Jan. 11, 2010
-- The early Middle age painting images were concerned with symbolic representations of Christian concepts and the all art served the role of church decoration. So the style was highly decorative, symbolic, and flattened representations of Christian saints. The gold backgrounds are intended to give an heavenly atmosphere, and figures often have halos to represent their divine status. This helped to set an atmosphere of devotion, while illustrating Christian stories to a largely illiterate public. Later this period, called Byzantine - in honor of the original name of Constantinople:
Byzantium - the Middle age artists developed a new medium of painting with egg tempera on a wood support. This technique requires mixing the pigment with egg yolk, creating a permanent bond to the surface. The stylization is similar to those found in the early Middle age painting: flattened and symbolic representations of Jesus, Mary, and saints, with halos and a gold background to symbolize their heavenly status. Images of Virgin and Child enthroned as the heavenly mother of Christ was another popular icon. They are always the center of the composition, and hierarchic scale also makes sure that she is the focus of attention. The gold background reinforces their divine status, as do the surrounding angels. After influences of Sienese and Florentine schools the middle age paintings artist begins to define their images in more three-dimensional terms in soft, stylized, decorative features and sinuosity of line: they added a refined contour of line, grace of expression, and serenity of mood, a tendency developed further into the Renaissance period.
More information: http://www.bottegadartetoscana.it/middle_ages_painting.html