Summer School 2021 - Course 13 - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Summer School 2021 – Course 13

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Course 13

A World in Pieces: Medieval Mosaics

Dr George Bartlett, with contributions by Professor Liz James

Summer School – Online
Monday 28 June – Friday 2 July 2021

The Virgin Mary sits besides two saints in this gold mosaic on a church wall.

Detail of: Constantine the Great presents the city (Constantinople) and Justinian the Great presents Hagia Sophia to the Virgin, mosaic, probably 10th Century, Southwestern Entrance, Hagia Sophia

Course description

Mosaics are the largest and most spectacular works of art from the medieval world, used to create some of the most sumptuous and spectacular celebrations of religious and secular power. They are also among the most beautiful. Next to a wall mosaic, a Renaissance altarpiece is like a postage stamp. This course is about why mosaics matter in understanding and thinking about medieval art, so we shall consider what messages they were intended to convey to the observer. But we shall concern ourselves with how they were made and the breath-taking range of skills that putting a mosaic together involved. Our focus will be with wall mosaics, from the Byzantine churches of Constantinople and Greece to the mosaics of Ravenna, Rome, Norman Sicily and Venice.

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