Art and Architecture in Western Europe, 950-1250

This lecture course introduces students to selected works of architecture, sculpture, and painting from the revival of monumental building around the turn of the millennium to the gothic cathedral. Topics include Ottonian manuscript illumination and architecture, the Year 1000 and illustrations of the Apocalypse, monasticism and reform, pilgrimage sites and cults, and classical revival versus innovation in the arts. Emphasis is on close examination of relatively few works of art in relation to each historical theme or problem, but also on the diversity of cultural contexts and artistic manifestations in this time period. Thus Sicily, Rome and Venice are considered as well as Cluny, Santiago de Compostella, and Chartres. Readings, where possible, are from original sources in English translation: secondary sources serve to enrich classroom discussion. Suggestions for further reading include literary works from the period or even modern novels. No previous knowledge of art or architectural history is necessary: fundamental skills in formal and iconographic interpretation will be acquired in the course of the semester. There will be midterm and final examinations and a short paper (10 pages). Site visits to see relevant works in Harvard collections may be scheduled.