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ART 218: Gothic Art and Architecture

Fall, 2007
Michael Tinkler

Houghton House Room 211
Telephone: (315) 781-3489
Fall 2007 office hours - Houghton House - Tuesday, 12-1.30
Houghton House - Wednesday, 1.20-2.30
Scandling Center Cafe - Thursday, 12.15-1.00
or any day by appointment

Outcomes and objectives
Attendance policy
Grading Scale
On-line Image Review

Typical graded material
Image Identification Information

Course Description

We will study the art and architecture of the High and Later Middle Ages, roughly 1050-1450, especially the shift from Romanesque to Gothic and with considerable emphasis on Court arts. The course is organized chronologically around the rapid development and diffusion of Gothic forms from the centers of power in France to the whole of Europe. Of primary concern for architecture is the interaction between use and design, typified by the elaboration of liturgical space. Special attention will be paid to the importance of cult images and their role in society in comparison to images of powerful people, men and women. We will pay close attention to secular art and make some effort to understand from material culture what everyday life was like in the Middle Ages.


How this course works with the Colleges' 8 Goals:

This course will help students address Goal 1 (Develop skills for effective communication: listening, reading, writing, speaking.), Goal 6 (Develop an intellectually grounded foundation for understanding differences and inequalities of gender, race and class.), and Goal 7 (Acquire critical knowledge of the multiplicity of world cultures.).

Outcomes and objectives

From the Art Department Assessment document, spring, 2005:

"The intermediate courses required of Art History majors provide the skills and reasoning processes necessary to continue to integrate technical proficiency and critical thinking. Students will take at least one course from each of 4 areas: ancient and medieval art, Asian art, renaissance and baroque, and American or modern art. Students argue for relationships between art objects by sharpening their focus on specific periods, ideologies, or cultures. Students will explore the history, theory, and practice of art and architecture from ancient to contemporary as well as the broad range of disciplines which bear on art history. Students will interpret different art historical sources including primary sources and the secondary literature."


Henry Luttikhuizen and Dorothy Verkerk, Snyder's Medieval Art, 2nd ed. (only this edition!)
Barnet, A Short Guide to Writing About Art*
Hacker, A Pocket Style Manual*
Teresa Frisch, Gothic Art, 1140-c. 1450: Sources and Documents
A Bible. If you don't own one, you can find lots in the library. You may use any translation or version you prefer.
*these two resources are required or recommended for many art history courses – you may already have a copy or may find it useful to NOT sell these at the end of the semester.

Grade percentages

Typical graded material

Typical TEST format
How to do image identifications

Attendance Policy

Of course if you don't attend you won't do very well. Visual material will often seem very different in color and in large scale on the wall from its appearance in black and white in a small paperback book, so if you don't see both, your work will suffer.

You may miss class twice without penalty. Any further misses count one (1) point against your final grade


Scripture Worksheets

Christian art usually illustrates Bible stories. We will begin by reading the Gospel of Matthew carefully and then you will do a number of homework assignments to familiarize yourself with the stories and characters you will be seeing in art. I have 12 worksheets in the packet. You must do 10. The remaining 2 can be used as bonus assignments.

Windows Project

Each student will take a window or window-set at St. Stephen’s Roman Catholic Church on the corner of Pulteney and High Streets and explicate its iconography. We will meet at the church one day for presentations!

Online Project

We will be studying regional Gothic Revival buildings and posting the results on a weblog. Details to follow.

Writing Assignments

You will write 2 short papers (500-1000 words) about individual art objects and one short paper about a building. You will write a longer research paper (about 2500 words) at the end of the semester.
I take your writing very seriously - and you should, too. One of the advantages of attending a liberal arts college with a low student:faculty ratio is that you should be able to learn to write clearly from frequent, carefully-marked assignments.
I use to alert me to academic dishonesty. I will set up an account for the class and you will submit your own work there. Plagiarism on any work will result in a zero for that assignment. However, I much prefer to write comments on a paper copy – therefore, you need to turn in one of those, too. Any paper received after the due date/time will be reduced in grade according to this schedule:

  • Late - 3 points (one third of a letter grade)
  • Each class day late - 10 points (one letter grade)
  • Four class days late - 40 points off (four letter grades - in other words, the highest grade you can earn at this point is an F. A high F is still better than a zero!)
  • Five class days late - zero.
If you have never taken art history before

You need to learn how to look seriously at pictures and you need to learn how to study them. Come and talk to me at our earliest mutual convenience.

Image Review

We offer the possibility for online image review via Artifact.
The physical Visual Resources Center is on the second floor of Houghton House and holds more than 300,000 slides, compact discs, and DVDs of use for Art History classes.


image review via Artifact

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