Course Highlight: ART 430: “Medieval Art: The Icon”

Written by
Kirstin Ohrt
Oct. 7, 2022

ART 430: “Medieval Art: The Icon”

Professor Charlie Barber’s ART 430 seminar on the icon examines devotional panel paintings from literally every angle.  The course explores the function, theory, and meaning of the icon and traces its history and impact through to modernism.

Student examining an icon

(Photo/Kirstin Ohrt)

On a recent visit to Princeton University Art Museum’s collection, students were able to closely inspect a selection of Greek and Russian works. 

After evaluating imagery and style, students examined the works under ultraviolet light to decipher technique as well as damage. 

Charlie Barber and students examining an icon under UV light

(Photo/Kirstin Ohrt)

Studying the backs of the panels revealed a variety of additional clues to the construction and origin of the works.

“The Art Museum’s collection of over fifty icons, whose dates range from the fourteenth to the twentieth century, allows us to practice the fundamental skill of close looking. This helps the students to understood how much can be gleaned from paying due attention to the object itself.” — Charlie Barber

Charlie Barber and students examining an icon

(Photo/Kirstin Ohrt)