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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MA History of Art Special Option

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


Dr Irene Brooke, 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 Rome and Venice, but also expand the reach of our interests to include several less-known cities, such as Perugia and Siena, and towns like Borgo Sansepolcro. 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 Giovanni Bellini, 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 in 2018-19 will focus on three different regions and themes: the centres and peripheries in central Italy in the fifteenth century, especially reactions to Florentine art across the region; the art of Rome between 1520 and 1550; and art and antiquity in Venice between 1470 and 1550. Students only take one of these options which they select mid-way through the autumn term.  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 London collections, or in our study trips to Italy.

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 Irene Brooke, Dr Guido Rebecchini and Dr Barbara Furlotti.

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