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

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Art History

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Example Questions

Example Question #5 : Early Christian, Byzantine, And Early Medieval Sculpture

What is included in a pilgrimage type church, such as St. Sernin in Toulouse?

Possible Answers:

Double side aisles

Longer nave

Radiating chapels

All of the other answers are correct

Tribune

Correct answer:

All of the other answers are correct

Explanation:

Pilgrimage type churches housed large crowds on their journey to Compostela or other pilgrimage destinations. Thus, the churches were expanded to accommodate these crowds. The naves were extended; radiating chapels and tribunes were added to house the extra worshippers. Side aisles were doubled, and everything was built on a larger scale.

Example Question #1 : Early Christian, Byzantine, And Early Medieval Sculpture

What is a "reliquary"?

Possible Answers:

A container holding the bone(s)/bodily object(s) of a dead saint

The medieval equivalent of a gravestone: a slab containing information about the dead individual buried underneath the site

A coffin containing the entire body of a saint

The bone(s)/bodily object(s) of a dead saint

Correct answer:

A container holding the bone(s)/bodily object(s) of a dead saint

Explanation:

"Reliquaries" are the containers of relics, or the fragmented body parts (usually the bone(s) or bodily object(s)) of a saint or other religious figure. "Reliquaries" varied in size and shape, and could range from a small amulet containing a pinkie finger to a large box containing a leg bone. Touch relics -or objects that had come in contact with a saint or other religious figure, such as a piece of clothing- might also be held within a reliquary. 

Example Question #7 : Early Christian, Byzantine, And Early Medieval Sculpture

Though __________ was implemented as early as Mesopotamian art, it is a technique that flourished as a part of Byzantine art. It consists of assembling small pieces of glass, stone, metal, and other assorted materials in order to form images and elaborate patterns.

Possible Answers:

relief art

ivory art

diptych painting

mosaic art

portraiture

Correct answer:

mosaic art

Explanation:

Mosaics are one of the most important legacies of Byzantine art, and remained the envy of Western European artists for centuries to come. Mosaic art included patterns, abstract symbolism, and more realistic images.

Example Question #1 : Early Christian, Byzantine, And Early Medieval Sculpture

A "mandorla" in Romanesque sculpture is _________________.

Possible Answers:

a musical stringed instrument similar to a small harp

an oval of light

a sea monster in the nether regions

the vertical stone between the main entrance doors

Correct answer:

an oval of light

Explanation:

A "mandorla" is an oval of light, typically surrounding the figure of Christ. "Leviathans" (sea monsters) were sometimes depicted in Romanesque Last Judgment scenes, ready to swallow up the condemned. The vertical stone between the portal doors is called a "trumeau."

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