Spring 2024 Course Highlight | Death and the Afterlife

Professor Thomas Dale will be teaching ART HIST/MEDIEVAL 415/715: Death & the Afterlife this Spring 2024 semester. MW 4:00–5:15pm | Sophomore Standing | Humanities Breadth | L&S Credit | Enroll here Description: Medieval Christianity was preoccupied with the care and commemoration of the dead. This course explores how funerary art and architecture and images of the eschaton (“last things ) fostered the interdependence of the living and the dead through ritual and memory, and projected the essential belief in resurrection and judgement at the end of time. Amongst the topics to be discussed are: the changing topography of burial; the orchestration of the cult of the saints as “the very special dead through both architecture and pictorial narrative; the creation of privileged burial spaces for aristocratic families and royal dynasties; the development of the Last Judgement and the concrete conceptualization of the afterlife; the development of tomb effigies as idealized portraits of the resurrected; and the shift in the fourteenth century (especially in the context of the Black Death) towards increasingly realistic images of the “Macabre which prepare the viewer for the grim realities of corporeal decay.