Continuity and Innovation: Reframing Italian Renaissance Art from Masaccio to Michelangelo - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Continuity and Innovation: Reframing Italian Renaissance Art from Masaccio to Michelangelo

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Continuity and Innovation: Reframing Italian Renaissance Art from Masaccio to Michelangelo

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Hans Memling Portrait of a Man with a Coin of the Emperor Nero (Bernardo Bembo) ca. 1473-4 Antwerp, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten
Hans Memling Portrait of a Man with a Coin of the Emperor Nero (Bernardo Bembo) ca. 1473-4 Antwerp, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten

Dr Scott Nethersole, Dr Barbara Furlotti, and Dr Guido Rebecchini

Dr Guido Rebecchini will be on sabbatical during the 2018/9 Autumn Term.

This team-taught MA looks at Italian art from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. In order to enrich our understanding of the period, we will examine the visual arts in well-known centres, such as Florence, Rome and Venice, but also expand the reach of our interests to include several less-known cities, such as Perugia, Siena, Bologna, Parma, Mantua, and Naples. Our discussions on different art-historical narratives and on a broad range of themes such as authorship, originality, invention, and imitation will complicate our ideas about Italian renaissance art, allowing new and often unexpected insights into the works of both celebrated artists and of other figures who are less commonly considered in standard discussions of the period. Furthermore, by looking at the working practices and the visual languages of a range of artists, including Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Parmigianino, Giulio Romano, and Titian we will discuss issues of collaboration, competition, dissemination of visual ideas, and, more broadly, notions of change and continuity. We will approach the art of the period thematically, interrogating what has long constituted an art-historical canon in new ways, consistent with the most recent art-historical methodological and theoretical questions.

The course is structured across three terms. In the first term you will learn together with all MA students in the Renaissance section.  These classes will be a mixture of lectures and discussions in larger groups with two tutors, and in smaller seminars directed at developing specific visual and textual skills. The second term will be focused on an in-depth engagement with specific special options. These change year on year, but might include themes such as the translation and dissemination of visual idioms through prints and drawings, the interaction between Italian and Northern European art, and the role of antiquities in shaping Renaissance art. In the third term you will conduct research towards the final dissertation under close supervision, which will prepare you to conduct independent research at an advanced level, whether through a PhD or in a professional environment.

In encouraging discussion on intellectual and theoretical questions, we will learn through active engagement and discussion with tutors and peers. Special attention will be devoted to first-hand engagement with works of art, whether in The Courtauld Gallery, in London collections, or in our study trips to Italy and elsewhere.

A reading knowledge of Italian is highly desirable for this course.

Courtauld Course Lecturer

About the lecturer

Scott Nethersole read History of Art as a BA and MA student at The Courtauld, where he specialised in Florentine renaissance art. After four years working for the English furniture department at Sotheby’s, he returned to The Courtauld to take his PhD, writing his thesis on ‘The Representation of Violence in Fifteenth-century Florence’. While writing his doctorate he held the Michael Bromberg Fellowship in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum. From 2008 to 2010, he was the Harry M Weinrebe Curatorial Assistant at the National Gallery, London, before returning to The Courtauld to take up the post of Lecturer in Italian Renaissance Art in September 2010. Scott curated the exhibition Devotion by Design: Italian Altarpieces before 1500 at the National Gallery in summer 2011. He is currently completing a book entitled Art and Violence in Early Renaissance Florence.

Scott will teach this course in collaboration with Dr Guido Rebecchini and Dr Barbara Furlotti.

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