Reading and Writing about Visual Experience: The Life and Death of Disegno
Monday | Wednesday: 8:00 - 9:30am
The concept of disegno is one of the most important and difficult concepts in Renaissance art and architectural theory, one that continues to structure contemporary understandings of creativity. The difficulty of disegno stems from the concept’s ambivalence. On the one hand, it can refer to art as a mental act of conception or invention that takes place in the singular mind of the visionary artist. On the other hand, it can refer to the drawing as such, as a physical artifact informed by craft, academic, or curatorial traditions, and thus art and architectural practice as an act of execution or demonstration that involves manual skills of delineation. The goal of the first two-thirds of this course is therefore to consider the emergence of this multifaceted disegno concept from within the culture of the Italian Renaissance. The goal of the last third of the course, which jumps from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century, is to consider the impact of print, photography, and the computer on the disegno concept and to question whether these technologies have led to disegno’s ultimate demise.
As an R1B, the purpose of this course is to help students become better academic researchers and writers. To further develop the critical reading and writing skills introduced in the R1A-half of the R&C sequence, we will break down the processes of reading and writing into a series of discrete tasks, such as learning how to frame a paper in relation to existing scholarship, learning how to develop a sophisticated thesis statement, editing the work of others, and rewriting. This process will culminate in the production of a 10-page argumentative paper based on original academic research. Students will learn how to ask a feasible research question, consider the difference between primary and secondary sources, and develop an argument. Class time will be spent on both discussion and workshopping. The final week of class will be devoted to oral presentations of research topics.