ARTH206: The Italian Proto-Renaissance To Mannerism

Course Syllabus for "ARTH206: The Italian Proto-Renaissance To Mannerism "

Please note: this legacy course does not offer a certificate and may contain broken links and outdated information. Although archived, it is open for learning without registration or enrollment. Please consider contributing updates to this course on GitHub (you can also adopt, adapt, and distribute this course under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license). To find fully-supported, current courses, visit our Learn site.

In this course, we will focus on becoming “literate” in the art of the Italian Renaissance, on identifying the effects that the Renaissance had on the arts of Italy, and discovering the ways in which specific historical developments impacted those arts from the end of the thirteenth century to the end of the sixteenth century. The Renaissance, a European phenomenon that began to develop in the late thirteenth century, refers to a marked shift in the ways in which individuals perceived their world. A new outlook was emerging—one that was characterized by, among other things, increased humanism and a renewed interest in the cultures of Classical Antiquity (and all within a Christian framework). There is no specific date that marks the beginning of the Renaissance, but its burgeoning effects on art can be detected earlier in Italy than in other areas. The late thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in Italy are consequently referred to as the “Proto-Renaissance” and will constitute our first unit of study. In a dramatic departure from the art of their time, early Renaissance artists, such as Giotto, began to represent humanized saints that had real corporeality and visual mass. In the “quattrocento,” or Italian fifteenth century, the ideas of the Renaissance developed more fully—first in Florence, and later throughout the region. These ideals and developments, which included the use of mathematical systems to represent illusionistic space, the integration of models from Classical Antiquity, and an interest in the human body, are reflected in fifteenth-century art, the subject of our second unit of study. Then, in the early sixteenth century, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael (the powerful forces behind what is known as “High Renaissance” art) mastered their media and respective techniques and fully achieved a correspondence between Renaissance ideals and art. Their styles were borrowed and adapted throughout the century. Mannerist art, the subject of our last unit of study, began to develop in the second quarter of the sixteenth century. Mannerism represents a response to the harmonious and structured compositions of the High Renaissance; many of its prominent artists created artworks that both used and violated Renaissance artistic ideals.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Define the term “Renaissance” and identify its modes of expression in the art of Italy.
  • Place the major artistic developments of Italian Renaissance art along a timeline and characterize the art of different periods within the Renaissance.
  • Situate different artists, artworks, and artistic practices within their respective regions or cities.
  • Explain how specific historical contexts, events, and figures affected Italian Renaissance art.
  • Describe specificities in interests and style as they apply to the work of important artists of the Renaissance.
  • Recognize important artworks and describe them in terms of their form, content, and general history of their creation.
  • Explain the role of art and artists during the Renaissance in Italy.
  • Discuss specific artistic techniques used during the Renaissance in Italy.

Course Requirements

In order to take this course, you must:

  • Have access to a computer.
  • Have continuous broadband Internet access.
  • Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g., Adobe Reader or Flash).
  • Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.
  • Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.).
  • Have competency in the English language.
  • Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.
  • Have completed ARTH101: Art Appreciation and Techniques, ARTH110: Introduction to Western Art History—Pre-Historic to High Gothic, and ARTH111: Introduction to Western Art History—Proto-Renaissance to Contemporary Art.

Course Information

Welcome to ARTH 206. Below, please find general information on this course and its requirements.

Course Designer: Elisabeth Miller

Primary Resources: This course draws from a wide variety of free online resources. The following resources are among those we will be using the most frequently throughout the entirety of the course:

Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit of the outline. You will then need to pass the Final Exam with a score of 70% or higher. If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again. The four units are mostly comprised of readings, lectures, and videos.

Time Commitment: This course should take you approximately 76 hours to complete. The time advisories listed under each unit title will help you organize your calendar. Units are sometimes unequal in the time investment they require on your part so you may want to take a look at the time advisories for each unit before you begin the course.

Tips/Suggestions: In addition to reading the material, listening to the lectures, and watching the videos, you will need to take careful notes and spend time reviewing to be able to pass the Final Exam. This course will require you to understand the important characteristics of the different periods of Italian Renaissance art and the forces that helped shape them, but it will also demand that you remember individual artists, their styles, and their artworks. The learning outcomes and instructional boxes accompanying the links to the course resources will help you focus your study.

Table of Contents: You can find the course's units at the links below.