ARTH 333: Early Christian and Byzantine Art

ARTH 333-001: Early Christian and Byzantine Art
(Spring 2023)

12:00 PM to 01:15 PM TR

Art & Design Building 2026

Section Information for Spring 2023

In this course we will look at art from the period after the fall of the Roman Empire, known as Late Antiquity. This period was one marked by migration and the movement of peoples, the establishment of new power hierarchies, and the creation of a new kind of art to promote new empires. In the east, this meant the founding of Byzantium, and glittering monuments like the church of Hagia Sophia; in the west, this meant grand churches of Rome and Ravenna, and new artistic trends brought from the world of Vikings and Gothic tribes to the north and west. As Christianity took hold in the region, questions about how imagery might serve religion became paramount, and thus we will examine theories of images and art-making and the controversies surrounding the production of icons and figural art in what is known as the iconoclastic period of the 8th and 9th centuries. We will also look at art made for Judaism and Islam and the artistic exchanges that occurred across cultures of the Middle East and Europe. Throughout the course, we will look at art of a variety of media: impressive imperial architecture as well as humble early monastic buildings; sumptuous books that were produced for members of the Byzantine court and rare surviving copies of classical texts like Virgil and the earliest manuscripts of the Bible; objects of devotion, like icons, and objects of portable wealth, like luxurious jewels and weapons, that proclaim the power and status of their owner.


Course Information from the University Catalog

Credits: 3

Aspects of medieval art and culture in eastern Mediterranean world. Topics may include late antiquity, early Christianity, and the Byzantine empire and its neighbors. Designed to take advantage of unique local museum resources. Notes: Specific focus varies with instructor. Limited to three attempts.
Mason Core: Arts
Schedule Type: Lecture
This course is graded on the Undergraduate Regular scale.

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