Effects of the Crusades on European Art

Being the most significant events in the religious history of medieval Europe, the Crusades had an enormous influence not only on the church but also on people’slture, mentality, and way of living in general. Though the originality of the European crusader art is sometimes called in question, I believe that having imbibed rich artistic traditions of the conquered lands, crusaders managed to combine eastern and western art in new artistic styles.

The prominent era started when the First Crusade was called by Pope Urban II in 1095. Considered the medieval renaissance, that period can be characterized by the huge progress in technology, invention, trade, as well as the development of painting, fashion, literature, and especially architecture. In Western Europe, Crusader art manifested itself in two major architectural styles, particularly Romanesque from the 11th to late 12th century and Gothic from the 12th to the 15th century, which were applied in church construction (“Art and Architecture”). Crusader influence was also reflected in sculptures, paintings, icons, and manuscripts (“Art of the Crusades Era”). The crusaders forwarded the impact of Western European design in the Holy Land and brought back some eastern artistic elements, having contributed to European art as well.

While crusaders’ influence on the art in the Holy Land raises no objection and is widely recognized, some people claim their effect on the European culture to be disputable (Folda 624). In particular, icons and panel paintings of the thirteenth century considered crusaders are very much associated with Byzantine ones, which may evoke doubt concerning their originality (640). As more information about particular kinds of crusader art is revealed, many allegedly Byzantine works have been reinterpreted to be a crusader. However, the lack of appropriate evidence causes the necessity to reexamine the Byzantine works in order to establish the distinction between the characteristics of Byzantine originals and crusader art inspired by them (641).

Thus, having adopted certain features of the Byzantine tradition, European crusader artists emulated and reinterpreted them in their own innovative ways. Nevertheless, the analysis of the crusader painters’ and artists’ contributions is yet to be conducted concerning medieval European art and architecture.

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                                                           Works Cited

“Art of the Crusades Era.” Crusades Art, University of Michigan, 8 Dec. 1997, www.umich.edu/~marcons/Crusades/topics/art/art-article.html. Accessed 24 June 2019.

“Art and Architecture of the Crusades History Essay.” All Answers Ltd., November 2018, www.ukessays.com/essays/history/art-and-architecture-of-the-crusades-history-essay.php?vref=1. Accessed 24 June 2019.

Folda, Jaroslav. “Crusader Art and the West: Thoughts on Assessing the Impact of Art from the Crusader East on Medieval Art in Western Europe, Especially in Central Italy.” The Crusader World, by Paul Edward Chevedden and Adrian J. Boas, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2016, pp. 624–645.