Professor Michelli Ext 3098
Flaten Auditorium
Tuesday and Thursday
11.45-1.10 p.m.
Office Hours by appointment

Required set books:
J Snyder, Medieval Art, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, and Harry Abrams Inc, New York, 1989

Recommended, on reserve:
J Beckwith, Early Medieval Art, Carolingian, Ottonian, Romanesque, Thames & Hudson, 1974

A Martindale, Gothic Art, Thames & Hudson, 1967

Home Syllabus Readings Study Questions Terms Grading Policy


The course is concerned with all the arts from around the year 1000 till about 1350. But to stop there is to miss some of the most glorious architecture ever created, so we will pursue a few later buildings as well. This is, in fact, two periods: the Romanesque, and the Gothic. These periods are defined differently by just about everyone who ever studies them, so for the purposes of this course, we are taking the Romanesque as c1000 to c1140, and the Gothic as c1140 to c1350 (except in England, where it continues into the 1500s).

These periods are concerned with two separate sets of issues. On the social level the art is based on well-established traditions which could be manipulated, expanded, developed or suppressed in order to make political and/or spiritual statements. On the existential level, the art examines the nature of God and humanity through axiomatic paradoxes (to sculpt or not to sculpt; to vault or not to vault; to focus on what is or to focus on what seems). These issues play out in two stages which coincide with the Romanesque and Gothic periods respectively. Thus these periods not only look different but they are also concerned with different kinds of reality. The study questions are designed to help you recognize and become familiar with these issues.

The syllabus is divided into twelve units for each period, and we will study one unit in each class. There are also reading assignments for each unit: read them IN PREPARATION for each class. They include illustrations of the works listed in the syllabus. Learn these works! Finally, there is a limited list of useful terms. Learn these terms too! One of the biggest blocks to understanding is unfamiliarity with the material. If you scan the syllabus, you will see that it is full of unfamiliar terms, and foreign names which you may not know how to pronounce. That is likely to make you ignore it. Do not do so. Make a project of learning terms, identifications, dates and pronunciations. I will call on people in class at random to help you stay up to the mark.

There will be two written assignments. The first is a developmental paper beginning with a 1500-2000 word examination of the problem of sculpture, due on 23rd February; when the paper is returned, you will ask for instructions for the next stage, which is due on 9th March. When that stage has been returned, you will ask for instructions for the final stage, which is due on 25th March (last class before Spring break). The second paper will be 1500-2000 word consideration of stylistic change, and you will ask for the title 8th April for submission 20th April. Ask for instructions about the Final Exam on 20th April.

Home Syllabus Readings Study Questions Terms Grading Policy