Medieval Image: Sign and Substance

This seminar interrogates the ontology of late medieval images, mainly those produced in the West. We look, inter alia, at theories of vision, cognition and imagination; questions of objects' materials and materiality; the anthropology and semiotics of imago; limits and possibilities in representing the divine; the relationship of images to relics and the consecrated host; theology of animate(d) images; and iconoclastic argument. In other words, we largely eschew the usual questions of style, patronage, and politics, and explore instead the very nature, agency, and challenges of medieval representation. Students read primary and secondary sources in order to acquaint themselves with the vast and fractured landscape of medieval image theories.

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