Themes in Art from the range of 700 CE to 1700 CE

Gothic architecture refers to an architectural style that prevailed during the late Middle Ages between the 10th and 15th centuries. Churches, cathedrals, basilicas, and monasteries are the main references to Gothic architecture. Therefore, Gothic art is also known as the “art of cathedrals”. It should be noted that religion was very present in this period, as the Middle Ages were marked by ethnocentrism as God at the center of the world. Thus, during a long period of human history from the 5th to the 15th centuries, art was characterized by two styles: the Gothic style and the Romanesque style. In addition to Gothic architecture, this style was also developed in sculpture and painting. All over Europe, it is possible to find several buildings in Gothic style. Currently, they have been elected World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, as we can see on the image below.

Chartres Cathedral, France. Constructed between 1194 and 1220 CE.

Did you know that Gothic art emerged in France and initially received the name of French style? It was during the Renaissance that it came to be pejoratively called Gothic art. The Renaissance was considered a monstrous art compared to the classical.

The objects of ritual are defined by religious or social beliefs that can be performed by any motivation that represents their beliefs. Some forms of traditions are dance, songs, or adoration to some objects or images. This kind of art is prevalent when we look for countries from Africa and Asia. Also, it is present in some parts of the Americas as well, for instance, the Incas. Thus, the ritual in art history involves the meaning of the painting rather than the subject. Also, it is represented by the gesture, words, and objects involved in the act of the ritual.

For the Inca civilization, gold was considered the sweat of the sun, and silver was the tears of the moon. The image below shows one object that shows the Inca reverence to things, which image would be humans and llamas.

A silver alpaca from the Inca civilization of Peru, c. 1400 and 1533 CE.

Humanism was a transitional period between Troubadourism and Classicism during the late middle ages. During this era, some principles of the Renaissance were anticipated and allied with others that were kept from the middle ages. It was an intellectual movement that distanced itself from the influence of the Church and religious thoughts. In a broad sense, Humanism aimed to value man above all, contemplating human attributes and achievements. With the distance from religious issues, it was possible to carry out new forms of study about art, science, and politics in this period.

Did you know that the artists of that time began to use accurate models, with their beauties and perfections, for the realization of their works? The sculptures and paintings featured more detail in facial expressions and human proportions, as observed in the image below.

Portrait of Galileo, mid-17th century.


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Cartwright, M. (n.d.). Chartres Cathedral (Illustration). World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved February 19, 2022, from

Cartwright, M., & Stone, R. R. (2016, March 11). Inca Art. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved March 8, 2022, from

Gauguin, P. (n.d.). Market Gardens of Vaugirard by Paul Gauguin. Paul Gauguin. Retrieved February 19, 2022, from

Grudin, R. (n.d.). Humanism — Humanism and the visual arts | Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved February 19, 2022, from

Hecht, P., & van Uitert, E. (1975). Weird Art: Symbolism in Europe. Simiolus: Netherlands Quarterly for the History of Art, 8(1), 5–8.

Stone, B. L. (1988). Teaching Sociology in the Humanist Tradition. Teaching Sociology, 16(2), 151–159.



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