Academic year
2022/2023 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
FM0215 (AF:376583 AR:209752)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
3rd Term
Course year
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The class is included among the similar or supplementary training activities of the Master's Degree "History of Arts and Conservation of Artistic Heritage" (programme: "Medieval and Byzantine"). The course aims to deepen the knowledge of the various forms of expression of early Christian art (architecture, sculpture, mosaics, sumptuary art), through the analysis of the heritage of Ravenna (5th-6th centuries), rich in monumental and museum testimonies of great significance and very high quality level.
- Knowledge and understanding: assimilation of the notions, reflections and concepts transmitted during the lessons;
- Ability to apply knowledge and understanding: to be able to bring back the works of art and the artistic phenomena treated in class in the socio-cultural and spatial-temporal areas of belonging;
- Ability to judge: to be able to grasp the most significant aspects of each work of art, whether they belong to the formal, iconographic, iconological, symbolic, socio-cultural, aesthetic fields;
- Communication skills: knowing how to describe works of art and artistic phenomena treated in class using the specific terminology of the discipline; be able to express clearly, and grammatically correct, notions, reflections and concepts acquired during the lessons;
- Learning skills: at the end of the course the student must be able to provide a reading at the same time analytical and critical of the works of art and artistic phenomena treated, integrating the knowledge acquired during the lessons to read the texts indicated.
No prerequisite is required.
The course aims to deepen the knowledge of early Christian art through the analysis of the material heritage of Ravenna in the late-ancient time, an heritage of exceptional value and significance for the wealth and variety of surviving testimonies, to which must be added the memory of the lost works documented by sources. The lessons will retrace, in a diachronic order, the artistic seasons that took place in Ravenna between the 5th and 6th centuries, in a period of time in which this town first played the role of capital of the Roman empire, then of the Ostrogoths kingdom and finally of the Byzantine exarchate.
The monumental evidences will be examined, which will encounter significant examples in the field of architecture (ecclesiastical buildings with a central and basilical plan, baptisteries, mausoleums), sculpture (statues, liturgical and funerary furnishings), and decorative apparatuses (floor mosaics and parietal, opus sectile, stucco), as the sumptuous art works (goldsmith and ivory). The focus will be on the technical and executive methods of the artefacts, the material components, the iconographic themes, the formal aspects, the commissioning and the function of buildings and objects, in order to provide students with the necessary tools to understand an artistic language that, in many ways, apart from certain specific aspects of the Ravenna context, is common to many production centers in the Mediterranean.
MANDATORY readings for the exam:

° Context:
- Rizzardi, Clementina, 'Il mosaico a Ravenna: ideologia e arte (con contributi di Linda Kniffitz, Letizia Sotira, Barbara Vernia)', Bologna, Ante Quem, 2011, pp. 13-30.

° Architecture:
- Russo, Eugenio, 'L’architettura di Ravenna paleocristiana', Venezia, Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, 2003.

° Mosaics:
- Rizzardi, Clementina, 'Il mosaico a Ravenna: ideologia e arte (con contributi di Linda Kniffitz, Letizia Sotira e Barbara Vernia)', Bologna, Ante Quem, 2011, pp. 31-169, 177-269.

° Marbles, ivory, stucco (1 text chosen from the following):
- Bovini, Giuseppe, 'I principali monumenti paleocristiani del Museo arcivescovile di Ravenna', in “Corsi di cultura sull’arte ravennate e bizantina”, XI, 1964, p. 43-99.
- Martini, Luciana, 'Cinquanta capolavori nel Museo Nazionale di Ravenna', Ravenna, Longo, 1998, pp. 18-35.
- Pasquini Vecchi, Laura, 'Elementi orientali-costantinopolitani nelle decorazioni a stucco di S. Vitale', in “Corso di Cultura sull’Arte Ravennate e Bizantina”, XLI, 1995, pp. 187-206.

° In-depth analysis (choice between option A, B, C or D):
- Carile, Maria Cristina, 'The vision of the palace of the Byzantine emperors as a heavenly Jerusalem', Spoleto, CISAM, 2012, pp. 129-155.
- Carile, Maria Cristina, 'Forms and ideas in the fifth-century Mediterranean: Bishop Neon and his mosaics in Ravenna', in "Studi sulla circolazione del mosaico in area nord-adriatica", a c. di V. Cantone, Roma, Viella, 2019, pp. 77-101.
- Bucci, Giovanna, 'Apparatus altaris: note di iconografia sui paramenti liturgici nei mosaici parietali ravennati (V-VI sec.)', in "Atti del XXIV colloquio dell’Associazione italiana per lo studio e la conservazione del mosaico", Roma, Edizioni Quasar, 2019, pp. 519-530.
- Bucci, Giovanna, 'Smeraldi alla corte di Teodora: moda, miniere, commercio', in "Atti del XXVII Colloquio dell’Associazione Italiana per lo Studio e la Conservazione del Mosaico", Roma, Edizioni Quasar, 2022, pp473-482.
- Chinni, Tania, 'Produrre tessere in vetro a Classe: una prospettiva archeologica', in "Studi sulla circolazione del mosaico in area nord-adriatica", a c. di V. Cantone, Roma, Viella, 2019, pp. 35-52.
- Frantová, Zuzana, 'Autonomous glass tesserae production in Classe?: Ravenna between the sea and the continent', ivi, pp. 53-76.

Readings not MANDATORY for the exam, recommended for consultation and / or in-depth study:

- Angiolini Martinelli, Patrizia, a cura di, 'La Basilica di San Vitale a Ravenna', 2 voll., Modena, Panini, 1997.
- Deichmann, Friedrich Wilhelm, 'Ravenna: Hauptstadt des spätantiken Abendlandes', 4 voll., Wiesbaden, Steiner, 1969-1989.
- Grabar, André, 'Le vie dell'iconografia cristiana', Milano Jaca Book, 2011.
- Grabar, André, 'Le origini dell'estetica medievale', Jaca Book, Milano 2001, pp. 29-83.
- Ladner, Gerhart, 'Il simbolismo paleocristiano. Dio, cosmo, uomo', Milano, Jaca Book, 2008.
- Mathews, Thomas F., 'Scontro di dei. Una reinterpretazione dell'arte paleocristiana con un saggio di Eugenio Russo', Milano Jaca Book, 2005.
- Rizzardi, Clementina, 'Il Mausoleo di Galla Placidia a Ravenna', Modena, Panini, 1996.
- Ward-Perkins, Bryan, 'Città romane nel tardoantico', in “Storia dell’architettura italiana. Architettura romana. Le città in Italia”, a cura di Henner von Hesberg e Paul Zanker, Milano, Electa, 2012, pp. 134-153.

For specific themes and works of art, other bibliographic references can be reported during the lessons. The texts cited that should be untraceable will be provided in pdf format.
The oral exam will focus on the contents of the lessons and compulsory texts (see above, "Reference texts").
Classroom-taught with PowerPoint projection containing documentary and illustrative material, specially prepared by the teacher.
Use of the Moodle multimedia platform, for the provision of documentary and illustrative materials in pdf format.
Course attendance is strongly recommended.
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 07/02/2023