Speltz, Alexander / Styles of ornament: exhibited in designs, and arranged in historical order, with descriptive text.
The German-Early Christian ornament, pp. -119
THE GERMAN-EARLY CHRISTIAN ORNAMENT. lua]ly, as the political supremacy of a country begins to decline, Art in that country begins also to decay. The decline of classic art was the natural consequence of the political weakness and final decay of the Western Roman Empire, as well as of the decisive From a victory which Christianity finally obtained over Heath Carolingian Gos- . . enism. In all the old historic styles there exists an pel in the British Museum intimate connection between religion and art. Art (Muller and Mothes). developed under the aegis of religion and was so strongly influenced by it that a style of art produced under the influence of a certain religion could never harmonise with any other religion except that from which it sprung. When, therefore, Christianity received into its hands the remains of classic art, it was obliged to change and harmonise them into a style in unison with Christian ideas, tastes, and necessities, without at the same time entirely freeing itself from classic influences. On the ruins, therefore, of the Western Roman empire, the German-Christian States erected a new civilisation changing everything they found to fit the new condition of affairs, and making use of the peculiar elements of Byzantine art, then in its full glory to form a new style of art of its own. The Byzantine influence was so powerful at that time, that it is often a matter of real difficulty for the art historian to say whether certain works of art belong to the Early Christian or to the Byzantine style. The antiquities discovered in the ancient Byzantine city of Ravenna show most remarkable traces of Byzantine influences. Early Christian art may be regarded as a period of transition the tendency of which was to free itself alike from Classic and Byzantine influence. It was only when this latter influence had been entirely over-
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