Art History – Take-Home Exam Questions

Students should answer the following five questions. Responses must be typed on a separate sheet of paper. Please include a copy of the questions with your final responses.

Exams should include examples from our discussions in class, must incorporate vocabulary words, and must also draw on relevant information from Beowulf.


Research from any additional sources must be accurately documented in a works cited page and must be correctly cited in-text; failure to cite correctly will result in a failing grade. Final exams are due Week 14. Late final exams will not be accepted for credit.

1. Beowulf describes the heroic exploits of a Scandinavian king in the early Medieval period, before the arrival of Christianity. Historians have argued that the narrative comes from folklore, reflecting an exaggerated account of a great hero and king (like the Homeric story of Troy, or the legends of King Arthur). If this is true, what does the narrative teach about the practices, values and traditions of the early Medieval, Germanic world? Cite specific passages from the text to support your argument.

2. Choose two Christian churches from different periods in history (no churches later than the Gothic period) and from different geographical locations. Discuss how these structures are similar and different; how does the architecture reflect the social and practical functions of these two churches in their societies?

3. We have looked at many images of rulers and gods in different cultures this semester. Choose one image of a ruler from early history (Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece) and compare it to an image a ruler from later history (Rome, the Byzantine Empire, Medieval Europe). How are the images made? Who was meant to see these images? What kind of message did these messages convey about the leader? What elements
of the image are standard to the culture, and what elements are innovative?

4. Choose a medieval miniature from an illuminated manuscript and critique its formal properties. Use all relevant vocabulary, including formal terms (color, hue, etc.) and all relevant terms to discuss medieval graphic objects. Make sure to use these terms correctly; points will be deducted for inaccuracies.

5. Draw and label the parts of a Catholic church from either the Romanesque or the Medieval period. Be detailed and extensive in your diagrams; complete diagrams should include ALL relevant vocabulary terms.

Art History Survey I
Final Project—Early Medieval- Gothic Art and Architecture

Final projects are due in class on Tuesday or Wednesday, April 22/23. Late final projects will not be accepted for credit. Students may choose from the following options:

1. Build a model of a structure from the period listed. Students may choose to build a monastery, temple, arch, church, castle, or Norse/Viking structure. While models do not have to be to scale, they should include all necessary and identifiable structural elements. A successful, complete project should meet the following criteria:

Structures should conform to one of four periods: Roman/Byzantine, Early Medieval, Romanesque or Gothic. Structures should also conform
geographically; for example structures from Romanesque Italy should conform to standards of architecture.

Structures should contain all pertinent features necessary to identify period and geographic location. For example, an English/Norse castle, like Durham Castle, should feature a drawbridge, a keep, a bailey, and other fortifications to protect against Scottish invaders.

Students should also prepare a 2-page outline of the elements depicted in their model, and of the techniques used to build their structure.

Students will be required to display and discuss their completed structure at the final class meeting on Tuesday, August 20.

2. Create your own Book of Hours. While traditional Books of Hours represented special prayers or saints day celebrations, your book of hours may contain any genre of materials. Students should use the information provided in lecture and should do their own independent research to structure and discuss their manuscript and its function.

Manuscripts must represent all 12 months of the year. Additionally, students should also create a consistent body of iconography for their Book of Hours. Sketches for each month should be in pen and ink; students may use watercolors or colored ink if they wish to do so.

Because the goal of this project is to modernize the medieval concept of the Book of Hours, students are encouraged to use contemporary forms of representation or materials for this final project. Design, drawing, and materials should be consistent across the Book.
Students will also be required to complete the final two requirements from Choice 1 (i.e. prepare an outline and present your completed book to the class).