Church Art in Europe in The Middle Ages


During the Middle Ages, churches and cathedrals in Europe contained large numbers of artworks. The number of churches in Europe expanded significantly after the year 313 when emperor Constantine proclaimed Christianity to be the official religion of the Roman Empire. Many churches featured high ceilings and huge windows because of the idea that spacious buildings showed respect to the higher power. Anything else would have been disrespectful to God and the saints.

Often, the creators of churches designed them in a way that allowed them to take advantage of natural light and the changing position of the sun throughout the day, including reflections of the sun from stained glass, murals, gold and silver ornaments, and crosses. The goal of this was to create a place on Earth that resembled paradise and stories from the Bible.

One such church is Old Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, a building that can hold around 15,000 worshippers at the same time because of its grandiose structure. The church has a main rectangular hall and two aisles on the sides. It was finished in around the year 330 and was commissioned by Emperor Constantine himself.