The Mediecal Millennium: Objects of Desire


There will be two formal examinations, one at mid-term and one in the final exam week. The final exam will deal only with material from the second half of the course. In each examination you will be asked to recognize and discuss several of the objects that you have studied in the course. There will also be an essay question that will ask you to rehearse some of the themes and problems that we have explored.

In addition there will be two other assignments. You will be invited to use the course web site in order to organize your own exhibition of objects around a theme of your own choice. And there will be a short research paper in which you are invited to focus upon a single work of art, to describe it, and to use it to illustrate aspects of the society from which it came.

A written text for the course is also available at the Barnes and Noble bookstore: M. Stokstad's Medieval Art.

Readings are on reserve in Avery Library Study Shelf 358 as well as additional material including xeroxes of short readings.

Lecture 1 General

The Cloisters. Studies in Honor of the 50th Anniversary, NY, 1992

Davis-Weyer, C., Early Medieval Art, 300-1150, Englewood Cliffs, 1986

Metropolitan Museum. of Art . The Middle Ages. Treasures from the Cloisters, NY/LA, 1969

Metropolitan Museum of Art. Europe in the Middle Ages, ed. T. Husband and C. Little, NY, 1987

Southern, R., The Making of the Middle Ages, London, 1987

Stokstad, M., Medieval Art, NY, 1986

Lecture 2 Medievalism

Lears, T. J. Jackson, No Place of Grace. Antimodernism & the Transformation of American
Culture, NY, 1981

Smith, E. B., Medieval Art in America Patterns of Collecting 1800-1940, University Park, 1996

Lecture 3 Threshold to the Middle Ages: West

Elsner, J., Imperial Rome and Christian Triumph, Oxford, 1998, Ch 6. 145–166 "Art and Death"

Krautheimer, R., Rome, Profile of a City, Princeton, 1980, Ch 1. 3–31

Weitzman, K., et al. Age of Spirituality, NY, 1977, skim

Life of St. Ambrose

Lecture 4 Threshold to the Middle Ages: East

Byzantium, The Empire of New Rome, London, 1994

Mango, C., Art of the Byzantine Era, 312-1453, Toronto, 1986

The Construction of Constantinople

Paulus Silentiarius, Descriphe Sanclae Sophiae

Lecture 5 Byzantine Art

Cormack, R., Writing in Gold: Byzantine Society and Its Icons, London, 1995, Ch. 1, "The Visible Sain" pg. 9-49.

The Glory of Byzantium. Art and Culture in the Middle Byzantine Era, NY, 1997, skim.

Rodley, L., Byzantine Art and Architecture: An Introduction, Cambridge, 1996

Justification of Religious Images

Lecture 6 Art of the Period of Migrations

Bede, The Venerable, The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, Oxford, 1994

Farr, C., The Book of Kells: Its Function and Audience, Toronto, 1997

Geary P., Before France and Germany: The Creation and Transformation of the Merovingian World, Oxford, 1998, pg. 77-116

Migration Art, AD 300-800, NY 1995, skim.

"Wilhelm Worringer," Dictionary of Art Vol. 33, pg. 383-385. Xerox on shelf 358.

The History of the Franks

Bede's Lives of the Abbots of Wearmouth and Jarrow

History of the Goths

Lecture 7 Carolingian and Ottonian Art

Hubert, J., Porcher, J., and Volbach, WF., The Carolingian Renaissance, NY 1970, skim.

Nees, L., Tainted Mantle, Hercules and the Classical Tradition at the Carolingian Court, Philadelphia, 1991, "The Problem of the Carolingian Renaissance in Modern Historical Literature." pg. 3-17.

Lecture 8 The Year 1000

Focillon, Henri. The Year 1000. Translated by Fred. D. Wieck. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing, 1969.

Lecture 9 Romanesque

Bergman, R., The Salerno Ivories, Cambridge MA, 1980 skim

Bernstein, D., The Mystery of the Bayeux Tapestry, London, 1986 "Introduction," pp. 14-26

Enamels of Limoges, NY 1996 skim

Toman, R., Romanesque Architecture, Sculpture, Painting, Cologne, 1997 skim (beautiful pictures, plans etc.)

Seidel, Linda. Songs of Glory. Chicago: 1981. "Foreground and Background,"
pp. 1-16

Lectures10-11 Gothic (two sessions)

Toman R., The Art of Gothic, Cologne 1999

Lectures 12-13 Review and Mid-term exam
Writing Assignment - posted 3/6/00

Pick an object, ideally one that is both in our Medmil database and on display at the Met, and go down there. Develop a relationship with the object, look at it, draw it, whatever it takes for you to make sense of it. Write about what you see, and how that reflects or embodies the culture that produced the object, the use, meaning, and life of the object. How was it made? With what? What does it look like, how does it behave when you look at it, what visual indicators are there for its use, for its treatment? Write this up, and prepare a 5 min, no more, presentation to be given on site at the Met, on a date to be determined, to your TA and your peers. Be aware of your responses to the object, as well as the inherent problems of describing visual objects/experiences with words and the rhetorical tradition of ekphrasis.

The second part of the assigment is the 'cultural, historical' framing of the object, derived from material in class, readings for the class, and readings on the bibliography for the class. Not a research assignment, but a thinking assignment, bringing the content of the class to aid the discussion of the object. Link your object to other objects, either in the Met or other ones, to political events, to historical events or trends. Situate the object in time, space, in a tradition and a visual context.

This assignment will have two grades, one for the presentation, which will essentially be a concise presentation of the student's own visual analysis of the object, and one for the paper, which will be a well-organized description of the visual analysis and a historical contextualization. The paper will be due on the day of the presentation, the week of March 20-24 for Caroline's section and on the 31st of March for Linday's section.

Lecture 14 Technology

Dodwell, C. R., Theophilus: Diversarum Artibus Schedula, Oxford, 1986

White, L., Medieval Technology and Social Change, NY, 1966

Lecture 15 Aesthetic Response

Belting, H., Likeness and Presence, Chicago, 1994

Camille, M., The Gothic Idol, Chicago, 1989

Eco. U., Art and Beauty in the Middle Ages, New Haven, 1986

Lecture 16 Monasticism

Lawrence, C. H., Medieval Monasticism Forms of Religious Life in Western Europe in the Middle
Ages, London, 1989

Lecture 17 Pilgrimage

Gerson, P., The Pilgrim's Guide to Santiago de Compostela: A Critical Edition, London, 1998

Sumption, J., Pilgrimage: An Image of Medieval Religion, Totowa NJ, 1975

Lecture 18 The Body of Christ

Rubin, M., Corpus Christi, Cambridge

Lecture 19 Cult of Saints

Brown, P., The Medieval Cult of Saints: Its Rise and Function in Western Christianity, Chicago, 1982

Lecture 20 The Cult of the Virgin Mary

Forsyth, Ilene, The Throne of Wisdom, Princeton, 1972

Lecture 21 Devotional Life

Baxandall, M., The Limewood Sculptures of Renaissance Germany, New Haven, 1980

Hamburger, J., The Visual and the Visionary: Art and Female Spirituality in Late Medieval,
Germany, NY, 1998

Lecture 22 The Profane World. Love

Camille, M., Image on the Edge, Cambridge, 1992

-----, The Medieval Art of Love: Objects and Subjects of Desire, NY, 1998

Lecture 23 Warfare

Metropolitan Museum. of Art Handbook of Arms and Armor, NY 1930

France, J., Western Warfare in the Age of Chivalry, Ithaca, 1999

Lecture 24 Death and Dying

Binski, P., Medieval Death. Ritual and Representation, Cornell, 1996

Lecture 25 The End of the Middle Ages

Baxandall, M., The Limewood Sculptures of Renaissance Germany, New Haven, 1980

Huizinga, J., The Waning of the Middle Ages. A Study of the Forms of Life ...
NY, 1985