Does Art Reflect Life?

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

This program explores outstanding works of art through the lens of the question: “Does Art Represent Life?” 

In Themes in Renaissance Art, we will stand in the sandals of artists of the past who overcame enormous challenges to create works of art that have endured. Our artists—Giotto and Donatello, the Bellinis, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Michelangelo, Bramante, Brunelleschi, Titian and Palladio, Jan van Eyck and Albrecht Dürer, and others—will answer our question with their amazing drawings, paintings, prints, sculpture, tapestries, and architecture.

Northern Renaissance artists are said to have “mirrored” nature in their paintings. But why did they create recognizable rather than abstract images? As we immerse ourselves in various types of art and architecture created from c. 1300 to 1600, we will also keep track of the many bends and twists in the life of Michelangelo and the northern and Italian Renaissance artists and architects whose works he built his own upon or influenced—finding out why and how he went way beyond mirroring nature—as we think about how he and other artists represented life!

One exciting goal will be to create a faux exhibition of various works of art and architecture that students select as the most representative of the clever and profound thinking of Renaissance artists, north and south of the Alps. This exhibition will include Michelangelo and his extraordinary drawings and poetry. It will summarize some of the many intriguing sides of the question, “Does Art Reflect Life?” as we discover how and why Michelangelo and other artists thought about art. Another adventure will be to develop our insights into the paintings, sculpture, and prints that we can study in person at the St. Louis Art Museum and Chicago Art Institute. We will write reflectively, creatively, descriptively, and/or analytically as we share insights, giving special attention to Michelangelo and the artists he inspired and who inspired him.

ARTH 132 AL  Themes in Renaissance Art (GEA)  3SH   M W F 9:00–9:50 a.m.
GEN   101 AL  Integrated Learning Course             3SH   M W F 10:00–10:50 a.m.