HISTART 351 - The Art and Poetry of Michelangelo
Section: 001
Term: WN 2014
Subject: History of Art (HISTART)
Department: LSA History of Art
Requirements & Distribution:
Advisory Prerequisites:
HISTART 102 or 251.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

The life and work of Michelangelo Buonarroti offers a rich context for the study of visual art and poetry in 16th-century Europe. For his contemporaries and for many later generations Michelangelo exemplified the ideal artist postulated by Renaissance Humanists. This seminar will examine both his rough-hewn sonnets and eloquent paintings and sculptures in the light of contemporary theories of inspiration and invention. Hence we will attend closely to a number of well-known drawings that show the artist “thinking on paper” in both line sketches and fragments of verse. Central topics include Michelangelo’s use of classical models, such as the Belvedere Torso and the Laocoön sculpture group; his neoplatonic theories of vision; his preoccupation with the body as a source of visual and verbal metaphor; the intensely religious character of his devotion to craft and to physical beauty; and his self-fashioning as a grouchy genius who slept in his boots. We will consider the principal themes of his sonnets and madrigals (love and death) as well as the poetic language employed by contemporary viewers of his art, including Vittoria Colonna, Giorgio Vasari, Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo, Pietro Aretino and Ludovico Dolce. We will make close inspection of Michelangelo’s drawing techniques, his use of color in oil and fresco and his treatment of stone surfaces, in order to observe the metaphorical effects of his handling of materials. In the course of the term we will study, in brief or in depth, a considerable portion of his production in sculpture, painting and architecture in Florence and Rome, including the marble David, the Tomb of Pope Julius II, the Sistine Chapel Ceiling and the Last Judgment. Category for Concentration Distribution: D. Europe and the United States, 3. Early Modern Textbooks: The following books are required in addition to a coursepack of photocopied readings Michelangelo Buonarroti, The Poetry of Michelangelo, trans. James Saslow, Yale University Press, 1991. Giorgio Vasari, Lives of the Artists. Volume I, trans. George Bull, Penguin Books, 1987. Ascanio Condivi, The Life of Michelangelo, trans. Alice Sedgwick Wohl, 2nd ed. Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999. Anthony Hughes, Michelangelo, Phaidon, 1997. Michael Harvey, The Nuts and Bolts of College Writing, 2nd ed., Hackett, 2013.

Course Requirements:

3 short papers; 2 short slide-essay exams; term paper (draft and revision) 10 to 15 pages.

Intended Audience:

upper-level undergraduates

Class Format:

lecture/discussion, meets 1 ½ hours twice per week

HISTART 351 - The Art and Poetry of Michelangelo
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
MW 11:30AM - 1:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

Coursepack Location:
Coursepack should be ready by the first week of classes
ISBN: 1603848983
The nuts & bolts of college writing, Author: Michael Harvey., Publisher: Hackett Pub. Co. 2nd ed.
ISBN: 9780714834832
Michelangelo, Author: Hughes, Anthony., Publisher: Phaidon Press 1997
ISBN: 0300055099
The poetry of Michelangelo : an annotated translation /by, Author: James M. Saslow., Publisher: Yale University Press 1st pbk. e 1993
ISBN: 0271018534
The life of MichelAngelo, Author: by Ascanio Condivi ; translated by Alice Sedgwick Wohl ; edited by Hellmut Wohl., Publisher: Pennsylvania State University Press 2nd ed. 1999
ISBN: 9780140445008
Lives of the artists, Author: Giorgio Vasari ; a selection translated by George Bull. Vol.1., Publisher: Penguin. Reprinted. 1987
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