Visual & Decorative Arts Blog

Art Movements | Gothic & Medieval Art | Religious Depictions

Posted by Laura Bulbeck
Out of the art of the Aegean, which flourished between 5,000 and 1,000 BC, would develop the art of Greece and ultimately that of Rome. To the Greeks painting was a minor art, mostly confined to the decoration of vases but nevertheless revealing a very lively sense of composition and realism. The murals of Pompeii and Herculaneum, engulfed by lava and volcanic ash in AD 79 and miraculously preserved as a result, are mute testament to the skills of Roman artists, notably in their clever use of line to create a three-dimensional effect. As the Roman Empire expanded, art began to be influenced more and more by the East. Religion was a common source of inspiration for artistic content as the medieval period developed, and it was also a centre for the practice of art such as the illuminated manuscripts created in monasteries.

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Topics: medieval art, illuminated manuscripts, gothic art, byzantine art, religious art

Art of Fine Gifts: The Inspirational William Morris

Posted by Catherine Taylor

On Thursday, a new exhibition on visionary artist, craftsman and activist William Morris opens at the National Portrait Gallery. It is exciting for its angle – rather than focus purely on the work for which he is probably best known (his understandably popular and beautiful wallpaper and textile designs), it will take a thoughtful look at his life, ideas and legacy, 'through portraits, personal items and fascinating objects'. It will explore his passionate belief in the democracy and availability of beauty – an 'art for the people' – alongside the work of his contemporaries (Rossetti, Burne-Jones) and those he inspired for decades to come (from courageously openly gay philosopher Edward Carpenter, and sculptor and typeface designer Eric Gill, to the artists of the 1951 Festival of Britain and post-war designers such as Terence Conran).

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Topics: medieval art, William Morris

Art Calendars: Illuminated Manuscripts

Posted by Laura Bulbeck

Our art calendars have been taking a lot of my focus recently, and today I've been working on our Illuminated Manuscripts wall calendar for 2015. (Yes I know, we're looking that far ahead already!) Having just seen how beautifully the 2014 calendar has turned out, we decided there was too much scope not to do it again for 2015 (and we didn't need much persuading). The artwork is stunning, and the history behind them is just as fascinating.

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Topics: medieval art, illuminated manuscripts, British Library, art calendars

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