ARTH 599: Special Topics in Art History

ARTH 599-003: Women as Makers and Patrons of Art in the Middle Ages
(Fall 2021)

04:30 PM to 07:10 PM W

Research Hall 201

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Section Information for Fall 2021

This course will examine the role of women in the production of art in the Middle Ages. We will consider notions of patronage, artisanship, and collaboration and discuss how these categories might help or hinder the discussion of women’s contributions to art. We will begin by looking at legendary models for female patronage, from the emperor Constantine’s mother Helena to the church building of Paula, disciple of St. Jerome, as well as evidence for women’s artistic work throughout the Middle Ages, and we will discuss how concepts of gender affected the understanding of agency, both medieval and modern. We will also see how women’s artistic work might subvert the categories which defined them, through the production of textiles (by Queen Matilda of Scotland for example), the copying of manuscripts (as at the abbey of Chelles, or in Paris workshops), or the writing of texts themselves (as in the cases of Hildegard of Bingen and Christine de Pizan), and how women’s lives and opportunities changed throughout the era. 


The goal of this course is to familiarize students with notions of gender in the Middle Ages, particularly with regards to artistic production; to consider how, when, and if, artistic practice (or representations of it) was gendered; and to take a broad sweep of literature on the topic. This is a seminar, and much focus will be put on individual research projects.  

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Course Information from the University Catalog

Credits: 1-6

Topics vary. Notes: May be repeated for credit when topic is different. May be repeated within the term.
Specialized Designation: Topic Varies
Recommended Prerequisite: Baccalaureate degree or permission of instructor.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment limited to students with a class of Advanced to Candidacy, Graduate, Non-Degree or Senior Plus.

Enrollment is limited to Graduate, Non-Degree or Undergraduate level students.

Students in a Non-Degree Undergraduate degree may not enroll.

Schedule Type: Seminar
This course is graded on the Graduate Regular scale.

The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes.