03. Early Europe & Colonial Americas, Art & Humanities

AP Art History: Interactions Within and Across Cultures in Early European and Colonial American Art

AP Art History: Interactions Within and Across Cultures in Early European and Colonial American Art
*Note: The enduring “Enduring understanding,” “Learning Objective,” & “Essential Knowledge” language comes from the 2019 AP Art History Curriculum and Exam Guide.

Enduring Understanding:A variety of factors leads to and motivates interaction between and among cultures, and this interaction may influence art and art making. Such cultural interaction may result from factors including, but not limited to, travel, trade, war, conquest, and/or colonization, and may include forms of artistic influence such as spolia, appropriation, and stylistic revivals, among other expressions of cultural exchange.

Learning Objective: Explain how interactions with other cultures affect art and art making.

Essential Knowledge: Continuities and exchanges between coexisting traditions in medieval Europe are evident in shared artistic forms, functions, and techniques. Medieval artists and architects were heavily influenced by earlier and contemporary cultures, including coexisting European cultures. Early medieval and Byzantine art was influenced by Roman art and by motifs and techniques brought by migratory tribes from eastern Europe, West Asia, and Scandinavia; high medieval art was influenced by Roman, Islamic, and migratory art; and European Islamic art was influenced by Roman, migratory, Byzantine, and West Asian art. Cultural and artistic exchanges were facilitated through trade and conquest.

Essential Knowledge: Before the late Middle Ages, the coexistence of many regional styles makes period-wide generalizations impossible. Isolated regional revivals of naturalism and classicism occurred, sometimes motivated by the association of classicism with the Roman Christian emperors and church. Other traditions, such as those of European Islamic art and early medieval migratory art, embraced calligraphic line and script, as well as dense geometrical and organic ornament.

Read more about regional variations here: AP Art History: Cultural Contexts of Early European and Colonial American Art

Essential Knowledge: The advent of the Age of Exploration in the late 15th century resulted in the emergence of global commercial and cultural networks via transoceanic trade and colonization. European ideas, forms, and practices began to be disseminated worldwide as a result of exploration, trade, conquest, and colonization.

Essential Knowledge: Art production in the Spanish viceroyalties in the Americas exhibited a hybridization of European and indigenous ideas, forms, and materials, with some African and Asian influences. Although much colonial art is religious, nonreligious subjects—such as portraiture, allegory, genre, history, and decorative arts—were central to Spanish viceregal societies.

Essential Knowledge: Art production in the Spanish viceroyalties paralleled European art practices in terms of themes, materials, formal vocabulary, display, and reception. However, given the Spanish Catholic context in which this art production developed, Spanish colonial art of the early modern period corresponded more closely to that of southern Europe.

Art of the Spanish Viceroyalties:

        • 81. Frontispiece of the Codex Mendoza Viceroyalty of New Spain. c. 1541–1542 CE. Ink and color on paper.
        • 90. Angel with Arquebus, Asiel Timor Dei. Master of Calamarca (La Paz School). c. 17th century CE. Oil on canvas.
        • 94. Screen with the Siege of Belgrade and hunting scene. Circle of the González Family. c. 1697–1701 CE. Tempera and resin on wood, shell inlay.
        • 95. The Virgin of Guadalupe (Virgen de Guadalupe). Miguel González. c. 1698 ce. Based on original Virgin of Guadalupe. Basilica of Guadalupe, Mexico City. 16th century CE. Oil on canvas on wood, inlaid with mother-of-pearl.
        • 97. Spaniard and Indian Produce a Mestizo. Attributed to Juan Rodríguez Juárez. c. 1715 CE. Oil on canvas.

Suggested Works:

  • 49. Santa Sabina Rome, Italy. Late Antique Europe. c. 422–432 CE. Brick and stone, wooden roof.
  • 50. Rebecca and Eliezer at the Well and Jacob Wrestling the Angel, from the Vienna Genesis. Early Byzantine Europe. Early sixth century CE. Illuminated manuscript (tempera, gold, and silver on purple vellum).
  • 52. Hagia Sophia Constantinople (Istanbul). Anthemius of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus. 532–537 CE. Brick and ceramic elements with stone and mosaic veneer.
  • 56. Great Mosque. Córdoba, Spain. Umayyad. c. 785–786 CE. Stone masonry.
  • 69. David. Donatello. c. 1440–1460 CE. Bronze.
  • 70. Palazzo Rucellai. Florence, Italy. Leon Battista Alberti (architect). c. 1450 CE. Stone, masonry.
  • 74. Adam and Eve. Albrecht Dürer. 1504 CE. Engraving.
  • 84. Mosque of Selim II. Edirne, Turkey. Sinan (architect). 1568–1575 CE. Brick and stone.
  • 90. Angel with Arquebus, Asiel Timor Dei. Master of Calamarca (La Paz School). c. 17th century CE. Oil on canvas.

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