Gothic Art: Image and Imagination in Europe - HI5042

Looking for a different module?

Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2021 to 2022.


In the twelfth century, a dazzling new style of art and architecture flourished in Europe. Known since the sixteenth century (often pejoratively) as Gothic, this aesthetic pervaded visual culture, from the soaring vaults of vast cathedrals to domestic interiors, and from precious gem-encrusted reliquaries to tapestries, ivories, panel paintings, manuscripts and jewellery. Works of art made in this period offer fascinating insights into the beliefs, priorities and even anxieties of their patrons and makers. In this module, we will explore the nature of image-making in the later Middle Ages: what were images for, and for whom? How and why were they made and used? What was the status of the artist? What does the Gothic image reveal about the workings of the medieval imagination? This module offers a survey of the development of Gothic art from its inception in the celebrated Abbey Church of St Denis to the dawn of the sixteenth century. Lectures will provide an overview of the arts in this period, and in seminars we will focus on particular works of art and architecture, including Canterbury's extraordinary Cathedral.


Contact hours

One 1-hour lecture and one 2-hour seminar each week

Method of assessment

40% coursework, 60% examination

Indicative reading

M CAMILLE - Gothic Art: Glorious Visions, 1996
N COLDSTREAM - Medieval Architecture, 2002
P BINSKI - Becket's Crown: Art and Imagination in Gothic England, 2004
V SEKULES - Medieval Art, 2001

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
Back to top

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.