HISTART 351 - The Art and Poetry of Michelangelo
Section: 001
Term: WN 2018
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:

Painter, draughtsman, sculptor, architect and poet, Michelangelo Buonarroti exemplified the ideal artist of the Italian Renaissance for centuries after his death in 1564 (at the remarkable age of eighty-nine). This seminar will examine a substantial portion of his paintings and sculptures in Rome and Florence as well as a large selection of his sonnets, madrigals and verse fragments. One of our goals is to understand Michelangelo’s importance in a time and place that was fairly crowded with artists of genius and ambition (Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael among them) while also understanding how contemporary writers and artists promoted his larger-than-life reputation as “the divine Michelangelo.” Another goal of the seminar is to tease out the intimate connections between Michelangelo’s poetry and visual art, both on the level of subject matter and on the level of figurative invention. Hence we will attend closely to a number of drawings that show the artist thinking on paper in line sketches and fragments of verse. We will examine his selective imitation of ancient sculptures, such as the Belvedere Torso and the Laocoön, his Neoplatonic philosophy of vision, his preoccupation with the human body, his intensely religious devotion to craft and physical beauty, and his self-fashioning as a grouchy genius who slept in his boots. We will consider the principal themes and genres of his poetry as well as the critical language employed by contemporary viewers of his art, such as the poet Vittoria Colonna, the artist and biographer Giorgio Vasari, the friend Ascanio Condivi, the apologist Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo, the enemy Pietro Aretino, and the critic Ludovico Dolce.

History of Art concentration distributions: 3.Early Modern, D. Europe and the US.

Textbooks: (a coursepack of photocopied readings will also be required)

  • Michelangelo Buonarroti, The Poetry of Michelangelo, trans. James Saslow, Yale UP, 1991. ISBN: 0300055099
  • Giorgio Vasari, Lives of the Artists. Volume I, trans. George Bull, Penguin Books, 1987. ISBN: 0140445005
  • Ascanio Condivi, The Life of Michelangelo, trans. A. S. Wohl, 2nd ed. Penn State UP, 1999. ISBN: 0271018534
  • Anthony Hughes, Michelangelo, Phaidon, 1997. ISBN: 9780714834832
  • Michael Harvey, The Nuts and Bolts of College Writing, 2nd ed., Hackett, 2013. ISBN: 9781603848985

Course Requirements:

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

Class Format:

HISTART 351 - The Art and Poetry of Michelangelo
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

There will be no coursepack to purchase for this course
ISBN: 9781603848985
The nuts & bolts of college writing, Author: Michael Harvey., Publisher: Hackett Pub. Co. 2nd ed. 2013
ISBN: 9780714834832
Michelangelo, Author: Hughes, Anthony., Publisher: Phaidon Press 2001
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: 0140445005
Lives of the artists, Author: Giorgio Vasari ; a selection translated by George Bull. Vol.1., Publisher: Penguin. Reprinted. 1987
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