11965 - History of Modern Art (1)

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in History (cod. 0962)

    Also valid for First cycle degree programme (L) in Philosophy (cod. 9216)

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will possess a detailed knowledge of Italian and European art history from the early Cinquecento to the end of the Settecento. They will be familiar with the main issues and research lines of these centuries’ art, recognising and commenting on works by artists who best represent the various movements.

Course contents

Examination and discussion of the periodization and definitions (Renaissance, Mannerism, Baroque and Neoclassicism) adopted by historiography in relation to the centuries studied. The course will analyses some of the most representative works form each category in terms of their style, significance and context.

An in-depth focus will look at works inspired by subjects of magic-witchcraft. The course will highlight how the selected iconographic details, of magicians and witches, often depicted in lascivious and semi-nude poses, demonstrate phenomena of dissidence and rebellion against attempts to establish the control of artistic production. Attempts that sought, above all in the wake of the Council of Trent and also using authors of treatises, to fix aesthetic and iconographic canons and with them moral and coercive absolutes.

This program is reserved exclusively for students who attend lessons because notes taken in the classroom and educational material provided case-by-case by the professor will constitute, beyond the bibliography provided below, a fundamental part of the course that will be evaluated during the final exam. Students who do not plan to attend lessons should refer to the dedicated bibliography below.


Bibliography for students who attend lessons

M. Duni, “Le streghe e gli storici, 1986-2006: bilanci e prospettive”, in “Non lasciar vivere la malefica”. Le streghe nei trattati e nei processi (secoli XIV-XVII), edited by D. Corsi-M. Duni, Florence, Firenze University Press, 2008, pp. 1-18.

A. Anselmi,Dipinti a soggetto magico stregonesco nella Roma barocca: tra ‘crisi della presenza’ e letteratura latina", in Il Barocco a Roma: la meraviglia delle arti, edited by M. G. Bernardini-M. Bussagli, Milan, Skira, 2015, pp. 170-176.

A. Anselmi, “Magia e stregoneria nel teatro di Nicolò Piperno, Filippo Acciajoli e Girolamo Fontana: la Noce di Benevento”, in Trame di meraviglia. Studi in onore di Silvia Carandini, edited by P. Bertolone- A. Corea-D. Gavrilovich, Rome, Universitalia, 2016, pp. 11-25.

Students who do not attend lessons

A. Pinelli, La Storia dell’Arte. Istruzioni per l’uso, Bari, Editori Laterza & Figli, 2009.

and one of the following two texts:

C. Ginzburg, Paura reverenza terrore. Cinque saggi di iconografia politica, Milan, Adelphi, 2015 (English edition, Fear, Reverence, Terror: Five Essays in Political Iconography, Seagull Books, 2016).


D. Frascarelli, L’arte del dissenso. Pittura e libertinismi nell’Italia del Seicento, Turin, Giulio Einaudi editore, 2016.

Teaching methods

Lessons with projections and analyses of images.

Assessment methods

Written and oral examination. Grades are assigned in relation to a total of thirty points, with a laude for outstanding performance. The minimum passing grade is 18/30. Examinations will serve to verify the student’s level of preparation and critical skills in relation to the classroom lessons and assigned readings

Teaching tools


Office hours

See the website of Alessandra Anselmi


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This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.