Styles of painting, design, and architecture developed from the fifth century A.D. in the Byzantine Empire of eastern Europe. Characterised in architecture by round arches, large domes, and extensive use of mosaic; characterised in painting by formal design, frontal and stylised figures, and a rich use of colour, especially gold, in generally religious subject matter.
Islamic Art (622 - 900)
Islamic art was unique in that it did not depict any living religious figures. Instead, geometric patterns and decorative florals were used as a form of artistic expression.
European art from the mid-8th to the early 10th century, given impetus and encouragement by Charlemagne's desire to restore the civilisation of Rome.
Ottonian Art (900 - 1050)
The Ottonian period included the art and architecture produced in Germany under the Saxon rulers of the Holy Roman Empire. Processional crosses covered with jewels were not uncommon, nor were paintings which showed an understanding of naturalistic forms and illusions of space.
This style prevailed between the 12th century and the 16th century in Europe. Mainly an architectural movement, Gothic was characterised by its detailed ornamentation - most noticeably the pointed arches, ribbed vaults, and flying buttresses that allowed the creation of stone buildings reaching great heights, and made possible the introduction of stained glass windows instead of traditional mosaic decorations.
Some of the finest examples of the style include the cathedrals of Chartres, Reims and Amiens.