Spring 2013 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
Venice and the Mediterranean
This class, covering roughly the period from 1000 to 1500 CE, will examine the art and architecture of the medieval world through the concentrated study of a single urban center: the Italian city of Venice. Owing to its large population, economic power, and location on the sea, Venice was one of the most important cities of the medieval world, and—equally important—was a critical cultural crossroads between east and west, north and south. No other place has such an unusual fusion of artistic and architectural elements that still stand intact today. The city was influenced by the Romanesque and Gothic architecture of the north, as well as by classical and Byzantine architecture from the south and east, and everywhere throughout the city are traces of Islamic architecture inspired by distant trading partners.
Over the course of the semester, we will look at global trends in medieval art and architecture by focusing on its manifestation in the Venetian environment, as well as in some places with which it had close contact, such as Constantinople and Cairo. (We will also “visit” nearby Padua to study Giotto’s frescoes there, and will look at art and architecture in the Italian cities of Assisi, Florence, and Siena, among other places in Europe.) We will not be moving through the material exclusively chronologically, but will have lectures and readings oriented around individual monuments or places in contact with Venice. Throughout the course we will cross-reference the relevant important ancient and medieval background that Venetian art and architecture grew out of, looking at examples of Byzantine, Romanesque, Gothic, and Islamic art and architecture outside Venice.
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria: