Authority and Invention: Medieval Art and Architecture

This course covers masterworks of art and architecture in Western Europe from the decline of Rome to the dawn of the Italian Renaissance, and explores the creative tension between the impulse to originality and the authority of classical models in the search for new art forms. Emphasis will be on representative works considered in their totality (architecture, painting, sculpture, and minor arts) as experiential wholes; and on the plurality of geographical and cultural contexts (Italy, Germany, France, England, and Spain).

Participants will explore the forms, types, styles, intellectual, theoretical and cultural contexts of paradigmatic monuments from Late Antiquity through the Middle Ages (approximately 300–1300 A.D.) and gain familiarity with a large number of buildings related to these paradigms. A complete list of monuments seen is on the course site. Requirements include quizzes on images, lecture materials and readings, short papers (five pages), and a final research paper. Design students may substitute design problems for the short papers and for the research paper. Other students may substitute one design problem for one of the short papers by request. There is no midterm or final exam. Attendance is required at lectures and section meetings.