Art and Art History 253. Castles and Cathedrals
This course is a study of Gothic architecture and art from the 12th to the 14th century throughout Europe, but primarily in Medieval France, where the movement was “born.” Special attention at the outset of the class will be given to the art of the Romanesque period (11th-12th) for comparative analysis. Thus, we will move from Romanesque monastic pilgrimage sites (their architecture and sculpture), to the great cathedrals of Gothic France (their architecture, sculpture, and stained glass), to the castles of northern Europe (their construction, design, and life in a medieval castle), and to the Gothic art of the 14th century when two natural disasters occurred: The Little Ice Age and The Black Death. Social, political, and economic factors involved in the production of these works of art and architecture will be essential to our understanding of this art. Issues of materials, techniques of production, function, patronage, spectator/audience, historical context, and imbedded meanings for the art (its iconography) will be among the most important areas of inquiry.