GENERAL BACKGROUND ON MEDIEVAL TIMES
THAT RELATES 2 THE ART
The Middle Ages were created from chaos and violence. Germanic groups invaded and caused the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th-century. In a.d. 476 the last Roman emperor was overthrown by the Goths and brought the entire empire to its fall. With the Classical Period at it's end, it sparked a new era - THE DARK AGES. With the collapse of one of the most successful civilizations in all of Europe caused constant pandemonium (fancy way to say havoc.) This eventually advanced into feudalism which had a chokehold on Medieval Europe.
Feudalism is basically like a social system where a wealthy noble would own lots of land and would have people work on that land in return for shelter, protection, and even possibly some of that land to own. Feudalism is a problematic concept because money was spread between manors and that made large projects and technological advancements hard to afford. Feudalism was a cause of the lack of progression during the Middle Ages. Not only was feudalism dominating the Dark Ages but so was the bad economy it caused, horrid living conditions, and death of general culture and art. This decremental social structure ties in with art because well because unlike the classical period beforehand that adored anything artistic this new era generated people who saw no purpose in it. The only time art was ever used is when it had to do something with religion and worshipping christ.
As a serf, your main priorities were working for your lord and maintaining your property (which you didn't even own!). Common peasants lived in poorly constructed mud huts, generally surrounded by patches of land used to farm and raise animals. Almost all of the serfs didn't even know how to read or write. Your priorities were based on survival, not oil paintings; unless of course those oil paintings were about Catholicism.
Religion plays a huge role in the little culture left in the Dark Ages. Religion was an outlet for people to turn to for spiritual guidance and protection. Complete validity and trust was put into the church, people believed that only if you were faithful you were saved from eternal hell. The power the church held was almost inconceivable today and it was mainly the result of corruption and fear mongering. Catholicism in the Middle Ages had their leaders exploite their following into staying faithful to protect their own monopoly. The Catholic Church was extremely prosperous and collected tithes which were taxes that required citizens to pay at least 10% of their income to the Church. With all of this money and power surrounding the church, all of the focus of art was on religion. Therefor all of the art that was created was for religious purposes only.