France's Must-See Cathedrals – Everything You Need to Know: A Five Part Course with Dr. Ana-Joel Falcón-Wiebe

France's Must-See Cathedrals – Everything You Need to Know: A Five Part Course with Dr. Ana-Joel Falcón-Wiebe


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$175.00
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Can't make this time? A video recording will be sent to all participants after each event.

Course Description:
This course is an exploration of five major Gothic cathedrals in and around Paris. Each part offers a virtual visit to a specific Gothic cathedral to experience the many details that transform each monumental cathedral into living sculptural masterpieces. 

During this course, we will also experience, if only virtually, the broader atmospheres created by these Gothic giants within their walls and along the grounds that surround them. We will learn why a sculptor like Rodin referred to Chartres cathedral as the “French acropolis” and why eminent art historians like Émile Mâle regarded Gothic cathedrals as pure “medieval thought in visual form.” 

Additional Context:
The Middle Ages gave way to the rise of Gothic cathedrals. Dubbed the “dark ages” during the Renaissance, the period was defined by the concept of lux nova, or new light. From illuminated manuscripts to stained glass windows, light occupied a central position physically and ideologically in medieval thought. Intellectual and artistic effervescence collided with the lavish pockets of the church and government. The result was a frenzied race of ascension where Gothic cathedrals competed against each other. Each spire rose taller than the other, punctuating the urban landscape and vying for permanence and prestige in the hearts of the pious and the French national identity.

Staking claim to medieval France’s most cherished values, each cathedral claimed a pivotal role in forming the nation’s collective identity. Whether as the site of royal coronations or the sacred guardians of precious relics, these cathedrals continue to inspire visitors' and scholars' religious and secular imaginations worldwide.

The “rivalry” between French cathedrals has continued in modern-day scholarship, and we will explore the tenants of this age-long spirited debate. This course will enliven and enrich future visits to these and any other Gothic cathedrals as well as provide a foundation for retroactive reflection after a visit.

Led by Ana-Joel Falcón-Wiebe, an expert on French art, this course will equip participants with the fine-tuned skills to engage with and experience Gothic cathedrals confidently and knowledgeably. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased awareness of the symbolism and narratives woven into Gothic cathedrals. 

Lecture One – Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres
We begin with an exploration of Chartres Cathedral, complete with a virtual tour. We will learn how Chartres Cathedral came to embody the identity of the entire nation by becoming a symbol of unity at a time of great division and unrest. 

Lecture Two  – Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris
During our second week together, we will examine the world’s iconic Notre Dame Cathedral, before and after the fire of April 2019. We will consider the heated debates that advocated for a scientific restoration according to the nineteenth-century reconstruction against the opportunity for transformation into a site that reflected contemporary architectural innovation and trending environmental concerns. 

Lecture Three – Sainte-Chapelle
Just a few blocks away from Notre-Dame de Paris, lies the exquisite Saint Chapelle. We will learn why this miniature gothic chapel rivals the tallest or even most massive Gothic cathedrals. 

Lecture Four – Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims
During our fourth week together we will experience the majestic Reims cathedral–the site of several royal coronations. We will learn how stylistic effervescence and innovation in Paris created challenges in continuity during the completion of Reims Cathedral. We will discover how the playful elegance of the Parisian court competed against the gravity of sacred narratives even in the depiction of single jamb sculptures. 

Lecture Five – Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Amiens
During our final seminar of the course, we will virtually visit Amiens Cathedral–one of the tallest Gothic cathedrals still standing. We will experience the dialectical opposition of mass and weightlessness, solidity and immateriality, spiritual concepts, and physical forms.

Dr. Ana-Joel Falcón-Wiebe is an art historian, educator, and curator specializing in nineteenth-century French art. Her doctoral dissertation surveyed the interconnectivity of national identities in nineteenth-century Paris through acquisitions of seventeenth-century Spanish artworks by private collectors. Born and raised in Mexico, Ana-Joel has lived in Canada and France and currently resides in the USA. Her work and pedagogy are flavored by her penchant for cross-cultural and interdisciplinary learning experiences and approaches. While she is a nineteenth-century French art specialist, her interests are broad and her experience speaks of a confluence of early modern and contemporary issues in art. Working at the Cabinet de Dessins, Musée du Louvre, her research on sixteenth and seventeenth-century Italian prints and drawings culminated in the publication of the department’s most comprehensive and up-to-date catalog of Italian drawings. She assisted in curating major exhibitions at the National Gallery of Canada on Caravaggio and at the Brooklyn Museum of Art on Francisco Oller’s Impressionist oeuvre. Concomitant to her curatorial career Ana-Joel has taught Art History for thirteen years and currently holds a position as Adjunct Faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Art. In addition to her academic and museological achievements, Ana-Joel is an artist and opened her own studio in 2020 at the service of women who have suffered abuse in the context of domestic violence and the ongoing pandemic.

How does it work?
This is a five-part series held weekly and hosted on Zoom. Please check the schedule for the specific dates and times for each lecture. 

When will I receive the Zoom link?
Your link to enter the Zoom room will be the same for all five sessions. It will be sent to the email address used to place your order 30 minutes prior to each lecture's start time.

Is there a reading list in advance?
Though the course is open to participants with no background on this topic, there are suggested readings for further investigation. These will be provided at the course's conclusion.

How long are the lectures?
Each lecture is 90 minutes long with time for Q&A.

How much is the course?
The course is $175 USD for five lectures.

Is a recording available?
Yes. All registered participants will be sent a recording link within 48 hours of each session's conclusion.

Are there additional seminars, courses, and in-person experiences being led on the topic of French History?
Yes!  Dr. Falcón-Wiebe will be leading several virtual experiences in the coming weeks. Details are available here.

Our in-person Context Tours of France are available to explore here. 

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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