LATER MEDIEVAL ART, Art 264
Study Questions - Art 264
We start by making a few things conscious. The answers to these first
questions are probably so obvious you haven't even thought about them.
Part I: Romanesque
- The question most often forgotten in the Humanities is, "where are
we going?" (or, "what
shall we become?"). Which members of society tend to formulate the
- The first art and architecture we study in this course comes from
Imperial centers. Why
should we be interested in Imperial patronage?
- Who was the first Christian Roman Emperor?
Who was the first Holy Roman Emperor?
- This course begins its study of each period and each region with
architecture. Why has
architecture taken priority over other art forms?
- All the art and architecture studied in this course is
ecclesiastical. Why focus on churches
and their contents like this?
- (Unit 1) What tradition is being claimed in these churches? Why is
- (Unit 2) Whose endorsement is being claimed in the Aachen Gospels
- (Unit 3) Is monumental sculpture new in the 10th century, or
- (Unit 4) Define the components of Classical Beauty. What functions
architectural problem did it create?
- (Unit 5) Was it traditional to vault a church? Why is the vault so
important to Humanist scholars?
- (Unit 6) Was it traditional to sculpt tympana and altars? How are
related to the concept of the
- (Unit 7) Is Ste Foie a sculpture? Is she a traditional kind of
- (Unit 8) Desiderius was a spiritual reformer. Why was the quality
of art so
important to him?
- (Unit 10) Like transverse arches on barrel vaults, the ribs on rib
purely decorative. Why
were they important?
- (Unit 11) Theophilus was a pen-name. What does it mean? How did
churches with every kind of art?
- (Unit 12) Two artforms were developed to an elaborate new level in
Empire: stained glass and
enamelwork. What aesthetic advantage(s) did they have?
Romanesque summary thoughts
- Many ranking ecclesiastics and monks were scholars in this period.
How did they assess
the truth of any proposition?
- If it was doctrinally true that there should be no figurative graven
Commandment), and ALSO philosophically true that valid art was beautiful, what problem
did that raise? List some ways in which the problem was
Do not assume that your personal bible has the only possible, or the only
correct text! Read this: Graven Images
Past and Present.
- If it was aesthetically true that Euclid's ideal shapes were
beautiful, and ALSO true that two
intersecting barrel vaults produce a structurally sound groin vault with a wonky arris, what
problem did that raise? List some ways in which the problem was
- Did the Ancient Romans have these problems? What restrictions did
they place on art and
architecture before they were resolved?
- Why did Europe keep looking back to Ancient Rome if its values were
in conflict with
- Summarise the socio-intellectual forces acting on society in the
Part 2, Gothic
- (Unit 1) What is the result of having resolved the logical problem
- (Unit 2) If divine repercussions are no longer an issue with the
is the new interest? Is it as serious
as the old issue?
- (Unit 3) If divine repercussions are no longer an issue with
is the new interest?
- (Unit 5) Oops! Papal repercussions! If sculpture was OK but a
appearance was not, how
did the new sculptural style "resolve" that problem?
- (Unit 6) Can appearance be altered without changing the nature of
the thing? What does the international adoption and rejection of the
Transitional style suggest about the importance of appearance?
- (Unit 7) What do shadows and perspective in painting contribute to
debate raised in the previous question?
- (Unit 8) Does the decoration of English vaults reflect their real
- (Unit 9) Altarpieces were a new artform in the 13th century. How
- (Unit 10) Why did St Francis call for realistic art?
- (Unit 11) If sculpture was validated by beauty in the Romanesque
new problem do the
- (Unit 12) How far can appearance go? What is significant about the
emphasis on apparently
natural structural forms in English architecture?
Gothic Summary Thoughts
- Once sculpture and the vault had been liberated from doctrinal
and aesthetic restrictions,
what issue absorbed artists and architects?
- How many different ways did artists and architects examine the issue
Course Summary Thoughts
- Would it be valid to suggest that where the Romanesque mind was
knowledge, the Gothic mind was concerned with perception?
- If a society places its emphasis on perception, how easy is it then
to impose intellectual,
religious, cultural or political orthodoxies on individual people?
- If a society places its emphasis on perception, what does this do to
understanding of his or her value as a person and role in society? Consider the Italian town
republics and St Francis' reason for demanding realistic art.