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TITLE Perspectives on the visual culture of death in the Mediterranean

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Faculty of Arts

DESCRIPTION This unit discusses the manifestations of the visual culture of death within the central-Mediterranean basin during the late medieval and early modern period. It will concentrate on works of art and architectural monuments and will analyse them within the historical and anthropological contexts within which they were produced. Works in Malta will serve as case-studies to illustrate wider Mediterranean traits and special emphasis will be given to the discussion of the cultural cross-currents which produced them.

Study-unit Aims:

The study-unit aims to:
• offer graduate students a platform to discuss the visual manifestations of death within contexts of artistic and historical studies;
• engage students with the analysis of style and its impact on such manifestations;
• survey major artistic monuments and objets d'art pertaining to the multi-faceted representations of death within the Mediterranean basin.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

• analyse the historical relation between humans and death and the representation of this;
• consider the commemorative, celebrative and ceremonial aspects of sepulchral monuments;
• evaluate the iconographic complexities surrounding representations of death in the central-Mediterranean.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

• evaluate the impact which death and its representation had on contemporary societies between the late medieval and early modern period;
• list and identify major works of art in the genre of the representation of death;
• undertake comparative analysis of works produced within the same period by different societal strata;
• undertake comparative analysis of works produced in different periods.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

E. Panofsky, Tomb Sculpture - Its changing aspects from Ancient egypt to Bernini, London 1964
Alberto Tenenti (ed.), Humana Fragilitas,I temi della Morte in Europa tra Duecento e Settecento, Ferrari Grafiche 2000
Philippe Aries, (trans., Helen Weaver), The Hour of Our Death, Vintage Books, 2005 (1st published 1977)
Carlos M.N. Eire, From Madrid to Purgatory, The Art and Craft of Dying in Sixteenth Century Spain, Cambridge University Press, 1995


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (3 Hours) Yes 50%
Seminar Paper Yes 50%

LECTURER/S Christian Attard
Mario Buhagiar
Giuseppe Schembri Bonaci
Keith Paul Sciberras (Co-ord.)
Conrad Thake
Charlene Vella

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The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.
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