Art in Medieval Europe

Subject AHIS20019 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2016.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 30 hours: a 1.5-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week.
Total Time Commitment:

Total expected time commitment is 170 hours across the semester, including class time.





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:

AHIS20019 Medieval Art: Celtic to Gothic

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Dr Felicity Harley-McGowan

Subject Overview:

This subject provides an introduction to the art of medieval Europe, from the Roman Empire (c. 300) to the late Middle Ages (c. 1400), surveying the major artistic developments across the period wth particular emphasis on Italy. It focuses on the function of imagery in specific historical and physical contexts, and considers the lives and motives of patrons, audiences as well as artists. Lectures introduce broad themes and topics, including: early medieval attitudes toward the classical past; European perceptions of Byzantium and Islam; political imagery in medieval courts; the cult of relics; the rise of devotional imagery; the emergence of the 'artist'; and the origins of the independent easel painting (the canonical vehicle of modern art). Tutorials focus on key art works from a range of media (including wall paintings, panel paintings, mosaic, sculpture, ivories, metalwork, tapestry, illuminated manuscripts, and stained glass), and include site visits to University of Melbourne collections and to the National Gallery of Victoria.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of the subject students should have:

  • acquired a good working knowledge of the stylistic and iconographic developments in the art of the period;
  • developed an understanding of the range of approaches to art historical writing on this period; and
  • an ability to analyse a work of art of this period in relation to medium, function, and social or religious context.

Written work comprising of a 1000 word class paper 25% (due during semester), a 2000 word essay 50% (due during semester), and a 1000 word visual test 25% (in the examination period). This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 80% attendance and regular participation in tutorials. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available or readings will be available oniine.

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • be able to research through the competent use of the library and other information sources, and be able to define areas of inquiry and methods of research in the preparation of essays;
  • be able to conceptualise theoretical problems, form judgements and arguments and communicate critically, creatively and theoretically through essay writing, tutorial discussion and presentations;
  • be able to communicate knowledge intelligibly and economically through essay writing and tutorial discussion;
  • be able to manage and organise workloads for recommended reading, the completion of essays and assignments and examination revision; and
  • be able to participate in team work through involvement in syndicate groups and group discussions.
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 200 Point Master of Art Curatorship
Art History
Art History Major
Graduate Certificate in Arts - Art History
Graduate Diploma in Arts - Art History

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