Identification: ca. 980. Gold over wood, enamel, filigree, and gems, height 291/2 (75.6 cm). Cathedral Treasury, Essen, Germany.
Description: The Virgin of Essen was given by Emperor Otto I's granddaughter Abbess Matildato the Cathedral of Essen in around 980. It was made with a wooden core, which gradually died off, leaving the external gold coating, and the enamel, gems, and filigrees used for decoration. The statue is a Christian art representing Virgin Mary and Christ, which was made during the early medieval period using the Ottonian sculpture art style; however, it is one of the remaining free-standing early sculptures of the kind. The golden apple Mary holds shows her as the new Eve, which relates to the message on the sixteen-inch bronze doors of Bishop Bernward made in 1015.
Style: Gothic style
Figure 2: Gothic Style
Identification: Back of a mirror. ca. 1320-1350. Ivory, 41/2 41/4 1/2" (11.5 10.9 1.27 cm). Seattle Art Museum. Donald E. Frederick Memorial Collection (49.37).
Description: The Siege of the Castle of Love, made in the fourteenth century (between 1320 and 1350) in Paris, is a curved elephant ivory art which depicts love - the sweetness and bitterness of love - and war; the men on horses are knights attacking a castle resided by women, and the women throw down roses to them as a sign of love. It was made during the late Gothic period, closely relating to a thirteen-century French poem describing an assault on the Castle of Love by Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meung. Therefore, the romantic piece of art holds secular meaning, but not any religious significance.
Style: Figural Art
Figure 3: Figural Art
Identification: From Iran. ca. 1200. Polychrome overglaze enamels on the white composite body, diameter 81/2 (22.2 cm), width 313/16 (9.7 cm). Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Purchase, Rogers Fund and the gift of the Schiff Foundation, 1957 (57.36.13).
Description: The Mina'iplate an Islamic romantic story of a royal hunterBahram Gur, and his girlfriend, who is a sceptical harpist Azadeh. The plate is made using a metallic pigment (luster), and mina'i, which is a colourful enamel decoration. The art of decoration using animal and human images (which is the same style used on the plate) started in northern Iran, known as Khurasan, in the twelfth century; however, the figural art style was popular since the mid-eleventh century with the Seljuk Turkish invaders, who were rulers. The images on the plate can serve both secular and religious purposes for the Islam community.
Style: Late Byzantine
Figure 4: Late Byzantine
Identification: Late 13th century ce. Temperaon panel, 321/8 193/8" (81.9 49.3 cm). National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Andrew Mellon Collection. 1937.1.1.
Description: The Madonna Enthronedis a sacred icon which was made in the late thirteenth-century using the Late Byzantine style to represent the Virgin Mary and the Christ; however, some scholars argue that it was a work of a Western artist. Although the origin of Madonna Enthroned is not clear, it exhibits a relationship between Western art and Byzantine art. Some of the Western features notable in the image include the blessing gesture of Christ and the red background of the angels in medallions at both the right and the left top of the image. The icon can be viewed as an aesthetic equivalent of mosaics.
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