Considers literary, visual, performing art forms and traditions set within their specific political, historical, social, religious, or philosophical, and aesthetic contexts. Encourages students to explore original sources and scholarly research, building understanding and awareness of visual, literary, and kinetic analysis and interpretation.
In this course, a combination of lectures and interactive class participation, we will trace the visual culture in Europe of the Renaissance and Baroque periods (15th through 17th centuries). Rather than a survey of all the principal visual arts monuments, we will concentrate on seven periods of artistic production from 1420 to 1680 and investigate how visual arts and architecture related to literary and musical works of the same periods. Along the way, we will hone our visual analysis and interpretative skills.
Student learning goals
• gain historical awareness of the early modern European tradition in art, music, and literature
• increase ability in visual analysis of many media
• make connections between the world of ideas and the world of the visual arts
• articulate and synthesize complex ideas about visual arts, creativity, and philosophy
• Reflect on new modes of visual presentation as expression of the larger cultural innovations through writing and in-class presentation
General method of instruction
We intersperse lecture/discussion in a lively interchange on visual images, musical selections, and literary works.
Any previous course in western philosophy, art history, or literature will be helpful. Usually the class is composed of students with varied backgrounds, but there are always numerous students with deepened understanding on a variety of subjects that help inform our general knowledge base as we move through the weeks of the class.
Class assignments and grading
There will be three take-home exams; from a choice of assigned readings, three response papers, and a final small-group project to create tableaux vivants capturing images from the European art for the whole class to enjoy.
Grades are based on class participation, 15%; two midterms, 20% each; one final 20%, response papers, 15%; and the tableaux vivants, 10%.