Assignment Prompt

HART 212 Final Project Prompt

Create a final project to reflect your research into and critical or creative engagement with a work of medieval art or architecture from a local collection (or one you are able to visit). Your project can take one of a number of forms: an online exhibition; a model or reconstruction (digital or physical) of a medieval work of art; or an original work of art that responds in some way to a medieval work or practice.

Your work must incorporate in some way information gained from personal study of a medieval work of art or architecture. It must reflect your attention to the visual qualities of this work of art (description), your use of art historical methods of interpretation (some combination of visual analysis, comparison with related works of art, iconographic analysis, and historical analysis), and critical reading of primary sources (i.e., medieval texts) and secondary sources (i.e., modern scholarship).

In order to support your research over the course of the semester, this assignment has several stages:

On-Site Research

Your project must extend from your study of a work of medieval art or architecture. The work that you choose must have been produced during the Middle Ages—that is, from about 500–1400 CE (contact me if you want to work on an object that pushes those boundaries). It must be in a local collection or one you will be able to visit. Nearby collections include:

Catalogs of these medieval collections are available on reserve in Carpenter Library and/or online. (If you have another object or collection in mind, contact me by Feb. 9 for approval.) Peruse the museum catalogs on reserve, visit a local collection of medieval art, and select an object. Pilgrimage to see it and spend at least 30 minutes in front of the object, taking notes, sketching it, and looking. Consider not just what the object looks like, but why it looks that way. What does it reveal about the artist’s beliefs or choices? What does it reveal about the way it was used? How does it guide or shape a viewer’s understanding of the object or the images depicted on it? What questions does it raise for you?


Proposal (2 pages)—presented in class Tuesday, 2/21, revised write-up due Friday, 2/24

Describe your work of art. On the basis of what you see, how do you interpret the work? What questions does the work raise for you? Give three questions that will drive your research. Describe the form you expect your final project to take.

Roundtable proposal presentations will be about 2 minutes, plus a short time for questions. Be prepared to share:

  • The particular details of your work of art—what it is / shows, what it's made of, where and when it was made, and by whom
  • What made you interested in it?
  • Three questions the object raises for you that you plan to research
  • What form you see your project taking (online exhibition, reconstruction/reinterpretation, something else entirely)

Annotated Bibliography & Bibliography Show-and-Tell—due Thursday, 3/23

Submit a bibliography of at least 8 sources you plan to consult in your research. Write your 3 research questions at the top (they may have changed since your proposal) and, for each source, briefly indicate how it will address at least one of your questions. Sources must be cited according to a standard academic citation style; see “Citing Sources” below. At least one of your sources must be a primary source (that is, a text from the appropriate period in history); sourcebooks for studying medieval European and Byzantine art are on reserve in Carpenter Library.

Bibliography Show-and-Tell: bring two sources from your bibliography with you to class. (This means they need to be books that you have checked out from the library.)


Presentation (5 minutes)—presented in class 4/20 and 4/25; submit PowerPoint before class by midnight

Make a short presentation of your object and your project. Your talk should be accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation (see the syllabus for formatting guidelines). You may either use a prepared text (2.5 pages of prose takes about 5 minutes to read) or speak from notes. However you choose to present, I strongly encourage you to practice your presentation before class. This will let you know if you are keeping to time and reveal any verbal stumbling blocks.

Note: 5 minutes is not as long as it seems! This is a challenging exercise in presenting an argument briefly and effectively. Time your practice talk.


Final Project—due Friday, 4/28

Digital Exhibitions: Exhibitions should be created with the Omeka software (see the Omeka Quick Start Guide and Building Exhibits with Omeka). Exhibitions should have an introduction, 3-5 different sections, and should comprise text of about 1,000 words total, supported with appropriate images.

Note: this may seem like a very short assignment, but one of the great challenges of writing exhibition texts is to condense the substance of your research and interpretation of an object into a concise and clear format. Your exhibition must reflect your superior knowledge of your subject, but still make it accessible to a lay reader. See the reading on Interpretive Labels by Serrell.

Sources should be cited in footnotes and listed in a bibliography that follows a standard academic citation style (see “Citing Sources” on the syllabus).

Submit your final project by entering the URL of your digital exhibit as a text submission in Moodle and by uploading a Word document of your text.

Reconstructions and Re-interpretations: Reconstructions or re-interpretations of medieval works of art or architecture can be digital or physical. Your reconstruction or re-interpretation must be accompanied by an artist’s statement of about 1,000 words (about 4 pages) addressing the connections between the work you have produced and the medieval work you studied. Your statement should cite sources in footnotes and be followed by a bibliography that lists the sources cited a standard academic citation style (see “Citing Sources” on the syllabus).

Final projects should be posted on the class Omeka site and submitted to me on Moodle (and, if applicable, in person). To submit your project, upload your artist’s statement to Moodle (including the URL of your Omeka site as a text submission)  and submit the non-written component to me. If your work is digital, please submit it in a format that I will be able to access and assess. If your work is physical, you must deposit it in my office or in the History of Art office, Thomas 235. (Note: the department office is only open during business hours, and may close for lunch. This means that your deadline is not the end of the day Friday, but 5 pm.)

Citing Sources on Omeka

This page models citations for Omeka-hosted projects. As the Columbia University Undergraduate Guide to Academic Integrity states, "You must cite all sources that have directly or indirectly contributed to your analysis, synthesis, and/or argument in the work you submit."[1] The Chicago Manual of Style states, furthermore, that writers must "identify the sources of direct quotations or paraphrases and of any facts or opinions not generally known or easily checked."[2]

In order to cite sources in your Omeka website, place a number in square brackets where you would normally put a footnote and bold it. Write out the citation as a footnote with the corresponding number at the bottom of your text block, or in a separate text block at the bottom of the page.

Citation numbering should proceed sequentially (1, 2, 3 ...). It is up to you whether you number your citations sequentially throughout your exhibit, or whether you begin again at 1 with each new page. As in a regular paper, each citation must receive its own number, even if you are citing the same source. This is so that each citation can provide a specific page number for the source of the information given. You may, however, shorten citations of previously cited sources according to the parameters of your chosen citations style.[3]

In addition to footnote citations throughout your exhibit, you must also include a bibliography on the final page of the exhibit listing all sources consulted and cited for the project.



1. "When to Cite Sources," Columbia College, accessed 4/5/2017,

2. The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010), 655.

3. The Chicago Manual of Style, 667.

Assignment Prompt