Visual and Material Cultures of the Middle Ages: An Introduction

This course is a broad of examination of the material remains of medieval culture through two interpretive prisms: that of visual culture and the other of material culture. The attempt of the survey is to offer an introduction to medieval society through a close analysis of metalwork, textiles, painting, sculpture and architecture. Trade routes and pilgrims’ paths will serve as backgrounds to the focused study of the objects in question. Key concepts such as spolia, appropriation, devotion and conversion will be contextualized through the study of “things.” By using modern social and cultural theories we will better understand the middle ages and its culture. Scheduled field trips to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cloisters, and the Pierpont Morgan library will offer close examination of actual objects within the context of the museum and the rare book library. 3 credits. Satisfies pre-1800 requirement.