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Christopher L. C. E. Witcombe

Fall 2012

The Course
    Using both primary and secondary sources, the seminar will examine Renaissance concepts of antiquity, "truth to Nature," proportion, beauty, style, and philosophical views on imitation, creativity, and the ideal with a view to understanding the art produced in the 15th and 16th centuries in Italy and the shifts in style that occurred from the Early Renaissance to the High Renaissance to Mannerism. Primary sources (in translation) include Cennino Cennini, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Leon Battista Alberti, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Giorgio Vasari.

Meeting Place and Time

  • Pannell 015: Wednesdays 1:30-4:00

Required Texts

  • Michael Baxandall, Painting and Experience in Fifteenth-Century Italy, 2nd edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988)
  • Leon Battista Alberti, On Painting, translated by Cecil Grayson with an introduction and notes by Martin Kemp (London: Penguin Books, 1991)
  • The material on this website

Student Responsibilities

  • Active class participation, which includes being prepared for each class, and taking part in discussion.
  • TWO 4–6–page REPORTS selected from those listed in the Schedule
  • ONE 2–page SUMMARY presentation selected from those listed in the Schedule
  • One 9–10–page PAPER with footnotes and bibliography selected from the List of Topics


  • Each Seminar Report = 25%
  • Summary Report = 20%
  • Paper = 20%
  • Class participation = 10%

Office and Hours

  • Pannell 04: Tuesdays 2:15-3:00 and by appointment
  • phone: 6194
  • email:


  • Attendance at every seminar meeting is expected. If you expect to be absent for whatever reason, notify me ahead of time.
  • Each absence without prior notification will result in a lowering of your final grade
  • Chronic absence will be noted and reported