ARTH 422 Spring 2015 Heaven's Gate: The Romanesque Sculpted Portal in Critical Perspective

During the course of the eleventh century, the designers of European churches fashioned a new architectural language that we now label "Romanesque." One of the most innovative and dramatic aspects of this new language was its assimilation of monumental sculpture, absent in Europe since the fifth century. The focus of attention in this regard was the portal, which marked the threshold between the profane realm of the outside world and the sacred space of the church. Often characterized as the "marquee of the Middle Ages," the Romanesque sculpted portal, with its startling juxtaposition of the spiritual and the physical, of ecstatic visions of the heavenly realm and writhing, biting monsters, constitutes one of the true high-points of medieval art. This seminar will investigate the antecedents and origins of the Romanesque sculpted portal and examine in detail its greatest manifestations. Emphasis will be placed on understanding these often complex sculptural schemes within their original functional and physical contexts. What role did this three-dimensional imagery play in structuring the medieval visitor's overall experience of the church? And what did it mean to have this imagery carved into the very fabric of "God's temple"?
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: class discussion, class presentation, 15- to 20-page research paper
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Prerequisites: ARTH 101-102 or permission of the instructor
Enrollment Preference: Art majors
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Divisional Attributes: Division I
Other Attributes: ARTH pre-1400 Courses,ARTH pre-1800 Courses
Enrollment Limit: 14
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Class Number: 3987
ARTH 422 - 01 (S) SEM Romanesque Sculpted Portal Division 1: Languages and the Arts Peter D. Low
F 1:10 PM-3:50 PM Lawrence 002 3987
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