and increasing Mediterranean influence. This process occurred quickly with the Goths of Italy and Spain and more slowly the further north one looked. This change can be observed in the 8th century Merovingian codex Gelasian Sacramentary, it contained no Style II elements, instead showing Mediterranean examples of fish used to construct large letters at the start of chapters.
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« Reply #83 on: August 10, 2009, 02:49:45 am »

Hiberno-Saxon art (often also known as Insular art, especially in relation to illuminated manuscripts) was confined to Great Britain and Ireland and was the fusion of Germanic traditions (via the Anglo-Saxons) with Celtic traditions (via Irish monks). It can first be seen in the late 7th century and the style would continue in Britain for about 150 years until the Viking invasions of the 9th century (after which we see the emergence of Anglo-Saxon art), and in Ireland up until the 12th century (after which see Romanesque art).
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« Reply #84 on: August 10, 2009, 02:50:29 am »



Fibula. Germanic, 2nd half of 4th century C.E.
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Christa Jenneman
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« Reply #85 on: August 10, 2009, 02:51:17 am »

History

The Celts of Britain and Ireland had already converted to Christianity when the pagan Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Frisians invaded in the 5th century. The Celts in Ireland were never invaded and continued to develop a Christian culture in safety, centering on monasticism, which the tribal Celts found more suitable to their traditional way of life than the hierarchal system of bishops and dioceses. Thus by the 6th century the Irish Celtic monasteries became the dominant form of Christianity, and because evangelizing was the primary goal of monasticism, they were ready to sponsor the spread of Latin learning to Britain, and elsewhere.
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Christa Jenneman
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« Reply #86 on: August 10, 2009, 02:51:32 am »

Saint Columba was a leading Irish missionary who around 563 founded a base on the Scottish island of Iona, from which to convert Pictish pagans in Scotland. Columban monks then went to Northumbria in 635 and founded a monastery on the island of Lindisfarne, from which to convert the north of England. However Rome had already begun the conversion of Anglo-Saxons from the south with a mission to Kent in 577. There arose a conflict between the Irish monks and Rome on the date to celebrate Easter, so the Irish mission withdrew from Lindisfarne back to Iona, although evidently leaving a major influence behind, as the Lindisfarne Gospels were produced after this. Anglo-Saxon England would come under increasingly Mediterranean influence, but not before a golden age of Irish Celtic and Anglo-Saxon art had profitably fused.
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« Reply #87 on: August 10, 2009, 02:51:44 am »

The first major work that can be called purely Hiberno-Saxon is the Book of Durrow in the late 7th century. Then followed a golden age in metalworking, manuscripts and stone sculpture. In the 9th century Hiberno-Saxon nears its end with the disruptions of Viking raids (ca. 807) and an increasing dominance of Mediterranean forms (see Anglo-Saxon art).
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« Reply #88 on: August 10, 2009, 02:52:07 am »

Illuminated manuscripts

Irish Celtic art had from the Iron Age period always been characterized by La Tène culture metalworking. Celtic hanging bowls such as those found at Sutton Hoo are among some of the most important of these crafts. As Irish missionaries began to spread the word of the Gospels they needed books, and almost from the start, they began to embellish their texts with artwork drawing from the designs of these metalworking traditions. The spirals and scrolls in the enlarged opening letters—found in the earliest manuscripts such as the 7th century Cathach of St. Columba manuscript—borrows in style directly from Celtic enamels and La Tene metalworking motifs.
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Christa Jenneman
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« Reply #89 on: August 10, 2009, 02:52:32 am »

After the Cathach of St. Columba, book decoration became increasingly more complex and new styles from other cultures were introduced. Carpet pages—entire pages of ornamentation with no text—were inserted, usually at the start of each Gospel. The geometric motifs and interlaced patterns may have been influences from Coptic Egypt or elsewhere in the Byzantine Middle East. The increasing use of animal ornamentation was an Anglo-Saxon contribution of its animal style. All of these influences and traditions combined into what could be called a new Hiberno-Saxon style, with the Book of Durrow in the later 7th century being the first of its type. The Lindisfarne Gospels is another famous example.
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