This course will investigate the meaning and function of works of painting, sculpture and architecture in fourteenth and fifteenth century Italy, with particular attention to the context of urban life. The city will be viewed as the site of divergent uses of art by different communities and interest, who employed images as expressions of religious piety, for the display of identity and status, or as strategic means of producing consensus or exploiting social division. We will consider the role of the image in political and religious culture, and in public and private life, bearing in mind the varying interests of those who commissioned works of art and those who encountered them as beholders. Particular attention will be devoted to comparing the circumstances of artistic production in Florence (where we will be considering works by Massaccio, Donatello, Ghiberti, Filippo Lippi and Botticelli) with those operating in the court centers of Northern Italy (where we will look at Mantegna and Piero dell Francesca). From this multiplicity of uses and responses emerged highly varied conceptions of nature of the image and siderhowsuchdiscussionsinfluencedartistic performance, bearing in "deposit of a social relationship" between artists, clients and beholders.