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Skidmore College
First-Year Experience

Scribner Seminar Program
Course Description

Made in God’s Image? Women and Men in Medieval and Renaissance Europe

Instructor(s): Penny Jolly, Art History

Were males and females created equal, according to Genesis and its later interpreters? This seminar explore ways in which early Christian, medieval and Renaissance societies (from ca. 100CE to 1550) constructed gender difference and expressed those ideas publicly through painting and sculpture. The topics we will examine include what the Christian Church taught about gender and human nature; what philosophers and scientists believed regarding male and female bodies; and what social practices and customs can reveal about marriage and domestic life. While examining gender difference from these several perspectives, our focus will be on how artists expressed these various ideas visually, especially in cautionary representations of Adam and Eve and exemplary scenes of Christ and Mary. Our explorations will extend from Early Christian catacombs through Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling.

Course Offered