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Winter/Spring 2016 Catalog
Fierce Lions, Monstrous Centaurs, and Half-Men: Marginalia in Medieval Art
The enormous cathedrals and glistening manuscripts created during the Middle Ages host an encyclopedic range of images. While religious iconography looms large, the spaces surrounding the frames and borders of medieval art teem with a variety of animals, human occupations, and imaginative creatures. Monstrous hybrids of tails, feathers, and teeth creep in the marginal spaces, while musicians and acrobats teeter on the architecture. The margins of medieval art also contain social commentary with depictions of vernacular riddles, Aesop's fables, and the "world upside down," where jesters troll kings and rabbits snag their hunters. This course explores this subversive side of medieval art, from miniature initials in parchment books to the rise of Gothic gargoyles, and considers the historical contexts that made such reflections of the medieval world visible.
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