ART 126: Foundations of Western Art, Renaissance to Modern





1    Introduction to the Course

      Course materials,  Navigating the web page.


2.   The Paradigms and Meta-commentary

      PHA on The Hidden Paradigms (The Challenge to Essence Definitions)

      PHA on Classicism (Classical Truth to The Idealization)

      Gombrich, ch 10 (Giotto)

      Quiz 1 on PHA pages

      Introduction to the paradigms




3.   Problems of Classical Beauty in painting

      PHA on Linear Perspective; Gombrich ch 12 and ch 13

      Intellectual background: Pliny and art history (realism, development and progress); Social background: New Republics, St Francis and church reform

      Giotto and the problem of Classically Beautiful realism (sacrifice of unified scale); Brunelleschi, Donatello and linear perspective (creation of Ideal space); Masaccio and the problem of Classically Beautiful realism (sacrifice of completeness)

      Mantegna and the problem of foreshortening (distortion)

      Leonardo's rebellion (sfumato and tenebrism)


4.   Problems in Classical Architecture

      PHA on Classicism (Greatness to Exhaustion)

      PHA on Architecture (“Defining Ourselves”, Greek system and Roman system)

      Gombrich ch 15 (Tempietto & St Peter’s) & ch 19 (Il Gesù)

      Quiz 2

      Alberti and the problem of Beauty and Ornament, Sta Maria Novella (impossible façade); Bramante and logical/structural problems, Tempietto, St Peter's (impossible structures)


5.   Transcending the problems: The High Renaissance

      Gombrich ch 15

      Raphael, Disputà (Classical Beauty in action); School of Athens (artist in control); Michelangelo, Sistine Ceiling (expressing emotions through the body); David (artist in control)


6.   Solving the Problems: Mannerism, Greatness and Exhaustion

      PHA on Greatness (under Classicism)

      Pliny 171 (xerox); Vasari 325-335 (xerox)

      Quiz 3

      Architecture - Giacomo della Porta, Il Gesù (corbels)

      Women Artists - Properzia de Rossi and Sofonisba Anguissola





7.   Art and Experience

      PHA on Compositional Types (under “Buried Experience”)


8.   Art and Communication

      PHA on the five Truth Types (under “Buried Experience”)

      Quiz 4


9.   Recognizing the potential of Sensualism

      PHA on the Hidden Paradigms (again)

      PHA on Sensualism (Sensual Truth, Sensual Beauty and the Romanticization)

      Gombrich ch 16 (Venetian Renaissance)

      Quiz 5 on: Sensualism, Sensual Beauty, and the Romanticization

      Giorgione, Castelfranco Madonna (enigma, sense, color composition); Titian, Assuntà and Rape of Europa (spiritual passion, sensual rapture), Murillo, Immaculate Conception (Sensual Beauty, Romanticization and audience longing)


10. New issues arising from Sensualism (stylistic diversity and knock-on effects)

      PHA on Style as Communication (under “Sensualism”); Gombrich ch 19 (Rubens, Van Dyck, Velasquez) & 20 (Hals, Rembrandt), practice on portraits: Lotto’s Andrea Odoni, Titian’s Pope Paul III. Rembrandt’s Self Portrait, Hals Pieter van den Broecke

      Titian, Veronese, Rubens, Velasquez: stylistic individuality, artistic presence, collectability, connoisseurship


11. New issues arising from Sensualism (artist-audience dialogue on life and art)

      PHA on Classical and Dutch Landscape (under “Landscape”); Gombrich ch 19 (classical landscape) & 20 (Dutch landscape)

      Social background: A fractured world - Classical/Christian schism; Catholic/Protestant schism; the beleaguered Empire and war in Europe

      Classical and Dutch Landscape as meditations on the human condition

      Tintoretto & gesture; Sofonisba, Velasquez, and Vermeer on the art and nature of painting


12. New issues arising from Sensualism (excess?  or the sensual experience of power?)

      PHA on Classical Beauty, Idealization (under “Classicism”); Gombrich ch 21

      Quiz 6

      Bernini, St Peter's Baldacchino, St Theresa in Ecstasy; Borommini, S Ivo; Pozzo, S Ignazio


13. New issues arising from Sensualism (Good Taste, The Canon, Academic Art History; appropriateness: style as meaning in architecture)

      PHA on Taste and The Canon; Classical Revival; Academic Art History (under “Sensualism”); Gombrich ch 22, 23 & 24 (just the architecture)

      Rococo taste, sentiment and manners - Fragonard, The Swing; Hoare, Stourhead Park; The home – Burlington, Chiswick House; Adam interior decoration; Walpole, Strawberry Hill

      Classical Revival - Smirke, The British Museum, London; Jefferson, State Capitol, Washington

      Gothic Revival - Barry; Houses of Parliament, London; Upjohn, Trinity Church, Boston

      Baroque Revival - Garnier, the Opéra Paris, Paris


14. New issues arising from Sensualism (appropriateness: style as meaning in painting; moral purpose of art)

      Gombrich ch 24 (painting)

      Quiz 7

      David, Goya and protest, Géricault, Delacroix


15. New issues arising from Sensualism, Romanticism and The Sublime

      PHA on Dangerous Beauty; Kant & Schopenhauer (under “Sensualism”, links Intuitive Beauty, The Sublime); Romantic Landscape; American Landscape (under “Sensualism”)

      Friedrich, Turner, The Hudson River School




16a      The visible precursor of Quietism: the all-powerful machine, God vanquished?

      PHA on the Hidden Paradigms and on Quietism;

      Civil Engineering vs architecture: bridges, factories, railways – look for images of the following: Abraham Darby III, The Ironbridge 1779; Telford, Menai Bridge 1819, Brunel, Maidenhead Bridge 1837, Stephenson, Britannia Railway Bridge 1850, Paxton, Crystal Palace 1851; Roebling, Brooklyn Bridge 1869-83; Eiffel, Tower 1887-89

      Sullivan and the skyscraper (1880s); the International Style


16bQuietism arrives: establishing the external scope, the use of non-beauty

      PHA on Temporal Plainness, Objectified Figure (under “Quietism”); Gombrich ch 25

      Quiz 8 on: Quietism, temporal plainness, objectified figure, divorce of art, beauty and use

      Photography 1850s ff (machine and the withdrawal of the artist); Manet, Olympia, Déjeuner 1862-3; Homer, Long Branch 1869 (plainness and detachment, paradox and meditation); Degas 1870s (objectified figure, social acquiescence)


17. Quietism expands: the mechanical encounter between internal and external reality - image as convergence point, meta-language of image-making and image-perception

      PHA on Jumping Colors (under “Buried Experience”), Paradox (under “Quietism”), Gombrich ch 26 (to end of Cezanne); ch 27 (Cubism)

      Impressionism 1870s (pseudo-scientific optical effects); Cezanne 1870s, Cubism 1908 (image as perspectival paradox, planar technique, jumping color effects - multiple-vision)


18. The conscious encounter between internal and external reality

      Gombrich ch 26 (Rodin, Gauguin)

      Quiz 9

      Gauguin 1880s ff, van Gogh 1880s ff, Munch 1890s ff, Rodin 1880s   (personal psychology)

      Fauvism, Expressionism, Futurism - all 1908   (examined emotion)


19. The meditative encounter between internal and external reality

      Gombrich ch 27

      Brancusi, Arp, Moore, Hepworth (connoted form)


20. Purely internal reality: analysing the image of consciousness itself

      Kandinsky, Reminiscences (xerox);

      Quiz 10

      Abstraction, Kandinsky, Composition VII (no 2) 1913, Malevich, Black Square on White Ground 1913, White on White 1922


21. Rendering futility, anti-art and happenstance

      (Pop) Dada & Surrealism; Duchamp, Fountain 1917, de Chirico, Mystery and Melancholy of a Street 1914, Arp, Collage with Squares arranged according to the Laws of Chance 1916-17, Schwitters, Merz 83 (Drawing F) 1920


22. Personal or communal spirituality: the experience of war

      PHA on Modern Religious Art (under “Addressing the Meta-Commentary”)

      Quiz 11

      Assy consecrated 1950, Coventry dedicated 1962; The Rothko Chapel 1965-66


23. The Avante Garde in crisis, and the end of Art

      PHA on the End of Art History (under “Addressing the Meta-Commentary”)

      Fischer, Danto, Belting declare an end to art, to history and to art history (1980s)

      Anything goes? Conceptual art, Earth art, archetypal identity (gender, ethnicity, sexuality), digital art, video, body art. PostModern architecture - style without meaning


24. The most wanted art: packaged, benign reality with a prospect of a happy ending

      PHA on The Paradigms (under “The Hidden Paradigms”), and especially visit the link to the World's Most Wanted Paintings

      Komar and Melamid poll the people of the world.

      Quiz 12

      The Pope and his Millennial Revival of Great Art and Architecture (André Durand; Richard Meier, church of Torre Tre Teste)


25. Overlooked architecture: the Hi-Tech Hope

      From hi-tech machine to hi-tech dream: what can we be?




26. What is reality?

      Quiz 13

      Can reality be collaboratively discovered and made visible?  Does reality have any purpose for the human soul?  If reality cannot be packaged and has no intentions is there anything for artists, critics, historians to do?