ARTH 363

Faith and Power in the Art of the Medieval West: Seventh-Fourteenth Century

This course introduces the art of Medieval Western Europe from the Period of Migrations through the Gothic Era (7-14th century.) A fundamental social and cultural transformation of Western Europe followed the end of the Roman Empire characterized by the increasing dominance of the Christian Church, the interaction of various cultural and ethnic groups, the development of feudalism, and the eventual renascence of the Western Roman Empire. The intermingling of the Germanic, Greco-Roman, Early Christian, and Byzantine pictorial traditions produced a distinct visual culture that developed separately from the artistic tradition of the Byzantine East. Works of art are examined with particular attention to their original function, context, and intended audience, and are presented from a range of methodological perspectives. Topics of special interest include: the role of relics and pilgrimage; the visual expression of imperial and monastic ideology; revival and rejection of the classical style; function and decoration of liturgical spaces; and the role of words and images in illuminated books.