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Early Renaissance Art in Italy


Christopher L.C.E. Witcombe


The Course

    An introduction to the art of the Early Renaissance in Italy. Examples of painting, sculpture, architecture, and printmaking produced in Italy between 1200 and 1500 will be examined.

    Early Renaissance Art in Italy is a 200-level art history course. It builds upon knowledge and skills acquired in the 100-level introductory survey of art history courses and assumes a certain level of competence in matters concerning basic identification information, visual analysis, and style. As a 200-level course, the focus is on questions of iconography (the study of subject matter and its conventional meaning), iconology (the study of subject matter and its contextual meaning), and symbolism. The aim is to develop an understanding of an artwork’s meaning and purpose in its original cultural context.

Meeting Place and Time

  • Pannell 202: Tuesday and Thursdays 3:00-4:15

Required Text

    Frederick Hartt and David G. Wilkins, History of Italian Renaissance Art, 7th edition (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 2010)

Student Responsibilities

  • ONE RESEARCH PRESENTATION (8-12 pages, written in the form of paper, with footnotes, plus bibliography) presented in class with web-based or PowerPoint images. The presentation will focus on a selected painting (or group of paintings), piece of sculpture (or group of sculptures), or work of architecture (or architectural complex). The aim is to examine issues of iconographical and iconological significance that reach beyond what the textbook has to offer. The information and analysis you provide should serve to enhance our understanding of the topic in question. The paper will be handed in upon completion of the presentation.

  • ONE RESEARCH PAPER (10-15 pages, with footnotes, plus bibliography), based upon your Research Presentation. The paper will be completed under the supervision of your instructor.
    The Research Paper is due in my office by 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, May 1

  • Active class participation, which includes being prepared for each class, and taking part in discussion


  • Research Presentation = 40%
  • Research Paper = 50%
  • Participation = 10%

Office and Hours

  • Pannell 203: Tuesdays 2:15-3:00 p.m. Other times by appointment
  • phone: 6194
  • email: