Western Art from the Renaissance to the Present
This course is an introduction to visual art in Europe and the USA since the 14th century with the main emphasis on painting and sculpture. Rather than attempting to offer a sweeping synthetic narrative of the development of art during five centuries (an impossible task!), this course intensively focuses upon a roughly chronological set of case-studies, sometimes of single works, sometimes of one or two artists’ careers. These relatively intensive case-studies will pose fundamental problems about the character and purposes of art in different historical circumstances. Together, however, the lectures will reconstruct the broader historical transformations of art, its production and reception during this period. We will explore the ways visual culture can function as a stabilizing force as well as the ways art can contribute to social and political transformation, even revolution.