Famous Artists of the Middle Ages

The Middle Ages saw the emergence of some of the most famous artists throughout history. There is a rather large range in artistic style throughout the Middle Ages, and you can see a strong difference between beginning Middle Ages artists and ones much later on in the time period. The beginning of the Middle Ages saw a lot of art with a very strong religious influence whereas the end of the Middle Ages saw more of a Medieval or Gothic style influence.

The Middle Ages artists toward the beginning of the period were generally monks or other members that resided in the monastery. This was strongly reflected in the art, and made for some interesting work. The influence gradually changed and moved away from the monasteries and toward individuals that just had that artistic flair. This all led to developing some of the most interesting artwork in history.


Portrait of Donatello

Portrait of Donatello
I, Sailko / CC BY-SA

Donatello is perhaps one of the most well known sculptures of all time. He developed the sculpture David which is arguably the most famous sculpture that ever existed. While David was most likely the most popular sculpture that Donatello created it was not by far the only famous sculpture that he created.

There are many reasons for why Donatello’s art is still so well known today, such as the fact that many of his sculptures were develop in tough materials such as marble that would last the test of time. Donatello really set his place in history by being the first artist to sculpt a nude. While there has been much controversy surrounding this piece even today no one will forget Donatello for going outside of the norm in order to create a masterpiece that would cement his place in history.


Portrait of Giotto

Portrait of Giotto
Florentine School / CC BY-SA

Giotto was of Italian descent just like Donatello, but where Donatello focused on sculpting Giotto focused on painting and architecture. Giotto was one of the more popular Middle Ages artists toward the end of the Middle Ages. He originated from Florence, Italy and was considered to be one of the biggest contributors to the Italian Renaissance.

Giotto’s paintings had a very religious flair to them, and some of his more famous pieces of work are actual paintings of chapels with a strong significant religious scene. The Lamentation of Christ is probably one of Giotto’s more famous religious paintings, and is known throughout history especially in the Christian denominations. It is an extremely touching scene, and is splatter throughout art history books.


Portrait of Cimabue

Portrait of Cimabue
Via picryl.com / Public Domain

Cimabue is one of the Middle Ages artists that go by several different names. While Cimabue is most likely the most well known he is also referred to as Bencivieni di Pepo and Benvenuto di Giuseppe throughout the history books. When you read about any of these three painters than you should know you are reading about the same person and not three separate artists.

Cimabue was not just simply a painter, but also developed mosaics as well. Mosaic art had not gained the popularity that it now holds today. It is the construction of an image that is built by using several smaller pieces or images. This was generally done using small tiles or pieces of colored glass.

It is quite an intricate process, and has become quite popular today. Most of the mosaic style pieces that are used today are to create a large image using a bunch of small photos. It has become extremely popular in advertising, but Cimabue was one of the first artists to use it as part of his artistic style.

Lorenzo Ghiberti

Portrait of Lorenzo Ghiberti

Portrait of Lorenzo Ghiberti
Via picryl.com / Public Domain

Lorenzo, like Donatello, was a sculpture, but he also had a strong representation in metalwork. Lorenzo like most of the Middle Ages artists had a strong religious influence in his work. He often built bronze style doors for chapels and cathedrals. Like many of the other artists during this time period he was of Italian descent and was more popular toward the end of the Middle Ages.

Architecture is generally one of the more attractive forms of artwork that have proven to last for a great deal of time. Unfortunately, during the Middle Ages many major countries such as England were struggling with money issues due to war, natural disasters, plague, or many of the other issues that can wreak havoc on a country and this left little money for construction.

While the majority of the Middle Ages saw few new constructions of large establishments there were still some well know landmarks that still stand today. China saw the beginning of the construction on the Imperial Palace as well as the reinforcement of the Great wall toward the end of the Middle Ages.

There were many smaller landmarks and buildings that were constructed, and with the church holding much of the wealth the money was used more for artistic depiction or additions to the churches more than it was used for any other artistic advancement outside of the church.

The beginning of the Middle Ages saw much of the art surrounding the religious center. This was due to the fact that the money and the actual artists generally belonged to the church. Few people outside of monasteries actually participated in the development of art until later in the Middle Ages. The later part of the middle ages saw children of farmers or other type of everyday positions developing works of art that would make their mark on history.

The Middle Ages artists presented a lot of individuals that thought outside what was considered to be the normal realm for artists. There was a great deal of intricate architectural work that was added to many of the buildings that had already been established could use a little flair or detail.

The majority of these were churches or cathedrals. The first nude was created by Donatello, Cimabue made mosaic art rather popular, and metalworking and sculptures became a regular item to be seen. Italy was a huge supplier of some of the more famous Middle Ages artists, but China and other European countries had their additions as well.

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