Early art historical periods

In this section you can view the works created by anonymous painters, illuminators, mosaicists and sculptors in the Early Christian, Pre-Romanesque and Medieval periods (3rd to 15th centuries).
Early Christian art
Early Christian art is defined here as the art produced in Europe from the 3rd century to the 7th century. Christian art in this period from about 550 is classified as Byzantine or Byzantine influenced. Although Early Christian art spread across the Mediterranean, our presentation is limited to the art from the territory of the western half of the Roman Empire, particularly Italy and the western Mediterranean. As an exception, some important buildings from Constantinople and a brief description of Coptic art are included in the present and the architecture sections. In this section we present paintings, mosaics, and sculptures; the illuminated manuscripts from this period are treated together with all manuscripts in the Illuminated Manuscripts Section, while Early Christian architecture can be found in the Architecture Section of our collection.
From the first three centuries of the Christian era little of the art has survived, partly because of persecution and consequent destruction, partly because many of the earliest Christians were poor people and slaves. However, the earliest surviving examples of Christian art predate by many years the official recognition of Christianity as a permitted religion in 313.

Early Christian period
Capitals3rd-7th centuries
Sarcophagi | intro | Italy | Spain |3rd-6th centuries
Various4th-6th centuries
Catacomb paintings in Rome
Catacombs of Domitilla2nd-4th centuries
Catacombs of Marcellinus and Peter2nd-5th centuries
Catacombs of Priscilla2nd-3rd centuries
Catacombs of St Callixtus2nd-3rd centuries
Catacomb of Via Latina4th century
Other catacombs2nd-6th centuries
Various paintings
Mosaics in Rome
Mosaics in Santa Costanza4th century
Mosaics in Santa Pudenziana4th century
Mosaics in Santa Maria Maggiore5th century
Mosaics in Santi Cosma e Damiano6th century
Mosaics in other churches3rd-7th centuries
Mosaics in Ravenna
Mosaics in the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia5th century
Mosaics in the Orthodox and Arian Baptisteries5th century
Mosaics in Sant'Apollinare in Classe6th century
Mosaics in Sant'Apollinare Nuovo6th century
Mosaics in San Vitale6th century
Coptic art
Painting6th-8th centuries
Sculpture4th-6th centuries
Textiles4th-6th centuries

Pre-Romanesque art
The term Pre-Romanesque is defined here as the period in European art and architecture from the Carolingian Renaissance in the late 8th century, to the beginning of the 11th century Romanesque period. The term is generally used only for architecture and sculpture. In this section we present paintings and sculptures; the illuminated manuscripts from this period are treated together with all manuscripts in the Illuminated Manuscripts Section, (opening in a new window) while Pre-Romanesque architecture can be found in the Architecture Section of our collection.

Pre-Romanesque period
Architectural sculpture8th-10th centuries
Irish crosses8th-10th centuries
Various8th-10th centuries
Various frescoes8th-10th centuries

Medieval art
This section treats medieval sculpture, illumination, mosaic, mural, and stained glass window works from the 11th-16th centuries. These works are generally not associated with artists' name. Other works from the period by unknown or unidentified artists can be found in the section of unknown masters.

Medieval period
Romanesque-Early Gothic
Capitals11th century
Capitals | 1 | 2 | 3 |12th century
Capitals13th century
Portals11th century
Portals | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 12th century
Portals13th century
Pulpits, fonts, tombs, etc.11th-13th centuries
Choir screens, reliefs, etc.11th-13th centuries
High Gothic-Late Gothic
Architectural sculptures | 1 | 2 | 3 |13th century
Main portal reliefs, St. Mark's, Venicemid-13thcentury
Architectural sculptures and tombs | 1 | 2 |14th century
Architectural sculptures and tombs15th century
Romanesque mural paintings
Mural paintings | 1 | 2 |11th century
Mural paintings | 1 | 2 |12th century
Mural paintings13th century
Mosaics in Rome
Santa Prassede12th century
San Clementes12th century
Santa Maria in Trastevere12th century
Mosaics in Sicily
Cathedral, Cefalů12th century
Cappella Palatina, Palermo12th century
Cathedral, Monreale12th century
Mosaics in Venice
Basilica di San Marco11th-13th centuries
Mosaics in Florence
Baptistery, Florence13th century
Other medieval mosaics
Various mosaics9th-12th centuries
Various mosaics13th-14th centuries
Stained glass windows
Romanesque stained glass windows | 1 | 2 |12th century
Romanesque-Gothic stained glass windows13th century
Gothic stained glass windows14th century
Gothic stained glass windows15th century
Renaissance stained glass windows16th century


© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.