Early Renaissance Art in Italy Spring 2003

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Early Renaissance Art in Italy

Spring 2003

Christopher Pastore



Course Description

According to Giorgio Vasari, Giotto returned “to the light that art which had been buried for many centuries under the errors of those who had painted more to delight the eyes of the ignorant than the intellect of the wise.” Although Vasari’s bold claim that the Florentine painter announced the death of International Gothic overstates the case, dramatic changes in painting, sculpture and architecture took place in the fourteenth century as Italian culture started to embrace its classical heritage. The course will introduce the art and architecture of Early Modern Italy and focus upon the idea of an “Italian Renaissance” that supplanted Medieval art and continued to vigorously adapt over the next two centuries as artists and patrons established and supported new paradigms in the visual arts. Art and architecture will be discussed as a rich and subtle means of communication that helped legitimize bold power grabs, explained the nature of social relationships within Early Modern Italian cities and transformed theological concepts into comprehensible narratives. Primarily an urban phenomenon, the Italian Renaissance was shaped by a series of creative geniuses who responded to changing economic, political and social circumstances in vibrant cities such as Florence, Rome and Venice. Among the artists discussed in the course will be the architect Brunelleschi, sculptors such as Donatello and Ghiberti, the painters Mantegna and Duccio.

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