The Mendicant Revolution

Fall 2012, Fall 2014

Caroline Bruzelius

This course examines the impact of two new religious orders, the Franciscans and Dominicans (mendicant friars), on cities, architecture, literature, painting and sculpture.

In the early 13th century, two men, Francis and Dominic, started religious movements that had a profound impact on the world. Although their institutions were different in many ways, they shared some common goals: outreach to the public through public sermons aimed at converting heretics, a spiritual vocation dedicated to imitating the poverty of Christ and the Apostles, and a focus on people living in cities. This became a profoundly urban movement, engaging with laymen in the public spaces of cities (squares, piazzas, markets) as well as in the private spaces of homes. Because of their public role, friars became immensely popular and influenced many aspects of late medieval life. Their use of imagery in painting and sculpture initiated new trends in the representation of sacred themes, for example. The importance of sermons as a mode of outreach to the public led to the invention of new types of texts, such as concordances, popularizing saint’s lives. They created a new type of urban convent for their communities that were often flanked by public piazzas for preaching.

Gothic Cathedrals

Fall 2020 | Fall 2018 | Fall 2017 | Fall 2016 | Fall 2015 | Fall 2014 | Fall 2012

ARTHIST 225-01 & 225-01L | MEDREN 215-01

Edward Triplett

TTh 3:05-4:20pm | Link Classroom 6 (Game Lab)

This course introduces students to the history and design of cathedrals and monasteries in medieval Europe. Themes include the development of Gothic architecture from Romanesque foundations in France, the importance of fractions and Euclidean geometry for medieval architects, and the material and financial costs of monumental construction projects during the middle ages. In addition to lectures and discussion, students will design a counterfactual monastery or cathedral using 3D graphics software as part of a final project. In-class tutorials will teach students how to draw plans, elevations and sections of churches and monastic buildings and how to build 3D models from these drawings.

Course Attributes:

(CCI) Cross Cultural Inquiry
(R) Research
Cross-listed in another department
(ALP) Arts, Literature & Performance
(CZ) Civilizations

This course was formerly offered by Professor Emerita Caroline Bruzelius. In Fall 2018, it was offered as a First Year Seminar under the name “Medieval Monasteries & Cathedrals.”


Projects

Cathedral of Saint Susanne