Art 254:
Renaissance Painting and Sculpture

Fall 1999

Courses Home Introduction Images Techniques & Issues Paper Grading Policy


Receive course materials
Allocation of commission for next period: find web images and e-mail them to me by Midnight Wednesday 15th (no class) - note ONE of the following:
Brunelleschi's sculptures, Ghiberti, Botticelli, Italian Renaissance Stained Glass, Leonardo, Michelangelo's paintings, Michelangelo's sculptures, Raphael, Pontormo, Bronzino, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, Velasquez, The Carracci family, Donatello, Masaccio, Piero della Francesca, Mantegna, Giorgione, Correggio, Parmigianino

PART I: The Craft of Art

Historical understandings of art
Survey of authorities such as Aristotle, Pliny, Theophilus, Cennino Cennini, Ghiberti, Alberti, Vasari, Ridolfi, Lomazzo, Zuccaro, Bellori

Painting media and techniques
Encaustic, distemper, egg tempera, fresco
Early oil, van Eyck 1530s, Piero della Francesca 1450s, Leonardo 1470s, Antonello 1470s
Disasters: Leonardo, The Last Supper (oil on fresco), Sta Maria delle Grazie, Milan, c.1497; Battle of the Anghiari (wax/encaustic on fresco), Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, 1503-5

Later oil, Giovanni Bellini 1500s, Giorgione 1510s, Titian 1540s, Veronese 1560s, Tintoretto 1570s, Hals 1610s, Rubens 1630s, Rembrandt 1640s, Velasquez 1640s,

The touch of the craftsman (trained goldsmiths)
Brunelleschi; Ghiberti; Botticelli

The collaborative craftsman (stained glass)
Ghiberti, Uccello, Castagno, Ghirlandaio - oculi in the Duomo, Florence

Denial of the craft process
Sfumato: Leonardo, Mona Lisa (oil), 1503
High finish: Michelangelo, Rome Pietā, 1497-1500, David, 1501-4, Bruges Madonna, 1503-5, Doni Tondo (egg tempera), c.1503
Raphael, Sistine Madonna (oil), 1513

Sublimation of the craft process
Sprezzatura (c.1500): Raphael, Galatea (fresco), 1513, Portrait of Castiglione (oil), 1513

Identifications (including date and medium), terms, people and their ideas

PART II: The Art of Art - Talent and Creativity

Drawing as creative vision
Leonardo' drawings
The change in Raphael's drawings
Tintoretto's drawings

HAVE READ: chapter 1 (Barolsky)
The touch of the artist

Barolsky on unfinished works and replicas

Barolsky on sensual and concealed brushwork

Barolsky on the hand in art

HAVE READ: chapter 5 (Wallace)
Drawing as fun

Drawings of Michelangelo and Antonio Mini


Fresco, the ultimate test of the artist
Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel Ceiling, 1508-12
Raphael, Disputā, 1510-11, School of Athens 1510-11, Liberation of St Peter, 1513

HAVE READ: chapter 4 (Cole)
Collaboration and authenticity

Typical commissions
Titian's workshop and use of modellos
Tintoretto's workshop

A new role for craft
Technique into presence: style, mood, commentary, signature, desire
Developments in religious painting
Process into life: portraiture


HAVE READ: chapter 3 (Ladis)
The lost sketchbooks of Giovanni di Paolo

The art historian's attempt to reconstruct an artist's process.


HAVE READ: chapter 6 (Pilliod)
Pontormo and Bronzino

The art historian's use of studio detritus to establish the interrelationship of various works and use the findings to refine their dates. The continuing collaboration between master and ex-student.

HAVE READ: chapter 7 (de Grazia)
Drawings by the Carracci family

The art historian's use of artists' drawings to establish their artistic intentions.

Identifications (including date and medium), terms, people and their ideas


Donatello, schiaccato and perspective as crafts of art - Consider the Orsanmichele St George relief, and the Siena Feast of Herod. Describe both carefully. What indications are there in these works and in the works of other artists that both schiaccato and linear perspective were highly admired skills?

The Brancacci Chapel - This chapel became known as "the art school of Florence". Compare it with chapels by earlier artists, such as Giotto, Agnolo Gaddi, Andrea di Firenze, Nardo di Cione, Traini, Altichiero - and show how dramatically Masaccio had advanced the craft of monumental fresco painting.

The Brancacci Chapel - Separate out the hands of Masaccio, Masolino and Filippino Lippi on the walls of the chapel. How did Masaccio's approach differ from theirs, and how does Filippino's completion of The Raising of Theophilus' Son disrupt the effect?

Leonardo's lost Madonna and Child with St Anne and a Lamb - this cartoon took Florence by storm in 1501, but it is now lost. Leonardo left a study for it, and Raphael, Michelangelo and Fra Bartolommeo derived several of their works from it. Try to reconstruct it from these clues.

Tobias and the Angel - it was recently suggested that Leonardo painted the figure of Tobias, the fish and the dog in this work by his master Verrocchio (David Alan Brown, Leonardo da Vinci, Origins of a Genius, Yale University Press). Set up arguments in favor of and against this proposition, and then make a decision. Remember to take into account the possibility that Leonardo painted the nearer angel and background in Verrocchio's Baptism of Christ; and the fact that the Madonna with the Carnation was once attributed to Verrocchio.

Sebastiano and Michelangelo - Several of Sebastiano del Piombo's works were produced in collaboration with Michelangelo. These include two Pietās, a Raising of Lazarus and a Flagellation. Analyze the works themselves and the studies for them, as well as other paintings by both artists, and decide which elements came from each artist.

The Reclining Nude - examine the treatment of painted reclining nudes from Giorgione's Dresden Venus, through Titian's Venus of Urbino, his several Danäe, and Velasquez' Roqueby Venus. Make the fullest possible list by as many artists as you can find into the 17th century. How do the changes in style change your response to this basic image, and why do you think it is so difficult to find reclining nudes in the more lavish styles?

Judith and Holofernes - The Detroit Institute of Arts owns a Judith with the Head of Holofernes, which it attributes to Titian ( collections/euroart/renaissance/35.10.html). Compare this work with others by Titian, then give arguments in favor of and against this attribution. Citing your range of arguments, say whether you personally think it is by Titian.

Marietta Robusti Tintoretto - Marietta (1560-90) worked so closely with her father ( 1545-94) that it was considered difficult to tell their work apart at the time. Only one attribution is known today: Portrait of an Old Man with a Boy, in Vienna. What can you find out about Marietta? Look at the known attribution, and all her father's works you can find. Can you suggest a likely series of works by her, and can you identify the portrait of Jacopo Strada that led to her invitation to become court painter to the Emperor Maximilian?

Properzia de Rossi - Properzia (?1491-1530) is the earliest known woman to make a career as a sculptress. One of her works is frequently illustrated: Joseph and Potiphar's Wife. What can you find out about Properzia? See if you can track down other illustrations of her work.

PART V: The Art of Printmaking

Creativity in Reproduction
Marcantonio Raimondi is credited with inventing the reproductive print in the 15th century. Giorgio Ghisi was considered a particularly skilled practitioner in the 16th century, reproducing such monuments as Michelangelo's Last Judgement, Raphael's School of Athens, and more. Compare his work with the originals and decide his working criteria as a self conscious artist craftsman. What problems did the medium present to him and how did he solve them? How did he show his own creativity?

HAVE READ: chapter 8 (Consagra)
De Rossi and Falda

Giovanni Battista Falda's unusual specialist training led to a widespread appreciation of the "beauty" of his style. Compare his prints with those of his predecessors and contemporaries and suggest what it was about his work that was especially admired.

What we have studied this semester is a subtext: the aspects the artists themselves did not emphasize. Before ending the course, we will remember some aspects of the supertext: the function of beauty, nobility and personal greatness in the continuum of time. Since these are also the traditional questions of the Humanities, this will place the Renaissance itself in the context of human endeavor.

FINAL: 17th December, 1999, 2.30-4.30 pm

Analyze and discuss the implications of the transformation of the role of craft during the period studied this semester. What is the difference between the craft of producing a fine art masterpiece and, say, a fine piece of cabinetry?

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