Art history 322 Italian Art from Donatello to Leonardo da Vinci: 1400-1500 Spring 2014

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Italian Art from Donatello to Leonardo da Vinci: 1400-1500
Spring 2014

Prof. Gail L. Geiger

Office Hrs. Friday 11-1pm & by appt.

226 Conrad A. Elvehjem Building

tel. 263-2287



Italian Art from Donatello to Leonardo da Vinci: 1400-1500

Within the rich cultural tradition known as the Renaissance, the art of the fifteenth-century (quattrocento) on the Italian peninsula offers the greatest variety of styles and types of patronage. This period includes deeply religious art, a new passion for ancient Roman, Greek and Etruscan art, a new art from distant regions of exploration, art for status, for the Church, and for mundane, everyday purposes.

This course will be concerned primarily with painting, sculpture, architecture, but also will include some other media such as textiles, glass, fired clay with tin glaze, wood, and gold. Initially we shall focus on the revolutionary changes in artistic style in Florence and then consider the integration of this "new style" within numerous regional traditions throughout the peninsula from Naples in the south to Venice in the north. Scholars have interpreted these changes from different points of view and have suggested that causes reside in politics, or economics, or genius, or cultural issues. Evidence for these views depends on the art itself, related documents and historical circumstances. We shall be equally concerned with such interpretative problems.

Course Requirements: You are expected to attend class and be prepared to discuss the required reading assignments. Readings will be found in your required text and in your READER from Bob's Copy Shop. In addition, the bibliography included in your syllabus is on reserve in the Kohler Art Library (listed in the binder and available behind the circulation desk) and can be found by the call numbers listed.


Two required texts are available at the University Bookstore, textbook section:
Frederick Hartt and David Wilkins, History of Italian Renaissance Art, 7th ed. (2011) provides you with a general descriptive text and excellent photographs that I have used in the past as a required text useful to read both before and after the relevant class lecture.
Evelyn Welch, Art and Society in Italy 1350-1500, (Oxford, ’97) is a critical, focused text and should be read as soon as you can and used throughout the course.
Recommended only:

1. Sylvan Barnet, A Short Guide to Writing about Art (Addison Wesley Longman)

2. James Hall, Dictionary of Subjects & Symbols in Art, rev. ed. (New York: Icon

Editions, Harper & Row, 1974).

Required READER: Course Reader available at Bob’s Copy Shop, 616 University Avenue (257-4536—call before trekking over to make certain it is available). This contains the course syllabus, original documents, and secondary critical readings.

Evaluation will be based on three exams @25% each, a cumulative take home

exam 25%. I do, however, take improvement into consideration.

Exam Schedule:

1. 23 Feb. Wed. Exam #1. [Lectures 2 through 14]

2. 9 April. Wed. Exam #2 [lectures 15-30]

3. 11 May Fri. Third “5 week exam” [lectures 31-43]

4. Cumulative, take-home final essay exam due 11 MAY Sunday, 2014, 12:25-2:25 in hard copy at my office 226 Conrad A. Elvehjem Bldg.
The in-class exam format consists of image identifications taken from your syllabus, image comparisons. In your responses you should incorporate relevant assigned original sources and critical essays. All visual art cited on your syllabus will be found on the Web Site for the course: Web Site: The required images for your exams will appear on the flash card web site.

Note: Those who wish to take the class for graduate credit, or Honors should speak with me the first week of class regarding other requirements.


  1. Syllabus of Readings and Images to Know.

  2. Table of Contents for Documents, Critical Essays.

  3. Kohler Art Library Reserve List

  4. Primary Sources

  5. Secondary Sources.

Week I.
1. 22 Jan. Wed. Introduction.
A. Historical Context: political; social; economic, theoretical.
Continuity: the Church; corporate units- family, guild, confraternities; the government; communes, princely states, republics.
Visuals: [Note, these are not required.]
Welch: Maritime routes (pp. 18-19)

Map (p. 24)

Plan of S. Maria Novella, Fl (p. 168)

Chart of Popes and Anti-popes (p. 246)

Chart of Doges of Venice (p. 273)]

Time Line for Politics/Religion; Culture/Art, pp. 336+

Reading: Welch, Art and Society, Introduction, Parts II and III
B. The Cultural Context:

Innovations: the antique; "science"--medicine, mathematics, and the natural world; individualism.

Visuals: [Not required now, simply note these plates and images.]
From Bober Essay, # 2:

Pisanello, Drawing of Horae or Maenads

Andrea del Castagno, Parade Shield with David and Goliath, c. 1450

Detail of Mantegna's Parnassus

"The Muses" drawing from a Roman sarcophagus

by follower of Jacopo Bellini, interpreting Roman sarcophagus.

Required Reading: READER: Critical Essay # 2: Phyllis Pray Bober, "Introduction. Renaissance Artists and the Uses of Antiquity," from Renaissance Artists and Antique Sculpture. Original Sources: #5.Gilbert a: "Ciriaco d'Ancona in Search of Greek Antiquities."
C. The Arts: materials, production, patron.
Visuals: [Note, these images appear in later lectures.]
Welch: Process of lost-wax bronze-casting (pp. 52-53)

Verrocchio's Christ and Doubting Thomas from Orsanmichele, Fl. (Welch, pp. 52-53)

Fresco painting (p. 67), Masaccio's St. Peter's Shadow Healing the Sick, Brancacci

Chapel, S. Maria d. Carmine, Fl.

Enameled terracotta, Luca della Robbia, Visitation, c. 1445 (Welch, fig. 27)

Tempera on panel: Vicenzo Foppa and Lodovico Brea, Enthroned Madonna,

polyptych, 1490. S. Maria di Castello, Savona (Welch, fig. 32)

Woodcut: Jacopo de' Barbari's View of Venice, 1500 (Welch fig.36)

Workshop: Filarete, Doors of St. Peter's, 1433-45, St. Peter's Rome (Welch, fig. 43).
Required Reading: Welch, Art and Society, Part I, chapters 2-4.

Civic Consciousness and Artists in Competition.

2. 24 Jan. Fri. Commissions at the Cathedral in Florence.
Florence: The Cathedral Complex:
Baptistery Doors Competition Panels [remaining 2], bronze:

Lorenzo Ghiberti (1381?-1455): Sacrifice of Isaac, 1402-03

Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1466): Sacrifice of Isaac, 1402-03
Ghiberti, Baptistery North Doors, 1403-24:

Annunciation, c. 1401-07; Adoration of the Magi, by 1407; Crucifixion, c. 1413; Flagellation, c. 1416-19/20; and pen/bister drawing of the same.
The Cathedral Campanile:

Donatello (1386-1466): Habakkuk ("Zuccone,"), c. 1427-36 and Jeremiah, c. 1423-25

The Cathedral's Porta della Mandorla: Nanni di Banco (1385?-1421): Assumption of the

Virgin, 1414-21
Reading: Hartt-Wilkins [7th ed.] , Ch. 6, pp. 183-188 (Ghiberti), 188 (begin Donatello), 193 and 195 (Nanni di Banco).
Week II. Sculpture, the Medium of Initiative.
3. 27 Jan. Mon. Guild Commissions at OrSanMichele and a Tomb in the Baptistry
Orsanmichele Sculptures, [cf. Hartt/Wilkins, 24 on Orsanmichele, “a civic building that held the food supply guaranteed by the republic during an era when famine was a constant threat”]:


Iconographic diagram [Hartt, fig. 7.9]

Ghiberti: St. John the Baptist, c.1405-17; St. Matthew, 1419-23.

Donatello: St. Mark, 1411-16; St. George, c. 1420 and relief, St.

George and the Dragon .

Nanni di Banco: Four Crowned Martyrs, c. 1409-16/17 and relief, Sculptors at Work.

The Baptistry:

Donatello with Michelozzo, Tomb of the Anti-Pope, John XXIII, 1421-8, (Welch fig. 44)

Reading: Chambers Doc. 22c, "Contract of Lorenzo Ghiberti with the Money- changers Guild ('Arte del Cambio) to make the Statue of St. Matthew, 26 August 1418."
Reading: Hartt-Wilkins, Ch. 7, pp. 186-195. Hartt/Elkins, Glossary, 698: term, rilievo schiacciato

  1. 29 Jan. Wed. Innovative Sculpture Outside Florence.


Baptismal Font, marble with inset bronze relief (design by Jacopo della Quercia [c. 1374-1438]) Baptistery.

Donatello: Feast of Herod, 1423-27

Ghiberti, Baptism by 1427

Jacopo della Quercia): Fonte Gaia, Piazza del Campo, 1408-19

[original dismantled]; Drawing of the Fonte Gaia, 1409 [Welch, 118 and Hartt 7.20)]; Rea Silvia or Public Charity, and Expulsion of Adam & Eve.


Jacopo della Quercia: Tomb of Ilaria del Carretto 1406/8-13, Cathedral (Welch, fig. 88)


Jacopo della Quercia: Main Portal of S. Petronio (Welch, fig. 128), Bologna 1425-

38 Creation of Adam, Temptation, and Expulsion.
Reading: Welch, Pt II, ch. 8, “Rome and the Republics,” and “The Tuscan Republics.” READER: Original Sources: #3 Chambers, a.Doc.2: "Letter of Jacopo della Quercia to the Officials of the 'Fabrica' of San Petronio, 26 June 1426." Critical Essays: Essay #14. excerpts from John Pope-Hennessy, Italian Gothic Sculpture, pp. 110-112. Hartt/Wilkins, Ch. 7, pp. 196-201
5. 31 Jan. Fri. Part I. The Architecture of Brunelleschi in Florence: "Interaction between Aesthetic and Technical Considerations" and Medieval and Antique Traditions in his Work
Cathedral Dome, 1420-36;

[recognize plans for the following as well as elevations]

Ospedale degli Innocenti, begun 1419

San Lorenzo, 1421, plan, Old Sacristy, and nave


Reading: READER: Original Sources: #3 Chambers, b. Docs. 20 and 21 regarding the Cupola of Florence Cathedral; Hartt/Wilkins, Chapt. 6, 159-171 .

Week III.
6. 3 Feb. Mon. Brunelleschi Part 2
Santa Croce: Pazzi Chapel, designed c. 1433, but constructed 1442+

S. Spirito, construction, 1446+

Sta. Maria degli Angeli, begun 1434, unfinished.
For Terms, especially architectural see Hartt/Wilkins, Glossary, p. 692+

architrave, clerestory, cloister, coffer, colonnade, colonette, column, orders [Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, Composite, Tuscan], cornice, cupola, dentils, dome, drum, egg-and-dart, entablature, frieze, lantern, nave, oculus, pediment, pendentive, pier, pietra serena, pilaster, plinth, sacristy, side aisle, transept.

7. 5 Feb. Wed. Painting. Transitions from the International Gothic.

Lorenzo Monaco (c. 1371-c. 1425): Coronation of the Virgin, 1414

Gentile da Fabriano (d.1427): Adoration of the Magi (Strozzi Altarpiece) dated May

1423; predella, Nativity

Masolino (1338/1480-1440/1447): The Brancacci Chapel (fresco cycle), c. 1425, S. Maria del Carmine,

Healing of the Cripple and Raising of Tabitha

Temptation of Eve and Adam

Masaccio, San Giovenale Triptych, 1422

San Pietro, Cascia di Reggello (Florence)
Reading: Hartt/Wilkins, relevant portions of Chapt. 8, “Gothic and Renaissance in Florentine Painting.” Glossary: fresco, predella.
8. 7 Feb. Fri. A Synthesis of Sculpture, Architecture and Painting in Masaccio

Masaccio(1401-1428/29); Visual Theory of Leon Battista Alberti (1404-72): De picta (1435) and Della Pittura (1436) as a Codification of the Innovations by Donatello, Brunelleschi, and Masaccio.
Florence: S. Maria d. Carmine, the Brancacci Chapel frescoes, 1425:

Baptizing Neophytes; Tribute Money; Expulsion; Peter Healing with his

Shadow; Distribution of Goods of the Community & Death of Anaias

Pisa, Sta. Maria del Carmine (originally); The “Pisa” Polyptych, 1426 (reconstruction,

Web Site): Enthroned Madonna (London); Predella: Adoration (Berlin),

Crucifixion (Naples)
Florence: S. Maria Novella, The Trinity, fresco,1427 or 1428

Leonbattista Alberti, Self-Portrait, c. 1435 Bronze, “in the Roman style”.

Reading: READER: Original Sources, #1, Leon Battista Alberti, On Painting (1435, Latin; 1436, Italian), Prologue, Bks. II and III. Critical Essays:

Essay #17, Scher, on Alberti medal; Hartt-Wilkins, conclude Chapt 8;

and Chapt. 10, 239-240/1 regarding "Alberti and Art of Painting".

Week IV.
9 . 10 Feb. Mon. The Private Patron and the Concept of "Magnificence"
Patrons , Sites and Visuals:
A. The Medici Family

1. Cosimo de'Medici 'il Vecchio' (1389-1464)

Anonymous artist, Medal of Cosimo il Vecchio de'Medici, 15th c. Recto: Profile of Cosimo, Verso, Allegory of Florence, holding orb and triple olive branch. Insc. Latin for Peace & Liberty.

a. San Lorenzo:

Old Sacristy: Brunelleschi’s architecture, 1421-28; Donatello’s

sculpture, after 1428-c. 1440.

b. Convent of San Marco. Michelozzo (1396-1472), architectural

renovation: note the library and courtyard, Florence, 1440

Paintings: Fra Angelico (c. 1400-1455)

Descent from the Cross, c. 1434 [an earlier commission begun by Lorenzo

Monaco, not for S. Marco]

San Marco:

Frescoes: hallway and cells of friars [note, they are not monks], 1438-45 on second floor: Annunciation, hall way, Annunciation, cell no. 3 and Coronation of the Virgin, cell no. 6.

Chapter House Crucifixion, (Welch, fig. 76) on ground floor [note ground floor

layout in Welch p. 173]

For High Altar of S. Marco’s priory church: Madonna and Saints c. 1438-40
Michelozzo: Palazzo Medici [Medici-Riccardi Palace], c. 1446.

Donatello: David, 1446-60? (bronze) and Judith, 1446-60 (bronze)

Reading: READER: Original Sources: #5. Gilbert, f: "Chronicle of the New Dominican Convent of San Marco, Florence" and "Saint Antonino on the Ethics of Painting." Critical Essays: Essay #11. Dale Kent, “Introduction” to Cosimo de’Medici; Essay #15, Scher on Cosimo, Renaissance Portraits. Hartt-Wilkins, Ch. 9, regarding Fra Angelico, pp. 223-231; 179 (Michelozzo).
10.12 Feb. Wed. Cont.
2. Piero de’Medici (1416-1469):

Mino da Fiesole, Portrait of Piero de’Medici, 1453.

Palazzo Medici interior, fresco, panel painting, terra cotta:
Fra Filippo Lippi: Lunettes [Nat. Gal., London]; Madonna Adoring the

Christ Child, late 1450s [chapel altarpiece]

Paolo Uccello (c. 1397-1475): Battle of San Romano, c. 1445, 2 versions:

London and Florence [unclear origins of the patronage].

Benozzo Gozzoli (1420-97): Chapel, Procession of the Magi, 1459.

Palazzo Medici, Studiolo vault, terra cotta: Luca della Robbia,

Desiderio da Settignano, Meeting of Young Christ and St. John the Baptist

c. 1453-64 (marble, tondo) .


Tabernacle (‘Cappella del Crocifisso, 1447+) San Miniato al Monte

Tabernacle, finished 1448, SS. Annunziata.

Reading: Hartt/Wilkins, reading is scattered: cf. Ch. 9, 237 (Fra Filippo), Ch. 10, 261 (Portrait Bust), Ch.12, 295-96 (Medici), 312-13 (Gozzoli), fig. 12.12 (Desiderio), and Ch. 6, esp. 174-78 (Medici Palace). READER: Original Sources: #5. Gilbert, c: "Cardinal Dominici on Paintings and Painters" and e. “Benozzo Gozzoli’s Patron asks for Revisions in his Work.” Critical Essay #15, Renaissance Portraits, cat. #47.

11. 14 Feb. Fri. Medici Circle Patronage:
1. Giovanni Rucellai (1403-1481)

Leon Battista Alberti (with Bernardo Rossellino):

Palazzo Rucellai, 1446-51, façade and loggia;

S. Maria Novella, facade, c. 1456-70

Rucellai Burial Site as Holy Sepulchre , 1458-67 San Pancrazio

2. The Marsuppini. Desiderio da Settignano (c. 1430-64): Tomb of Carlo Marsuppini, c.

1453-60, Santa Croce.

3. The Martelli. Fra Filippo, Martelli Annunciation, San Lorenzo, c. 1440

4. Other projects: Sculpture:

Michelozzo, Faith from Aragazzi Tomb, c. 1427-37, Cathedral,


Bernardo Rossellino (1409-64): Tomb of Lionardo Bruni, c. 1445, S. Croce

Antonio Rossellino (1427-79): The Chapel of the Cardinal of Portugal

Tomb of Cardinal of Portugal, 1460-66, S. Miniato al Monte.

Painting (fresco): Alesso Baldovinetti (1425-99): Annunciation, 1466-67,

Chapel of the Cardinal of Portugal; Nativity, 1460-62, SS. Annunziata.

Reading: READER: Original Sources: # 7, Aristotle on "Magnificence." # 5. Gilbert e. "Giovanni Rucellai's Taste"; "Piero de'Medici Acquires a Cimabue"; and "From the Medici Inventory," "Giovanni de'Medici Buying a Flemish Tapestry"; #5. d. Bruni on Aragazzi tomb. Hartt/Wilkins, Ch. 10, regarding the Palazzo Rucellai and S. Maria Novella; ch. 10, 260-61, (Bruni tomb), Ch. 12, 302-306 (Desiderio da Settignano, and Rossellino’s Chapel of Cardinal of Portugal), and 313-15 (Baldovinetti),
Week V.
12. 17 Feb. Mon. Other Commissions from “Second Generation” of Artists.
Visuals: Painting:

Fra Filippo Lippi (c. 1406-1469): Madonna and Child, c. 1452 (Pitti

tondo); Madonna and Child, c.1455; Choir, Cathedral of Prato: Feast of Herod and Head of St. John the Baptist Handed to Salome, 1452/3-66, Cathedral Choir, Prato

More Radical Tendencies in Perspective, Color and Expression.
Paolo Uccello: Sir John Hawkwood, 1436, Cathedral; Flood, for S. Maria Novella,

c. 1445-45; Perspective Study, c. 1430s (fig. 11.2).

Domenico Veneziano (c. 1410-61): Adoration of Magi, (tondo), c. 1435;

S. Lucy Altarpiece, c. 1445: Madonna and Saints and predella panels depicting the Annunciation and St. John the Baptist in the Desert .

Andrea del Castagno (1417/19-57): Last Supper, 1447, for convent

refectory of Sant'Apollonia; Famous Men and Women, Villa Carducci frescoes: Pippo Spano and the Cumaean Sibyl, 1448 [see layout reconstructed in Bober xerox]; David, c. 1451; Vision of St. Jerome, c. 1454-55, SS. Annunziata; Nicolo da Tolentino, 1455-56, Cathedral, Florence.

Reading: Welch, Part II, “Audiences for Art,” chapters 5 and 6. READER: Original Sources: # 5.Gilbert, g. "Fra Filippo Duns a Patron.” Hartt/Wilkins: Ch. 11, 263-278.

13. 19 Feb. Wed. Ghiberti ‘s “Gates of Paradiseand Luca della Robbia’s “Super Lucrative Business.”

Ghiberti, East Doors, Baptistry, Florence, 1425-52: Jacob and Esau, c. 1435, Creation,

1425-37 (10.16), Story of Abraham, 1425-37 (10.17), Meeting of Solomon and Sheba, Ghiberti's Self-Portrait

Luca della Robbia (1399/1400-1482): Cantoria, 1431-38, (marble) and detail of

Singing Boys, for Cathedral; Terra Cotta roundels for S. Croce’s Pazzi Chapel, by 1461; Madonna of the Apple 1460 (tin-glaze terra cotta); North Sacristy Doors, 1446-75 (bronze) and Resurrection ,1442-45 (tin-glaze terra cotta).
Reading: READER: Original Sources, # 6, Psalm 150, #3. Chambers .d. Doc. 24. Bruni on Ghiberti’s doors, and #5. Gilbert, b. excerpts from Ghiberti’s Second Commentaries. Hartt/Wilkins, Ch. 11, 249-51 (Ghiberti) and 251-254 (Luca).
14. 21 Feb. Fri. Donatello and the Extremes of Personal Style.

Florence: Cantoria, 1433-39, for Cathedral, Fl.; Annuncation, c. 1430s, S. Croce;

Padua: Equestrian Monument of Gattamelata, 1445-53; S. Antonio: High altar, 1444-49:

Christ Crucified , Miracle of the Believing Donkey, and Healing the Wrathful


Florence: San Lorenzo: Bronze pulpits: South Pulpit: Lamentation [front side] and

North Pulpit: Martyrdom of St. Lawrence [back side].

Mary Magdalen 1454-55 (polychrome wood).

Portrait of Niccolò da Uzzano (?), polychrome terra cotta

Virgin and Child with Four Angels (The Chellini Madonna, roundel), ca. 1450..

Reading: READER: Critical Essay, #22: V&A entry on Donatello’s Chellini’s Virgin and Child. Hartt/Wilkins, Ch. 10 "Donatello c. 1433 to c. 1455," pp. 254-259, Ch 12, "Donatello after 1453," pp. 298-302.
Week VI.
15. 24 Feb. Mon. Exam #1. [Lectures 2 through 14]

16. 26 Feb. Wed. Women and the Arts.

Silvestro Dell'Aquila (act. 1471-1504), Tomb for Maria Pereira Camponeschi, 1492, S.

Bernardo, Aquila (Welch 90).

Verrocchio, Death of Francesca Tornabuoni, tomb relief for now-lost monument, 1477.


Verrocchio, Portrait of a Woman, 1475-80 (marble);

Pisanello, Medal of Cecilia Gonzaga, died 1447, obverse and reverse;

Gian Cristoforo Romano, Medal of Isabella d'Este, gold, diamonds and enamel, 1498;

Marble portrait of Beatrice d’Este, ca. 1490-91.

Antonio del Pollaiuolo, Portrait of a Young Woman, 1467-70 (panel, Milan);

Mss. Portrait of Eleanor of Aragon (1450-1493), from Antonio Cornazzano, The Art of

Ruling and Ruling (Del modo di regere e di regnare ) 1474-84.
Cassone panels:

Francesco Pesellino, The Triumph of Love, Chastity, and Death, c. 1444

Jacopo del Sellaio, Morelli-Nerli cassone, 1472 with scenes Mucius

Scaevola Shows his Courage by Burning his Right Hand and Camillus with the

Schoolmaster of Falerii (Welch fig.139) Matching cassone showing Camillus

Defeating the Gauls and Horatius Cocles Defending the Bridge against the


Chazen Museum panel (attrib. Giovanni Toscani), 1420s, Scene in a

Court of Love: Boccaccio’s Filocolo Parable;

Circle of Andrea Mantegna, Justice of Trajan, 1477 (Welch 140).


Double-sided "birthing plates" (desco da parto):

Masaccio (attrib.): Birth Scene, c. 1426

Giovanni di ser Giovanni, Lo Scheggia, Triumph of Fame, 1449
Glass Ware: Goblet with double portrait, Venice, 1475-1500 [V&A 409-1854]
Maiolica Ware: Attr. Nicolo da Urbino, broth bowl and tray from a childbirth set,

Casteldurante, 1525-30..

Reading: Welch, Chapt. 9, “The Domestic Setting,” pp. 280-296. Hartt/Wilkins, Ch. 12, 315-317 (Pesellino), 297 (Scheggia), Ch. 13, 331 (Sellaio, et al), Ch. 15, 392 (Cecilia Gonzaga); READER: Critical Essay #21, V&A Cat. At Home in the Renaissance.

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