Academic year
2021/2022 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
FM0249 (AF:360758 AR:190390)
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
Course year
Go to Moodle page
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 second module of the teaching History of Medieval Art (12 cfu), the first module is History of Medieval Art 1.
The course is also ranged among the related or additional studies in the curriculum of Modern Art.

The course aims to explore the relationship between text and image, as well as iconic scripts, from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages in a comparative and global perspective, exploring examples of scripts both present in Western art and Oriental art. Exemplary works performed in Italy and Europe, but also in Eastern culture, with different techniques on different materials (mosaics, paintings, sculptures, etc..), will be discussed. The artwork will be analyzed using tools of art history but also paleography, epigraphy, anthropology and Ecology of Aesthetics.
The course aims to develop:
1) knowledge and understanding skills in the field of latin epigraphy related to the research in art history (reading, transcriptions);
2) ability to apply knowledge and understanding: knowledge of how to place and examine figurative themes and inscriptions in their historical, geographical and monumental context; identify iconographic and graphic themes and their symbolic significance;
3) ability to elaborate personal analysis on the identification of symbolic themes and their 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 and script to cultural and artistic movements / groups or to a specific cultural moment, making comparisons between different works of art, script and themes;
5) communication skills addressed to describe symbolic images and script by adopting the specific vocabulary of the Art History and Epigraphy, and to create links between semantic images, monuments and urban spaces in different culture; 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, Latin Palaeography, and ability to read Latin, English and French.
The written word is a characteristic element of medieval art. The course aims to explore the relationship between text (word) and image in artworks made from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages, also dealing with other oriental artistic and graphic cultures, including China and the Armenia. The course intends to dialogue with the Seminar on Armenian Art and the Christian East. Exemplary cases from the figurative, literary, and epigraphic repertoire will be examined, illustrating the different articulations of the theme, from iconic writings, to magical and apotropaic writings, to monograms to artists' signatures, from an interdisciplinary and comparative perspective which takes into great consideration the space and the territory where the script is displaied.
The course has an interdisciplinary approach, and it involves different knowledge and skills, focused on examining art history, and divided in the following areas of the course:

1 - Introduction to the studies and methods of investigation
2 - The tools
3 - Monument and inscriptions
4 – Word, image and iconic script
5 - The space of writing. Ecology and aesthetics
6 – Public lettering between East and West

The teaching, substantially divided into two sections (I: theoretical and methodological bases; II: themes), aims to develop the skills to analyze the work of art, conceived as a single document but complex, composed of images, writings and text. During the first period, the course aims to acquire knowledge and skills in Paleographic, edition of the epigraphic texts, as well as description and interpretation of the "iconography" on script and image.
In the second period punctual exams will be proposed on different graphic forms belonging not only to western but also to oriental culture, in particular interventions on Armenian khatchkars, and on Islamic script in Italian painting. Tools will be provided to examine the “public lettering”, that is the graphic manifestations realized outside the manuscript book, according to the definition of Armando Petrucci. The course will also examine the relationship between written text and visual narration, as well as the organization and symbolic functioning of the iconic script in space, architecture and landscape.

R. Favreau, Épigraphie médiévale, Turnhout, Brepols, 1997.

Recommended texts:

A. Campana, Paleografia oggi. Rapporti, problemi e prospettive di una «coraggiosa disciplina», in «Studi Urbinati», LXI, 1967, pp. 1013-1030.
- La testimonianza delle iscrizioni, in Wiligelmo e Lanfranco. Il duomo di Modena, Modena 1984, pp. 363-373.

G. R. Cardona, Storia universale della scrittura, Milano, 1986. - Selected chapters during lessons -

V. Debiais, Message de pierre. La lecture des inscriptions dans la communication medievale (XIII-XIV siècle), Turnhout, Brepols, 2009 (L’objet perçu: vers une redefinition de l’inscription médiévale, pp. 31-63; Perception de l’espace et perception du texte, pp. 65-91).

Épigraphie et iconographie, Actes du Colloque tenu à Poitiers les 5-8 octobre 1995, sous la dir. de R. Favreau, Poitiers 1999. - Selected readings during lessons -

H.L. Kessler, Corporeal Texts, Spiritual Paintings, and the Mind’s Eye, in Reading Images and Texts: Medieval Images and Text as Forms of Communication, eds. M. Hageman and M. Mostert, Turnhout, 2002 (Utrecht Studies in Medieval Literacy, 8) [ora anche in H.L. Kessler, Old St. Peter and Church decoration in Medieval Italy, Spoleto, CISAM, 2002, pp. 159-178].

J. Le Goff, s. v. Documento/monumento, Enciclopedia, 5, Torino, Einaudi, 1978, pp. 38-48.

A. Petrucci, La scrittura. Ideologia e rappresentazione, Torino, Einaudi 1986, pp. XVII-XXV, 1-77.

Idem, s.v. Epigrafia, in Enciclopedia dell’Arte Medievale, vol. V, Milano, Treccani, 1994, pp. 819-825.

S. Riccioni, L’Epiconografia: l’opera d’arte come sintesi visiva di scrittura e immagine, in Medioevo: Arte e storia, Atti del X Convegno internazionale di studi (Parma, 18-22 sett. 2007), Milano. Electa, 2008, pp. 465-480.

Testo e immagine nell’Alto Medioevo, Settimane di studi del Centro Italiano di Studi sull’Alto Medioevo, XLI (Spoleto, 15-21 Aprile 1993), 2 voll., Spoleto, CISAM, 1994. - Selected readings during lessons -

“Visibile parlare”. Le scritture esposte nei volgari dal Medioevo al Rinascimento, a cura di C. Ciociola, Napoli 1997. - Selected readings during lessons -

Ecologies, Aesthetics, and Histories of Art, a cura di Hannah Baader and Gerhard Wolf, Berlin, De Gruyter, 2019

The bibliography will be further clarified on the moodle platform according to the topics presented in class
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). The test also involves the reading and the transcription of inscriptions. (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.
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 05/07/2021