ITAL641 - TOPICS IN S. REN ART

Course Description: 
Topic varies from semester to semester. For the Fall 2020 semester, the topic will be "Figure and Ground." We owe the Renaissance picture more than the idealized human figure. For figure, depends on ground, here defined in at least three senses: 1) the ground as the material preparation of the support; 2) the plane where figures anchor their place in the pictorial world; and 3) the field in and against which figuration occurs, namely the background. In this graduate seminar, we will attempt to discuss, debate, and formulate ideas and methods to interpret the Renaissance picture according to these three semantic areas of ground. We will begin with gold grounds in the fourteenth century and conclude with the darkened grounds of tenebrist painters such as Caravaggio. In addition to reading current art historical scholarship grappling with several "turns" (material, global, ecocritical) as well as Anne Cheng's notion of "ornamentalism" that draws from critical race and gender theory, we will also focus our attention on those Renaissance writers who described and prescribed the look of the picture in ways not usually accommodated by standard art historical approaches. Rather than recuperating the ground as an integral category, we will instead consider the acute dilemma of the ground's theoretical exception.
Course ID: 
ITAL641
Title (text only): 
TOPICS IN S. REN ART
Term: 
2020C
Term Session: 
0
Subject Area: 
ITAL
Status: 
O