Reading and Writing about Visual Experience: Art Practices in the Early Modern Iberian World
Tuesday, Thursday: 3:30-5:00pm
This course introduces undergraduate students to diverse artistic forms and practices created between the 15th and the 18th centuries in the Iberian world, a formation that, thanks to the expansionist projects of Portugal and Spain, came to include parts of Europe, America, Asia, and Africa. This diversity resulted from the infusion of local artistic traditions–such as those practiced and promoted by not just the Inca, Maya, Moghol, and Sapi, but also Venetian, Flemish, and even Spanish–into the transnational circulation of artistic objects throughout the world. We will explore the diffusion of Western iconographies and techniques throughout the Iberian sphere, and consider how this diffusion impacted local traditions. At the same time, we will examine how local artists in disparate parts of the Iberian world fused imported Western forms and materials with local ones, asserting local cultural identity while engaging in a transnational Iberian one. We will focus on several case studies from different parts of the Iberian world, investigating each object in its specific historical, political, and cultural context. Objects include New Spanish codices, featherwork, mother-of-pearl mosaics, corn sculptures, Indian and African ivory-imagery, Japanese screen-folds, and Peruvian colonial textiles and metallurgy, among others.
This is the second course in the Reading and Composition series. We will focus on how to read critically, compose arguments, conduct research, and write a 10-12 page research paper using visual evidence and citing appropriate sources. Skills we will develop include: writing about visual and material culture, working with primary and secondary sources, conducting an object-based study, and synthesizing an existing body of research. In addition to reading texts, we will also learn how to critically “read” images and objects. Our visual and textual sources will be themed around the visual cultures and art practices of the Iberian world.