Featuring the cultural production of image-makers like Jan van Eyck, Hans Holbein the Younger, Tilman Riemenschneider, Albrecht Dürer, Hieronymus Bosch, and Pieter Bruegel the Elder, this course will survey both visual culture and canonical monuments of art in Northern Europe ca. 1400-1568. We will engage with media ranging from the new format of mass-producible prints to the pseudo-antique format of medals, emphasizing traditional formats of the fine arts in this period—manuscript illumination, painting, and sculpture. The course examines how this visual output emerged in the context of cultural changes in the spheres of naturalism, technology, humanism, theology, and European “expansion,” among others. Informed by readings of primary and secondary textual sources, students will develop strong skills in visual analysis broadly understood, as well as experience with various traditional methodologies in art historical and visual studies. Estimated Cost of Materials: less than $50. Category for Concentration Distribution: D. Europe and the United States, 3. Early Modern
Textbook: Jeffrey Chipps Smith, The Northern Renaissance (Phaidon; available from $14-30 on e.g. Amazon). Several supplementary pdfs will be provided on CTools.
Participation/Small Weekly Assignments - 35%; Final Exam - 25%; Short Research Paper - 25%; Midterm - 15%. More than one unexcused absence will result in one letter-grade penalty. Both exams will emphasize visual and historical analysis rather than rote memorization. The most significant evaluation will rest upon students’ sustained contributions to the common discourse: reading-response questions shared online and participation in discussion.
Any undergraduates who have not already studied this material, regardless of previous experience with art history, should benefit from this course. It will be of special interest to students drawn to or curious about not only art history and visual culture, but also anthropology, intellectual and cultural history, critical theory, and religious studies.
1-1.5 hours of interruptible lecture and dialogue, with the format of participation depending on enrollment.