The Renaissance studies immersion is an interdisciplinary set of courses focused on the study of cultural events (artistic, literary, philosophical, religious, scientific, among others) occurring during the Renaissance period (c. 1300-1600). The Renaissance saw the formation of new concepts and the occurrence of groundbreaking events such as the beginning of modern science and technology, the religious Reformation, the birth of the nation-state, the establishment of the banking system, the expansion of geographical horizons, the encounter with new cultures and populations, and the development of the notions of human dignity and human rights. Studying the Renaissance is also crucial to understanding contemporary debates centered on post-humanism, trans-humanism, technological humanism, and the various critiques of humanism, all of which have their conceptual basis in the Renaissance notion of homo universalis, or universal human being.
Notes about this immersion:
Students must select courses from three different disciplines in order to ensure interdisciplinarity.
Choose three of the following:
Art and Architecture of Italy: 1250-1400
The subject of this course is painting, sculpture and architecture of the second half of the Dugento and the Trecento in Italy and its aim is to provide insight into the ways in which society and culture expressed its values through art; 1250 marks the death of the last Hohenstaufen Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II and 1401 is considered by many to mark the beginning of the Early Renaissance, with the competition for the second set of bronze doors for the Baptistery of Florence. Artists students will study will include Nicola and Giovanni Pisano, Arnolfo di Cambio, Cimabue, Pietro Cavallini, Giotto, Duccio, Simone Martini, Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Tino da Camaino, Andrea Pisano, Orcagna, Andrea Bonaiuti, Giusto de’ Menabuoi, Altichiero, and Paolo Veneziano. The works students will study will include altarpieces, private devotional images, mural cycles, tombs, churches, chapels, town halls, palazzi and piazze. Questions for consideration will include: the nature and meaning of this proto-Renaissance, the importance of antique and medieval precedents, the increasing attention to the effects of nature, the role of the patron, and the relevance of documents, literary sources and visual precedents for our interpretation of images.
Art and Architecture in Florence and Rome: 15th Century
The subject of this course is 15th century painting, sculpture and architecture in Florence and Rome and its aim is to provide insight into the ways in which society and culture expressed its values through art betwee 1401, the year when the Calimala Guild announced a competition for a second set of bronze doors for the Baptistery of Florence, and 1500 the year when Michelangelo completed work on the Roman Pietà. Artists students will study include Filippo Brunelleschi, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Donatello, Nanni di Banco, Luca della Robbia, Michelozzo, Leon Battista Alberti, Lorenzo Monaco, Gentile da Fabriano, Masaccio, Fra Angelico, Fra Filippo Lippi, Paolo Uccello, Bernardo and Antonio Rossellino, Andrea del Verrocchio, Antonio del Pollaiuolo, Sandro Botticelli, Domenico del Ghirlandaio, Leonardo da Vinci, Filippino Lippi and Michelangelo. The works students will study will include altarpieces, private devotional images, portraits, mural cycles, paintings and sculpture of mythological subjects, allegories, ceilings, doors, tombs, churches, chapels, palazzi, villas and piazze. Questions for consideration will include: the nature and meaning of the Early Renaissance, developments in artistic theory and practice, the importance of Antique and Medieval precedents, the increasing attention to the effects of nature, the role of the patron, and the relevance of documents, literary sources and visual precedents for our interpretation of images.
Art and Architecture in Florence and Rome: 16th Century
The subject of this course is 16th century painting, sculpture and architecture in Florence and Rome and its aim is to provide insight into the ways in which society and culture expressed its values through art between 1501, the year when Michelangelo returned from Rome to Florence to begin carving the colossal marble David, and 1600 which marks the emergence of the Baroque style in Rome. Artists students will study include Leonardo da Vinci, Bramante, Michelangelo, Raphael, Sebastiano del Piombo, Jacopo Sansovino, Baccio Bandinelli, Jacopo Pontormo, Agnolo Bronzino, Benvenuto Cellini, Bartolomeo Ammannati, Giorgio Vasari, and Giovanni Bologna. The works students will study will include altarpieces, private devotional images, portraits, mural cycles, paintings and sculpture of mythological subjects, allegories, ceilings, tombs, churches, chapels, palazzi, villas, piazze, fountains and equestrian monuments. Questions for consideration will include: the nature and meaning of the High Renaissance, Mannerism, and the late Renaissance, developments in artistic theory and practice, the importance of antique and medieval precedents, the increasing attention to the effects of nature, the role of the patron, and the relevance of documents, literary sources and visual precedents for our interpretation of images.
Renaissance Painting in Flanders
The history of Renaissance painting in the Southern Netherlands from the beginning of the 15th century to the end of the 16th century with specific focus on women, gender, and illness and the birth of Early Modern Europe. We will consider the meaning of the Renaissance in Flanders, the observation and recording of natural appearances, “hidden symbolism” and sacramental themes in Early Netherlandish painting, the connections between Flemish, German, and Italian art, the development of new genres in the 16th century, “originality” and artistic progress.”
In this course students will read, study, and discuss some of Shakespeare's dramatic work in an attempt to determine the nature of his significance. What political and institutional factors account for the reverence accorded to Shakespeare? In addition to reading a range of Shakespeare’s plays, the course will develop deeper understandings of contemporary literary theory and practices that allow various interpretations of these plays. The approach will be comparative and reflect on the influence and effect of Shakespeare’s work on contemporary culture. Attention will be paid to issues of gender, historicity, iconicity and textual analysis among others
Medieval and Renaissance Music
The beginning of the Western tradition of art music can be traced to Medieval Europe ca. 600 CE, as systems of music notation began to develop in and disseminate through important liturgical text sources. This desire to preserve and disseminate certain musical-textual traditions grew and developed steadily throughout Christendom over the next millennium, in both sacred and secular contexts. This course examines this development of music and text during the Medieval and Renaissance periods (ca. 600-1600 CE), with attention drawn to specific aspects of cultural context and performance practices that offer modern musicians and music connoisseurs a solid basis for experiencing the music in live performance, both in active listening (concert/liturgy attendence) and in participating (in-class singing).
Traditions of Shakespearean Theatre
A course in Shakespeare’s drama that emphasizes the plays as potential theatre productions. Studying a selection of plays representative of the different acknowledged types of Shakespearean drama (comedy, tragedy, history, problem comedy, romance), students gain a broad understanding of the character and range of Shakespeare’s poetic-dramatic art. Experimenting with production activities such as oral interpretation, character presentation, and scene rendering, they acquire a practical appreciation of Shakespearean drama’s theatrical potency, of the original staging conventions, and of how each type of play makes particular generic demands on both performer and spectator. Augmenting the reading and expressive activities is a term research project focused on collaborative realization of a staging interpretation of selected scenes from the Shakespeare plays on the syllabus.
This course provides an overview of the Renaissance (c. 1350-1650), one of the most important cultural revolutions of Western civilization affecting nearly all aspects of European life—the arts, the relation with the natural world, and the attitude toward religion, the past, and politics. The “Renaissance person” came to denote a universal individual whose knowledge spaces over the entire realm of experience. The overarching theme of the Renaissance – humanism – prefigures contemporary theories of posthumanism, transhumanism, and the critique of anthropocentrism in general. Thinkers considered in this course include Petrarca, Valla, Pompanazzi, Cusanus, Ficino, Pico della Mirandola, Machiavelli, Erasmus, Luther, Suárez, More, Bruno, Telesio, Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Montaigne, and Bacon.
* Students must select their courses from three different disciplines.