Sensing sanctity: encounters with art and architecture in the medieval world

Course Dates: 27/04/21 - 25/05/21
Time: 18:00 - 20:00
Location: Online
The art and architecture of the medieval world ranks among the most profound and affecting in human history. Learn not only when and where images of gold, bone, blood and stone were made, but how and why they touched, upset, delighted and even frightened medieval men and women.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £129.00 Senior fee £129.00 Concession £79.00

This course has now started

Course Code: VB582

Started Tue, eve, 27 Apr - 25 May '21

Duration: 5 sessions (over 5 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

This art history course will look at how medieval works of painting, sculpture and architecture functioned for their audiences. Without losing sight of traditional questions such as who planned, paid for and produced such objects, our primary focus will be on how, in practice, they were actually seen and felt at the time.
Of the many types of “encounter” that will be analysed, none will be separated from human sentiment and sensation. In an attempt to consider, on a par, both object and subject, both cause and effect, we will draw on first-hand accounts of artistic experience from across medieval Europe, all the while generating a vivid and dynamic view of our own from inside the medieval “mind’s eye”.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

• The evidence for how the human body and its senses were understood to function in the medieval world.
• The range of visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory and even gustatory methods by which medieval art and architecture engaged its medieval audiences.
• A number of European examples which will be situated within local socio-cultural contexts.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

• Discuss how the surviving textual and material evidence from the medieval world evidences a preoccupation with the senses in relation to sanctity.
• Give an example of how recent scholarship in the fields of art history and architectural history enhances our understanding of this relationship.
• Give an example of why and by what means one object/building might function differently from another on the basis of its sensory power(s).

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is suitable for all levels.
You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, demonstrations, hand-outs and health and safety information, and will be invited to take part in group discussion.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

You will be taught online with slide presentations and group discussions. Handouts will be provided by your tutor to support your learning on the course; these handouts will be available online/digitally for download, not printed out for you.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You might wish to purchase a notebook for taking notes. You might wish to buy some of the books on any reading list provided.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

You might also be interested in:
• VB124: Medieval art and architecture
• VB244: In depth: exploring the sources of early Christian images
• VB732: Romanesque and Gothic sculpture: beyond the antique.
• VB555: The Cults of Saints— Martyrs and Miracles in the Middle Ages
• VB585: Heavenly Bodies: Relics and Reliquary Sculpture in Medieval Europe.

Euan McCartney Robson

Euan McCartney Robson holds an MLitt in Early European Art and Architecture from the University of Glasgow (his thesis on medieval relics and reliquary cultures was awarded a Distinction and the 2010 Robert. E. Cummings Prize). He gained his PhD for his thesis on Durham Cathedral at University College London (UCL) in 2019 and has been lecturing on art history at UCL ever since. He is a Research Fellow at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. Before joining City Lit, he worked in research and education, most recently as a Librarian at Christie’s, following two years as a pre-doctoral Research Assistant to the Director of the Courtauld Institute 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.