Liturgy and Performance: spaces and images through the Gothic


To critically analyse the production of images in the Middle Ages as a form of intervention in society and of shaping relationships and meanings; To explore gothic artistic production, through concrete programmes of different artistic fields, scrutinizing their close links whether to liturgy and to the dynamics of diverse religious contexts whether to an increasing complexity of propaganda (lay or religious) and of ostentatious performances in general, towards the end of the medieval period; To be able to think and write about the specificities of Portuguese gothic by reference to international contexts, and to identify artistic and cultural transferences that shape important communication webs which allow the construction of a shared identity in Western medieval world, throughout the 13th-15th centuries; To make critic use of such notion as “gothic” (in its various applications) and to discuss the dialectic between religious art and the so called “profane” art.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Available soon


Weekly - 3 letivas + 1 tutorial

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





Baschet, J. (2008). L´iconographie médiévale. Paris: Gallimard
Doig, A., Hall, L. M. (2008). Liturgy and Architecture. Oxford: Ashgate
Hiscock, N. (2003). The White Mantle of Churches. Architecture, Liturgy, and Art around the Millennium. Turnhout: Brepols
Hourihane, C. (2003). Objects, Images, and the Word. Art in the Service of the Liturgy. Princeton: Princeton University Press
Lillie, E. L., Petersen, N. H. (1996). Liturgy and the Arts in the Middle Ages. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press
Wirth, J. (2008). L´image à l´époque gothique. Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf

Teaching method

Theoretical-practical lessons, using audiovisual material and study/research tools, such as: texts; images and documents.
Lessons will include a theoretical component intended for the presentation of specific contents, followed by a practical session based on a critical analysis of texts and documents as well as on the exploration of specific case studies.
Researchers with pertinent work on these subjects will be invited to some of the sessions.

Evaluation method

The evaluation will be based on two pieces of written work: a critical review on a paper or book related to the thematics of the curricular unit (30%); a research work focused on a piece or programme of gothic art, directly observable, or a theme involving any of the problematics raised throughout the sessions (70%). The two works must be orally presented in class, in order to promote an environment of discussion.

Subject matter

1. Constructions and ´deconstructions´ in the historiographical discourse on gothic; 2. Image and Imago, the idiosyncrasy of visual communication in the Middle Ages; 3. Portuguese gothic, which definition, which scope, which issues?; 4. Spaces, practices and living: expressions of gothic architecture as places to pray, to live and to shape an experience of the world; 5. Images, practices and ideas: portable arts between an aesthetic sense and the revealing of ideologies.