Fall 2015

Renaissance Illusions

Listed in: Architectural Studies, as ARCH-355  |  Art and the History of Art, as ARHA-354  |  European Studies, as EUST-355


Nicola M. Courtright (Section 01)


(Offered as ARHA 354, ARCH 355, and EUST 355.) Artists such as Donatello, Fra Angelico, Botticelli, Leonardo, Raphael, Bramante, Michelangelo, Cellini and Titian, but also unknown artisans, constructed illusions imitating nature or offering profound spiritual connectedness, be it through the spatial grandeur of perspectival narratives on painted walls, in sculpture and the built environment, or through the expert crafting of precious materials for domestic and ritual objects. Art, artifacts, and architecture created for merchants, monks, princes and pontiffs in the urban centers of Florence, Rome, Venice, and Paris from the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries range from the gravely restrained and intentionally simple and devout to the monumental, fantastically complex or blindingly splendid. Emphasis will be upon the way the form, materiality, and content of each type of art conveyed ideas concerning creativity, originality, and individuality, but also expressed ideals of devotion and civic virtue; how artists dealt with the revived legacy of antiquity to develop an original visual language; how art revealed attitudes toward the body and the spirit, expressed the relationship between nature, the imagination and art, and developed the rhetoric of genius; and how art and attitudes towards it changed over time.

Rather than taking the form of a survey, this course, based on lectures but regularly incorporating discussion, will examine selected works in depth and will analyze contemporary attitudes toward art of this period through study of the art and the primary sources concerning it.

Requisite: One course in ARHA, FAMS, or ARCH, or with permission of the instructor. Fall semester. Professor Courtright.


2020-21: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015