AP Art History : 2D Art

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 2 D Art

In a triptych painting, the piece of art is composed of __________.

Possible Answers:

three separate but related panels

a giant painting covering an entire wall

two separate, unrelated panels

many small pieces put together to form a larger whole

Correct answer:

three separate but related panels

Explanation:

The triptych was the most common form of altarpieces in Medieval art, usually being painted by the era's masters. A triptych features three separate panels that can fold up, all on some related theme. Usually, these would feature Jesus Christ in some form, as well as saints, angels, prophets, and even sometimes kings.

Example Question #1 : Understanding Terminology That Describes Early Christian, Byzantine, And Early Medieval 2 D Art

"Insular Art" refers to the artistic style that was dominant in the post-Roman era in which modern European country?

Possible Answers:

Greece

France

Great Britain

Italy

Correct answer:

Great Britain

Explanation:

The term "Insular art," from the Latin "insula," island, is generally used to refer to the art of the British Isles from roughly 600 C.E. to the Norman Invasion in 1066 C.E. This art was widely different from the burgeoning Early Medieval Art in continental Europe. Thanks to the invasion of Anglo-Saxon peoples in Celtic Britain, "Insular Art" blends multiple styles in a unique way, usually focusing on design elements such as metalwork, jewelry, and tapestries.

Example Question #21 : Ap Art History

What does the term "homunculus" refer to in the context of medieval iconography?

Possible Answers:

An angel, depicted as an infant with wings

A statue of a man (as opposed to a beast or demon)

Christ, depicted as an infant but with adult proportions

The halo painted behind the heads of holy individuals (i.e. saints, Christ, Mary, etc.)

Correct answer:

Christ, depicted as an infant but with adult proportions

Explanation:

"Homunculus" (or "homunculi," plural) literally means little man in Latin as the masculine diminutive for man ("homo"). Within the context of medieval art, this term is used to describe the strange depictions of Christ as an infant with elongated limbs and proportions and a serious and adult-like demeanor. These depictions were intended to represent the dualities of Christ in theology: human and God, young and timeless, earthly and heavenly.

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

The term "sedes sapientiae" refers to __________.

Possible Answers:

images of Christ sitting on the lap of an enthroned Mary

images of Eve and the serpent in the Garden of Eden

images of religious kings

images of the pope on his throne

Correct answer:

images of Christ sitting on the lap of an enthroned Mary

Explanation:

"Sedes sapientiae" literally means the seat or throne of wisdom and refers to Mary as a symbolic throne for Christ (due to her status as the vessel of incarnation). Thus, iconographic representations of "sedes sapientiae" often depict Christ sitting on the lap of Mary, who herself is also sitting on a throne.

Example Question #9 : Early Christian, Byzantine, And Early Medieval 2 D Art

What does the Chi-Rho symbol represent in medieval iconography?

Possible Answers:

It was the official seal of the papacy and was used as an authenticating "seal of approval" on religious documents.

"Chi" and "Rho" are the first two Greek letters in "Christ," and, thus, served as a kind of monogram for Christ.

As the Greek word for "crucifixion," it refers to the early representations of Christ on the cross.

As the Latin word for "Cairo," it was a symbol used by Coptic (i.e. Egyptian) Christians to distinguish their sect, made famous for being found on several statues uncovered during archeological digs.

Correct answer:

"Chi" and "Rho" are the first two Greek letters in "Christ," and, thus, served as a kind of monogram for Christ.

Explanation:

"Chi" (X) and "Rho" (P) are the first two Greek letters in Christ, so they do, in a way, serve as a monogram. Chi-Rhos are depicted in a variety of medieval art forms including manuscript illuminations, relief sculpture, seals and coins, and arms and armor.  

Example Question #22 : Ancient Through Medieval 2 D Art

Heated arguments within the Byzantine Empire about the involvement of art in religious worship led to two different periods during which religious images and iconography was banned, and a large quantity of religious artwork was destroyed. The periods during which religious imagery and iconography was banned within the Byzantine Empire are known as __________.

Possible Answers:

Byzantine Iconoclasm

None of the other answers

Castelseprio

the Macedonian Renaissance

the reign of Constantine V

Correct answer:

Byzantine Iconoclasm

Explanation:

Byzantine Iconoclasm refers to the two distinct periods of the Byzantine Empire during which religious iconography and imagery were banned and large quantities of religious art were destroyed. Although the reign of Constantine V occurred during a period of Byzantine Iconoclasm and he may have been directly responsible for the first one, his reign was did not coincide with the second period of Byzantine Iconoclasm.

Example Question #21 : 2 D Art

The Book of Kells (c. 800) is best known for its _____________.

Possible Answers:

descriptions of the Abbey of Kells

manuscript illumination

inclusion of previously unknown gospel texts

abnormally small dimensions

Correct answer:

manuscript illumination

Explanation:

Likely produced in either Britain or Ireland, this Gospel book is best known for its illuminations and was named after the Abbey of Kells, where it was housed for many centuries. Because of its illuminations, it is often considered the pinnacle example of insular art — an artistic style from the post-Roman British Isles ("island" is insula in Latin)-which is characterized by intricate inter-weaving designs, vibrant colors, and large Celtic crosses.

Example Question #21 : Ancient Through Medieval 2 D Art

The Bayeux Tapestry depicts scenes from which great medieval battle?

Possible Answers:

The Siege of Antioch (1098)

The Battle of Agincourt (1415)

The Battle of Crécy (1346)

The Battle of Hastings (1066)

Correct answer:

The Battle of Hastings (1066)

Explanation:

The Bayeux Tapestry was made in England in the decade following the Battle of Hastings, which was part of the larger Norman Conquest of England spearheaded by William the Conqueror. Depictions of the battle were embroidered onto a cloth over 200 feet in length, which means that it is technically not a tapestry (since it is not woven), though the name stuck. While it was also made in England and not in Bayeux, France, the piece "rediscovered" at Bayeux Cathedral by art historians in the eighteenth century.

Example Question #2 : Identifying Artists, Works, Or Schools Of Early Christian, Byzantine, And Early Medieval 2 D Art

Bayeuxtapestryscene57

The work shown above is in the medium of ________________.

Possible Answers:

a fresco

a mural

a tapestry

a mosaic

Correct answer:

a tapestry

Explanation:

This work is one of the most significant tapestries created in Medieval Europe, the Bayeux Tapestry. The Bayeux Tapestry commemorates the invasion of England by William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy and his eventual defeat of the English King Harold. Housed at Bayeux Cathedral in Normandy, a tapestry was able to show the full story of William's invasion and display it in a prominent place, due to its large scale and durability from being made of cloth.

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

Example Question #2 : Identifying Artists, Works, Or Schools Of Early Christian, Byzantine, And Early Medieval 2 D Art

Bayeuxtapestryscene57

The panel of the work shown is an illustration of __________________.

Possible Answers:

the retreat of the English forces

the sailing of Duke William of Normandy

the death of King Harold of England

the coronation of King Harold of England

Correct answer:

the death of King Harold of England

Explanation:

The Bayeux Tapestry depicts the invasion of England by William, Duke of Normandy, and his succession to becoming King of England. The panel shown here is one of the most significant elements, as it depicts the death of Harold II, then King of England. The Latin legend "Hic Haroldus Rex Interfectus Est," meaning "Here King Harold is killed," is placed above an image of a soldier being impaled in the eye with an arrow.

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

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