HISTORY OF MEDIEVAL ART (UNIT A)
Learning outcomes of the course unit
The aim of the course is to provide students with a basic overview of the broad themes of the history of Medieval art with regard to the problems of architecture, sculpture and painting. At the methodological level any kind of evolutionary approach will be avoided, in order to eradicate the model inherited by young people during secondary school studies. Instead the course will introduce new models of inquiry to be adopted for Medieval civilisation. Of great importance in this context are lessons on building techniques and the operation of the Medieval workshop, on the function of the scriptoria, monastic schools and cathedrals, and on the relationship between religious and civic power in their roles as patrons.
Course contents summary
The course sets out to analyse a number of problematic issues of the artistic culture of the Medieval West from Late Antiquity to the International Gothic period.
In Module A (5 learning credits) students will acquire basic knowledge relating to works completed between the 4th century AD and the Carolingian period (9th century) and at the same time will be able to carry out a historicised interpretation of the works themselves.
Module B, for students taking an exam carrying 10 learning credits, will examine more sector-specific aspects, in particular artistic artefacts created from the Carolingian period (9th century) to the 12th century.
The course will analyse in particular works of architecture, sculptures and paintings, as well as the so-called sumptuary arts which constitute the essential nodes in cultural relations from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages.
Exam programme for attending students:
Students should prepare for the exam using any secondary school textbook with the exception of the first volume by Argan. The chronological period to cover goes from the Arch of Constantine to Giotto.
In any case, the following texts are recommended:
A. M. Romanini, L’arte medievale in Italia, Firenze, Sansoni editore, 1988
Volume 2 (Il mondo classico) chapters 11, 16, 18 and 19, Volume 3 (L’Alto medioevo) and Volume 4 (Il Romanico) of the history of art published by Electa in a special edition for the daily newspaper La Repubblica.
as well as the following textbook:
E. Kitzinger, Alle origini dell’arte bizantina in Italia, Correnti stilistiche nel mondo mediterraneo dal III al VII secolo, Milano, Jaca Book, 2005.
Matilde e il tesoro dei Canossa tra castelli, monasteri e città, edited by A. Calzona, catalogue of the exhibition in Reggio Emilia-Canossa, 31 August 2008 - 11 January 2009, Cinisello Balsamo, Silvana Editoriale, 2008.
Learning by students taking the exam in Medieval Art History cannot be assessed simply on the basis of a list of facts, but must take place through the study of a number of specialist essays and a reflection upon the images shown during the lectures; in some cases students may propose brief research projects on topics of their choice or give an account of the field research conducted with the teacher and therefore of monuments, sculpted or painted cycles analysed during the lectures.