HUM 337

Art and Culture in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Italy (and Beyond)

This course examines how the plastic and literary arts of the Italian High Renaissance and Baroque responded to four events that changed the most fundamental beliefs Europeans held about the world and their place in it: the discovery of the New World, the emergence of Renaissance Humanism, the Protestant Reformation, and the new cosmos advanced by Copernicus and Galileo. Their combined effect undermined long-entrenched institutions of religious and political authority to open space for new socio-political orders and cultural models. Art produced in the Italian city-states during this tumultuous period (roughly from 1490 to 1690), whether expressed in the form of architecture, rhetorical literature, plays, or painting, became a key means of reflecting and propagating public opinion?and a powerful weapon, both for wielding authority and for challenging it.