Reading and Writing about Visual Experience: Michelangelo Between Poetry and Art
Session D (Second 6-week session): July 8– August 16, 2013
This course will focus on a single artist’s work, both visual and aural/ textual: sculpture, painting, and poetry. The primary objective of the course will be to provide a venue for students of all levels and experiences to enjoy writing at the intersection of these three art forms. How do Michelangelo’s sculptures and paintings inform his poetry, and vice versa? Students will be asked to think not only about Michelangelo’s personality betwixt and between his various mediums of expression, but also about the implications of the sixteenth-century artist’s ability to take on diverse roles, poet/artist and beyond. Because of the wealth of easily accessible primary sources–particularly James Saslow’s bilingual edition of The Poetry of Michelangelo–students will be encouraged to concentrate on close- readings of the poems themselves and close-viewings of artworks as spurs for their own writing, over and above readings in secondary literature. That said, Michelangelo’s place within Renaissance/Early Modern culture in general will be examined. Such a culture viewed the coupling of the verbal and visual arts as integral to the emergence of what would become modern theories of the visual arts. As such, some secondary literature will be read so as to acquaint students with the distant, foreign, and yet strangely familiar, art-critical/ theoretical vocabulary that surrounded early modern European art, a vocabulary taking shape within and through responses to Michelangelo’s art itself.