Michelangelo: Painter, Sculptor, Architect

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Course Number
ARTH 505 640
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Primary Program
Course Description
From the first paragraph of Giorgio Vasari’s biography of Michelangelo Buonarroti we cannot help but be impressed by the eminence of his subject and, in the same breath, amazed by the author’s veneration of his fellow Florentine.  Certainly, Michelangelo’s long career warranted respect just as it continues to challenge traditional periodization and defy simple analysis.  Taking the painting, sculpture, and architecture of Michelangelo as both evidence of enormous talent and a restless spirit, this course will question the artist’s role in our understanding of the High Renaissance, his impact on Cinquecento interest in “style” or maniera, and his sensitive response to the turbulent Rome of the Counter-Reformation. Writing assignments, including research papers and critical reviews of required readings, will focus upon a number of issues resonant in Vasari’s biography of Michelangelo.  Possible topics include: the artist’s tempestuous relationships with the most powerful patrons of the Renaissance; Michelangelo’s sympathy to the philosophical and ideological tenets of movements such as Florentine Humanism and Roman Catholicism; and the explosive impact of his art on sixteenth-century painting, sculpture, and architecture.
Subject Area Vocab