Share
Explore BrainMass

Medieval Experiences and Education

Islam and Christianity Made Visual

Considering that calligraphy and mosaic are visual representations of religious belief, compare and contrast Islamic calligraphy at Alhambra and Dome of the Rock to Christian mosaics at Ravenna. What do you think each art form communicates about the religion it represents?

The Medieval Experience
Compare aspects of the Bayeux Tapestry to aspects of a war film depicting a real-life military battle. How do both the Bayeux Tapestry and the film influence the viewer to be more sympathetic to one side over another?

Medieval Education
Imagine you are an illiterate peasant entering Chartres Cathedral in 1250 A.D. Describe something you could learn about Christianity just from viewing one of the stained glass windows.

Medieval Literature
Explain whether you agree or disagree with Dante's assignment of sins to the nine levels of Hell in the Inferno.

Attachments

Solution Preview

Islam and Christianity Made Visual
Considering that calligraphy and mosaic are visual representations of religious belief, compare and contrast Islamic calligraphy at Alhambra and Dome of the Rock to Christian mosaics at Ravenna. What do you think each art form communicates about the religion it represents?
In Islam, Allah is revered to point that describing or depicting Him in artistic form is not allowed. God can be written about in words but not depicted in pictures. Because reverence for God and a desire to worship Him is foundational in Islam, believers used Arabic descript to show their worship. At the Alhambra one of the most common phrases repeated is "There is no victor but Allah." This phrase is repeated using different sized fonts and different shaped scripts, each more ornate and beautiful than the last. In Islam, not only is depicting God improper, depicting humans in picture form is considered potential idolatry and therefore even humans are written about rather than drawn or formed. The exploits of caliphs and kings are described rather than portrayed. Both these examples illustrate the emphasis in Islam on the concept of surrender. The image is one of being beneath God, subject to His sovereignty, obedient to his will and accepting of His plan.
http://www.spainthenandnow.com/spanish-architecture/alhambra-poetry-and-arabesque/default_125.aspx
Early Christianity also sought to worship and bring glory to God through the artwork they produced. They also sought to teach the admirer of the art. Unlike Islam they were not overly concerned about the danger of using human figures to depict saints or martyrs or Biblical characters nor were they afraid of depicting God in human or semi-human form. Like the Muslims they sought to use art to educate. As a result, they focused less on the painting, sculpture or mosaic as an object of beauty and more on the spiritual symbolism that could be packed into the art.
An interesting concept to consider is that Christianity is a faith built on history. It is based on the Old Testament and the history of the Jews. It traces its lineage through the Jewish patriarchs, to the Old Testament prophets and prophecies regarding the Messiah, to the historical person of Jesus of Nazareth and his fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies proving that He is not only the Savior of mankind but also ...

Solution Summary

Medieval experiences and educations are examined.

$2.19