START Conference Manager    

ARTH 220: Renaissance Art and the Birth of Modernity

Peggy Smyth

(Submission #34)

Course Description

In this course, students will become familiar with the profound innovations in painting, sculpture, and architecture created in Europe from about 1300 to 1700, which set the course and standards for much of western visual culture down to the past century. From Giotto to Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Rembrandt, we will examine what is meant by the term “Renaissance” in the visual arts and European society at large, including its contacts and exchanges with global cultures outside the west. The period was marked by not only a rebirth of the artistic forms of ancient Greece and Rome, but a broader reawakening of curiosity about the natural world and human character, about life here on earth and how it might be shaped and improved by reason and ingenuity, that led to the modern world. Although the Renaissance has often been glorified as the triumph of science, secularism, and reason, we will see how it was energized by a broader tension between the new secular spirit and the ongoing influence of faith and the church -- a situation that is still with us. In addition to the major personalities and cultural centers of Europe, we will investigate how artistic developments there were influenced by increasing contacts with Africa, Asia, and the Islamic lands, and how Europeans interacted with cultures around the world as they explored and colonized the globe, particularly Latin America. Special attention will be paid to the birth, goals, and methods of the academic discipline of art history, which was itself a characteristic invention of the Renaissance period, and how it has changed over time since its inception.


Area of Knowledge and Inquiry: Appreciating and Participating in the Arts (AP)
Context of Experience: European Traditions (ET)
Extended Requirement: Pre-Industrial Society (PI)

Additional Course information

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: none; ARTH 1, 101, or 102 recommended as preparation
Existing Course: New
Existing Course Number: [see note on application re temporary use of existing number]
Course Anticipated to be offered: Every Fall
Other (if specified): 
Number of Sections: 1
Number of Seats: 28-32


[Justification, Materials, Assessment, Administration (RTF)]   [Syllabus/Syllabi (DOC)]  

START Conference Manager (V2.54.6)