Dictionary of Art and Artists


that Changed the World


  Lascaux Caves Manesse illuminated Massys Callot Friedrich Picasso
  Tutankhamen's tomb Lorenzetti Grunewald Rembrandt Constable Matisse
  Europa and Minotaur Karlstein Castle Baldung Claude Lorrain Delacroix Marc
  Banquet Tomb Limbourg brothers Altdorfer Velazquez Turner Kandinsky
  Pompeii Van Eyck Cranach Vermeer Ingres Monet
  Birth of Christianity Della Francesca Holbein Rigaud Manet Chirico
  Hagia Sophia Uccello Titian Watteau Burne-Jones Modigliani
  Book of Kells Mantegna Bruegel Canaletto Seurat Chagall
  St Benedict Botticelli Vicentino Boucher Van Gogh Kahlo
  Bayeux Tapestry Anonymous Arcimboldo Fragonard Toulouse-Lautrec Dali
  Donizo manuscript Durer El Greco Gainsborough Munch Ernst
  Liber Scivias Bosch Theodore de Bry John Trumbull Cezanne Hopper
  Carmina Burana Da Vinci Caravaggio David Gauguin Bacon
  Falcon Book Michelangelo Rubens Gros Degas Warhol
  Giotto Raphael Brouwer Goya Klimt  

From Lascaux to Warhol

Supreme art is a traditional statement of certain heroic and religious truth,
passed on from age to age, modified by individual genius,
but never abandoned.

William Butler Yeats




1066 and All That

"And the hooves of their horses trod down the corpses"



Now evening had come and the Anglo-Saxons knew that they could not withstand the Normans. They feared the implacable wrath of Duke William, who spared no one. They were routed and fled: on horses captured from their foes, on foot, some along the way, many across the open fields. Those who could stand no longer nor had the strength to flee

writhed in their own blood. Many died in the depths of the wood. Although the region was unfamiliar to them, the Normans relentlessly pursued their adversaries and fought them to the death, and the hooves of their horses trod down the corpses as they galloped away.

William of Poitiers, The Deeds of William, Duke of Normandy and King of the Anglo-Saxons, 1073/74


see collection:  Bayeux Tapestry



The Vikings — the scourge of Europe. The West lived in terror of these men who came down from the Scandinavian north in their dragon-like ships. Their geographical location gave rise to another naine, the "Nor(th)mans". From the eighth century they attacked the coasts of Great Britain and France and sailed up the great rivers right into the heart of Europe, arriving without warning at the gates of Cologne and Paris. Normandy, the first Viking kingdom in Western Europe, was founded at the mouth of the Seine in 911. The Vikings also persisted in their attempts to establish a strong foothold in England.

William the Conqueror (c. 1028—1087), Duke of Normandy, finally secured Norman rule in England in 1066. On 27 September of that year, he sailed from the Norman coast under the cover of darkness. His ships carried 7,000 men, horses, weapons, provisions and even a dismantled wooden fortress which could be reassembled. Landing in the early morning, William rallied his troups and marched to Hastings. There, the decisive battle of the compaign was fought on 14 October 1066. The Anglo-Saxon forces, led by King Harold II, had been weakened by their hard-won victory over the Norwegian Vikings some days before as well as the subsequent march to Hastings. They were defeated and Harold was killed by a Norman arrow. With Harold dead and his army routed, the fortified Normans were at leisure to hunt down the hapless Anglo-Saxon soldiers. A few weeks later, on Christmas Day 1066, William had himself crowned King of England in Westminster Abbey. For his victory, history has given him the epithet "The Conqueror".

The Bayeux Tapestry preserves the memory of his victorious campaign which linked England more closely to Latin culture and the West. The tapestry is seventy-three metres long and one of the most important pictorial records of medieval history. Rich in detail and exquisitely made, it portrays clothing, armour, weapons, vehicles, ships and even banquets and celebrations from the eleventh century. Legend has it that the tapestry was woven by Matilda, the wife of William the Conqueror, but it is more likely that it was made by nuns. In any case, it is a masterpiece presumed to have been created by women in southern England, and was probably commissioned by Bishop Odo of Bayeux (1036?—1097), the half-brother of William the Conqueror. This particular detail of the tapestry shows the Anglo-Saxon soldiers fleeing and, presumably, King Harold being struck by an arrow in the head.

The Bayeux Tapestry
c. 1066—1082
Canvas, embroidered m coloured wool
Musee de la Tapisserie, Bayeux


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