11382 - History of Medieval Art

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course students will have a general overview of the history of medieval art from 5th to 15th century. Students are expected to acquire on one side the abilities which are necessary for the knowledge and the interpretation of the artistic production of this period and on the other an appropriate use of the adequate methodology. They are also able to examine in depth specific topics, as an instance of specialized research.

Course contents

The first part (A), an orientation part (or if you prefer the "institutional part"), will deal with general issues of the discipline. This course aims to offer a guidance for students to prepare at best the final examination and, of course, it introduces them in the study of the discipline. The list of the course topics includes two main lines. On the one hand, several methodological themes: the periodization of the Middle Ages and medieval art; historical and historical-artistic geography; the relationship between center and periphery; materials and their use; the relationship with the Ancient; the workshop of the medieval artist; reading an artwork, and so on. On the other hand, they will be treated in a more chronological way some key moments of the artistic history of the medieval period (also with the help of seminars held by collaborators). In the second part (B), as usual, students will deal with a research exemplification ("monographic course"), this year focusing on "Middle Age as seen by posterity: from the definition of Romanesque to our days", and will consider how much what we think about Medieval Art (cathegories, perceptions, iconographic analysis) depends on subsequent sensitivities and awareness.


(I) Students are required to develop a knowledge of the general outline of art history in Italy from the end of the 5th century to the first Renaissance generation around 1420-30 (chronological limits should be understood with common sense). The final examination will be in a written form for the preparation of which it is recommended the intelligent use of art history manuals covering the period treated, except reduced editions and the texts of Adorno and Argan – the manual and its use will still be dealt with in the first lectures; one of the recommended manuals is C. Bertelli, Invito all’arte, con P. Cova, E. Daffra, S. Nicolini, Bruno Mondadori ed., Ed. Azzurra, 2017. Students are required to orientate themselves among authors, periods and styles (in particular the chronological and geographical-regional differences of the styles) through a direct or photographic knowledge of the works; in this regard, students are invited to expand their visual experience in addition to the manual materials: the use of more manuals, exhibitions catalogues, encyclopedias or their individual voices, series dedicated to authors or periods (the "Classici dell’Arte", the "Maestri del Colore"), or rather the physical approach to the closest Bologna works and monuments or elsewhere. Of course, during the oral examination, students are expected to discuss also about these general outlines (especially if the result of the written part has not been excellent). This part (I) of the syllabus corresponds to part (A) of course. Non-attending students, like those attending, shall follow these same indications; those attending will use their presence as a guide for a better preparation.

(II) Students are required to study in a critical and in-depth way (not a summary or a banal exposition) of one text (or, in one case, a group of texts) chosen among the following list (further indications will be provided during the lectures):

A - three essays from the volumes published in the series Arte e Storia del Medioevo, Turin 2002-05

B - J.J.G. Alexander, I miniatori medioevali e il loro metodo di lavoro, Modena 2004

C - M. Baxandall, Painting and Social Experiences in Italy of the Quattrocento, ed. en. Turin 1978 and later. edd.

c – M. Baxandall, Pittura ed esperienze sociali nell'Italia del Quattrocento, ed. it. Torino 1978 e succ. edd.

d – M. Baxandall, Giotto e gli umanisti, ed. it. Milano 1994

e – M. Baxandall, Forme dell'intenzione, ed. it. Torino 2000

f – E. Castelnuovo (a cura di), Artifex bonus. Il mondo dell'artista medioevale, Bari 2004

g – H. Focillon, Vita delle forme, ed. it. Torino 1990 e prec. edd.

h – C. Ginzburg, Indagini su Piero, ed. Torino 1994 (NON quelle precedenti)

i – E. Panofsky, La prospettiva come “forma simbolica” e altri scritti, ed. it. Milano 1961 e succ. edd.

l – E. Panofsky, Rinascimento e rinascenze nell'arte occidentale, ed. it. Milano 1971 e succ. edd.

m – O. Pächt, La miniatura medioevale, ed. it. Torino 1987

n - S. Romano, Milano 2008

o - J. Von Schlosser-Magnino, L'arte del Medioevo, ed. it. Torino 1989

p - C. Tosco, L'architettura medievale in Italia, Bologna 2016

q – A. Warburg, La rinascita del paganesimo antico, ed. it. Firenze 1966 e succ. edd.

r – R. Wittkower, La scultura, ed. it. Torino 1985.

Students are expected to choose the text after considering its contents. These indications are for both attending e non-attending students and could be integrated immediately before or during the lectures with other texts.

(III) The monographic part (B) will be discussed in the second part of the course and divided in specific topics. For the final examination, attending students shall choose and prepare one of the topics discussed, each of them with its specific bibliography, while those non-attending two topics.

a - Medioevo trash - one text from the following list: A. Demurger, Vita e morte dell'Ordine dei Templari, Milano 1987; M. Barber, La storia dei Templari, Casale Monferrato 1997; G. Bordonove, La vita quotidiana dei templari nel XIII secolo, Milano 1997; R. Curzi, La pittura dei Templari, Milano 2002; B. Frale, I Templari, Bologna 2004; F. Cardini, Templari e templarismo, Rimini 2005

b - neomedieval revivals in architecture - one text from the following list: O. Mazzei, Alfonso Rubbiani. La maschera e il volto della città. Bologna 1879-1913, presentazione di F. Solmi, introduzione di M. Dezzi Bardeschi, Bologna 1979; Viollet le Duc (Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, 19 fevrier-5 mai 1980), Paris 1980; Viollet-le-Duc e il restauro degli edifici in Francia, catalogo della mostra (Torino 1981), Milano 1981; Alfonso Rubbiani. I veri e i falsi storici, catalogo della mostra (Bologna, febbraio-marzo 1981), a cura di F. Solmi e M. Dezzi Bardeschi, Bologna 1981 (all the studies and a choice of entries); Alfonso Rubbiani e la cultura del restauro nel suo tempo (1880-1915), atti delle Giornate di studio su Alfonso Rubbiani e la cultura del restauro nel suo tempo (1880-1925), Bologna, 12-14 novembre 1981, a cura di L. Bertelli e O. Mazzei, Milano 1986 (two studies of your choice); Miti e segni del Medioevo nella citta e nel territorio: dal mito bolognese di re Enzo ai castelli neomedievali in Emilia-Romagna, a cura di M.G. Muzzarelli, Bologna 2001; Neomedievalismi: recuperi, evocazioni, invenzioni nelle città dell'Emilia-Romagna, a cura di M.G. Muzzarelli, Bologna, 2007

c - neomedieval revivals in painting and decorative arts - one text from the following list: Aemilia ars, 1898-1903. Arts & crafts a Bologna, catalogo della mostra (Bologna, Collezioni comunali d'arte, 9 marzo-6 maggio 2001), a cura di C. Bernardini, D. Davanzo Poli, O. Ghetti Baldi, Milano 2001; Arti e storia nel Medioevo, IV, Il Medioevo al passato e al presente, a cura di E. Castelnuovo e G. Sergi, Torino 2004 (four studies at your choice)

d - street art e pittura medievale: F. Lollini, "Modelli dell'intenzione". Strategie della produzione e dalla percezione: per un confronto tra la pittura medievale e il wall painting contemporaneo, in Do the right wall / Fa' il muro giusto, a cura di F. Naldi, Bologna 2010

(IV) Finally, students are required to have the direct knowledge of at least one church, palace, painting, or any artistic work, chosen by students (concerning, obviously, the medieval period). Students can make ANY CHOICE, in Bologna or elsewhere, and are not required to communicate it to the teacher in advance, nor write it in any way, such as 'tesina' or anything else. This indication applies both to attending and non-attending students.

The foregoing applies to all students who have planned to dedicate a total of 12 credits to MEDIAEVAL ART HISTORY; In this case, the examination consists of a written part (point I) and an oral part (points II, III, IV), and students may take the final examination only after the end of the lectures. Those with 10 credits are required to prepare the same texts as the 12 credits program. Those with 9 credits are required to prepare points I, II and III (point I for the written part, others for the oral). Those with 5 or 6 credits are required to prepare point I for the written part and point II for the oral part, but choosing from point II TWO texts. For examinations with different validity please contact the teacher. The written examination verifies the preparation of point I of the syllabus; students who passed the written part may take the oral examination only within the subsequent six exam dates: if they not take the interview in this time limit, students shall repeat the written part. It’s not possible to take written and oral parts in the same date. Students who don’t pass the written part (a sufficient performance is graded 18), shall skip the following exam date, and that also applies - to avoid abuses very often occurred – to those who retire. In each exam date, it will take place both the written and oral part: students who will not indicate on the webpage Almaesami the exam part they wish to take or try not to follow the indications given, THEY WILL NOT PERMITTED TO TAKE THE EXAMINATION FOR ANY REASON. Erasmus and Overseas students are required to prepare Part I (this part for the oral examination instead for the written part), II, III and IV, and section III may be replaced by a personal research (minimum 5 pages long, at least 3 texts in bibliography, no notes); for 5 or 6 credits it applies the same criterion as that for the Italian students.

Addendum: students who can be interested in these, can read for the exam, instead of point II and III, one of the following books, i will present on Tuesday, May 7th 2019 at 5.30 pm in the Archiginnasio Palace: "Medieval Europe in Motion", Maria Alessandra Bilotta ed., Napoli / Lisbona 2018 (four papers at your choice, in different languages); and "Migrating Art Historians. On the sacred ways", I. Foletti et alii edd., Roma 2018 (five papers at your choice, in English).

Teaching methods

Lectures. In addition to the general syllabus (I), seminars by the teacher and his collaborators are also planned.

Assessment methods

Written examination for point (I); oral examination for points (II), (III) and (IV) of the syllabus (see the relevant section above). Only and exclusively non-native students (Erasmus, Overseas, other exchange programs, as well as individual "freelancers") may also discuss the part (I) at the oral examination.

The written part consists of examining 10 projected images, of which students shall give the stylistic coordinates (chronological and geographic) as precisely as possible; it is not a quiz, but a demonstration (open answers) to know how to orientate in a stylistic examination; obviously on the most descriptive and manual images, more precision is required; each image may receive 0 to 4 points, and together they will give the final vote (sufficient is graded as 18, the final vote after the oral examination is based on the vote of the written part, a sufficient and acceptable interview confirms that vote; an inadequate interview lowers it while a brilliant interview increases it (up to 4-5 points). THE PROJECTED IMAGES ARE CHOSEN FROM THE SYLLABUS AND THEY ARE NEITHER A GROUP TO BE LEARNED BY ROTE, NOR PRESENT IN A TEXT X, NOR THOSE OF THE LECTURES, as the purpose is acquiring stylistic analysis skills and not memorizing a group of images. Two recent written examination examples have been uploaded at http://campus.unibo.it/288360/. The interview, which can only be taken after the written part, will be based on the points II, III and IV of the syllabus in the manner above and on questions about the recommended bibliography and the topics discussed.

It will be assessed as excellent the performance of those students achieving an organic vision of the course contents, the use of a proper specific language, originality of reflection and familiarity with Medieval Art. It will be assessed as discrete the performance of those students showing mostly mechanical or mnemonic knowledge of the subject, disarticulated synthesis and analysis capabilities, or a correct but not always appropriate language, as well as a scholastic study of Medieval Art. It will be assessed as barely sufficient the performance of those students showing learning gaps, inappropriate language, lack of knowledge of the instruments of Medieval arts. It will be assessed as insufficient the performance of those students showing learning gaps, inappropriate language, no orientation within the recommended bibliography and inability to ANALISE Medieval Art.

Teaching tools

Projection of images during lectures.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Fabrizio Lollini