ARTH 430: Advanced Studies in Medieval or Islamic Art

ARTH 430-001: Theories of Art and Image in the Middle Ages
(Spring 2024)

04:30 PM to 07:10 PM W

Aquia Building 213

Section Information for Spring 2024

Was the European Middle Ages a dark era, a moment in which art had no theory? How did people think about art in the Middle Ages? Is the notion of “art theory” one that belongs solely to modern art? In this course we will consider these questions. We will look at how art was discussed in medieval texts from late antiquity to c. 1400, and examine art objects themselves for clues. We will consider, for example, what the medieval writers had to say about idolatry and the function of images. We will also study debates about the role of art in religious life, comparing for example the ascetic art of the Cistercians with extravagant luxurious art objects like the nearly life-size gem-studded reliquary of Sainte Foy. We will also consider medieval notions of semiotics and reading, the role of technical knowledge, and the place of art in medieval systems of learning, particularly in relation to the liberal arts. The course will be built around primary and secondary source readings, class discussion, and a substantial research paper.


Course Information from the University Catalog

Credits: 3

Studies a single topic in medieval or Islamic art. May focus on a particular period, region, or medium, or may explore cultural interconnections within medieval Eurasian world. Notes: May be repeated when topic is different. May be repeated within the term for a maximum 12 credits.
Specialized Designation: Topic Varies, Writing Intensive in Major
Recommended Prerequisite: ENGH 302 and a 300-level course in medieval or Islamic art, or permission of instructor.
Schedule Type: Lec/Sem #1, Lec/Sem #2, Lec/Sem #3, Lec/Sem #4, Lec/Sem #5, Lec/Sem #6, Lec/Sem #7, Lec/Sem #8, Lec/Sem #9, Sem/Lec #10, Sem/Lec #11, Sem/Lec #12, Sem/Lec #13, Sem/Lec #14, Sem/Lec #15, Sem/Lec #16, Sem/Lec #17, Sem/Lec #18, Seminar
This course is graded on the Undergraduate Regular scale.

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