Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Paleochristian and Byzantine Art

LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Art and Art History

DESCRIPTION The Study-unit discusses an essential but sometimes underestimated aspect of the Art History of the Latin West and the Greek East that was to have a rippling effect on subsequent art historical developments. It covers the time between approximately the early third century A.D. and the Age of Justinian the Great (527 – 586 A.D.) and traces the humble origins of the earliest known manifestations of an essentially Christian art to the golden age of the architecture and mosaic programmes of an Imperial sponsored art. The period is discussed within the context of Late Antiquity and the new cultural currents that undermined its aesthetic and opened the way for new developments in art.

Study-unit Aims:

- The unit is designed to create an awareness in the student of the early Christian and Byzantine periods. These are discussed as the outcome of the late classical aesthetic as conditioned by new artistic currents from the Semitic east and the art of Barbarians.
- The unit is an important requisite for the proper understanding of subsequent development in art with particular reference to Carolingian Ottionian and Romaneque.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

- The study-unit is designed to bring the student in contact with a little understood period in art history that is of vital importance to its subsequent development;
- At the end of the study-unit the student will be in a position to equip him/herself with the essential tools for a proper understanding of early Christian and Byzantine art. It also provides him with the necessary background for proper understanding of the art of the early middle ages. In addition the student will acquire a proper understanding of the conditioning effect of new artistic currents on and established aesthetic.

2. Skills:

- By the end of the study unit the student will be in a position to better appreciate the importance of Early Christian and Byzantine art as a bridge between Greco-Hellenistic Art and subsequent development in the history of Western Art;
- At the end of the study unit the student will be sufficiently well equipped to understand and contextualise Early Christian and Byzantine Art.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

R. MA Jensen, Understanding Early Christian Art, Routledge, 2000
J. Beckwith, Early Christian and Byzantine Art, Yale, (latest edition)
J. Spier ed, Picturing the Bibli: the Early Christian Art, Yale, 2008


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Take Home Examination (24 Hours) SEM1 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Mario Buhagiar

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
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 description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.