Medieval and Renaissance art at the V&A
Time: 11:00 - 13:00
Location: Off Site
Course Code: VB789
Duration: 5 sessions (over 5 weeks)
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What is the course about?
The Victoria and Albert Museum has one of the finest and most comprehensive collections of medieval and Renaissance art and material culture in the world. The course aims to provide an introduction to these fascinating collections and to discuss individual themes and items within them. There will be an introduction to the collections. Their origins in the mid-nineteenth century will be discussed as a direct by-product of the Great Exhibition and with the intention of providing exemplars of good design for craftsmen such as William Morris. This development will be situated within its broader intellectual context such as the writings of John Ruskin and his championing of the Gothic or the emergence of the Ecclesiastical movement.
The course will then follow a chronological scheme. Mini-introductions will be provided to galleries with a discussion of periods (e.g.the Romanesque or Gothic) and themes (e.g.the cult of reliquaries). Then individual works of art will be discussed in greater detail, which are either pre-eminent (e.g.the Raphael cartoons or Donatello’s sculptures) or of particular interest (e.g.the fourteenth century confraternity banner used by a group of Flagellants). The course will look at works of art from a variety of standpoints such as technique, function, patronage, provenance and artists, and situate them within their broader cultural and intellectual framework. It aims to cover the full range of materials including: ivories and metalwork, manuscripts, architectural sculpture and stained glass, painting and prints.
We will also look at the Cast Courts which date back to the nineteenth century and provide simulacra of key works of sculpture of the period such as Michelangelo’s David as well as lesser known works such as the tympanum from Shobdon. The course tutor was a curator at the museum and an expert on medieval art.
What will we cover?
• Early medieval art: Ars sacra including ivories and metalwork
• The emergence of architectural sculpture and stained glass
• Opus Anglicanum and ecclesiastical garments
• The Devonshire tapestries
• Donatello and fifteenth century Italian sculpture
• The beginnings of prints (e.g.Durer and Pollaiuolo)
• German and northern Renaissance sculpture and stained glass (e.g.Veit Stoss)
• Raphael cartoons
• Casts and simulacra.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
Know about the origins of the collections
-Be able to identify key style periods and their characteristics within these collections
-Have an understanding of key objects within the collections from a variety of standpoints
-Have gained a greater understanding of key themes and developments in medieval and Renaissance art.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
The course is suitable both for beginners and those with a specialist knowledge of medieval art. You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, hand-outs and health and safety information, and will be invited to take part in group discussion and activities.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The course will be taught with a mixture of guided gallery visits, group discussion and short group activities. Handouts will be provided by your tutor to support your learning on the course.
Museum/gallery-based courses take place during public access hours. Tutors are not able to control sound levels or behaviours of visitors outside of the course group. Unless you are a wheelchair user, and have confirmed access details with us (as levels of access can vary between galleries), you will need to be able to walk between exhibits and stand for some time while looking at them (you may bring your own portable stool if you have one, but we cannot guarantee access to any gallery stools.) If you feel you may be impacted by these environmental variations, please inform the department on firstname.lastname@example.org before the course begins, to discuss reasonable accommodations we can make to assist your learning in the museum space.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You may wish to bring a notebook and pen to take notes and/or purchase some of the suggested readings on the reading list.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Colour in medieval art
A history of colour in European art.
Andreas Petzold was educated at Manchester University and the Courtauld Institute of Art, where he obtained a Ph.d. on the use of colour in illuminated manuscripts. He was a Curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum for eleven years where he specialised in medieval and Renaissance art. He has taught for the Open University, City University, the Institute of Continuing Education at Cambridge University, and Richmond Adult Community College (where he was a Curriculum Leader). He is the author of Romanesque Art in the Everyman Art Series (translated into four languages and specified on the BBC and Metropolitan Museum of Art websites), and has published twelve articles/book chapters on colour, stained glass, and textiles as well as contributing entries in Smarthistory. Interests include: colour (on which he is currently writing a book), ceramics, stained glass, and the application of computing to history of art.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.