ARTH 360
The Gothic Cathedral: An Art History Spring 2023
Division I
Cross-listed REL 360
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Through their enormous scale, through the gravity-defying complexity of their construction, and through the sumptuousness of their materials and decoration, Gothic cathedrals — the medieval equivalent of the blockbuster movie, and then some — have amazed visitors for centuries. The widespread social media reaction of shock and dismay to the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris almost three years ago, moreover, indicates that this power of the cathedral to dazzle and to capture hearts remains very much alive. But how have art historians, specifically, made sense of these extraordinary, and extraordinarily complex, monuments? And how have the questions they have asked about the cathedral changed over time? Through a close examination of a number of influential books, in particular — each one of them a kind of miniature cathedral in its own right — this 300-level seminar will investigate the shifting interpretation of the Gothic Cathedral over the past 150 years. In so doing, the seminar aims to shed light not only on the fascinating multiplicity of realities that make up the Gothic cathedral but also on the changing shape of the discipline of art history itself, from its beginnings to the early 2020s.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 3546
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: participation in class discussion; 2 oral presentations; two 2-3-page papers, and a 8-10-page paper
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: art majors and sophomores, but open to all
Distributions: Division I
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ARTH 360 Division I REL 360 Division II
Attributes: ARTH pre-1800

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