The Ancient and Medieval World
Egyptian funerary monuments were erected to preserve the remains of the dead, and to celebrate a journey to the afterlife that included evidence of family life. Medieval society was much more rigidly structured, and possibilities for flexibility were almost nonexistent. family could be seen as an economic, social, and spiritual entity, though one that fit into its place in God's universe. The depiction of family life was thus marginal or subservient to the larger Christian faith. Families are shown at work or at rest, defining their place in society, economically and socially. The imagery in the medieval era is related, above all, to the glory of God and Christianity, as the encyclopedic, majestic Gothic cathedrals, in which painting, sculpture, and architecture came together in a magnificent whole, attest to. Images of European family life literally decorated the margins of Books of Hours.