An introduction to the history of the funerary monuments of the Italian Late Middle Ages.

Period of duration of course
Course info
Number of course hours
Number of hours of lecturers of reference
Number of hours of supplementary teaching

Type of exam



View lecturer details


The course is intended principally for students of the two undergraduate programmes (regardless of their enrolment years). However, some of the topics covered can also be useful for doctoral students.


The course will introduce the students of the two undergraduate courses to those first centuries of the history of Italian art, for which a significant corpus of monumental tombs has survived. The works will be approached from the widest possible perspective, considering their architectural, figurative and decorative types, iconographic choices, styles of execution, the artists and patrons and their social roles. We shall also study their original locations in the sacred places, the complex distribution of the corpus among the different areas of the Peninsula and the major islands, and the main phenomena of conservation, transformation, destruction and documentary memory during the subsequent Early Modern age.

Educational aims

The aim of the course is to provide the students of the two undergraduate programmes with advanced critical tools to tackle the ‘mute’ language of works of art of the past, and in particular of sculpture, both by practising directly on the figurative corpus and by examining the different methods of reading and interpretation utilised in modern studies.

Bibliographical references

Erwin Panofsky, Tomb Sculpture: Its Changing Aspects from Ancient Egypt to Bernini, edited by H[orst] W[oldemar] Janson, London, Thames and Hudson, 1964

Kurt Bauch, Das mittelalterliche Grabbild: figürliche Grabmäler des 11. bis 15. Jahrhunderts in Europa, Berlin [and elsewhere], de Gruyter, 1976

Ingo Herklotz, “Sepulcra” e “monumenta” del Medioevo: studi sull’arte sepolcrale in Italia, Rome, Rari Nantes, 1985; second edition, ibidem 1990; third edition, Naples, Liguori, 2001