Category Archives: Medieval Art

Mihrab (prayer niche), Iran, Isfahan, Ilkhanid period (1206–1353), mosaic of polychrome–glazed cut tiles on stonepaste body; set into mortar; 135 1/16 x 113 11/16 in., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Photo via The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Mihrab (prayer niche), Iran, Isfahan, Ilkhanid period (1206–1353), mosaic of polychrome–glazed cut tiles on stonepaste body; set into mortar; 135 1/16 x 113 11/16 in., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Photo via The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Just a Second: Mihrab

Mihrab (noun) A mihrab is a niche in an Islamic mosque that indicates the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca toward which all Muslims should face when they pray.

German Aquamanile in the Form of a Dragon, c. 1200, copper alloy, 8 3/8 x 4 3/8 x 7 3/16 in., The Cloisters Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Photo via The Metropolitan Museum of Art. German Aquamanile in the Form of a Dragon, c. 1200, copper alloy, 8 3/8 x 4 3/8 x 7 3/16 in., The Cloisters Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Photo via The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Just a Second: Aquamanile

An aquamanile is a vessel that holds water used for washing hands in both religious and secular contexts. Typically, the vessel is animal-shaped and has religious symbolism. During the Middle Ages, priests often used them to wash their hands before Mass. This aquamanile … Continue reading

2015editathon Wikipedia-edit-a-thon

Make the Time: Art+Feminism Wikipedia Siege at MoMA

The activist group Art+Feminism will host its second annual “Wikipedia-edit-a-thon” at the Museum of Modern Art on Saturday, March 7th from 11:00am to 5:00pm.  The purpose of the event is to revise and add information to better represent female artists and feminism on Wikipedia, … Continue reading

Sainte-Chapelle, 1241-1248, Île de la Cité, Paris, Photo by Didier B, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 Generic via Wikipedia. Sainte-Chapelle, 1241-1248, Île de la Cité, Paris, Photo by Didier B, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 Generic via Wikipedia.

Sainte-Chapelle If You Love Blue

Built by French King Louis IX, a.k.a. St. Louis, in the mid-13th century, Sainte-Chapelle almost itself is a reliquary rather than a chapel to house reliquaries. The space is connected to the Royal Palace so that the royal family could simply walk into … Continue reading

An Angel Unlocking the Door of Hell, Winchester Psalter (Psalter of Henry of Blois), between1121-1161, 12.6” x 8.8”, British Library, London, Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication License, Wikimedia Commons. An Angel Unlocking the Door of Hell, Winchester Psalter (Psalter of Henry of Blois), between1121-1161, 12.6” x 8.8”, British Library, London, Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication License, Wikimedia Commons.

The Winchester Psalter: No Way Out

The lavishly illustrated Winchester Psalter likely was created for Henry of Blois, brother of Stephen, King of England, in the 12th century. This manuscript from the Romanesque era has 80 unusual and innovative illustrations, including the frightening scene of an … Continue reading

Punitavati, Shiva Saint, c. 1050, bronze, 19 5/8” x 8 7/8”, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, Photo by Jacquelyn Mata, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License. Punitavati, Shiva Saint, c. 1050, bronze, 19 5/8” x 8 7/8”, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, Photo by Jacquelyn Mata, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License.

Punitavati, the Shiva Saint: A Love That Lasts Centuries

Jacquelyn Mata, a student at Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX, wrote this post. This beautiful yet haunting bronze sculpture portrays Punitavati, a Shiva Saint and a member of the Shaiva Nayanars, or “slaves of lord.”  Hindus believe priests summoned deities … Continue reading

Reliquary of St. Thomas Becket, first quarter of the 12th century, Champlevé copper, engraved, chased, enameled and gilt, Musée national du Moyen Âge, Paris, Photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen via Wikimedia Common, Artwork in the Public Domain. Reliquary of St. Thomas Becket, first quarter of the 12th century, Champlevé copper, engraved, chased, enameled and gilt, Musée national du Moyen Âge, Paris, Photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen via Wikimedia Common, Artwork in the Public Domain.

Just a Second: Champlevé

Champlevé (noun) A technique in enameling in which an artist creates hollows in a metal surface and fills it with enamel.  The artist who crafted the champlevé enamel scene on the Reliquary of St. Thomas Becket carved it into copper before … Continue reading

Interior of San Vitale, 526-547 CE, Ravenna, Italy, Photo by sjmcdonoughvia Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 ShareAlike License. Interior of San Vitale, 526-547 CE, Ravenna, Italy, Photo by sjmcdonoughvia Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 ShareAlike License. 2

San Vitale in Ravenna: Justinian’s Little Gem

San Vitale is one of the first examples of Byzantine art and architecture in Western civilization. In the 6th century, under the reign of Justinian, Constantinople (modern day Istanbul) became the political and religious center of the Christian Byzantine Empire and … Continue reading

St. Matthew from the Gospel Book of Archbishop Ebbo of Reims, 816-835, ink and colors on vellum, 10¼” x 8¾”, Municipal Library, Épernay, France, Pulbic Domain via Wikimedia Commons. St. Matthew from the Gospel Book of Archbishop Ebbo of Reims, 816-835, ink and colors on vellum, 10¼” x 8¾”, Municipal Library, Épernay, France, Pulbic Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The Ebbo Gospel: Inspiring and Inspired

The ninth-century French emperor, Charlemagne the Great, promoted learning and culture by supporting several monasteries throughout his empire that collected and produced manuscripts.  These monks in their scriptoria became the cultural army for the emperor. One of the most unique … Continue reading