Academic year
2019/2020 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
FM0249 (AF:313068 AR:168082)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
6 out of 12 of MEDIEVAL ART (ADVANCED)
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
1st Semester
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The course is scheduled among the fundamental art-historical disciplines in the Master’s Degree Programme in History of Arts and Conservation of Artistic Heritage, curriculum in Medieval and Byzantine Art, and it is the first module of the teaching History of Medieval Art (12 cfu), followed by the second module History of Medieval Art 2.
The course is also ranged among the related or additional studies in the curriculum of Modern Art.

The main course objective is to provide the basic tools for the analysis of the representation of medieval bestiary in visual art. After an introduction to the literature of medieval bestiary and its visual representations, the course will examine individual cases of works of art and architectures showing animals. The course aims to investigate the iconological meaning of bestiary within its monumental context, history and literature.
The course is also based on the active participation of students who will be asked to present research on topics focused on interpretation of monumental Bestiary.
The course aims to develop:
1) knowledge and understanding skills in the field of literary research related to the research in art history, examining the sources of the narrative of symbolic animals;
2) ability to apply knowledge and understanding: knowledge of how to place and examine figurative themes in their historical, geographical and monumental context; identify iconographic themes and their iconological significance;
3) ability to elaborate personal analysis on the identification of iconographic themes and their iconological meaning; to be able to argue with full ownership of language and formal analysis
4) learning skills: being able to understand how to connect a work of art or an author to cultural and artistic movements / groups or to a specific cultural moment, making comparisons between different works of art, authors and themes;
5) communication skills addressed to describe symbolic images by adopting the specific vocabulary of the Art History and to create links between semantic images, monuments and urban spaces.; to know how to use an appropriate and specific terminology, introduced and explained at lesson or on recommended texts and books; being able to behave in a professional, collaborative and profitable way with professors and colleagues.
The course requires a basic understanding of Medieval art, and ability to read Latin, English and French.
The course aims to explore the relationship between animals and visual art from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages.
The study of animals (even fantastic ones) in medieval culture, is part of Symbolism which is one of the key fields for the understanding of medieval society. The symbolic history of animals must be understood within the History of peoples and institutions which used the significance of the animal world, at particular times and in specific territories.
There are many ways to deal with this theme: the theoretical conception of the Middle Ages concerning animal symbolism; the relationship between animals and humans with particular regard to "others" in medieval fables and Mirabilia; the influence of Physiologus and Bestiaries on medieval literature and art (i.e. on hunting handbooks and mappae mundi); the iconography of animals in their monumental representations, that is, out of the handbook, displayed to a wide audience; how the animalistic narratives are transmitted and transformed. The course intends to explore these paths through specific examples in the Venetian monuments but also in oriental works of art, such as the chinese bestiary ((prof. Qujing Mao, School of Arts, Soochow University). The course is also connected with the Seminar of Armenian and East Christian Art.
M. Pastoureau, Bestiari del Medioevo, Torino, Einaudi, 2012.

General readings
M. P. Ciccarese, Bibbia, bestie e Bestiari: l’intepretazione Cristiana degli animali dalle origini al Medioevo, in Il Battistero di Parma : iconografia, iconologia, fonti letterarie, a cura di G. Schianchi, Milano, Vita e Pensiero, 1999, pp. 375-410
Z. Kador, s.v. Animali, in Enciclopedia dell’Arte medievale, II, Roma, 1991, pp. 1-13.
X. Muratova, s.v. Bestiario, in Enciclopedia dell’Arte medievale, III, Roma, 1992, pp. 449-457
G. Ortalli, Gli animali nella vita quotidiana dell’Alto Medioevo: termini di un rapporto, in L’uomo di fronte al mondo animale nell’alto Medioevo, 2 voll., Settimane di studio del Centro italiano di studi sull’Alto Medioevo, 31, 7-13 aprile 1983, Spoleto, 1985, vol. II, pp. 1389-1443 (anche in Id., Lupi, genti e culture. Uomo e ambiente nel Medioevo, Torino, 1997, pp. 3-56).
J.M. Ziolkowski, Literay Genre and Animal Symbolism, in Animal and the Simbolic in Medieval Art and Literature, ed. by L.A.J.R. Houwen, Egbert Forsten Groningen 1997, pp. 1-23

Specific reading for lessons

J. Boardman, s.v. Ketos, in Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC), VIII, 1, Zürich-Düsseldorf, 1997, pp. 731-736; VIII, 2, tavole
S. Riccioni, Dal ketos al senmurv? Mutazioni iconografiche e transizioni simboliche del ketos dall’Antichità al Medioevo (secolo XIII), in «Hortus Artium Medievalium», 22, 2016, pp. 130-144

Giona and the whale
N. Bonansea, Simbolo e narrazione. Linee di sviluppo formali e ideologiche dell’iconografia di Giona tra III e VI secolo, Spoleto, 2013, pp. 1-116
W. F. Volbach, Oriental Influences in the Animal Sculpture in Campania, “The Art Bulletin”, XXIV, 1942, n.2, pp. 172-180
U. Bauer-Eberhardt, s.v. Aratea, in Enciclopedia dell’arte medievale, Roma, 1991, pp. 249-250

Mosaic of S. Clemente
S. Riccioni, Il mosaico absidale di S. Clemente. Exemplum della Chiesa riformata, Spoleto, CISAM, 2006, pp. 335-346

M. Compareti, The So-called Senmurv in Iranian art: A Reconsideration of an Old Theory, in Loquentes linguis. Studi linguistici e orientali in onore di Fabrizio A. Pennacchietti, a cura di P. G. Borbone, A. Mengozzi, M. Tosco, Wiesbaden, 2006, pp. 185-200
G. Curatola, Il “vishap” di Aght’amar: nota sulla diffusione occidentale di un motivo iconografico, in “Oriente Moderno”, LVIII, 7-8 1978, pp. 285-302
S. Riccioni, I mosaici altomedievali di Venezia e il monastero di S. Ilario. Orditi ‘venetico-carolingi’ di una koinè alto Adriatica, in I tempi del consolidamento. Venezia, l’Adriatico e l’entroterra tra IX e X secolo, VIII Seminario del Centro Interuniversitario di Storia e Archeologia dell’Alto Medio Evo (Venezia, 29-30 ottobre 2015), Turnhout, 2017, pp. 279-336.

The donkey and the wolf
A. Peroni, L’asinello porta alla perdizione il lupo. Il capitello degli eretici del duomo di Parma, in «Studi medievali», s. III, L, 2, 2009, pp. 583-604

W. B. Clark, The illustrated medieval aviary and the lay-brotherhood, in «Gesta», 21, 1982, pp. 63-74
X. Muratova, I manoscritti miniati del Bestiario medievale: origine, formazione e sviluppo dei cicli di illustrazioni. I Bestiari miniati in Inghilterra nei secoli XII-XIV, in L’uomo di fronte al mondo animale nell’alto Medioevo, 2 voll., Settimane di studio del Centro italiano di studi sull’Alto Medioevo, 31, 7-13 aprile 1983, Spoleto, 1985, II, pp. 1319-1372

Be consulted, to support the lessons and exam preparation:
Animali simbolici. Alle origini del bestiario Cristiano, 2 voll., a cura di M.P. Ciccarese, Bologna, Edizioni Dehoniane, Bologna 2002-2007 (vol. 1, Agnello – Gufo, 2002; vol. 2, Leone – Zanzara, 2007), da consultare per i singoli animali trattati.

The bibliography could be updated according to more recent publications.
Classroom Lecture: Presentation with Power Point (or other image viewer), 15 minutes. Participation (20%)
Original research paper (30%). The paper must be delivered to the professor no later than 15 days before the examination. Text max 20 pages (excluding Footnotes, Bibliography and Illustrations), times new roman 12; Space 1.5. Footnotes according to thesis standards. Illustrations at the end of the text, with list illustrations. Final Bibliography: Sources; Studies, in alphabetical order
Oral examination on the general bibliography and specific readings for lessons - texts indicated as "mandatory" in pdf lessons - (Mat ISA) (50%)

Lectures with projected images; tutorials on iconography and medieval texts reading; papers and discussions. Students will present in class a research that will be the subject of collegial discussion. The research will be delivered to the teacher and it will be part of the final evaluation process.
Given the nature of the course, attendance is strongly recommended.
Non-attending students shall meet the teacher (by appointment) to agree the research, have informations on methods of study and to prepare the final exam.
written and oral
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 26/08/2019