Usage of the terms 'image', 'art' and 'artists' and the Medieval and Early Modern periods.

Essay by sazzleUniversity, Bachelor's May 2003

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It is important to look firstly at the meaning of the three words image, art and artists; what they mean today and what they meant to the people of Medieval and Early Modern periods. The Collins dictionary defines image as 1. a mental picture of someone or something produced by the imagination or memory. 2. the appearance or impression given to the public by a person or organization. 3. a simile or metaphor. 4. the representation of a person or thing in a work of art or literature. There are also other meanings but these are unimportant to this essay. It is the second meaning which is of most interest to us in that we need to look at what artists are conveying to us through their art. The word art is described as 1. the creation of works of beauty or other special significance. 2. works of art collectively.

3. human creativity as distinguished from nature. 4. skill. 5. any branch of the visual arts especially painting. 6. to become a proficient at something through practice. We can see that all of these meanings will be important to us. Artist is described as 1. a person who produces works of art such as painting or sculpture. 2. a person who is skilled at something. 3. same as artiste (a professional entertainer.)

Gombrich addresses Medieval Art at the beginning of the 'The Church Triumphant,' the10th chapter of his book 'The Story of Art.' Although it is primarily about the 13th century which does take us into the Early Modern periods, however there some classic examples of typical Medieval art. The painting of 'The Entombment of Christ' painted between 1250 and 1300 (probably) is fairly typical of paintings at the end of the Medieval period. We can see how artists...