The Sea Inside: Art and Material Culture of the Mediterranean World 1050-1250

In the past century scholarship in art and material culture have benefited greatly from the discussion of the materials and ideas relating to the Mediterranean world. Contact between the Latin West and the world of Islam, in times of war and peace during the Middle Ages, formed the Mediterranean world to be a localized geographical environment, a circumscribable laboratory for the study of artistic change, interaction and even cross-cultural artistic collaboration. Constant interaction gave birth to new amalgamated artistic and aesthetic language. Enhanced trade of luxury goods such as rock crystal, ivory, silk and spices accelerated the visual and material dialogues between the different religious cultures of the Mediterranean. Drawing on this framework, the seminar will focus on the synchronic and discursive concepts behind the notion of Mediterranean art and material culture. The Latin West and the Islamic World will serve us as a lithmus paper with which we will raise questions, agree and disagree about what we would like to label as the decorative arts and material cultures of the Mediterranean world.

3 credits. Satisfies either the non-Western or pre-1800 requirement.