Middle Ages Painting
During the early Middle Ages, most paintings were found in the form of illustrated manuscripts. This remained the chief form of painting for years. Most were produced in monasteries, which at the time were the centers of learning and art. It was the wealth of the church which allowed monks to copy books and manuscripts before the invention of the printing press in the late 1400's.
During the time of Charlemagne, a large emphasis was placed on learning. Though Charlemagne could not read, he supported the development of illustrated texts. This time became known as the Carolingian art period which lasted from 732-900 A.D. During the Romanesque time from 800-1100 A.D., painting continued as illustrated manuscripts and extended to mural painting in churches. Very few of these mural still exist, and those only in fragments. During this time, we also see an influence from Byzantine art. At times mosaics were used in place of mural, on the church walls.
Difference can be seen as time
passed in the manuscripts. For example in the early Middle
Ages the color use is more muted. Later during the Gothic
period the manuscripts and painting use much brighter colors. During
the Gothic period the
manuscripts shifted from being almost exclusively made in the monasteries to
include university students and professors also.