04:30 PM to 07:10 PM W
Nguyen Engineering Building 1107
Section Information for Spring 2023
In this course we will examine the movement of artists, objects, and patrons in the art of the Middle Ages. The study of art history has long been organized around geographical areas, and the notion of an artistic “school” has helped historians categorize and group objects together. In this course we will question and reconsider the ways in which art history has grouped objects and drawn boundaries. We will look at how objects may have been carried, traded, or given as gifts, crossing great distances, and we will examine how artistic motifs, styles, or genres change as a result of such cross-fertilization. We will also look at the movement of artists; we will look at scribes who travel with their patron to copy books in a new land, and at scribes who travel from site to site to produce new copies of old books; we will also look at artists who are traded or sent to a new patron, and at artists who wander, searching for better opportunities. We will consider patrons too, who travel to new lands and bring home ideas, artists, or objects, or who move across the continent to pursue a new career, bringing artistic styles with them. Throughout, we will consider different modes of artistic process: the work of copying, collaborating, and creating; the design of works, and the use of objects in new contexts.
The goal of this course is to familiarize students with the different modes of artistic practice in the Middle Ages, to reconsider how we think about similarities and differences across objects, and to question ideas of artistic “schools,” or “influences.” We will re-imagine the Middle Ages as a place full of movement, exchange, diversity, and innovation. This is a seminar, and much focus will be put on individual research projects.