During our trip to the David Owsley Museum of Art, we observed many paintings from the Medieval Era that, it seemed to me, shared many common characteristics. I think that the most obvious one is that religion played a very major part in the Medieval times. I didn’t realize that there was going to be as many religious symbols as there were in so many of the paintings. The very first piece of art that I saw, which was also my favorite, was the Processional Cross. This piece of art immediately showed me that Christianity played a major part in the time period. This piece, at first glance, just looks like a large golden cross. However, as I took a closer look at it, I saw that this cross was decorated with such detail and intricacy that the artist must have revered the cross greatly. As I walked through the room, I saw many other paintings and sculptures that had religious overtones in them. For example, in The Gathering Of Manna, the two main subjects were Moses and Aaron, who are from the Bible.
Another characteristic that was clearly shared among many of the paintings was the difference between the rich and the poor people. The rich people wore long, flowing robes that covered all of their body, many of which were black or darkly colored. The poor, on the other hand, wore mostly rag-like clothing that did not cover much at all. Again concerning The Gathering of Manna, the main men wore nice clothes and were standing and controlling other people who were in rags, cleaning and following their commands. This taught me how big the gap between the aristocracy and the peasantry really was. Another painting that showed how well off some of the members of the aristocracy were was the Kitchen Still Life with a Scene of the Supper at Emmaus Beyond. An enormous feast was laid out with a servant in the back while men were laughing and drinking together. These men must have been extremely well off to afford these types of luxuries.
I also noticed that many pieces of art included children, many of whom were not dressed at all. An example is The Martydom of Saint Lawrence. Some of the children in this painting even had wings, which made me feel that children were regarded as pure, or as if they were angels, during the Medieval times.
This trip to the museum taught me a lot about the Medieval Times and has made me more curious about it. I am looking forward to learning more about this time period over the course of this semester.
Unidentified Italian Craftsman. Processional Cross. 1300-1325. Gilt metal alloy on
wood. David Owsley Museum, Muncie, Indiana.
Ottavio, Vannini. The Gathering of Manna. 1635. Oil on canvas. David Owsley
Museum, Muncie, Indiana.
Aertsen, Pieter. Kitchen Still Life with a Scene of the Supper at Emmaus Beyond.
1551/1553, Oil on wood panel. David Owsley Museum, Muncie, Indiana.
Stanzione, Massimo. The Martydom of Saint Lawrence. 1623/30. Oil on canvas. David
Owsley Museum, Muncie, Indiana.