First Year Seminar
Art at Medieval Courts
The later Middle Ages was a time of lavish ceremony and display. Coronations, knightings, banquets, and jousts were meticulously staged and gift-giving became a ritual activity in the royal and aristocratic circles of Europe. Household inventories and surviving works of art provide witness to astonishing levels of conspicuous consumption in the palaces and hotels of the ruling classes, while contemporary churches and monasteries benefited from elite largesse. This seminar will introduce students to an extravagant international culture that played itself out against a background of war, power politics, and economic uncertainty. We will study architectural monuments, sculpture, ivories and bejeweled objects, precious manuscripts, costly tapestries and furnishings, and fashionable dress. The French court will be our starting point, but our purview will extend through France and Burgundy to England, Italy, and Bohemia.
Estimated cost of materials: less than $50. D. 2