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Reading Medieval Images (Introduction to Medieval Christian Iconography)

Class at Faculty of Arts |


19 Feb 2018

Signs, Attributes, Gestures and their Meaning

-          iconography and iconology; introduction into methodology

-          Erwin Panofsky, Aby Warburg, Ernst Gombrich   26 Feb 2018

Out of Cave: Nativity scenes and Christ´s apocryphal childhood   5 March 2018

Changing Stones into Bread: Christ as a „Magician“   12 March 2018 Reading Week no class   19 March 2018

The Suffering Christ   26 March 2018

Crucifixion: Narrative and Symbolics   2 Apr 2018 Easter Monday no class   9 Apr 2018

To the Hell and Back: Scenes after Christ´s Death on the Cross   16 Apr 2018

Struggling with Satan: Last days of the World   23 Apr 2018

In the Beginning: Creation and Renovation   30 Apr 2018

How Lucifer Fell from Heaven and Became Satan   7 May 2018

Virgin Mary: Mother and Church   14 May 2018

Medieval Cult of Saints and its Audiences


The course introduces the principal themes of Christian iconography as depicted in the medieval art. It focuses on the process in which an iconographic motif (e.g. biblical scene, various depictions of Christ) developed into its final „form“ from the very beginning in visual arts of ancient civilisations (Egypt, Greek and Roman Antiquity) up to the Late Middle Ages.

Students get thus the opportunity to follow how schemes and motifs were endowed by different meanings in order to correspond to the changing needs of their readers. In the centre of the course are key stories from life of Christ and Virgin Mary as well as non-narrative representations of devotional or dogmatic character.

The aim of the course is to approach medieval images with their specific visual vocabulary und make them readable also for a postmodern student of the 21th century.

Study programmes