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Medieval Catalan Art

Code: 100530 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2500239 Art History OT 3 0
2500239 Art History OT 4 0
The proposed teaching and assessment methodology that appear in the guide may be subject to changes as a result of the restrictions to face-to-face class attendance imposed by the health authorities.


Anna Orriols Alsina

Use of Languages

Principal working language:
catalan (cat)
Some groups entirely in English:
Some groups entirely in Catalan:
Some groups entirely in Spanish:


- General knowledge of the history of medieval art and notions on the history of Catalonia in the Middle Ages.

- Knowledge of Catalan at a reading level (in addition to English and French - and, if possible, Italian-) that will allow the appropriate use of bibliography and electronic resources in these languages.

- The intellectual attitude and level of general culture of a person who, having voluntarily and consciously enrolled in a university degree, is of course interested in studying and gaining new knowledge.

- It is absolutely essential that both oral and written expression are correct in content and form, as must be required of anyone who has completed high school and aspires to a university degree, regardless of the language used.

Objectives and Contextualisation

The course is aimed at the acquisition of advanced notions on Catalan medieval art.

1- To provide an overview of this artistic field in parallel with specific knowledge of its various manifestations. This should allow the profile and specificities of the art of this period and territory to be assimilated in order to identify and value the works produced in this area.

2 - To understand the fundamental relationships between art and the historical, religious, social, economic, political and cultural context, as well as the various functions and readings of the work of art.

3- To know and learn how to conveniently handle the relevant bibliography and certain electronic resources, insofar as they allow the knowledge provided in the classroom to be expanded and information to be sought when necessary.

4 - To consolidate the knowledge and use of a specific vocabulary (understood to have been assimilated in previous courses) that allows the correct interpretation and description of a work, a typology or an iconographic theme.


    Art History
  • Critically analysing from the acquired knowledge a work of art in its many facets: formal values, iconographic significance, artistic techniques and procedures, elaboration process and reception mechanisms.
  • Developing critical thinking and reasoning and communicating them effectively both in your own and other languages.
  • Interpreting a work of art in the context in which it was developed and relating it with other forms of cultural expression.
  • Producing innovative and competitive proposals in research and professional activity.
  • Recognising the evolution of the artistic imagery from the antiquity to the contemporary visual culture.
  • Respecting the diversity and plurality of ideas, people and situations.
  • Students must be capable of applying their knowledge to their work or vocation in a professional way and they should have building arguments and problem resolution skills within their area of study.
  • Students must develop the necessary learning skills in order to undertake further training with a high degree of autonomy.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Accurately defining and explaining an artistic object with the specific language of art criticism.
  2. Analysing ideas about an artistic phenomenon in a given cultural context.
  3. Analysing the creators of an artistic phenomenon in a specific cultural context.
  4. Analysing the recipients of an artistic phenomenon in a specific cultural context.
  5. Applying the iconographic knowledge to the reading of artistic imagery.
  6. Autonomously searching, selecting and processing information both from structured sources (databases, bibliographies, specialized magazines) and from across the network.
  7. Connecting an artistic imagery with other cultural phenomena within its period.
  8. Coordinating working teams, developing conflict resolution and decision making abilities.
  9. Distinguishing the elaboration techniques and processes of an artistic object.
  10. Efficiently presenting knowledge in oral and written form.
  11. Encouraging creativity and fomenting innovative ideas.
  12. Examining an artistic imagery and distinguishing its formal, iconographic and symbolic values.
  13. Explaining the reception mechanisms of a work of art.
  14. Identifying the artistic imagery, placing it into its cultural context.
  15. Identifying the main and secondary ideas and expressing them with linguistic correctness.
  16. Reconstructing the artistic outlook of a particular cultural context.
  17. Working in teams, respecting the other's points of view and designing collaboration strategies.




I. From Antiquity to Gothic in four cases.

1. From Égara to Terrassa. From Early Christian cathedral to medieval parish.

2. Tarragona Cathedral: from the temple of Augustus to the altarpiece of Santa Tecla.

3. Girona: from the Early Christian necropolis to the gothic cathedral.

4. Barcelona: from Santa Maria de les Arenes to the crypt of the cathedral.


II- From Romanesque to Gothic in four themes.

1 – Ripoll abbey: the illustrated Bibles of Oliba and the sculpted portal.

2 - Profane work: early gothic pictorial cycles; the Atlas of 1375.

3 - Death and memory: tombs and pantheons. Kings, nobles, churchmen and saints.

4 - The role and image of women in the Catalan Romanesque and Gothic periods. Counts, queens, abbesses and saints.


I- The first part uses four cases (all of them cathedrals) that will be diachronically addressed as a pretext for dealing with all kinds of historical-artistic issues: sacred topography; urban planning aspects; transformations of spaces, settings and uses; architectural, sculptural and furniture typologies (altar frontals, altarpieces, canopies); pictorial formats (mural painting, panel painting) and textiles; various sumptuary objects; and sociological aspects (patronage, artists, documentation).

II - The second consists of two monographic themes that will allow us to refer to illustrated manuscripts, Romanesque sculpture, programmes, models, profane subjects, funerary iconography or cartography; and two transversal themes that will add to the previous ones the social dimension (power; propaganda; gender; devotion; reception).


* The order of the sessions could be changed if deemed appropriate.


Programme development

- The programme will be developed in master class sessions, always with the accompaniment of images and occasionally the reading of texts or the use of some electronic resource. Readings will be assigned and others will be recommended.

- Interventions by students will be welcome, in the form of questions, comments or contribution of complementary information that can generate a debate or lead to other aspects of interest.

- All information regarding readings, tasks, calendar and programmed activities will be provided in the classroom and/or through the Virtual Campus / Moodle. The latter will also be used to provide material and to warn of incidents that may affect the course.

- Tutorials are reserved for specific and particular doubts, leaving those of collective interest for interventions in the classroom. E-mail will be used only in exceptional situations that justifiably prevent face-to-face conversation.


Other activities

a) Coursework

It is considered a fundamental activity of methodological learning and practice. The guidelines for its elaboration (structure and methodology) will be explained in detail in a practical session.

b) Seminar

A seminar will be given related to any external activity that takes place during the term and that has to do with the content of the subject (exhibition, conference or other event of interest for the subject).Eventually, and whenever possible, the seminar could be linked to a collective visit to a monument, a museum or a temporary exhibition related to the subject.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Methodology and guidelines to carry out the course work 4 0.16 6, 8, 1, 11, 15, 10
Programme Development (master classes) 50 2 3, 4, 2, 14, 5, 9, 11, 12, 13, 16, 7
Seminar 6 0.24 3, 4, 14, 6, 1, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 7
Type: Supervised      
Written coursework 45 1.8 14, 6, 1, 12, 15, 10
Type: Autonomous      
Reading of texts indicated by the professor 15 0.6 11, 15
Study (consolidation and extension, based on bibliography and resources, of the contents explained by the professor) 30 1.2 6, 12, 15, 7, 10


In order to pass the subject a grade of not less than 5 out of 10 must be obtained.

The following evaluable tests will be carried out:


A) Two mid-term exams

 One in the middle of the term and another at the end. Dates will be set on the first day of the course.

 * The grade of each exam will constitute 35% of the final grade [70% in total], which will be added to 30% of the grade obtained from the work.


B) Written coursework

 A written exercise that complements the subject will be proposed. It will be of limited extension in its final form but of dilated execution throughout the course, which will suppose the search of bibliography and images and the correct management of the information.

 The structure and methodology of the coursework will be explained in detail in a practical session in the classroom and will be published via Virtual Campus/Moodle, where the delivery date will also be provided and, eventually, that of a script prior to its final writing.

 The coursework will be delivered both in pdf format through the virtual campus and in printed format on the date that will be specified in due course (and that will be before the Christmas holidays).

 * Courseworks carried out spontaneously outside the established criteria or those delivered after the deadline will not be accepted.

 * Courseworks totally or partially plagiarized and those being no more than the result of  automatic translations will be graded with a 0.

 * The grade obtained on the work will constitute 30% of the final grade, which will be added to the 70% corresponding to the result of the exams.


Second-chance examination. 

 Students can sit a reassessment exam only in the following cases:

- if it could not be done at the time (proof must be provided)

- if the final result obtained is a failing score of not less than 3,5.

 * If both mid-term tests were failed, one should take the second-chance exam corresponding to that which obtained a lower grade.

 * The date for the second-chance exam is fixed by the Faculty. No change or exception will be made at a particular level. If there were any change of date it would affect the whole group and would be communicated in due time.

 * The second-chance exam will have the same structure as the partial exams. The length may vary slightly.

 * Courseworks can not be repeated.


Criteria and general comments

* The rating of Not Evaluable will be obtained as long as no more than 30% of the evaluation activities have been carried out.

* When the results of each evaluation activity are made public, students will be informed of the procedure and date for reviewing grades.

* No extraordinary exercise aimed at increasing the final rating is contemplated.

* No exercise containing multiple grammatical and spelling errors (regardless of the language used) will be approved.

* In the event of a student committing any irregularity that may lead to a significant variation in the grade awarded to an assessment activity, the student will be given a zero for this activity, regardless of any disciplinary process that may take place. In the event of several irregularities in assessment activities of the same subject, the student will be given a zero as the final grade for this subject. Those acts of evaluation where there have been irregularities will not be recoverable.

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Exam 1 35% 0 0 3, 4, 2, 14, 5, 1, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 7, 10
Exam 2 35% 0 0 3, 4, 2, 14, 5, 1, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 7, 10
Written coursework 30% 0 0 3, 4, 2, 14, 5, 6, 8, 1, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 7, 10, 17



 Art de Catalunya- Ars Cataloniae, Xavier Barral i Altet (dir.), Edns. L'Isard, Barcelona 1997, 10 vols. (vols. 4, 6, 8 i 10 incluyen capítulos relativos al arte medieval)

Catalunya medieval, Generalitat de Catalunya / Lunwerg, Barcelona 1992  [exhibition catalogue].

Del romà al romànic. Història art i cultura de la Tarraconense mediterrània entre els segles IV i X, Enciclopèdia catalana, Barcelona 1999.

Catalunya a l’època carolíngia. Art i cultura abans del romànic (segles IX i X), J. Camps (dir.), MNAC, Barcelona 1999  [exhibition catalogue].

Barral i Altet, Xavier, L'art pre-romànic a Catalunya, segles IX-X, Eds. 62, Barcelona 1981.

Junyent, Eduard, L'arquitectura religiosa a Catalunya abans del romànic, Curial, Publicacions de l'Abadia de Montserrat, Barcelona-Montserrat 1983.

Dalmases, Núria de ; José i Pitarch, Antoni, Els inicis i l'art romànic. S. IX-XII, Barcelona 1986 (2a. ed., 1988).

Catalunya Romànica, Fundació Enciclopèdia Catalana, Barcelona 1984-1998, 27 vols. [currently being digitized]

Español, Francesca; Yarza, Joaquín, El romànic català, Angle, Manresa-Barcelona 2007.

Castiñeiras, Manuel;Camps, Jordi, Duran-Porta, Joan, El romànic  a les col·leccions del MNAC, MNAC, Barcelona 2008.

El romànic i la Mediterrània.Catalunya, Toulouse i Pisa. 1120-1180, M. Castiñeiras; J. Camps, I. Lorés (dir.), MNAC, Barcelona 2008  [exhibition catalogue].

Barral i Altet, Xavier, L’art romànic català a debat, Eds. 62, Barcelona 2009.


L’art gòtic a Catalunya, Antoni Pladevall i Font (dir.), Enciclopèdia Catalana, Barcelona, 2002-2009; 10 vols.

Dalmases, Núria de ; José i Pitarch, Antoni, L'època del cister, s. XIII (Història de l'art català II),  Eds. 62, Barcelona 1985.

Dalmases, Núria de ; José i Pitarch, Antoni, L'art gòtic, s. XIV-XV (Història de l'art català III),  Eds. 62, Barcelona 1984 [2d. ed. 1986].

Cathalonia. Arte gótico en los siglos XIV-XV, MNAC-Museo del Prado, Barcelona-Madrid 1997 [exhibition catalogue].

Español Bertran, Francesca, El gòtic català, Angle Editorial, Manresa - Barcelona 2002.

Español Bertran, Francesca, Els escenaris del rei. Art i monarquia a la corona d’Aragó, Angle Editorial, Manresa 2001.

Cornudella, Rafael; Favà, Cèsar; Macías, Guadaira, El gòtic a les col·leccions del MNAC, MNAC, Barcelona 2011.

Catalunya 1400. El gòtic internacional, Rafael Cornudella (dir.), MNAC, Barcelona 2012 [exhibition catalogue].

Gudiol i Ricart, Josep; Alcolea i Blanch, Santiago, Pintura gòtica catalana, Polígrafa, Barcelona 1987.

Terés, M. Rosa (ed.), Catalunya i l’Europa septentrional a l’entorn de 1400. Circulació de mestres, obres i models artístics, Viella, Roma, 2016.

 Online bibliography

- BDHAH - Biblioteca Digital d'Història de l'Art Hispànic  https://bibliotequesbh.uab.cat/bdhah/


(*) It does not include studies prior to 1980, monographs or articles, which will be cited in due course. In any case, the works of synthesis cited in this selection include extensive bibliography on specific works,artists and themes.



 - Patrimoni de la Generalitat de Catalunya  www.patrimoni.gencat.cat 

- Monestirs   www.monestirs.cat

- Art medieval www.artmedieval.net

- Índex Magistri Cataloniae www.magistricataloniae.org/ca/indexmcat.html


- MNAC - Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya www.mnac.cat/
- MEV - Museu Episcopal de Vic   www.museuepiscopalvic.com/
- MdL - Museu de Lleida Diocesà i Comarcal    www.museudelleida.cat/
- MDCS - Museu Diocesà i Comarcal de Solsona http://museu.bisbatsolsona.com
- MDU - Museu Diocesà d'Urgell (La Seu 'Urgell)  https://www.museudiocesaurgell.org

 (**) other resources of a more specific or recent nature will be cited throughout the course, as appropriate.