Essay about Medieval Enamelling Techniques and Artists

Essay about Medieval Enamelling Techniques and Artists

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In this essay I will discuss the techniques of medieval enamel artist and the how and why a piece was made. In researching the subject of enamelling I became interested in both the Cloisonné and Champlevé techniques. Generally they were the major techniques used by the medieval goldsmith. But as I didn’t want this essay to read like a how to manual I wanted to elaborate on what type of pieces and the reasons why they were made.
Enamel has been in use since Mycenean metalworkers first decorated gold beads, around 1450 BC. The Celts were arguably the next to develop enamel techniques as they had been using enamel long before the expansion of the Roman Empire. Philostratus a Greek philosopher first referred to enamelling in the year 200 AD, "These colors, they say, the barbarians of the [Atlantic] Ocean spread on hot bronze; they take on body, become solid and preserve what has been depicted" (Icones, I, xxxviii). But it was the Byzantine goldsmiths between the fourth and tenth centuries that developed the technique of enamelling into an art form.
They took the technique of Cloisonné enamelling and developed it to produce highly stylised figurative works. In this technique flat wire or cloisons from the French word for partition or casement are used to outline designs, which had been incised on thin gold sheets by master designers. The cloison were then soldered to the sheets and the base roughened before the resulting cells were filled with enamel using a goose quill. They then placed the pieces in a kiln like device that was heated with a charcoal fire. Then after slowly cooling they were highly polished. The resulting enamels were beautiful works of art that would influence the development of western enamelling.
The Fiesch...


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... of artists. The quality of the workmanship is evident not only did these artists possess an acute sense of beauty, they had a highly evolved sense of design which cannot be denied.




Works Cited

Michael Camille ,The medieval art of love : objects and subjects of desire (New York : Abrams, 1998.),11-13http://www.metmuseum.org/publications/bulletins/1/pdf/3258994.pdf.bannered.pdf Internet accessed 24 March 2011
Reliquary of the True Cross (Staurotheke) [Byzantine] (17.190.715ab)". In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/17.190.715ab
Internet; accessed 17 March 2011
The History and Symbolism of Iconography http://www.monasteryicons.com/cgi-bin/hazel.cgi?action=SERVE&item=tools/article_detail.hzml&request=articledetail&article=1
Internet ; accessed 24 March 2011.

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