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ARTH 310

Painting & Presence: Image Theory in Medieval Art

This course examines the changes and controversies that informed the theory of the late medieval image (1400-1550) in altarpieces and devotional panels, and books of hours. In manifesting the presence of the divine, painting existed at the boundaries of the material and the immaterial, the earthly and the divine, the two-dimensional and three-dimensional, the visible and the invisible. How were these boundaries negotiated by the makers of images? And by their viewers? Study of original sources that theorize image making in conjunction with contemporary art historical scholarship will shape our discussions of how images come to be and how they come to mean. In focusing on the late medieval art of Jan van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden, Robert Campin and their contemporaries, we will seek to understand the impact of new materials and techniques (oil painting, multiple point perspective), as well as new iconography (The Seven Joys of Mary, the Wound of Christ), new ways of seeing (realism, symbolic and otherwise), and new identities (the new prominence of the artist through signature and commissioned work. The fundamental questions of the course are: 'How does painting create presence?' and 'What are the consequences ofthis creation?' This course counts towards the WIM (Writing in the Major) requirement of the department. May count towards European Studies minor.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course