Renaissance Art

Instructor: Helena Szepe

This course focuses on the visual arts of fourteenth- through sixteenth-century Italy, with some reference to the broader context of art in the rest of Europe and the world. The reputations of many artists from this period such as Giotto, Leonardo da Vinci, and Michelangelo still loom large in the 21st century. The art of the Renaissance and theories underlying it thus remain relevant today.

We will examine a number of iconic monuments by famous artists, as well as lesser-known works by anonymous craftsmen, to reconsider the art of the Renaissance from various critical perspectives.  Students will seek to understand monuments and artists already well-known in new ways, and to become acquainted with lesser-known objects and images. The cultural context within which artists operated, and the purposes for which their works were intended, will be investigated. How did the demands of patrons, the organization, education, and training of artists, and the societal, as well as religious functions of the works they created participate in artists’ choices and the final outcomes?  What were the broader religious, social, and political movements within which patrons and artists operated? Students will develop acuity in viewing, thinking, and writing about art through lectures, reading, discussion, worksheets, and various assignments.

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