Often described as the 'birthplace' of the Renaissance, the city of Florence remains today defined by the achievements of artists and architects working for public and private patrons in the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. This module aims at an understanding of late medieval and Renaissance art by seeing it in relation to broader transformations in the culture of Florence during the period in which the city morphed from an expansionist republican city-state into an oligarchic regime before transforming again into a hereditary duchy.
We will study different genres of visual representation (mural painting, the altarpiece, public sculpture) and the different social spaces where art was displayed (civic buildings, city squares, religious institutions, pleasure villas). We will follow the careers of major masters while also exploring the urban center where these artists, and many others not as well known, produced their works in response to the demands of patrons and institutions. Transformations in artistic practices and representational forms will be related to specific social, political, economic, and cultural conditions. Along the way, we will examine the cultural production of some of the central figures working in Florence during the Renaissance, including Giotto, Brunelleschi, Donatello, Alberti, Masaccio, Ghiberti, Fra Angelico, Fra Filippo Lippi, Botticelli, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Pontormo, and Bronzino.
The trip will feature a mix of guided and independent visits to a range of museums, key buildings, and other cultural sites. The module will examine the rich and layered social, political, and cultural history of Florence during the late medieval and Renaissance periods, and interrogate the relationship between art, culture, politics, geography and religion as played out in and through the city itself. There will be an introductory session and two seminars in the Spring term and the trip itself will be in the Easter Vacation (April 4-10). Assessments will be due in the summer term.
- Module Supervisor: Diana Bullen Presciutti