Mr. McClendon Office: Mandel Center 209

FA 42b Off. Hrs: Tues 3-5 & by appt.

MW 3:30-5pm Tel: x62663


Course Description:

A survey of art and architecture in western Europe from the eleventh century through the fourteenth century with special concern for the design, decoration, and meaning of the great cathedrals and abbeys of the age.

Assigned Textbooks: (available at the Brandeis University bookstore)

Teresa Frisch, Gothic Art 1140-c.1450: Sources and Documents.

Christopher Wilson, The Gothic Cathedral.


One Map Quiz (W, Feb. 1): Identification of locations of select major monuments discussed in class.

One Take-Home Exam: (Due, W Feb 15) A brief written essay (3-4 double-spaced, typed pages) describing and analyzing works of art and architecture discussed in class lectures and assigned readings. Students will be able to select one from a choice of topics. Images for consultation will be available on Latte.

One Image Exam: (M, Mar 20). The exam will be composed of slide identifications and comparisons of monuments discussed in class and brief definitions of technical terms. There is no final exam. Digital images, in addition to illustrations in the textbooks, are available for review on Latte.

One Written Assignment: Adopt a Cathedral. Assigned soon after the image exam and due W, Apr 5. A short research project involving the study of the art and architecture of a cathedral of your choosing not covered by class lectures. 4-6 double-spaced, typed pages. Specific guidelines will be distributed at the time of assignment.

Design Workshop: In lieu of a final exam, during the last two weeks of the semester we will design a cathedral together as a group. Students will be asked to design and plan various aspects of the decoration and construction of a cathedral complex based upon what we have learned in class. Grading is not based on artistic ability but on a brief oral and written explanation of process. The projects will be presented and discussed at the last class meeting.


Approximate values of requirements for grading purposes will be: the take-home exam, the image exam, the written assignment, and the design project will each be worth about 20% of the final grade. The map quiz will be worth 10%, as will attendance and participation in class discussion. Attendance will be taken occasionally during the first two-thirds of the semester and on a regular basis during the last third. This is a group effort. Excessive absences from class without a written excuse from an Academic Services advisor will seriously affect your grade. Similarly, all assignments are due and exams are to be taken on schedule unless an Academic Services advisor provides an excuse because of documented illness or a family emergency.

Class Regulations: Make-ups for exams and extensions for the paper deadline will be granted only for family emergencies and documented medical reasons. In such cases, you should notify your advisor in Academic Services about the situation.

Following the standards of the New England Association of Schools & Colleges, the Dean of Arts & Sciences has asked that the following statement be posted on all syllabi:

Four-Credit Course (with three hours of class-time per week)

Success in this 4 credit hour course is based on the expectation that students will spend a minimum of 9 hours of study time per week in preparation for class (readings, papers, discussion sections, preparation for exams, etc.).

Please read the following guidelines carefully:

If you are a student who needs academic accommodation because of a documented disability, you should contact me and present a letter of accommodation from an academic dean as soon as possible. Accommodation cannot be granted retroactively.

You are expected to be honest in all your academic work. The University policy on academic honesty is distributed annually as section 5 of the Rights and Responsibilities handbook. Instances of alleged dishonesty will be forwarded to the Office of Student Life for possible referral to the Student Judicial System. Potential sanctions include failure in the course and suspension from the University. If you have any questions about my expectations, please do not hesitate to ask.

In addition to Fine Arts and Creative Arts requirements, this course counts toward fulfillment of the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Programand theReligious Studies Program. Please contact the instructor if you wish more information about these interdisciplinary programs.

Laptop computer/electronic device policy:

Students are allowed to use laptop computers and other electronic devices under the following conditions: 1) The computer/electronic device is to be used exclusively to access material or to take notes related directly to this course; 2) Students using such devices are expected to pay attention to instructor presentations and general course discussions as well as to make a concerted effort to look up regularly and establish eye contact with peers and the instructor during such class activities; 3) if a student does not follow above items one and/or two, the permission to bring such a computer/device to this class may be denied.


Course Outline 2017

Part I: The Emergence of Gothic Art and Architecture

W Jan. 18: Introduction: Apocalypse and Pilgrimage

M 23: The Monastic Achievement

W 25: The Prelude: Four Romanesque Cathedrals

M 30: Abbot Suger and the Abbey Church of Saint-Denis

W Feb 1: Early Gothic Sculpture at Saint-Denis and Chartres

M 6: Early Gothic Experiments: Noyon and Laon

W 8: The Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris

M 13: “Murder in the Cathedral” and the Arrival of Gothic in England

W 15: Film & Written Assignment Due

(Assigned reading in textbooks for Part I: Frisch, Gothic Art, 4-23, 30-33;

Wilson, GothicCathedral, 7-90; [on Latte]Williamson, Gothic Sculpture, 1-37.)


Part II: Chartres Cathedral and High Gothic Art & Architecture in France

M 27: Notre-Dame at Chartres: Pre-Gothic Phases and the Cult of Carts

W Mar 1: Chartres: The Fire of 1194 and the Aftermath

M 6: Heavenly Jerusalem: Sculpture & Stained Glass

W 8: Bourges and Reims Cathedrals

M 13: Amiens and Beauvais Cathedrals

W 15: Review and Discussion

M 20: Image Exam

(Assigned reading in textbooks for Part II: Frisch, Gothic Art, 23-37; Wilson,

Gothic Cathedral, 91-119, 129-133; [Latte]Williamson, Gothic Sculpture, 37-65,


Part III: The Spread of Gothic and How Cathedrals were Used & Built

W 22: Rayonnant: The New Style of Paris (short paper assigned)

M 27: Gothic outside the Ile de France: England & Germany

W 29: How were the cathedrals built and who built them?

M Apr 3: Setting up a Cathedral in the Field

W 5: The Art of Stained Glass (guest lecture & short paper due)


W 19: Designing a Cathedral: a group workshop -- getting started

M 24: Gothic in Italy: On the Threshold of the Renaissance

W 26: Film

M May 1: The Legacy of the Gothic Cathedral in the 19th and 20th Centuries

W 3: Designing a Cathedral: a group workshop -- presentations

(Assigned reading in textbooks for Part II: Frisch, Gothic Art, 43-90, 103-104,

141-147; Wilson,Gothic Cathedral, 120-129, 134-144, 151-154, 258-276;

[Latte]Williamson, Gothic Sculpture, 145-173, 195-199, 257-259.)

Study sheets of major monuments and specific reading assignments will be distributed during the course of the semester. Lecture topics may vary slightly by date listed.


Timeline of Major Historical Events: c. 800-c. 1400 BCE

768-814Reign of Charlemagne as King of the Franks

800Charlemagne crowned Emperor of the Romans by Pope Leo III

on Christmas Day at St. Peter’s in Rome

843Treaty of Verdun divided the Carolingian empire among

Charlemagne’s three grandsons into France, Germany and

Lotharingia (Lorraine) together with Italy

c. 840-900Continental Europe attacked by Vikings

910Founding of Benedictine monastery at Cluny in Burgundy

911Normandy awarded to Vikings by King of France

911Death of last Carolingian emperor

962Otto I crowned emperor of smaller Holy Roman Empire,

comprised of Germany and Italy

983-1002Reign of German Emperor Otto III

987Founding of Capetian Dynasty in France

1024-61Reign of German Emperor Conrad II (Salian dynasty)

1066Norman Conquest of England

1073-85Reign of Pope Gregory VII and beginning of the Investiture

Controversy between the papacy and the Holy Roman Empire

1085Pisa becomes first of independent communes in Italy

1085Reconquest of Spain from Muslims begins

1095Pope Urban II proclaims the First Crusade

1098First Cistercian abbey founded at Citeaux

1122Concordat of Worms ends Investiture Controversy

1122-54Suger reigns as abbot of Saint-Denis outside Paris

1147Death of Peter Abelard, innovative theologian and teacher;

beginning of scholasticism

1147-49Second Crusade led by King Louis VII of France

1153Death of Bernard of Clairvaux, primary spokesman for Cistercian


1180-1222Reign of King Philip Augustus of France

1204-61Western armies of Fourth Crusade conquer and rule


1226-70Reign of King Louis IX (St. Louis) of France

1265-1321Dante Alighieri, author of The Divine Comedy

1274Death of Thomas Aquinas, scholastic philosopher

1300First Holy Year of Jubilee proclaimed by Pope Boniface VIII in


1309-76Exile of the papacy at Avignon in southern France

1337-1453 Hundred Years War between England and France

1347-50The Black Death (bubonic plague) ravages Europe

1417The papacy (Pope Martin V) returns to Rome