Medieval artwork tries to explain the meaning of the subject than painting the naturalistic images. This art began when the Roman Empire fall totally and new power of Christian church began. During this period, people observed that Christians had different concerns than the Roman art public. This observation was also about their respective arts. Romans were less focused on the realism and more focused over symbolic representation and Christian were more focused on the realism. But both the arts were used to decorate the churches.
But the medieval artwork used to create the devotional atmosphere in the churches as well as to illustrate the Christian stories to illiterate people. Initial period of the medieval artwork is known as the Byzantine. In this period basic medium of the painting was glass mosaics. Generally Romans had used small stones in creation of the mosaics while the Byzantine used little pieces of colored glass. These glass pieces are set in to mortar of the church walls with different angles to catch the light.
This style of the decoration was symbolic representation of the Christian saints. The art gave heavenly atmosphere to the figures with gold background with intentional used. Along with this figures usually have coronas to represent the divine status of the figures. To show the unification of church and state holy Roman Emperor or Empress are portrayed.
In addition with mosaics; artist of the medieval artwork had developed new medium of painting. In this painting, medium was egg tempera on the wood support. This technique requires bled of pigment of egg yolk that creates permanent bond to the surface. These were intended to hang large scale of paintings within the church. Later on these were created for personal devotion. Style used in this was same as that found in mosaics.
In this period the popular icons were Christ on the cross with open eyes that represents his victory over death and the figure of Mary. She was crowned as the heavenly mother of the Christ. Her image was strengthening her divine status by golden background and surrounding angles.
Churches were oration in stones that could be read by the illiterate people. The designs were such that before the entry of the worshipper in the church they would find the images of saints and scenes of punishment of the damned and angelic beings. All these sculptures were created to remind the importance of god. There were great similarities in the images from illuminated manuscripts and portrays during the Romanesque period. In the Romanesque designs more emphasis was on shallow reliefs, and flat Biblical stories as well as figures. On the other hand gothic sculptures focused on the three dimensional figures.