Honors | Monks, Nuns and Medieval Art (HON)
H203 | 27703 | Diane Reilly
Since the foundation of the Christian Church, when men and women
first sought to live apart from popular society and devote their
lives entirely to religion, monks and nuns have influenced heavily
the development of Medieval art and architecture. Early monks and
nuns lived as hermits in the mountains, forests and deserts. From
the second or third centuries C.E., however, they gathered together
to live communally in organized monasteries. Like their
predecessors, the hermits, these later monks and nuns claimed to
live in abject poverty, but although they owned no personal
possessions they often lived in communal splendor inside wealthy and
well-decorated houses. Supplied with lavish churches, gleaming
metalwork, sumptuous tapestries and vestments and colorful
manuscripts, monasteries became the treasure houses of Europe and
the targets of condemnation, arson and looting.
This course will explore the phenomenon of Christian monasticism
from its earliest beginnings immediately after the death of Jesus
through the modern era, concentrating especially on the pinnacle of
the monasticism, the Middle Ages. We will read monastic rules in
translation to understand the lifestyle of the monks and nuns,
examine their artworks, including manuscripts in the Lilly library
and objects in the Indiana University Art Museum. We will
investigate the legacy of their art and architecture, and visit
monasteries in Indiana, including the Tibetan Cultural Center, in
order to understand parallel, non-Christian traditions.
Readings will be available on the E-reserves system. Images for the
course will be accessed through Oncourse.
The final grade of the course will be calculated based on a total of
points earned out of 100.
Attendance will be worth 10 pts (with attendance at each class
meeting worth 4 points out of a total of 100).
There will be 10 short assignments distributed throughout the term,
each worth 10 pts. The lowest grade among these 10 assignments will