Rock, Paper, Chisel, 3D Printer: Teaching Medieval Art with Technology
By Alexandra Dodson
Peregrinations: Journal of Medieval Art and Architecture, Volume 6, Number 2, 2017
Introduction: Teaching medieval art requires an invocation of students’ imaginations. The majority of the art we study has been decontextualized, removed from the portal, altar, or window for which it was made. Students see it projected on a screen or mounted on the wall of a museum.
In these settings, the art is separated from companion pieces in a cycle, often viewed at an unintended angle, and sometimes bears the scars of destruction, cleanings, travel, and time. Simple questions can be hard to answer in a classroom – how did a work of art originally appear? What texture is it? What color was it? What did it look like in the morning? In the afternoon?
Digital technology allows us to illustrate and explain the answers to these questions, and when students are the ones illustrating and explaining, they become engaged producers of knowledge. In this short paper, I present a case study, a course that sought to blend art history and digital technology to offer students a deeper, more comprehensive view of medieval art.