MVST-221 Apocalypse: Word/Stone/Image
Fall for 2017-2018
This course investigates the concept of the New Jerusalem, the City of God, as it is represented in medieval architecture, art, and literature of western Europe. We begin by examining the biblical, philosophical, and theological foundations of this concept, with selections from the Books of Exodus and Kings, St. Paul’s teachings on allegory, the Book of Revelation, Plotinus, and St. Augustine. We supplement these sources with images, especially manuscript illumination and panel painting, that draw upon architectural motifs. We then turn to examples of great church architecture in France and England to explore how Gothic buildings, through their symbolic programs, serve as apocalyptic landscapes. A variety of medieval literary works are read together with selections from the visual arts to demonstrate how architecture and allegory worked together in the medieval effort to represent heaven on earth.
• All texts will be read in modern English translations.
• No previous knowledge of Biblical, ancient, or medieval materials is required for students.
• Examples from the visual arts will be drawn primarily from French and English sources. Students will have the opportunity, however, to pursue independent work on other, related European traditions.
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