Norman Roots of European Integration

The Gol Stave Church, c. 1200. Photo: Norsk Folkmuseum, Olso.

The Norwegian kingdom was established in the ninth century and conversed to Christianity under king Olaf (995-1030). The looters of monasteries changed into committed builders of splendid stone cathedrals in various parts of Europe. Norman crusaders also introduced Norman art into the Middle East. The great importance for the artistic development in Norway was the … Read more » “Norman Roots of European Integration”

Medieval and Modern Pilgrimage

The modern taste for souvenirs is strikingly close to the collecting instincts of Christian pilgrims. Auctions of belongings of famous movie stars, the pilgrimage status of the tomb of Elvys Presly, the football shoes of the legendary Pele or a simple talisman share the same feelings and beliefs. Christian martyrs were the first saints and source … Read more » “Medieval and Modern Pilgrimage”

The bishops Lewis and Eystein

Lincoln Cathdral with the ruin of the bishop's palace . Photo: Wikipedia

The Lewis chess pieces are among the most splendid Romanesque art of the second half of the twelfth century. Trondheim, the capital of the archbishopric Nidaros, founded in 1153, is regarded as the city of origin. Although the chess pieces were found on the remote Scottish island of Lewis in 1831, the Norman origin is … Read more » “The bishops Lewis and Eystein”

The Shaping of Europe

The Horseman of Stabio. Photo: Wikipdia. Historisches Museum Bern

The Roman Empire had established itself as the dominant power in the Mediterranean by the 1st century BC. Its appetite for further expansion was checked under the Emperors Augustus, Tiberius and Hadrianus (1st century BC to 2sd century AD). Traian (98-117 AD) was the last emperor who focussed on large territorial expansion. Large barbarian alliances … Read more » “The Shaping of Europe”

Roman Paintings and Greek Masters

Gaius Plinius Secundus (Plinius the Elder, 23-79 A.D.) described various easel paintings in his encyclopedic Natural History (Naturalis historia). Not a single easel painting has survived however. Surviving examples of Roman painting can be found on frescoes and mosaics and the high level of painting is unequaled until the Renaissance. Julius Caesar is credited with … Read more » “Roman Paintings and Greek Masters”