Medieval art in Europe grew from the artistic heritage of the Roman Empire and the legacy of the early Christian church. These sources were mixed with the vigorous "Barbarian" artistic culture of Northern Europe to produce a remarkable artistic legacy. Indeed the history of medieval art can be seen as the history of the interplay between the elements of classical, early Christian and "pagan" art.

Early Christian art and architecture is the art produced by Christians or under Christian patronage from about the year 200 to about the year 500 . Prior to 200 there is no surviving art that can be called Christian with certainty. After about 500 Christian art shows the beginnings of Byzantine artistic style .