Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
ITALIAN ART - 1300-1700
Academic Year
Semester 1

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 13 x 1 hours
Seminars / Tutorials 7 x 1 hours


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Assessment is by i) a timed essay [questions given out two weeks in advance and written in class] (50%) and ii) a three-hour examination (50%).  100%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to.
a) Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between theory and practice in Italian Art 1300-1700.
b) Analyse contemporary sources and documents of the period in translation and build an argument based on the information contained therein.
c) Evidence knowledge of the purpose and function of specific works of Italian painting and sculpture and recognise similar underlying principles where they occur in other Italian artworks.
d) Evidence knowledge of the differing demands of state, papal and individual patronage and the way that these influenced the kinds of art produced over the period 1300-1700.
e) Participate in seminar discussion, where the subject relates to issues and theories of Italian art and literature 1300-1700.

Brief description

The module focuses on the theory and practice of art in Italy 1300-1700. It examines specific works of Italian painting, sculpture and architecture in relation to literature of the period presented in the form of treatises, letters, eye-witness accounts and biographies. In many cases theoretical writings by artists can be studied in terms of how this thinking helped to shape the works of art they made. The influence of these theoretical texts will also be studied in the work of other artists who read them. Contemporary accounts and documents will provide valuable insight into the complex and often opposing system of forces at work in Italy during this period. Elsewhere it will be necessary to look at modern-day accounts of artistic theory in Italy (1300-1700). In many cases a lecture dealing with a specific work of painting or sculpture will be presented in the form of a 'case study' and reinforced by a related seminar on theory, according to the schedule outlined below:


This module covers the Renaissance, Mannerist and Baroque periods of Italian art history. It explores art and theory of the period and is designed to meet the needs of students of Fine Art, Art History and Museum and Gallery Studies.


1. Lecture: The Scrovegni Chapel - A Study in Narrative Fresco Painting
2. Seminar: Expression and the Language of Gesture in Giotto's Painting
3. Lecture: Paolo Uccello: Maestro di Prospettiva
4. Seminar: Advice on Composition in Alberti's 'On Painting'
5. Lecture: Benozzo Gozzoli's Medici Chapel Frescoes
6. Seminar: The Patronage of the Early Medici
7. Lecture: Piero della Francesca's Legend of the True Cross.
8. Lecture: Re-inventing the Past - Alberti, Botticelli and the Rise of Humanism
9. Lecture: Leonardo's Last Supper
10. Seminar: Leonardo on Painting
11. Lecture: Michelangelo's Tomb for Pope Julius II
12. Lecture: Towards a Definition of Mannerism.
13. Lecture: Benvenuto Cellini: The Man and the Perseus,
14. Seminar: Pontormo's 'Transportation of Christ' in the Capponi Chapel.
15. Lecture: The 'Figura Serpentinata' in Painting and Sculpture
16. Lecture: Caravaggio's Contarelli Chapel
17. Seminar: 'Filth and Deformity' - Reaction to Caravaggio's Realism in 17th C. Rome.
18. Lecture: The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa and the 'Art of Dying Well'.
19. Seminar: Marble into Paint? - Bernini's Aims as a Sculptor in Contemporary Writings.
20. Lecture: Bernini's work at Saint Peters in Rome.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Communication development and encouragement of communication skills occurs in group seminars
Improving own Learning and Performance development of a self-critical approach to academic writing
Problem solving During seminar work and essay writing.
Research skills Through reading and the detailed analysis of texts in: (i) preparation for seminars and in seminar work and (ii) in essay writing
Team work development and encouragement of team work in group seminars

Reading List

Recommended Text
. Gilbert, C E ed. & Janson,H W. (1992) Italian Art 1400 - 1500, Sources and Documents Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, Primo search Alberti, Leon Battista translated by Grayson, Cecil (1991) On Painting London: Penguin Books Primo search Anthony Blunt, (1940) Artistic Theory in Italy 1450 - 1600 Oxford: Oxford University Press Primo search Baxandall, Michael (1972) Painting and Experience in 15th Century Italy : Oxford University Press, Primo search Bellori, Giovanni Pietro translated by Engass, Catherine (1968) The Lives of Annibale and Agostino Carracci University Park, Pennsylvania and London: Pennsylvania State U.P., Primo search Chambers, D.S. (1970) Patrons and Artists in the Italian Renaissance, London: Macmillan Primo search Cole, Bruce (1983) The Renaissance Artist at Work London: John Murray Primo search Gombrich, E.H. (1966) Norm and Form, Studies in the Art of the Renaissance Oxford: Phaidon Primo search Hibbard, Howard , (1965) Bernini, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books Primo search Kemp, Martin edited by (1989) Leonardo on Painting New Haven and London: Yale University Press Primo search Klein,Robert and Zerner, Henri , 1966 and later (1966) Italian Art 1500-1600, Sources and Documents, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall Primo search R. Engass and J. Brown, (1970) Italy and Spain 1600-1750,Sources and Documents, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Primo search Roskill, Mark , (1968) Dolce's 'Aretino' and Venetian Art Theory of the Cinquecento New York Primo search Shearman, John , (1965) Mannerism Harmondsworth: Penguin Books Primo search Vasari,Giorgio translated by Bull, George (1965) Lives of the Artists (volumes 1&2), Harmondsworth: Penguin Books Primo search Wackernagel, Martin translated by Luchs, Alison , (1981) The World of the Florentine Renaissance Artist, Princeton University Press, Primo search Wittkower, R , (1982.) Italian Art and Architecture (1600-1750), Harmondsworth: Pelican History of Art Primo search de Chantelou (ed.),P.F. Blunt , A and Bauer, G.C. Diary of the Cavaliere Berninir Visit to France, Princeton University Press, New Jersey Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6