Late antiquity is a widespread phenomenon, characterised by the synthesis
and transformation of a variety of artistic and cultural traditions.
Colossal head of constantine (Rome)
Jewish image, Samuel anointing Davis wall painting (Dura Europos)
Emperor Justinian mural (San Vitale)
● Now north of Mediterranean
1. How does barbarian art serve functions beyond the aesthetic?
2. How do insular manuscripts us indigenous traditions to create a new approach to
text and why?
3. How do author portraits transform Roman tradition to convey new
● barbarian=non roman (misnomer!) Roman technical term, not accurate because
it is too broad. Very sophisticated independent societies.
● Ethnic groups with Roman ties
Votive Crown of Visigoths (west goths) King Recceswinth: Gift to God himself. Gold
pearls, sapphires, colored glass.
● Placed over a church altar
● Christ is the king of kings, conveys this
● Shows off incredible wealth.
● Political statement, king aligning himself with god
● Creating a political bond with God.
Pair of bird shaped brooches, Visigothic (500 CE)
● Technique: Cloisonne (cells)
● Fusion of indigenous and Roman traditions
● Glimmering materials
● Showing off wealth
● Eagle is a Roman imperial symbol.
● Probably used to fasten a woman's cloak
● Conveys visigothic wealth in the Roman tradition
● Most Visigothic traveled, didnt have set courts, so they carried their wealth with
them. Showed wealth and status ● Connection to Rome and its power.
● Appropriation= taking something from another culture and making it your own
Gold Buckle from Sutton Hoo burial, Anglo- Saxon (600 CE)
● functional object (belt buckle)
● All gold
● High ranking elite warrior, displayed his wealth
● Technique: Niello (metal decoration) Incise designs, filled with dark substance
● Abstract Zoomorphic
● Illusory= flat with a sense of depth
● Sutton Hoo was a ship burial of a high ranking Scandinavian man.
● Showing off status, wealth, buried with gear, riches, weapons.
● Sacred writings of the scripture
● Jewish scripture (old Testament)
● New Testament (gospels, act of apostles, letters, revelations).
● Gospel= good news
● First four books of new testament
● Story of Jesus’ life (salvation story)
● Authors= Matthew, Mark, Luke, John
● Witnesses to events described in the bible
Book of Durrow, Beginning of Gospel of John (Iona, off coast of Scotland)
● Illuminated= images on them. Some gold leaf so they are actually illuminated
with light on them
● One page entirely decoration
● Evangelist symbols