HISTART 393 - Undergraduate Seminar
Section: 005 Caravaggio Death of Painting
Term: FA 2014
Subject: History of Art (HISTART)
Department: LSA History of Art
Credits:
3
Cost:
50-100
Advisory Prerequisites:
Previous course work in the History of Art.
Other Course Info:
W.
Repeatability:
May be elected five times for credit. May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

Michelangelo Merisi, called Caravaggio, is today one of the best known Italian painters of the early modern period, and his turbulent life has been the subject of numerous popular biographies, films and novels. His paintings strike many viewers as surprisingly modern, both in their formal strategies and in their confrontational attitude toward the viewer's moral sensibilities. In his own time Caravaggio's pointedly naturalistic style and deliberately abject treatment of subject matter challenged the very definition of painting as it had been established in the 15th and 16th centuries by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Michelangelo. Even in major religious paintings his figures look like people taken from the streets, while his dramatic illumination looks more like the harsh effects of studio lighting than the carefully modulated chiaroscuro of traditional pictorial naturalism. Confronted by such pictures, the French artist Nicholas Poussin was not alone in thinking that Caravaggio "came into the world to destroy painting." This course offers a survey of Caravaggio's work in Rome, Malta and Naples between the early 1590s and his untimely death in 1610, ranging from early still-life paintings, genre subjects and mythological pictures to the major altarpieces of his maturity. As we shall see, the artist's hostility toward the Renaissance tradition of idealized nature did not amount to a wholesale rejection of Renaissance principles. Nor did his unconventional handling of religious and mythological subjects entail a complete refusal of the spiritual and literary values of his time. Other questions to be examined include Caravaggio's unorthodox working methods; his engagement with the rough street life of Rome; the lyrical address of his musical and erotic subjects; his competition with the ghost of Michelangelo and with living masters such as Annibale Carracci; the strangely powerful emptiness of the altarpieces he painted in Malta; and the thread of self-portraiture that seems to run through much of his oeuvre. We will also examine Caravaggio’s enormous impact on younger artists, including the major Italian female painter of this period, Artemisia Gentileschi. Category for concentration distributions: D. Europe and the U.S., 3. Early Modern Textbooks: Helen Langdon, Caravaggio, A Life, London: Chatto & Windus, 1998. Reprinted in softcover by Pimlico: ISBN 071266582X; and also by Westview: ISBN 0813337941. Rossella Vodret, Caravaggio: The Complete Works, Milan: Silvana Editoriale, 2010: ISBN 8836616623. Reprinted in softcover, 2012: ISBN 8836622356. There will also be a required courspack of photocopied readings

Course Requirements:

A research paper, submitted in two drafts (preliminary and revised, 10 to 15 pages); and two slide-essay exams.

Intended Audience:

Upper-level undergraduates

Class Format:

Seminar, meets 3 hours once per week

HISTART 393 - Undergraduate Seminar
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
P
29289
Closed
0
 
-
Tu 10:00AM - 1:00PM
002 (SEM)
P
29290
Closed
0
 
3
M 1:00PM - 4:00PM
003 (SEM)
P
29291
Closed
0
 
1
Tu 10:00AM - 1:00PM
004 (SEM)
P
29292
Open
7
 
-
W 1:00PM - 4:00PM
005 (SEM)
P
29293
Open
8
 
-
F 10:00AM - 1:00PM
006 (SEM)
P
29294
Open
6
 
-
M 10:00AM - 1:00PM
007 (SEM)
P
29315
Open
12
 
-
Tu 1:00PM - 4:00PM
009 (SEM)
P
29903
Closed
Wolv. Access
 
2
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
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