Late Antique Art from the Catacombs to the Dome of the Rock
Tuesday | Thursday: 5:00 - 6:30pm
This class examines three centuries (4th to 7th) of profound artistic, religious, historical and cultural transformations that ushered the Mediterranean World into the Middle Ages. It will help you understand how in the dialectic between the classical tradition and Christianity a new culture emerged. Christian art and architecture will be presented as born out of complex historical processes, such as Constantine’s religious policy, the Fall of Rome and the founding of Constantinople, the development of Christian theology, the monastic movement, and the creation of a Christian Holy Land.
The first weeks of the class’ readings and lectures emphasize a historical understanding of the period, in particular the Christianization of the Roman Empire, the conflict between paganism and Christianity, the reasons and consequences for the fall of Rome and the Western Roman Empire, the rise of the Eastern Roman Empire, centered in Constantinople, and the first wave of Islamic expansion. The rest of the material is divided thematically. Art (such as mosaics, illuminated manuscripts, and ivories) and the built environment (palaces, churches, and cities) are taken as statements in larger discourses of power, Christian doctrine, spirituality, paganism, gender, and the holy.
This course fulfills the following Major requirements: Geographical area (A) and Chronological period (I), based on the topic of the final research paper or project.