Shifting Perceptions in Medieval and Early Modern Italy

Giotto, Nativity, detail. Scrovegni Chapel, Padua, Italy.

[Cross-listed with Romance Studies 341]

This is a course that aims at blending the visual and the literary arts that flourished in the Italian peninsula from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. We will follow a chronological order, moving from Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio to Pico, Machiavelli and Castiglione, from Giotto to Leonardo.

We will also pay attention to where geographically, these art forms occurred, as different centers of patronage became prominent at different moments in time. We will therefore look at Palermo and Sicily during the 12th and 13th centuries, Florence and Tuscany from the 13th to the 16th, Milan-Venice in the 15th and 16th; finally, approaching the Rome of the Renaissance will also give us the opportunity to look at her ancient, classical heritage.

We will read excerpts from some of the major texts that were produced in these various areas, and familiarize ourselves with the evolution of the visual arts.

If you are planning a trip to Italy at some point in the future, don’t miss this course! Decisions on where to go, where to stay and which wines to taste will rest on your organizational skills; but, having taken this course, you will know all the ins and outs necessary to plan a culturally exciting journey and decide for yourselves which regions’ cultural identities are closer to your interests.

Required readings:
Kaborycha, Lisa. A Short History of Renaissance Italy. Prentice Hall, 2011.
Dante, Vita nuova, tr. S. Applebaum. Dover, 2001.

Recommended readings:
Schneider Adams, Laurie. Italian Renaissance Art. Westview Press, 2001.

Prerequisite: No prerequisites. Co-requisite: ITST 231.

Language of Instruction: English

Note: Fulfills the literature requirement for the BA, BIE, and BMus.