ONLINE ART HISTORY COURSE
“Constantinople to Caravaggio: Art, Architecture, and History”

CURRENT LIVE COURSE WITH DR. RUGGIERO

Dates: March 1 – April 7, 2021
Schedule:  Mondays & Wednesdays
Time:  11:00 am – 12:15 pm ET / 8:00 – 9:15 am PT AND/OR 6:30 – 7:45 pm ET / 3:30 – 4:45 pm PT
Contact Hours: 15 Hours
Credits: Certificate of Completion

Special offer

Details

ONLINE ART HISTORY COURSE
Constantinople to Caravaggio: Art, Architecture, and History

Course Description:

The fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453 marked the official end of the Eastern Roman Empire (better known today as the Byzantine Empire) and the end of the Medieval world. Although this event was catastrophic for the eastern Christian world, it resulted in an extraordinary flowering of culture in the West. This was in part due to the massive influx of uncorrupted Classical knowledge into western Europe, mainly in the form of ancient manuscripts and Byzantine scholars who could translate and explain them. Florence was the first true center of Renaissance Humanism – a movement that sought to revive ancient Greek and Roman thought. But as the papacy began to reassert its political dominance in Italy, Rome eventually became the new early modern capital of Europe for most of the 16th and 17th centuries. This course will explore the circumstances and events that surrounded the fall of Constantinople and its effects on the Renaissance culture of Italy, with particular emphasis given to Florence and Rome.

Course Objectives:

  • To learn to appreciate the rich and influential aspects of Italian art and architecture from the fall of Constantinople through the early Renaissance.
  • To bring a historical period to life through a “hands on” approach to the monuments and works produced during this specific period known as the Renaissance.
  • To develop the fundamental skills of art historical analysis that include formal analysis and iconographic interpretation.
  • To develop an ability to interact in a personal and intimate manner with works of art and their surroundings.

Virtual Classroom: Full access to an online educational platform with discussion forum, videos of recordings, syllabus, and readings.

Credits: Certificate of Completion

Location: LIVE INTERACTIVE ON-LINE ART HISTORY LECTURES

Examination and assignments:
OPTIONAL FINAL EXAM – The format of the exams will consist of short essay analyses.

Optional Readings:
Readings to be provided to students in PDF format prior to the beginning of course.

Complete syllabus will be provided upon registration.

  • ALL LECTURES WILL BE RECORDED AND AVAILABLE FOR VIEWING AT YOUR CONVENIENCE IN OUR VIDEO LIBRARY FOR THE DURATION OF THE COURSE
  • PARTICIPANTS ARE FREE TO ATTEND EITHER CLASS TIME

Schedule

WEEK 1 – THE DEMISE OF CONSTANTINOPLE AND THE RISE OF HUMANISM

– Monday, March 1: Lecture 1 – Piero della Francesca’s Flagellation and the Fall of Constantinople

Kenneth Clark described Della Francesca’s painting as the “the greatest small painting in the world.” Much has been written about the enigmatic meaning of the work, including it serving as a metaphor for the fall of Constantinople. This lecture will examine the iconography of the famous painting and discuss its various interpretations.


– Wednesday, March 3: Lecture 2 – Lorenzo il Magnifico, Botticelli, and Mythology in Art

The fall of Constantinople marked a mass exodus of Byzantine scholars to Italy. Accompanying these scholars was an unprecedented number of manuscripts about the Classical world. Florence was a particularly appealing destination due to its reputation as a flourishing center for the arts. Moreover, many an eastern scholar had actually visited the great city just a few years earlier during the Council of Florence. This lecture will examine the effect of this new surge of Classical knowledge on Florentine art in the last quarter of the 15th Century.

WEEK 2 – THE PAZZI CONSPIRACY: THE FAILED PLOT THAT WOULD HAVE CHANGED THE WORLD

– Monday, March 8: Lecture 3 – Murder, Deception, and Betrayal in Renaissance Italy

On April 26, 1478, Giuliano de’ Medici lay dead on the pavement of Florence cathedral with 19 stab wounds serving as testimony to the vicious attack that he had just suffered. Had his assassins succeeded in eliminating his older brother, Lorenzo “il Magnifico” de’ Medici, that day as well, the history of the western Europe, and the world for that matter, would have been drastically altered. This lecture will examine the protagonists, motivation, and plot behind one of history’s greatest conspiracies.

– Wednesday, March 10: Lecture 4 – The Sistine Chapel before Michelangelo

Decades before Michelangelo climbed up on the nearly 70 feet of scaffolding to adorn the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, a veritable “All-Star Team” of late-15th- century artists had already decorated its walls. Artists such as Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Pietro Perugino, and Luca Signorelli were sent to Rome by Lorenzo “il Magnifico” de’ Medici to pay homage to the original patron and namesake of the chapel – Pope Sixtus IV. This lecture will examine the pre-history of the Sistine Chapel and the early Renaissance frescoes that had already transformed the chapel into extraordinary decorative complex.

WEEK 3 – A NEW IMPERIAL ROME

– Monday, March 15: Lecture 5 – A Temple Fit for a Pope: The Building of St. Peter’s Basilica

After 100 years of construction, the reign of 18 different popes, and the direction of 12 different architects, St. Peter’s Basilica was finally completed in 1626. Measuring more than two football fields in length, it was by far the largest church in Christendom, and a fitting monument to the burial place of the first pope. This lecture will explore the dramatic construction history of this great church, as well as the breathtaking artwork that adorns it.

– Wednesday, March 17: Lecture 6 – Villa Farnesina: Renaissance Pleasure Palace

The Villa Farnesina was the first Renaissance pleasure palace and belonged to the fabulously wealthy papal banker Agostino Chigi. From Raphael’s celebrated fresco of Galatea, to Giulio Romano’s erotic Loggia of Psyche, to the illusionistic Sala della Prospettiva, the decorations of the palace delighted many a pope and international ruler. On one occasion, dinner was served on golden tableware which guests were asked to dispose of by casting into the river Tiber. This lecture will explore the art and the history of this extraordinary decorative complex and how the sensual and often erotic nature of the art clearly reflects the intentions of its patron.

WEEK 4 – COUNTER-REFORMATION ROME

-Monday, March 22: Lecture 7 – Michelangelo’s Last Judgement and the Pauline Chapel

24 years after completing its ceiling, Michelangelo returned to the Sistine Chapel to paint its altar wall. His gigantic Last Judgement took five years to complete and scandalized Rome as many of its holy characters were depicted in the nude. Almost as soon as he finished the Last Judgement, Michelangelo’s talents as a painter were again put to use in the Pauline Chapel where he painted his two last paintings – The Crucifixion of St. Peter and The Conversion of St. Paul. This lecture will examine and analyze Michelangelo’s last epic paintings in the context of the religious reforms that were beginning to take place in counter-Reformation Rome.

– Wednesday, March 24: Lecture 8 – Michelangelo: God’s Architect

At the ripe old age of 71, Michelangelo took over the direction of the most important building project in Europe – the fabbrica of St. Peter’s Basilica. Michelangelo redesigned the great building and saw construction through to the base of the cupola. This project would occupy the last 17 years of his life and consume nearly all of his creative energies. This lecture will examine Michelangelo’s role in the realization of the great basilica, as well as analyze his revolutionary architectural style which paved the way for Baroque-style architecture in the next century.

WEEK 5: CARAVAGGIO: THE CURSED PAINTER

– Monday, March 29: Lecture 9 – Life Imitating Art: A New Visual Language

Known as the pittore maledetto – or the “cursed painter,” Caravaggio not only revolutionized painting at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries with his “hyper-realistic” style, he, literally, turned Rome on its head with his often-criminal behavior. Spending much of his time between brothels and taverns, Caravaggio’s love of the vulgar and violence became his primary artistic inspiration. He would frequently depict Christian subjects in completely inappropriate ways. This lecture will examine Caravaggio’s biography and artistic production in Rome at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries.

– Wednesday, March 31: Lecture 10 – Wanted – Dead or Alive: Caravaggio’s Late Works

On May 28, 1606, Caravaggio stabbed and killed a man on Via della Scrofa in Rome. Wanted for murder, he immediately fled the city and spent the last four years of his life as a fugitive on the run. He went first to Naples, then traveled to Malta, Sicily, and then back to Naples again. While making his way back to Rome in 1610 after receiving a papal pardon from Pope Paul V, Caravaggio died under mysterious circumstances. This lecture will examine those works that Caravaggio produced during this particular dramatic time of his life and that define his late career.

WEEK 6 – WHEN ART BECOMES THEATRE: BAROQUE ROME

-Monday, April 5: Lecture 11 – Bernini and the Poetry of Sculpture

Bernini’s breathtaking mythological statues of Apollo and Daphne and Pluto and Persephone in the Borghese Gallery are but a few of the sublime statues produced by the famed sculptor while he was still in his early twenties. This lecture will explore Bernini’s new visual language for sculpture which combined Classical form and proportion with the Baroque love for the theatrical.

– Wednesday, April 7: Lecture 12 – Borromini, Bernini, and Maderno: Building a Baroque City

The architectural and urban patronage of Popes Sixtus V, Paul III, Urban VIII, and Innocent X transformed the city of Rome into the city which in large part we still see today. The creative vision of their respective architects produced some the most exquisite architecture in history. This lecture will explore those monuments in Rome produced by the three greatest architects of the 17th century and which define our understanding of the Roman Baroque in architecture.

 

WEEK 7 – OPTIONAL FINAL EXAM