WEEK ONE: 8-12 July

Course 2: Dr Rose Walker

The Road to Compostela

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.


WEEK FOUR: 29 July - 2 August

Course 25: Dr Mellie Naydenova-Slade

The Gothic Image: Exploring the Medieval Imagination



The making of medieval art was typically a collaborative process, involving numerous craftsmen as well as patrons whose wishes were closely followed. As a result, medieval images often reflect the creative vision of more than one individual making them a particularly fascinating topic of study. Focusing on the Gothic period (c.1140-1500) this course will explore the imaginative universe which shaped Gothic art, offering an exciting opportunity to become familiar with images in a variety of media, including panel and wall painting, sculpture, stained glass, manuscript illumination, metalwork and textiles. Both religious and secular subjects will be covered, from familiar images representing well-known biblical stories, to art works which record tales of magic, combat, romance, and much more besides. In the first instance, the various types of images under consideration will be contextualised and elucidated, giving participants the necessary tools to understand and interpret medieval art. Building on that, we will question who was responsible for shaping the meaning of Gothic images, to what extent patrons left their own mark on the works of art they commissioned, and, perhaps most interestingly, how the imagination of the people for whom they were made is likely to have augmented their intended effect.

Course 26: Dr Janet Robson

A Tale of Two Cities: Florence, Siena and the Birth of Renaissance Art



Ever since Giorgio Vasari in the sixteenth century championed Cimabue and Giotto as the first great Italian artists, Florence has been proclaimed as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. But how accurate is this idea? Despite the fame of Giotto, his style was not the only one favoured in his native city, nor was painting in early Renaissance Italy completely dominated by Florentines. Sienese artists were just as successful, even winning major commissions from Florentine patrons. This course will reassess the relative contributions of Florence and Siena in the renewal of Italian painting between c.1280 and 1348. We will examine panel paintings and frescoes created by leading artists from the two rival cities, including the Florentines Cimabue, Giotto, Taddeo Gaddi and Bernardo Daddi, and the Sienese masters Duccio, Simone Martini, and Ambrogio and Pietro Lorenzetti. Can their work usefully be characterized as ‘Florentine’ or ‘Sienese’? Or was the style of painting produced in the two cities determined by other factors, such as the function of the work, its patrons and viewers? The course will include visits to the National Gallery and The Courtauld Gallery.