“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”
– L.P. Hartley
It can be easy to forget that we live in a very different world from that of the medieval time period. We also look at the world with viewpoints that are very different from people at anytime in the past. The quote above reminds me that I may not always understand past actions, or choices, or even words not because people then were stupid or more primitive or foolish, but because I lack the vocabulary and experience to fully comprehend their view of their world.
Looking at historic art is one way that we can get a step closer to understanding other cultures and other times. We can learn a lot about a culture based on the art they produce. Art along with written sources help us understand the view others have of the world even if those others lived long ago and far away. Sometimes art can also say more than any written account or history text as it often can be an expression of things that cannot be put into words.
Here is a link to the art we looked at as a class. If you need to see any of them again just click through the list.