Education in Twelfth-Century Art and Architecture

Education in Twelfth-Century Art and Architecture

Images of Learning in Europe, c.1100-1220

Laura Cleaver


Boydell Press



A study of the representation of education in material culture, at a period of considerable change and growth.
On the facade of Chartres cathedral serene personifications of the arts of grammar, rhetoric, dialectic, music, arithmetic, geometry and astronomy present passers-by with a vision of education as an improving process leading to greater knowledge of God. The arts proved a popular subject in medieval imagery, and were included in manuscripts, stained-glass and luxury metalwork objects as well as on the facades of churches. These idealized figures contrast with many textual accounts of education, in which authors recorded the hardships of student poverty and the temptations of drink and women to be found in the cities where teachers were increasingly establishing themselves.
This book considers how and why education was explored in the art and architecture of the twelfth century. Through analysis of imagery in a wide range of media, it examines how teachers and students sought to use images to enhance their reputations and the status of their studies. It also investigates how the ideal models often set out in imagery compared with contemporary practice in an era that saw significant changes, beginning with a shift away from monastic education and culminating in the appearance of the first universities.

Laura Cleaver is Ussher Lecturer in Medieval Art at Trinity College Dublin.


February 2016
7 colour, 66 black and white illustrations
248 pages
24x17 cm
Boydell Studies in Medieval Art and Architecture
ISBN: 9781783270859
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
BIC ACK, 1D, 2AB, 3H
BISAC ART015030, HIS037010
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Related Titles

Table of Contents

The Liberal Arts: Making Education Visible
Learning to Read in Texts and Images
Telling Tales: Art for the Illiterate
Learning to Speak: The Art of Logic
The Image of the Master
The Art of Music
Arithmetic and Geometry in the Classroom and Beyond
Looking at the Heavens: Astronomy in Images

Author Bio

Ussher Lecturer in Medieval Art, Trinity College Dublin

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