AP Art History : Analyzing Early Christian, Byzantine, and Early Medieval 2D art

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Art History

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Analyzing Early Christian, Byzantine, And Early Medieval 2 D Art

In Medieval Art, a figure depicted wearing a robe of camel hair represents __________.

Possible Answers:

Paul the Apostle

Peter

John the Baptist

John the Evangelist

Correct answer:

John the Baptist

Explanation:

John the Baptist is one of the most significant figures in Christian history, and was a frequent figure in Medieval art. He is easily identified with his cloak of camel hair, a description taken from the Gospel of Mark. John the Baptist is also usually depicted with a dove, as both were seen as signals of the coming Messiah in Jesus Christ.

Example Question #2 : Analyzing Early Christian, Byzantine, And Early Medieval 2 D Art

Bayeuxtapestryscene57

The intent behind the creation of this work of art is best stated to be _________________.

Possible Answers:

a detailed reflection of a legendary founding myth

a counterpoint to English propaganda about the claim of William to the English throne

an historical record of the invasion of England by William, Duke of Normandy

the glorification of William the Conqueror, King of England

Correct answer:

the glorification of William the Conqueror, King of England

Explanation:

The Bayeux Tapestry was notable as one of the first large scale pieces of art to celebrate and record a massive military victory in Europe since the Romans. As painting and sculpture had significantly faded in scale since the fall of the Roman Empire, tapestry was one of the few artistic mediums that was available to the Norman leaders who created it. With William the Conqueror being a foreign King in England, it also was created to glorify William and show the failings of the defeated English armies.

Image is in the public domain, accessed through Wikipedia Media Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Odo_bayeux_tapestry.png

Example Question #3 : Analyzing Early Christian, Byzantine, And Early Medieval 2 D Art

All of the following characterize Byzantine art except _________________.

Possible Answers:

figures appear mostly flat

backgrounds are usually gold

the style is strongly realistic and naturalistic

figures seem to float above ground

Correct answer:

the style is strongly realistic and naturalistic

Explanation:

Key words identifying Byzantine art are flat, floating, frontal, and gold. Rather than the realism and naturalism of Greco-Roman art, Byzantine art is focused on the spiritual or other-worldly. Therefore, it is less realistic, and shows its figures as more floating and unconnected with this world.

Example Question #4 : Early Christian, Byzantine, And Early Medieval 2 D Art

Meister von san vitale in ravenna 003

The figure depicted in the center of this work is _________________.

Possible Answers:

Emperor Justinian I

Saint Peter

Jesus Christ

Saint Augustine of Hippo

Correct answer:

Emperor Justinian I

Explanation:

This work of art is known as "The Justinian Panel," precisely because it depicts the Emperor Justinian I of the Byzantine Empire, also known as the Eastern Roman Empire. Justinian reconquered the fallen Western portion of the Roman Empire, which included the Italian Peninsula, where this mosaic is located in Ravenna's Basilica of San Vitale, and he is appropriately represented in honor and glory. While surrounded by bishops and officials, Justinian is the only figure in the traditional "Tyrian purple" of Royalty in the Roman Empire and Medieval Europe, as well as being shown with a posthumous halo, showing his status as a Christian saint.

Image accessed through Wikipedia Media Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Emperor_Justinian_%26_entourage_in_St_Vitale,_Ravenna.JPG

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