KUN2306E – Art and visual culture of the later Middle Ages

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

In the course, the art of the later Middle Ages from c. 1300 to the 1530s will be studied from a perspective where the art works are seen as manifestations of the visual culture of the period.

Rather than approaching them as works of art in the conventional sense, the course will focus on the manner in which the objects have made sense to their original beholders by virtue of the visual and material qualities that constitute their essential characteristics.

Medieval theories of vision, visuality and materiality will be reviewed, and the perception, reception and use of images in various cultic settings as well as in secular contexts, will be studied.

Learning outcome

After completed course you will:

  • achieve an understanding of the concepts of vision and visuality as they were perceived in the Middle Ages, and learn to apply this in the interpretation of medieval images.
  • be trained in recognizing and analyzing the various dimensions of signification that medieval images has communicated to their beholders, not merely as illustrations of textual sources, but primarily as objects that carry meaning through their inherent visuality and/or materiality.
  • achieve an understanding of how contemporary theoretical thinking related to visual culture and material culture is relevant to the study of medieval images.
  • have improved your skills in oral and written academic English.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Recommended previous knowledge

Some knowledge of Medieval art history, as in KUN1001 – Billedkunst og arkitektur fra antikken til renessansen or similar.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with KUN4306E – Art and visual culture of the later Middle Ages


The course is taught in 2 hour sessions once a week, totaling 28 hours.

Following the seminars is highly recommended. We expect students to meet prepared for classes and to participate actively.

Please note information about teaching can be sent to your student email and be placed in Canvas. Check therefore student email and Canvas regularly.

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


Home examination over 3 days. The length of the assignment should be 6-7 standard pages (2300 characters without spacing, illustrations, notes and reference).

The exam in this subject will be digital and will be conducted in Inspera Assessment. For more information see the semester page for this subject.  You can find a link under the heading "Schedule, syllabus and examination date" on this page.

For detailed information regarding examinations see Examination information at the Faculty of Humanities.

Previous exams

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

All courses are subject to continuous evaluation. The Department's assessments of courses are available at our web-pages, but generally only in Norwegian.

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Facts about this course






Spring 2020


Spring 2020

Teaching language