Honors | Monks, Nuns, & Medieval Art (HON)
H235 | 29007 | 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.
Readings will be available from the Friends of Art Bookstore, on the
E-reserves system and Oncourse. Images for thecourse will be
accessed through Oncourse.
The final grade of the course will be calculated based on a total of
points earned out of 100, with the distribution of points among
various course assignments (reviews, slide test, in class
activities, presentation and paper) decided in consultation with
students at the beginning of the term.