I think it is particularly difficult to instruct a section on Medieval Aesthetics in the Introduction to Aesthetics course. I have used the online encyclopedia of philosophy article by Michael R. Spicher, which is helpful. He starts with the influence of Plato, Aristotle, and Plotinus, which are appropriate. I’d only add that Plato’s Symposium was especially important, by way of its impact on Plotinus especially. I also like Spicher’s division between three topics in medieval aesthetics: proportion, light, and color and symbolism. Proportion is relevant to structures especially. I would add Pythagoras to the initial set of influential philosophers since Medieval aesthetics is so strongly influenced by such concepts as harmony, symmetry, and proportion.
In teaching the material I decided to start with Diotima’s explanation of the higher mysteries, i.e. the ladder of love. This ties in well with a description of Chartres cathedral. I could use a video from Kahn Academy which shows the stained-glass home windows of Chartres quite well.
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The only thing I disagree with there is that the writers say that the effect of the home windows has nothing in connection with aesthetics and only with divine symbolism. I would believe divine symbolism is one design of looks and, generally, I subject to using the word … Read more