Norman Art

Norman Art refers to the style of art that was developed and employed by the Normans in Europe.

Bayeux Tapestry - Scene 57 - Death of KIng Harold

The Bayeux Tapestry dates back to the 11th century and is an example of embroidery commissioned by the Normans.

The problem with a blanket term is that Normans, who initially settled down in Normandy in the 10th century, were ranging into England, southern Italy, Sicily, Ireland, and Scotland by the end of the 11th century.

Normans in Normandy Flag of Normandy

As the Normans wrested control of these territories and settled down, they evolved distinct styles of art and architecture in each region. It is consequently difficult to categorize Norman art in these different regions under an umbrella term.

Norman Clothing

Norman People

Characteristics of Norman Art

Norman art relied heavily on the Roman legacy of Western Europe. However, in areas such as southern Italy, Norman art was characterized by significant influences from Arab, Greek, and Lombard art traditions.

Norman mosaics, in particular, were characterized by a strong influence on classical Greek artwork.

Norman Art in Sicily 1

Norman Art in Normandy

Normandy was the earliest region in Western Europe where Normans first settled. It was here that the earliest instances of Norman art began in the 11th century when the Norman nobility began to patronize intellectual activities in monasteries.

The result was a series of illustrated manuscripts, many of which were borrowed from Anglo-Saxons in the north and the Franks in style.

Lion%2C Norman Italy 2

Norman Art Facts

  • Norman art originated at the hands of the Normans in various parts of Europe.
  • Norman art dates from the 11th century until the 15th century.
  • Norman art was influenced by classical Greek heritage, Byzantine art traditions, Roman art heritage, and Arab art.
  • Norman art can be seen in England, Italy, Sicily, and Normandy.
Christ Pantocrator mosaic from Hagia Sophia

Christ Pantocrator

Norman Art in Italy

The largest body of extant specimens of Norman art exists in Italy. Here Norman stonework and metalwork borrowed significantly from classical Greek, Arab, and Lombard art traditions.

Metalwork flourished in Norman Italy and extant bronze sculptures dating back to the Norman period exist to this day. Ivory work also flourished significantly in Italy during Norman rule.

Norman Art in England

Most of the extant samples of Norman Art in England comprise the architecture which Normans erected following their 1066 invasion of England.

An unusual and highly significant piece, however, is the Bayeux Tapestry which is often included both in the Anglo-Saxon art heritage as well as the Norman art.

The Tapestry was commissioned by the Normans following the 1066 invasion but it was the handiwork of Anglo Saxon artisans. It is a huge piece of embroidery art that depicts the events leading up to the 1066 invasion.

Tower London England Castles in England

Norman Art Top 5

  1. The Tower of London dates back to the 11th century and is an iconic example of Norman architecture.
  2. The Extant bronze lion statue dates back to sometime around 1100 and is an example of Norman metalwork.
  3. The Bayeux Tapestry dates back to the 11th century and is an example of embroidery commissioned by the Normans.
  4. The Trivulzio candelabra dates back to the 13th century and is an example of Norman artwork in Italy.
  5. The Christ Pantocrator mosaic in Palermo which dates back to the 12th century is one of the most magnificent examples of Norman mosaics.