ARTH-215 Art of the Middle Ages
Fall for 2017-2018
The powerful images and the creative architectural monuments made in western Europe during the Middle Ages provide the focus of this course. Often described as the “Age of Faith,” the era begins with the Early Christian period of the late Roman Empire and ends with the onset of the Italian Renaissance. We will consider the formation and evolution of a “medieval art,” its roots in classical sources, its major functions and forms, its tendency toward abstraction, its role in the lives of medieval men and women, and its extraordinary ability to persuade and inspire.

Format: Primarily lecture, with readings and discussion. No prerequisites, but previous art history course (ARTH 101) or medieval studies courses are helpful.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None

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ARTH-215-01 Art of the Middle Ages
Fall for 2017-2018
STAFF
This course examines the arts of Europe and the Mediterranean, including the Byzantine Empire and the Middle East, during the period ca. 200-1400. Beginning with Early Christian monuments such as the catacombs of Rome and ending in the age of the Gothic Cathedrals, we will explore the various functions that the visual arts played and how their forms helped them to serve these functions. Major questions include: Why do these objects and buildings look the way they do? How did medieval people use and think about them? Did different types of people – monks, nuns, nobles, city dwellers – use and think about them differently? What roles did the arts play in cultural interactions, including those between Romans and “barbarians” as well as among Christians, Jews, and Muslims? Our objects of study will include architecture, sculpture, paintings, mosaics, and manuscripts.

Class meetings will include lecture and discussion, as well as field trips to Dumbarton Oaks and the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. Each student will write an original research paper about an object in the collection of one of these museums. All required readings will be available via Blackboard.

Format: Primarily lecture, with readings and discussion. No prerequisites, but previous art history course (ARTH 101) or medieval studies courses are helpful.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
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