WEEK ONE: 8 - 12 July 2013

Course 1: Dr Cecily Hennessy

Nike to Angel: The Inception of Early Christian Art

£455

Christian imagery is central to our knowledge and experience of western art during the past two millennia. This course explores the origins and influences of that imagery as it appears in wall paintings and monumental mosaics, in ivories, metalwork and manuscripts. In order to gain a perspective on its roots and influences, we look at key images and symbols from the pre-Christian world. We analyse their meanings and significance and discuss how they gained new interpretations when borrowed and adapted for fundamental aspects of Christian iconography. We also examine the role of art in religious belief and practice, focusing on key sites, such as Dura Europos in modern Syria and fascinating late antique cities, including Ravenna, Rome and Constantinople as well as questioning major visual concepts such as the representation of Christ and of the Virgin. It is planned that visits include a special behind-the-scenes session at the British Library.



Course 2: Dr Rose Walker

The Road to Compostela

£475

The fee for this course is £475 to include the cost of travelling to Ely

‘There are four roads … ’, so begins the ‘Pilgrim’s Guide’ to Santiago de Compostela in the Codex Calixtinus, the manuscript that was stolen from the cathedral in 2011. The text goes on to describe an itinerary of holy bodies; good and bad rivers; places to stay and people to avoid.  Along those same roads some of the finest monuments of Romanesque art came into being.

This course will look at buildings and sculpture at sites along the roads in France and Spain. We will examine the idea of a ‘pilgrimage church’ in relation to Santiago de Compostela, Sainte-Foy-de-Conques, and St Sernin-de-Toulouse. How did processions and liturgy use cloisters like Moissac and Santo Domingo de Silos? How did reliquaries, above all the mesmeric image of Sainte-Foy at Conques, embody a relationship with their community and with pilgrims?  In London we will visit the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Library. The course will also consider England’s fascination with Santiago de Compostela over the centuries and pilgrimage in England through a visit to Ely Cathedral, where we will be accompanied by the distinguished scholar of medieval architecture, Professor Paul Crossley.

NB You may also be interested in Dr Walker’s and Professor Rocío Sánchez Ameijeiras’ Study Tour to Santiago de Compostela from 11-13 October. 

Both course and tour are, however, entirely freestanding events and attendance at one does not require attendance at the other.



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WEEK TWO: 15 - 19 July 2013

Course 11: Dr Richard Williams

Art and the Reformation

£455


The Reformation ran in parallel with the Renaissance in sixteenth-  and seventeenth-century Europe, each exerting a profound effect on the visual arts. Often caricaturing the Protestant Reformation as purely destructive, art history has usually downplayed or overlooked the ways in which it shaped and re-directed the arts. Cranach collaborated with Luther to reinvent religious art so that it avoided medieval ‘superstition’, and other German artists, including Dürer and Holbein, took different approaches in adapting to the changing climate. Bruegel and others developed new, less controversial subjects such as landscapes, still-life, and genre scenes. We can also detect a new ‘Protestant sensibility’ in the art of Rembrandt whose down-to-earth realism contrasts so dramatically with the grandiose works of Rubens, a representative of the Catholic Counter-Reformation. Moreover, the Reformation forced a re-evaluation of the purpose of the visual image, shifting from a religious icon to a ‘work of art’, admired for its beauty. This course looks at the art of Northern Europe from the destruction of a rich tradition of medieval art to the flourishing of new and often very moving works. Visits will include the National Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Museum Department of Prints and Drawings.



Course 14: Gail Turner

The Arts in Spain in the 16th and 17th Centuries: Patronage by Church and State under the Habsburgs

£455

This course is an introduction to the extraordinary wealth and variety of the arts in Spain - from the post-Islamic sixteenth century to the end of the Habsburg era. Spain’s vast empire attracted talented artists, architects and sculptors from all over Europe. Italian and Flemish prints were often the initial inspiration for many artists of Spain’s Golden Age of the seventeenth century. Spain led the Counter Reformation against Protestantism and the Spanish Church commissioned vast numbers of religious images during the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Realism was considered most effective in communicating the Catholic cause. This is reflected in the paintings of Velázquez, Zurbarán, and Murillo, and in contemporary sculptures, some of which even incorporated ivory teeth and glass eyes. This period saw the origins of the enduring tradition of popular processions, during which life-size images of Christ and the Virgin were paraded round the streets. Meanwhile the court in Madrid commissioned grand-style portraiture and decorative schemes, demonstrating the  formality and the power of the Habsburg Empire while seemingly ignoring the realities of the impending political and economic melt-down. Visits will include the National Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Wallace Collection and The Courtauld Print Room. 



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WEEK THREE: 22 - 26 July 2013

Course 17: Dr Eileen Rubery

Beauty and Splendour Piece by Piece: The Art of Mosaics from Antiquity to the Renaissance

The fee for this course is £475 as the group will be limited to 10 students; this also includes the cost of course materials/workshops

mosaic of a large figure of a winged angel in long white robes, striding, half-turned to left, holding a globe in the right and a sceptre in the left hand
Angel from an apsidal mosaic, Church of Kiti, Cyprus, © Robin Cormack
The use of coloured fragments of glass, stone, shells and earthenware to decorate floors, walls and ceilings occurs from the earliest of times. Mosaics form a robust, flexible and colourful decoration that also, especially when gold or silver is included, glitters and glows in the light, giving a unique impression of movement and liveliness. We shall consider how mosaics were made and what messages they were intended to convey to the observer. Starting with secular images on floors and in the ruins of Pompeii, we shall move on to look at the earliest Christian examples in Rome and Roman Britain, the mosaics of the Imperial Palace and Byzantine churches of Constantinople, and mosaics from Greece, Rome, Norman Sicily and Renaissance Venice. We shall see how mosaics were used to create some of the most sumptuous and spectacular celebrations of religious and secular power. Visits are to the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. There will also be three practical sessions in a mosaic workshop, where we will see modern examples and where every student will have the opportunity to make a small mosaic of their own.