Saintly bodies and holy shrines: the art and architecture of medieval pilgrimage
Previously taught by: Elizabeth A. LASTRA
Throughout the Middle Ages, millions of travelers traversed hundreds of kilometers of unfamiliar, foreign lands to venerate the bodies of saints. From England to the tip of the Iberian Peninsula, from Scandinavia to Rome, medieval pilgrims embarked on months-long journeys to seek spiritual favor, perform penance, or simply escape quotidian life. Art served as the mediator of these experiences. This course will examine the four major medieval Christian pilgrimages—Jerusalem, Rome, Compostela, and Canterbury—and the artistic production associated with each. We will study a range of artworks, from monumental basilicas to gleaming body-part reliquaries to miniature pilgrim’s badges, while considering the spiritual, physical, and social aspects of pilgrimage.
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