Syllabus for Medieval Art

Art 202 The Middle Ages: Images and Ideas Spring 2013
Dr. D. Sadler MW 2-3:15 Dana 101
Office: Dana 109 ext. 6245
Office Hours: W: 3:30-5 or by appointment!
Required texts: Lawrence Nees, Early Medieval Art, Oxford, 2002 and Marilyn Stokstad, Medieval Art, 2nd edition, Westview Press, 2004

Course Objectives and Requirements: This course will survey the history of Medieval art and architecture from its Early Christian beginnings c. 250 to the end of the Gothic period c. 1400. Particular emphasis will be placed on the development of Christian imagery and architectural forms, as well as the functions of art throughout the Middle Ages. Not only will we explore questions of patronage in such courts as those of Constantine, Justinian, Charlemagne, and Louis IX, but we shall also pursue the notion of audience reception. Who were the viewers of medieval art? Did medieval art acknowledge a dialectic with its specific audiences? Finally, we will focus upon the church building as a total work of art, one that integrates sculpture and painting with architecture, questioning the usual assumptions of the hierarchy of media. By considering objects of art in relation to their religious, political, and economic context, as well as the technological changes that occurred in contemporary society, a more sophisticated view of the Middle Ages will emerge. We will also address some of the theoretical issues influencing the interpretation of Medieval art; for example, how are medieval monuments viewed from feminist, marxist and psychoanalytical, and postmodern perspectives? Did the period under examination have an art for art’s sake? When did the artist as we know “him” come into being?

Attendance, both physical and mental, is required. The attendance policy reflects the importance of the content of this course—it is the reason we are here! One is allowed a total of 3 absences for the entire semester. If you surpass that limit, you will need documentation from medical personel, etc. justifying your absence. Your grade will be lowered 1/3 of a letter from the 4th absence, and continue to decline accordingly. Remember to sign the attendance sheet each class period as this will be the sole record of your presence in the class—as well as your brilliant comments.


• 2 Exams: Exam I : 25%
Exam II: 25%
• 1 Article Presentation: 15%
• 1 Paper 20%
• Class Participation 5%

The format of the exams is a series of slide identifications, short answers and essays. The presentations consist of leading a discussion on an article from a scholarly journal on a topic that you select. You will present a Power Point on the article and offer a critical analysis of the author’s ideas. In addition, posting questions about the article on Moodle will help prepare your peers for your enlightened overview. The paper will be a short research project of 7-10 pages in length about a subject that again you find of special interest. It may be a thematic study, an investigation of one object or family of objects, a comparative study, or the exploration of portraiture, narrative, the depiction of the Virgin during a certain historical period. More information about this assignment will follow. Finally, the small size of this class permits us to have a dialogue about the works we study and your participation is vital to the ethos of the class!

Moodle: Be sure to check Moodle frequently for any changes or breaking news in Art 202!

Disability Services: If you have a disability that may have some impact on your work in this class and for which you may require accommodations, please see Kelly Deasy in the Office of Academic Advising and Student Disability Services to register for these services. Students that receive accommodation checklists, please meet with me to discuss the provisions of those accommodations as soon as possible.

Course Evaluations: Near the end of the semester you will be notified by e-mail and provided with a link to follow to complete course evaluations online outside of class. Your feedback is extremely valuable to me, the department, and the administration. With the help of your insightful comments, I will be able to improve the course the next time I teach it.

Academic Integrity: It is expected that all students will abide by the policies of the Honor Code. Students who violate these policies through plagaiarism, collaboration on projects without permission, submitting the same work for multiple classes, and any other infractions outlined in the Honor Code will be asked to turn themselves in to the Honor Council. If you have any questions about academic integrity, please speak with me.


Week of January 14: Introduction to the Middle Ages: the Clash of gods?
Reading: Stokstad, ch. 1; Nees, Introduction and ch. 1

Week of January 21: Art of the Triumphant Christian Church
Reading: Stokstad, ch. 2; Nees, ch. 2

Week of January 28: The Decoration of the Early Christian Church: the Spread of Christianity!
Reading: Stokstad, ch. 3; Nees, ch. 3
Article presentation:
The Crucifixion Conundrum and the Santa Sabina Doors
Allyson Everingham Sheckler and Mary Joan Winn Leith
The Harvard Theological Review , Vol. 103, No. 1 (Jan., 2010), pp. 67-88

Week of February 8: When in Constantinople….
Reading: Nees, ch. 4-5

Week of February 11: East meets West…
Reading: Nees, ch. 6.
Article Presentations

Week of February 18: Icons and Iconoclasm
Reading: Nees, ch. 7
Article Presentations

Week of February 25: Ah, it’s good to be a Barbarian…..Hiberno-Saxon Art
Reading: Stokstad, ch. 4; Nees, ch. 8-9.
Exam I

Week of March 4: Art of the Carolingian Empire
Reading: Stokstad, ch. 5; Nees, ch. 10
Article Presentations

Week of March 11: : Spring Break

Cultural Confluence of Byzantium and Islam Reading: Stokstad, ch. 6
Article Presentations

Week of March 18: Cultural Confluence of Byzantium and Islam and
Ottonian Art: Gateway to the Romanesque
Reading: Stokstad, ch. 6 & 7; Nees, ch. 11

Week of March 25: Art of the Pilgrimage Roads
Reading: Stokstad, ch. 8 and excerpt from Meyer Schapiro, Selected Papers, pp. 131-264; Nees, ch. 12 and conclusion

Week of April 1: Romancing the Stone: Problems in Romanesque art and architecture
Class discussion

Week of April 8: The Origins of Gothic Art Reading: Stokstad, ch. 9
Short Research Papers due!!

Week of April 15: High Gothic Art in France & the Rise of Regional Styles…What does “mature” Gothic mean???
The Gothic Cathedral as Vehicle for Meaning?
Reading: Stokstad, ch. 10

Week of April 22: Opus Francigenum Abroad….
Reading: Stokstad, ch. 11

Week of April 29: Last Gothic Gasp
That is, Late Gothic Art
Reading: Stokstad, ch. 12
Final Exam!!


N7832.B3 J. Beckwith, Early Christian and Byzantine Art

N5970.B4 J. Beckwith, Early Medieval Art

NA440.B68 R. Branner, Gothic Architecture

NA365.C6 J. K. Conant, Carolingian and Romanesque Architecture

NA3780 O. Demus, Byzantine Mosaic Decoration
D39 1976

N6310 F. Deuchler, Gothic Art

ND140.D63 C. R. Dodwell, Painting in Europe 800-1200

N6280 H. Focillon, Art of the West:
F613 Romanesque and Gothic (2 volumes)

N7832 A. Grabar, Christian Iconography: AStudy of its Origins

N6250 A. Grabar, The Golden Age of Justinian from the Death of
G6713 Theodosius to the Rise of Islam

Folio ND140 A. Grabar and Nordenfalk, Early Medieval Painting

Folio N6245 Hubert, Porcher & Volbach, The Carolingian Renaissance

H813 Hubert, Porcher & Volbach, Europe of the Invasions
Folio N7832
H813 1969

NA453.J23 1962 H. Jantzen, High Gothic

N5970 K55 E. Kitzinger, Early Medieval Art

NA360.K7 R. Krautheimer, Early Christian and Byzantine Architecture

N5940K713 R. Krautheimer, “The Carolingian Revival of Early Christian Architecture,” in Studies in Early Christian, Medieval and Renaissance Architecture, 1969, pp. 203-237 and 254-255

N6245.L37 P. Lasko, Ars Sacra 800-1200

N5760.L613 H. l’Orange, Art Forms and Civic Life in the Late Roman Empire

NA630.M3 W. MacDonald, Early Christian and Byzantine Architecture

N6250.M25 C. Mango, Art of the Byzantine Empire

NA440P23 1957 E. Panofsky, Gothic Architecture and Scholasticism

N6250 R463 D. T. Rice, Art of the Byzantine Era

NB175.S28 M. Schapiro, Selected Papers on Romanesque Art

NA4830.55 O. von Simson, The Gothic Cathedral

Folio N5340A35 K. Weitzmann, The Age of Spirituality

Folio N5970 G. Zarnecki, Art of the Medieval World
Z37 1975B