Medieval Art: Ideology and Representation

Subject ENGL30019 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2011.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2.5
Total Time Commitment: 102


Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: 670-337 Art, Ideology and Doctrine, 400-1000
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:


Denise Varney
Subject Overview:

The subject will examine medieval art and representation in the context of a Christian intellectual, philosophical and theological framework, while at the same time focussing on the implementation and adaptation of late Classical and native European stylistic traditions to emergent Christian art. Each week the lecture will focus on an ideological or doctrinal issue, or on an interpretative strategy, and the related tutorial will examine how these work themselves out in the artistic tradition, examining changes in form and style. The issues focussed on will include: the fourfold system of interpretation, Typology, Creation, Angelology, the Incarnation, the Virgin Birth, Redemption, the Harrowing of Hell, Primogeniture, Paradise, the Resurrection, Time and Eternity, the Trinity, the Exodus, the Flood, and the Fall and Atonement, Sin and Evil, and other similar related issues will also be considered.


Students who complete this subject will:

  • have an understanding of the Classical background to medieval art and iconography;
  • be aware of how dominant ideologies have informed Western art;
  • be familiar with major Christian credal and doctrinal issues;
  • be able to identify and characterise schools of early medieval art;
  • understand the cultural context in which major representative works of art were produced;
  • be aware of the development of the book and of the politics of the book and other written documents in the Middle Ages.

An essay of 1500 words 40% (due mid-semester) and a second essay of 2500 words 60% (due at the end of semester). This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 75% attendance and regular participation in tutorials are required. 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.

  • City of God (St Augustine, H Bettenson, trans.), Penguin 1984
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:

  • have learned how to frame and develop a cohesive and compelling argument;

  • have learned how to plan a research project;

  • have learned how to communicate the outcomes of their research in seminar presentations.


Students who have completed 106-213 or 670-337 Art,Ideology and Doctrine, 400-1000 are not eligible to enrol in this subject. This subject can be included in a major or minor in Art History.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Ancient, Medieval and Early Modern Studies Major
Art History
Art History
Art History
Art History Major
English Literary Studies Major
English and Theatre Studies
European Studies

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