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Art From Us MUSEUM GUIDE : Harvard Art Museums : Room 2440

Harvard Art Museums – Room 2440

Art From Us, Museum Guide #874

Art From Us presents a must-see Museum Guide daily, where we showcase specific artworks in specific museums – from across the globe. Today, for Art From Us, Museum Guide #874 the spotlight is on the Harvard Art Museums’ Room 2440. Showcasing a collection of Medieval Art.

The three works in focus are :

Female Figure, Unidentified Artist, c. 1125
Tower Shaped Casket, Unidentified Artist, 12th century
Censer, Unidentified Artist, 13th century

The significance of the 3 works chosen for Art From Us, Museum Guide #874

The objects and artifacts in Room 2440 at the Harvard Art Museums are from the European Middle Ages.

The Middle Ages were the era following the decline of the Roman empire. It was a time of growth and development in most parts of Europe including England, France and Italy. Societies transformed and economies metamorphosed into highly functional entities and trade and commerce led to a mixing of cultures.

Owing to an overall economic boom, middle class people found themselves with higher disposable incomes. This allowed them to commission and buy art. This phenomenon positively impacted the development of the European art market.

Apart from these new buyers, the market was also able to retain its old customers – the Catholic Church.

According to the digital catalogue of the Harvard Art Museums :

“Many of the artistic traditions of Byzantium, centered in Constantinople, were emulated in the West, as evidenced by objects here…Through the patronage of monasteries, parish churches, and cathedrals—among the wealthiest and most powerful institutions of their time—ornate objects were produced for ecclesiastical purposes. Censers, reliquaries, and crosses, used to celebrate Mass, were made of rare and costly materials, befitting the stature of the saints and God.”

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