The Arts of Medieval Europe: 800 to 1050

Online course

+44 (0)20 7942 2000

Chart the development of medieval art via the patronage of the Carolingians, Ottonians and Anglo-Saxons during this formative period of European history, from Emperor Charlemagne’s Palatine Chapel in Aachen to King Alfred’s Jewel.

You can learn from our world-class experts wherever you are, whenever suits you: watch lectures live or view the recording later in your own time. You can experience the full breadth and depth of the V&A's collections with more than 40 hours of study over 12 weeks. Learn at your own pace: lecture recordings and study materials, lecture notes, copies of the presentations, and additional study materials are available in our secure Microsoft Teams environment for up to 12 weeks after the course ends, so you'll never miss a thing. And finally, join the conversation: share your perspective with your fellow students, and support each other in your further enquiries outside of class time.

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course photo
Portrait of Course Director Dr Sally Dormer

Course Director
Dr Sally Dormer

Dr Sally Dormer is a specialist medieval art historian with an M.A. in Medieval Art History and Ph.D. on Medieval illuminated manuscripts from the Courtauld Institute, London University. Sally teaches, or has taught, for the Art Fund, the Arts Society, Art Pursuits, London Art History Society, Swan Hellenic, and Gresham College.

Such a joy to be taught with such intelligence, warmth and humour. Previous V&A Academy Online Course Attendee

Course overview

This course focusses on medieval art from 800-1050, inspired by the V&A's abundant medieval collections. In 800, Charlemagne, King of the Franks, became Emperor of the Romans. He, and the subsequent dynasty of Carolingian emperors, revived Christian Antiquity, instigating a renaissance of sorts. Assuming the imperial title in 962, the Saxon Ottonian Emperors revered Antiquity as well as Byzantine aesthetics. Carolingian and Ottonian patronage was often linked to imperial power, via monasteries, epicentres of craftsmanship and learning. The visual arts flourished in late 10th to 11th century England under Continental influence, with monasteries playing a vital role. By the 960s Iconoclasm’s influence in the West had waned and monumental, three-dimensional sculpture re-emerged.
1000 was met with anxiety, its passing with relief. The new, confident millennium witnessed the emergence of a powerful, centralized Western church, dominated by monastic orders; some established, others, like the Cistercians, new. Unprecedented investment was made in church buildings; inspired by aspects of Roman monuments and characterised by regional variety, they demonstrate the mighty Romanesque style.


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Online course: The Arts of Medieval Europe: 800 to 1050

9 January 2024 - 26 March 2024


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+44 (0)20 7942 2000

Open 10.00 - 13.00, Monday to Sunday (closed 24-26 December)

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