This course explores the painting, sculpture, architecture, and other media (textiles, prints, and even armor) from the historical eras conventionally known as the Early and High Renaissance, Mannerism, and Counter Reformation. We consider the work of such artists as Cimabue, Duccio, Giotto, and Mantegna as well as the careers, personalities and reception of Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Titian. With emphasis placed upon artists cultivation of particular styles, we look closely at works originating from various contexts: political (city-states, princely courts, and the Papal States); spatial / topographic (inner chambers of private palaces, family chapels, church facades, and public squares); and geographic (Florence, Siena, Rome, Naples, Venice, and Milan). Topics include artistic creativity and license, religious devotion, the revival of antiquity, observation of nature, art as problem-solving, the public reception and function of artworks, debates about style, artistic rivalry, and traveling artists. Rather than taking the form of a survey, this course selects works as paradigmatic case studies, and analyze contemporary attitudes toward art of this period through study of primary sources.