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HA4323 To the Glory of God: the art and architecture of the medieval church c.1100-1220

Module Organiser: Dr Laura Cleaver
Duration of the Module: Michaelmas and Hilary term
Contact Hours: 1 lecture pw, and 1 seminar per fortnight
Weighting: 10 ECTS
Assessment: Coursework and summer examination

Medieval cathedrals and churches are numbered amongst the great monuments of European culture. However modern visitors have a very different experience to that of their medieval predecessors, as they encounter these buildings stripped of their treasures and often in a fragmentary state. This module will consider medieval churches as gesamtkunstwerks (or total works of art). It will address the surviving architecture, sculpture, wall-painting, stained-glass, metalwork and manuscripts associated with medieval churches to try to reconstruct the original appearance of these buildings. In doing so the module will explore questions of making, function and meaning. It will also consider the roles of patrons, artists and critics in determining what was appropriate for the house of God. Taking the period c.1100-1220 and the region of modern France as its focus the module will address the major stylistic change that occurred with the development of the Gothic style, and question what this meant for religious art and architecture.

Leaning Outcomes

By the end of this module students will be able to:

  • Discuss medieval ecclesiastical material, orally and in writing, using appropriate vocabulary.
  • Identify and discuss major themes in relevant scholarship.
  • Use primary and secondary sources in constructing arguments, and demonstrate an awareness of different types of evidence.
  • Combine visual analysis with an assessment of historical questions to produce critical responses to set questions.
  • Identify and describe key works of medieval ecclesiastical art and architecture.
  • Assess the roles of restoration, conservation and loss in shaping the body of surviving evidence.


Last updated 23 August 2012 arthist@tcd.ie.