Early Medieval Architecture in Western Europe
- LAST MODIFIED: 29 May 2019
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199920105-0138
- LAST MODIFIED: 29 May 2019
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199920105-0138
The precise definition of the early Middle Ages as a historical period is far from clear, as is the specific beginning and end of the Middle Ages as a whole. In terms of architecture, it is generally taken to postdate the experiments of the late antique/early Christian period and to end sometime soon after the year 1000, when according to the monk Raoul Glaber the world put on a “white mantle of churches,” which is usually related to the emergence of Romanesque. This bibliography follows these general chronological perimeters, extending from the middle of the 6th to the early 11th century. Unlike Romanesque and later Gothic, early medieval architecture does not embody a single, particular style, aside from the often perceived antiquarian tendencies of the so-called Carolingian Renaissance of the late 8th and 9th centuries under Charlemagne and his immediate successors. Most studies are therefore regional, produced often by scholars writing in their native languages and focused on the monuments of their homeland.
Due to the ambiguous nature of the concept of the early Middle Ages, there are few broad studies that focus exclusively on this period. Often, as with Porter 1909 and Conant 1979, and to a lesser extent with Stalley 1999, the material is treated summarily as a prelude to the achievements of Romanesque architecture. Barral i Altet 1997 provides many images and some plans of important buildings but the commentary is sparse. More recently, McClendon 2005 and Untermann 2006 stay within the chronological framework defined in the introduction and present a wide array of structures in order to demonstrate that early medieval architecture was important and innovative in its own right and not simply an example of decline between the better known structures of late antiquity and the central Middle Ages.
Barral i Altet, Xavier. The Early Middle Ages from Late Antiquity to A.D. 1000. Taschen’s World Architecture. Cologne, Germany: Taschen Verlag, 1997.
A richly illustrated survey of major monuments with an emphasis on stylistic qualities largely devoid of a broader historical context. Includes a short bibliography but no notes.
Conant, Kenneth John. Carolingian and Romanesque Architecture 800–1200. 4th ed. Pelican History of Art. New Haven, CT, and London: Yale University Press, 1979.
A standard survey of the material with four chapters of Part I discussing pre-Romanesque church building, but the text is little changed since the first edition in 1954 and therefore lacks reference to more recent scholarship and archaeological developments.
McClendon, Charles B. The Origins of Medieval Architecture: Building in Europe, A.D. 600–900. New Haven, CT, and London: Yale University Press, 2005.
The most recent scholarly publication in English to focus exclusively on early medieval architecture in western Europe with extensive illustrations, notes, and bibliography. Can be read both as an introduction and as a guide to further research.
Porter, Arthur Kingsley. Medieval Architecture: Its Origins and Development, with Lists of Monuments and Bibliographies. 2 vols. New York: Baker and Taylor, 1909.
A pioneering work that attempts to trace stylistic developments in Europe from antiquity to the end of the Middle Ages. Although Porter expresses appreciation for the formative contribution of monuments from the 6th to the 11th centuries, only one of the ten chapters deals with this period under the label of Carolingian.
Stalley, Roger A. Early Medieval Architecture. Oxford History of Art. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.
A richly illustrated introductory text, although, despite the title, its major focus is Romanesque architecture. Two initial chapters discuss the emergence of the early Christian basilica and the so-called Carolingian Renaissance, followed by thematic explorations of architectural developments primarily in the 11th and 12th centuries.
Untermann, Matthias. Architektur in frühen Mittelalter. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2006.
An extensive survey of many sites throughout western Europe organized chronologically and geographically. Plans abound with a few photographs, some in color. Descriptions and analyses of buildings are brief with few notes and limited bibliography.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
- Adornment, Dress, and African Arts of the Body
- Ancient Egyptian Art
- Ancient Pueblo (Anasazi) Art
- Angkor and Environs
- Art and Architecture in the Medieval Kingdom of Hungary
- Art and Propaganda
- Art of Medieval Iberia
- Art of the Crusader Period in the Levant
- Art of the Dogon
- Art of the Mamluks
- Art of the Plains Peoples
- Arts of Senegambia
- Arts of the Pacific Islands
- Assyrian Art and Architecture
- Australian Aboriginal Art
- Aztec Empire, Art of the
- Babylonian Art and Architecture
- Bamana Arts and Mande Traditions
- Barbizon Painting
- Bernini, Gian Lorenzo
- Bohemia and Moravia, Renaissance and Rudolphine Art of
- Borromini, Francesco
- Brazilian Art and Architecture, Post-independence
- Burkina Art and Performance
- Byzantine Art and Architecture
- Caravaggio, Michelangelo Merisi da
- Carracci, Annibale
- Chaco Canyon and Other Early Art in the North American Sou...
- Chicana/o Art
- Chimú Art and Architecture
- Colonial Art of New Granada (Colombia)
- Conceptual Art and Conceptualism
- Contemporary Art
- Courbet, Gustave
- Czech Modern and Contemporary Art
- Daumier, Honoré
- David, Jacques-Louis
- Delacroix, Eugène
- Design, Garden and Landscape
- Destruction in Art
- Dürer, Albrecht
- Early Christian Art
- Early Medieval Architecture in Western Europe
- Eighteenth-Century Europe
- Ethiopia, Art History of
- European Art, Historiography of
- European Medieval Art, Otherness in
- Eyck, Jan van
- Festivals in West Africa
- French Impressionism
- Gender and Art in the Middle Ages
- Gender and Art in the Renaissance
- Giotto di Bondone
- Gothic Architecture
- Gothic Art in Italy
- Goya y Lucientes, Francisco José
- Great Zimbabwe and its Legacy
- Greek Art and Architecture
- Greenberg, Clement
- Géricault, Théodore
- Iconography in the Western World
- Installation Art
- Islamic Art and Architecture in North Africa and the Iberi...
- Japanese Architecture
- Japanese Ceramics
- Jewish Art, Ancient
- Jewish Art, Medieval to Early Modern
- Jewish Art, Modern and Contemporary
- Jones, Inigo
- Kahlo, Frida
- Lastman, Pieter
- Leonardo da Vinci
- Markets and Auctions, Art
- Marxism and Art
- Maya Art
- Medieval Art and Liturgy (recent approaches)
- Medieval Art and the Cult of Saints
- Medieval Art in Scandinavia, 400-800
- Medieval Textiles
- Meiji Painting
- Merovingian Period Art
- Moche Art
- Modern Sculpture
- Monet, Claude
- Māori Art and Architecture
- Museums in Australia
- Museums of Art in the West
- Nasca Art
- Native North American Art, Pre-Contact
- New Media Art
- New Spain, Art and Architecture
- Olmec Art
- Pacific Art, Contemporary
- Palladio, Andrea
- Parthenon, The
- Performance Art
- Perspective from the Renaissance to Post-Modernism, Histor...
- Philip II and El Escorial
- Photography, History of
- Pollock, Jackson
- Postmodern Architecture
- Pre-Hispanic Art of Columbia
- Psychoanalysis, Art and
- Qing Dynasty Painting
- Rembrandt van Rijn
- Renaissance and Renascences
- Rivera, Diego
- Rodin, Auguste
- Roman Art
- Science and Conteporary Art
- Sculpture: Method, Practice, Theory
- South Asia and Allied Textile Traditions, Wall Painting of
- South Asia, Modern and Contemporary Art of
- South Asia, Photography in
- South Asian Architecture and Sculpture, 13th to 18th Centu...
- South Asian Art, Historiography of
- The Art of Medieval Sicily and Southern Italy through the ...
- The Art of Southern Italy and Sicily under Angevin and Cat...
- Theory in Europe to 1800, Art
- Timurid Art and Architecture
- Turner, Joseph Mallord William
- van Gogh, Vincent
- Viking Art
- Warburg, Aby
- Warhol, Andy
- Wari (Huari) Art and Architecture
- Wittelsbach Patronage from the late Middle Ages to the Thi...
- Women, Art, and Art History: Gender and Feminist Analyses
- Yuan Dynasty Art