Online Course: Mapping Worlds – Medieval to Modern, Warburg Institute, 25th-29th April 2022 3:00-5:00pm (BST)

Course tutor: Alessandro Scafi (Senior Lecturer in Medieval and Renaissance Cultural History)

The aim of this course is to explore how maps have served to order and represent physical, social and imaginative worlds from around 1200 to 1700. The focus is on the iconographic character of maps and the complex relation between art and science that is found in mapmaking throughout history. The students will be introduced to a wide range of images from different time periods and made for a variety of purposes, with the intent of drawing together art history, literature, philosophy and visual culture. Theoretical issues will be approached concerning, for example, the association of word and image, the definition of maps and their difference from views and diagrams, but the background and purpose of individual examples will be also discussed. These include medieval world maps produced as independent artifacts or drawn as book illustrations, mural map cycles of the Italian Renaissance, early modern prints made to identify and describe lands mentioned in the Bible. The course will investigate the creative and projective power of maps and their value as historical testimonies. Mnemonic and allegorical maps will be also approached. 

The course will be taught across five x two hour classes online via the zoom platform. Each session will have time for discussion. Reading lists will be made available to registered students.

You can find more information here.

Monday-Friday, 25-29 April 2022: 15:00-17:00

1. What is a Map? Definition of a map. Maps of territories and maps of concepts. Art and cartography.

2. Rhetorical Mapping, Then and Now: Maps and Politics. Maps of medieval and modern cities and empires. 

3. Mapping Other Worlds: Medieval and modern mapping of the Garden of Eden. Maps of the past. 

4. Mapping Inner Worlds: Allegorical maps and maps of the imagination: maps of love, the mind, the road of life.

5. Maps of Memory: Spatial thinking and the art of memory; maps of knowledge and maps as spiritual aids.


  • Standard £120
  • Warburg Staff & Fellows/external students/unwaged £110
  • SAS & LAHP-funded students £95
  • Warburg Students £60

A limited number of fee-waiver bursaries are available. If you would like to apply please download the form HERE(Opens in new window) and return it completed to by Monday 4 April 2022.


Published by Ellie Wilson

Ellie Wilson holds a First Class Honours in the History of Art from the University of Bristol, with a particular focus on Medieval Florence. In 2020 she achieved a Distinction in her MA at The Courtauld Institute of Art, where she specialised in the art and architecture of Medieval England under the supervision of Dr Tom Nickson. Her dissertation focussed on an alabaster altarpiece, and its relationship with the cult of St Thomas Becket in France and the Chartreuse de Vauvert. Her current research focusses on the artistic patronage of London’s Livery Companies immediately pre and post-Reformation. Ellie will begin a PhD at the University of York in Autumn 2021 with a WRoCAH studentship, under the supervision of Professor Tim Ayers and Dr Jeanne Nuechterlein.

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