AP Art History : Understanding terminology that describes Early Christian, Byzantine, and Early Medieval architecture

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Art History

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Understanding Terminology That Describes Early Christian, Byzantine, And Early Medieval Architecture

The dome of the Hagia Sophia Cathedral in Constantinople, built in 537 CE, was the first dome to be built using fully-developed __________.

Possible Answers:

a double barrel vault

pendentives

an oculus

a cloistered vault

Correct answer:

pendentives

Explanation:

Upon its completion, the Hagia Sophia was the largest cathedral in the world, and also contained the largest dome in the world. This dome was achieved through the use of fully-developed "pendentives," triangular elements of a sphere used as structural supports to allow a dome to be raised over a square room. The Hagia Sophia's architectural innovations were widely copied in Orthodox churches and Muslim mosques in successive centuries.

Example Question #2 : Understanding Terminology That Describes Early Christian, Byzantine, And Early Medieval Architecture

What is a tribune?

Possible Answers:

Monastery courtyard with covered walkways

Upper galleries over the inner aisle for overflow crowds 

Designs of Biblical scenes woven into cloth

A series of radiating chapels 

Correct answer:

Upper galleries over the inner aisle for overflow crowds 

Explanation:

Tribunes are galleries above the inner aisle that open down into the nave. These housed overflow crowds in Medieval churches, such as San Clemente in Rome.

Example Question #3 : Understanding Terminology That Describes Early Christian, Byzantine, And Early Medieval Architecture

What is the drum of a building?

Possible Answers:

Wall that supports a dome

Dome

Floor under a dome

Circular opening of a dome

Correct answer:

Wall that supports a dome

Explanation:

The drum of a building is the circular wall that supports a dome.

Example Question #4 : Understanding Terminology That Describes Early Christian, Byzantine, And Early Medieval Architecture

What type of vaulting has has six sections?

Possible Answers:

Fan vaulting

Quadripartite vaulting

Barrel vaulting

Groin vaulting

Sexpartite rib vaulting

Correct answer:

Sexpartite rib vaulting

Explanation:

In sexpartite rib vaulting, each vault is divided into six sections by three ribs.

Example Question #5 : Understanding Terminology That Describes Early Christian, Byzantine, And Early Medieval Architecture

What is a pietá?

Possible Answers:

A painted or carved representation of Mary with a dead Christ in her arms

A painted or carved representation of a dying Christ

A painted or carved representation of the pious Mary

A painted or carved representation of the Annunciation

Correct answer:

A painted or carved representation of Mary with a dead Christ in her arms

Explanation:

A pieta is a carved or painted artistic depiction of Mary holding her son Jesus in her arms after his crucifixion. When this depiction includes other people in the scene, it is referred to as the Lamentation.

Example Question #6 : Understanding Terminology That Describes Early Christian, Byzantine, And Early Medieval Architecture

What is a finial?

Possible Answers:

A son or daughter depicted in an official portrait of a royal family

A decorative wall

A small piece in a mosaic

A repeated design

A crowning ornament on a building

Correct answer:

A crowning ornament on a building

Explanation:

A finial is a crowning ornament on a pinnacle, tower, or roof of a building.

Example Question #7 : Understanding Terminology That Describes Early Christian, Byzantine, And Early Medieval Architecture

In a mosque, such as the mosque built in Cordoba by Islamic Umayyad royalty exiled from Damascus, the mihrab is __________.

Possible Answers:

a prayer niche indicating the wall of the mosque facing Mecca

a raised area where the Imam stands during the call to prayer

a dome built in a style foreshadowing Gothic cathedral construction

a horseshoe-shaped arch common in Islamic architecture

a piece of devotional artwork in a geometric style

Correct answer:

a prayer niche indicating the wall of the mosque facing Mecca

Explanation:

The mihrab is a prayer niche set in the qibla wall of a mosque, or the wall facing Mecca. It indicates in which direction the congregation must pray. 

Example Question #8 : Understanding Terminology That Describes Early Christian, Byzantine, And Early Medieval Architecture

A(n) ______________ is a processional walkway around the apse in a basilica church, or the central space in a centrally-planned church.

Possible Answers:

clerestory

nave

ambulatory

aisle

Correct answer:

ambulatory

Explanation:

The processional walkway around the apse of a basilica church is called an ambulatory. It is a continuation of the aisles that run alongside the central space of the nave. Often individual shrines or altars for saints were set up along the ambulatory behind the main altar.  

Example Question #9 : Understanding Terminology That Describes Early Christian, Byzantine, And Early Medieval Architecture

Which term refers to the style of art and architecture that emerged from the unification of Europe under a centralized Christian aesthetic, inaugurating a massive series of building projects as the Church became the chief patron of the arts?

Possible Answers:

Byzantine Architecture

The International Style

Gothic Architecture

Romanesque Architecture

Correct answer:

Romanesque Architecture

Explanation:

The Romanesque movement inaugurated the great building projects of the church. Though Byzantine, Gothic, and International style movements are likewise responsible for many of Europe's greatest holy buildings, they are all continuations of and evolutions from the Romanesque style. This question requires students to know the chronology of their aesthetic movements.

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