NEW FOR 2013:
The Secret Language of Sacred Spaces: religious architecture of the world
From Chartres cathedral to Angkor Wat, religion has been the inspiration for many of the greatest buildings of the world. This lecture explains the architecture of each of the major faith traditions, revealing how their architecture is shaped by their rituals and beliefs. It thus covers a series of breathtaking buildings, while providing a fresh understanding of some of humanity’s profoundest spiritual insights.
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A thousand years of history: medieval cathedrals as time machine
This lecture uses the English cathedrals as ‘time machines’ to the medieval period, tracing their story from the revolutionary birth of English Christianity in about 600AD, through the great rebuilding that followed the Conquest of 1066, to the decades around a century later when gothic was invented in an atmosphere of febrile change and political tension. It then follows the story through the cults and traumas of the fourteenth century, backdrop to England’s most extraordinary architectural miracles, and into the dynastic struggles of the late medieval era; struggles which eventually tore apart the very world that created the cathedrals. Throughout, beautiful photography of the buildings themselves, as well as of contemporary manuscripts and paintings, helps to use these buildings to bring to life the remarkable events they witnessed, and helping explain how these events shaped their architecture.
Sacred feminine: the English medieval Lady chapel
The Lady chapel is often the most beautiful and ornate part of a medieval church. These remarkable structures are shaped by the medieval cult of the Virgin, which at once celebrated Mary’s physical fecundity and spiritual purity: potently contradictory fuel for an extraordinary series of architectural achievements. From ninth-century Abingdon to fifteenth-century Flint, from the great cultic centres of Glastonbury and Walsingham to the small wayside shrine, the buildings that resulted uniquely embodied medieval ideas about Our Lady, and trace architecture’s attempts to shape and express two simultaneous demands: the stage-management of the cultic experiences of laymen; and the creation of an appropriate setting for an ever-evolving liturgy. This lecture traces the story of these remarkable structures, and the light they throw on medieval art and medieval life.
Canons and monks: daily life in the cathedral
What was it like to live and work in the medieval cathedral? How did laymen experience these extraordinary buildings？ This lecture describes the lives of the multi-layered communities that served these buildings, revealing how the cathedrals functioned day-to-day. Packed with interesting anecdotes, the lecture returns throughout to the architecture of the cathedrals, revealing the ways in which it is shaped by their various functions – from home of large, highly regulated communes, to place of worship, to venue for large gatherings of laymen.
Medieval architectural style
Do you know your Early English from your Decorated? Can you distinguish your crocket from your cusp? This lecture takes the audience through the evolving story of medieval architectural style, telling its evolving story and briefly outlining the defining features that can be used to distinguish one style from another, and thus used to date the seperate parts of medieval churches.