Art documents a particular culture, its goals, its standards of beauty, and serves as a window to another time and place. This introductory survey course focuses on works of art and architecture created by the cultures we will encounter on our voyage and relates them to their historical, political, religious and social contexts. We will also examine innovations in technique, style, and aesthetics that place key objects and monuments in the larger course of global culture and art history.
Using illustrated lectures and classroom discussions, we will learn by means of visual analysis how to identify formal methods and materials of artistic expression based on culturally specific definitions of a particular ideal. We will study the basics of world religions as expressed in art and architecture, including Islam and Christianity, as well as indigenous and blended traditions, dating from ancient to modern times.
Field WorkCountry: Spain
Day: 4 - Sunday, 18 October
This field lab explores traditional and contemporary architecture in Barcelona, a city that is home to some of the world’s most remarkable buildings. First we will visit the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia (Barcelona Cathedral), a Roman Catholic church built between 1298-1420 in the Gothic style. Dedicated to one of Barcelona’s patron saints, we will study the building and its artwork to examine the ways in which history and religious miracles are depicted, and how those images contribute to the space. Further, we will investigate the role that relics, martyrdom, crypts, and tombs play in worship and conceptions of this religious site. Next we will visit a site that epitomizes innovation in Barcelonan church architecture: the Sagrada Familia, initially conceived of by famed architect Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926) and built in Gothic Modernist style. Although the groundbreaking of this UNESCO world heritage site took place in 1889, the building is still unfinished. During our visit, we will tour the entire cathedral, noting the ways in which the traditions visible at Barcelona Cathedral have been adopted, adapted, transformed, or effaced in Gaudi’s conception of what a church should look like. Lastly, we will visit Casa Batllo, another Gaudi-designed World Heritage site, in order to study how he approached the creation of this building, which originally served as domestic architecture. Though now the site is a museum, we can compare the ways in which Gaudi adapted modernist ideals to fit a different scale and function—that of an elite household. Academic Objectives: 1. Identify the ways in which the forms of traditional religious architecture fulfill ritual needs and reflect spiritual beliefs 2. Analyze how traditions are transformed in Gaudi’s projects, both religious and domestic. 3. Understand how form and function are related, yet reflect the particular contexts of the time and place of their creation.