Docente: Ale Taddei
a.a.: 2021/2022 - anno di corso: 1
Settore L-ART/01 - CFU 6 - Semestre II - Codice 10595487
Note insegnamento:
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Academic Year: 2021/2022

Medieval and Byzantine Art - 1st year - II semester


The course will provide students with a multifaceted approach to the role of images in medieval and Byzantine art, by paying a special attention to the so-called “Iconoclasm”, i.e. to the long period – between the late 6th and the 9th centuries – during which the debate about the meanings and use of images and icons together with their veneration “hit the headlines” and soon became the main issue on the religious and political agenda. How this large-scale ideological struggle could have had an influence or even exerted a “pressure” on the artistic production of Early Medieval Europe and the Byzantine world, shall be a basic subject to deal with during classes.

By adopting a definite iconological approach, a focus will be provided on the following subjects:


a. Architecture

b. Sculpture and plastic

c. Paintings, mosaic

d. Inscriptions, coins

e. Illuminated manuscripts

f. Small artworks, handcrafts, objects for use


Through this lens, Western Medieval and Byzantine art, archaeology, and culture will be explored, with an emphasis on the main capital cities, the major centres of pilgrimage, the trading networks. Cross-cultural interactions between the Byzantine world and its Eurasian neighbours (Bulgaria, Russia, Armenia, Georgia, Hungary and the Northern Balkans; the Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphate, the medieval Turks and the Mongols) will be considered as well. 

This would imply to investigate the culture and material evidence of the millennium of Eurasian civilisation from Late Antiquity and the Early Medieval/Byzantine period up to the turning point of the 15th century with and its worldwide aftereffects.

Programma inglese


The course is intended to provide students with a wide knowledge of art in medieval Europe and in the Byzantine world. Thus, attending students are expected to attain:

a. To become proficient in approaching medieval European and Byzantine artworks in their historical context, as well as in using stylistic, iconographic and technical terms. 

b. To develop full autonomy of critical judgement.

c. To acquire an adequate awareness about artistic heritage and its preservation and/or valorisation.

- Prova orale
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The final (oral) exam is based on assigned readings in textbooks and in lecture notes. The course does not imply any sort of midterm test.

In order to pass the exam, a final grade corresponding to 18 points out of 30 is needed. Students are expected to be acquainted with the basic notions of the subject and, more precisely, they should demonstrate to have attained a proper knowledge of the development of Byzantine art through the centuries together with the relevant geo-political, historical and cultural frame.

To pass the exam with full marks - 30 points out of 30 cum laude - students must show a high proficiency in all the learning outcomes and a full understanding of the issues that were dealt with during classes. They are requested to be able to work out in a logical and coherent way the data and information they have acquired.



Required texts:

1. Robin Cormack, Byzantine Art (Second edition), Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018. – viii + 253 pages + illustrations – ISBN: 978-0-19-877879-0 (Oxford History of Art).

2. Leslie Brubaker, Inventing Byzantine Iconoclasm, London: Bristol Classic Press, 2012. - xvi + 134 pages + illustrations- ISBN: 978-1-85399-750-1 (Studies in Early Medieval history).


Orario Lezioni
Martedì 15.00 - 17.00 (CU003 Aula D Egittologia II PIANO)
Mercoledì 13.00 - 15.00 (CU003 Aula B Ciasca - II PIANO)
Inizio lezioni: Martedì 1 Marzo 2022

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