This course concerns a fascinating period in European history, when, after the fall of Rome, waves of invading "barbarians" occupied the lands of the former empire and, as a product of dynamic interchange between cultures, new forms of art and architecture emerged. We will focus on places and times in which distinctive artistic cultures flourished: Britain in the "age of saints," Ostrogothic and Lombard Italy, Visigothic Spain before and after the coming of Islam, Carolingian Europe under Charlemagne and his heirs, Anglo-Saxon England, Mozarabic Spain, Ottonian Germany, and Viking Scandinavia. We will consider the function of imagery in specific historical contexts, studying magnificently decorated churches and palaces, elaborately embellished manuscripts, and sumptuous objects produced for patrons with a taste for gold, ivory and gemstones. Overarching themes include early medieval attitudes toward the antique past, European perceptions of Byzantium and Islam, the political use of imagery in early medieval courts, the cult of relics and worship of saints, and the significance of the Year 1000.
Estimated cost of materials, less than $50. D. 2