Undergraduate Seminar: Medieval/Modern, Giotto to Michelangelo & beyond
This new seminar will engage with questions of modernity and modernities across time and space. Connecting our current location in California in 2020 to different phases of late medieval, early, mid-, and high Renaissance art history, patterns of artistic new beginnings and reformulations of older themes, methods, and practices arise. Particular attention will be paid to epochal breaks and shifts such as the Black Death of 1348 and other catastrophes (plagues, floods, fires) and their respective cultural-artistic responses in defining the periods “before” and “after” a catastrophic event or collective trauma as well as apotropaic images to prevent them in a historical context. While we will study Cimabue, Giotto, Masolino, Masaccio, Donatello, Botticelli, Michelangelo, and Raphael, the actual focus of the course will not be on canonical artists but on the question of their canonical construction as a problem of writing art history. One goal of the seminar is to show these artists embedded in a wider spectrum of lesser known artists and artistic production around them, including architecture, design, sculpture, and arts and crafts. Readings will combine literary, historical, theoretical, and theological texts from the medieval and early modern period up to the Baroque age with scholarly literature from the late nineteenth century up to the present day, giving students an overview of a variety of ways in which the issue of medieval and modern is addressed in the current art historical discourse.
This course is designed to connect with other and further studies in broad fields including but not limited to Medieval Studies, Renaissance & Early Modern Studies, critical theory, interdisciplinary studies, and literature studies. No previous art history preparation required. Students from non-humanities backgrounds are welcome; please email Prof. Lange to discuss your interest and potential adjustments for non-humanities majors.
This course fulfills the following Major requirements: Geographical areas (A) and Chronological period (II).