The Medieval World, C. 400–1300

Early Medieval Art from Northern Europe

What is “medieval”?

The “medieval period,” also referred to as the “Middle Ages,” is the name given to the period of European history from the fall of the Western Roman Empire to the beginning of the Italian Renaissance in the fourteenth century. These terms are generally derogatory, and are linked to the humanist idea that the one thousand years between the Classical age and the Renaissance were somehow “dark” or barbaric. In actuality, however, European art from this period was rich and innovative, drawing inspiration from the diverse cultures thriving in Europe at the time.


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