Reading and Writing about Visual Experience: Early Modern Theories and Practices (Session D)
In the early modern period, drawing assumed a new importance in its evaluation as a preparatory stage for more elaborate artworks and as a general practice of artists working within what would become all of Europe’s “fine arts”: architecture, sculpture, and painting. Alongside new economies of drawings circulating outside of the artist’s private studio and new types of drawing utilized in western print culture, unique theories of drawing also emerged as Renaissance literature on the arts became an independent set of genres. This course places itself at the nexus of theory and practice, between critical language and figuration, and focuses on how we can understand early modern drawing and how early modern people understood it. We will read many primary sources of the time, including texts by Leonardo da Vinci, Paolo Pino, Giorgio Vasari, Francesco de Hollanda, and other early modern artists, and a large part of the course will be engaging with Renaissance drawings alongside the texts of their creators, as spur towards our own art-writing. Secondary source reading will be kept to a minimum to encourage student engagement with the drawings themselves and with primary texts.