Does Art Reflect Life?

ARTH 132 Themes in Renaissance Art - Dr. Margaret D'Evelyn 

This FYE program explores outstanding works of art with the question, “Does Art Represent Life?”  We stand in the shoes of artists of the past who overcome enormous challenges to create works of art that have endured.  Our artists--Giotto and Donatello, Gentile and Giovanni Bellini, Leonardo, Raphael, and Michelangelo, Titian, Bramante, Palladio, Jan van Eyck and Albrecht Dürer--and many others answer our question with their drawings, paintings, prints, sculpture, tapestries, and architecture.

Renaissance artists are said to have “mirrored” nature.  But what was their purpose in creating recognizable rather than abstract images?  From our immersion in the various types of art from c. 1300 to 1600, we zoom in on the life of Michelangelo and his works for ILC—discovering how he went way beyond nature—as we study other artists’ ideas about representing life.

The ILC course has as its goal the creation of a faux exhibition of works of art the students feel are the most representative of the thinking and skills of Renaissance artists, including Michelangelo and his drawings.  These works answer our thematic question, “Does Art Reflect Life?”  We will study HOW and WHY Michelangelo and other artists worked as they did, examining works of art at the St. Louis Art Museum and the Chicago Art Institute.  We will write reflectively, creatively, descriptively, and/or analytically in ILC to share insights into the works of art studied in the survey course, “Themes in Renaissance Art,” giving particular attention to Michelangelo’s life and works as a basis for discussing works of art in ILC and designing the exhibition.

Students will approach their reading and writing with the goal of creating the exhibition.  They will learn methods for looking with discernment at works of art through digital slides in class, and then face-to-face at the St. Louis Art Museum and Chicago Art Institute.  Each student will give a gallery talk, sharing their insights into museum life and art.  In creating their faux art exhibition, students will bring together their various pieces of creative, descriptive, and/or analytic writing as explanatory signage reflecting in pithy and concise terms how they view their research interests.  In doing so, they will naturally master the art of writing annotated bibliographies with other basic research details in a 3-5 page research paper on some aspect of their interests for the exhibition.  

ARTH 132   Themes in Renaissance Art     (GEA) 3SH    T R 9:25–10:40 a.m.