England, Europe and Beyond: Art, Identity, Trade and Politics in the Middle Ages - The Courtauld Institute of Art

England, Europe and Beyond: Art, Identity, Trade and Politics in the Middle Ages

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MA History of Art Special Option

England, Europe and Beyond: Art, Identity, Trade and Politics in the Middle Ages

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Detail of the Bayeux Tapestry ‘Scene 4: William sits on his throne watching as Harold, each hand on a reliquary, swears an oath’. Replica produced in 1895 to mirror the original from c.1070s. © Reading Museum (Reading Borough Council) Reading, United Kingdom.
Detail of ‘Window nIV, Canterbury Cathedral’, c. pre 1220, © Photo: Rachel Koopmans, Canterbury, United Kingdom.
Detail of ‘Window nIV, Canterbury Cathedral’, c. pre 1220, © Photo: Rachel Koopmans, Canterbury, United Kingdom.
Detail of the Bayeux Tapestry ‘Scene 4: William sits on his throne watching as Harold, each hand on a reliquary, swears an oath’. Replica produced in 1895 to mirror the original from c.1070s. © Reading Museum (Reading Borough Council) Reading, United Kingdom.
Detail of ‘Window nIV, Canterbury Cathedral’, c. pre 1220, © Photo: Rachel Koopmans, Canterbury, United Kingdom.
Detail of ‘Window nIV, Canterbury Cathedral’, c. pre 1220, © Photo: Rachel Koopmans, Canterbury, United Kingdom.

What was English about art and architecture in medieval England, and how has Englishness been constructed? Following a broadly chronological arc from the Norman Conquest to Henry VIII’s break with Rome, this course examines English material culture and its relationship to art in Europe and beyond. The Bayeux Tapestry, Canterbury cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Opus anglicanum, and Cotswold wool churches: these and lesser known witnesses to England’s cosmopolitanism will be placed within broader European and global contexts, exposing the construction of English national identity from the Middle Ages to the present.

Courtauld Course Lecturer

About the lecturer

Tom Nickson read Art History at Cambridge, and it was while walking the roads to Santiago de Compostela on a cheap student holiday that he first discovered his love of Spanish medieval art and architecture. He moved to the Courtauld Institute for his MA (2005), and in 2009 received his PhD from the Courtauld. He was lecturer in medieval art and architecture at the University of York from 2009, and then returned to the Courtauld in 2012. He is co-editor of the visual arts issue of the Hispanic Research Journal and Chair of ARTES, a charity dedicated to raising awareness and understanding of Iberian and Latin American visual culture.

Tom investigates two areas that intersect in the Iberian Peninsula. Research in the early stages of his career focused on gothic art and architecture across Europe, particularly its relationship to sacred and profane uses of space. Recent work interrogates the connections between art and belief in medieval Iberia, particularly as a consequence of encounters between Christian, Islamic and Jewish traditions. Multilingual inscriptions have been a topic of particular interest. Tom’s book, Toledo Cathedral: Building Histories in Medieval Castile will be published by Penn State University Press in January 2016. This work provides a new history of Spain’s primatial cathedral, analysing its architecture, urban setting, decoration and liturgy as a way of addressing issues of wider significance for the Iberian Peninsula.

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