See complete list of LearningLife courses.
This survey of the history of Italian art opens in Florence with the works of Early Renaissance painters like Giotto, who transformed the art of the Late Middle Ages with a new spirit of human emotion.
During the Quattrocento (1400s), Florentine artists such as Donatello, Masaccio, and Botticelli were achieving major advances in composition and technique. At the same time under the Medicis, masters of the Italian High Renaissance like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo melded observation of the world around them with careful study of the classical heritage of ancient Greek and Roman art.
With the coming of the Reformation and clashes between Catholics and Protestants, artistic focus shifted to Rome, its fervid atmosphere characterized by the dramatic paintings of Caravaggio and the Baroque structures and fountains of Bernini. Meanwhile, in Venice, painters such as Titian and Veronese explored new approaches to color and composition, and successors like Canaletto documented the opulent buildings and unique cultural environment of the “City of the Lion.”
With the Risorgimento—movement toward Italian unification in the 19th century—Italian art increasingly reflected the political and social foment of national aspiration. This course will close with a look at the rise of Italian modernism and some of its distinctive stylistic movements (Futurism, for example), that led into the 20th century.
These explorations of the Italian art cities of Florence, Rome, and Venice will include brief “visits” to major museums and cultural institutions as a means to highlight the treasures that await visitors—be they in person or virtual.
Art historian Allan Kohl has taught courses on ancient, medieval, and Renaissance art at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, where he is the visual resources librarian. His previous LearningLife courses include historical celebrations of baseball and American popular culture, the art of the Civil War, and the art and design history of New York, Paris, London, Athens, Vienna, Istanbul, and other cities.
Offered in cooperation with the College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Sciences Office of International Programs and the College of Education and Human Development.
Photo: Ricardo Gomez Angel