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This subject provides an introduction to the art of medieval Europe, from the Roman Empire (c. 300) to the late Middle Ages (c. 1400), surveying the major artistic developments across the period wth particular emphasis on Italy. It focuses on the function of imagery in specific historical and physical contexts, and considers the lives and motives of patrons, audiences as well as artists. Lectures introduce broad themes and topics, including: early medieval attitudes toward the classical past; European perceptions of Byzantium and Islam; political imagery in medieval courts; the cult of relics; the rise of devotional imagery; the emergence of the 'artist'; and the origins of the independent easel painting (the canonical vehicle of modern art). Tutorials focus on key art works from a range of media (including wall paintings, panel paintings, mosaic, sculpture, ivories, metalwork, tapestry, illuminated manuscripts, and stained glass), and include site visits to University of Melbourne collections and to the National Gallery of Victoria.
Intended learning outcomes
On successful completion of the subject, students should have:
- acquired a good working knowledge of the stylistic and iconographic developments in the art of the period;
- developed an understanding of the range of approaches to art historical writing on this period; and
- an ability to analyse a work of art of this period in relation to medium, function, and social or religious context.
At the completion of this subject, students should gain the following generic skills:
- be able to research through the competent use of the library and other information sources, and be able to define areas of inquiry and methods of research in the preparation of essays;
- be able to conceptualise theoretical problems, form judgements and arguments and communicate critically, creatively and theoretically through essay writing, tutorial discussion and presentations;
- be able to communicate knowledge intelligibly and economically through essay writing and tutorial discussion;
- be able to manage and organise workloads for recommended reading, the completion of essays and assignments and examination revision; and
- be able to participate in team work through involvement in syndicate groups and group discussions.
Last updated: 6 December 2019