92960 - Literature and Visual Culture (1) (Lm)

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Filippo Milani

  • Credits 6

  • SSD L-FIL-LET/11

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Italian Studies, European Literary Cultures, Linguistics (cod. 9220)

  • Teaching resources on Virtuale

  • Course Timetable from Nov 08, 2021 to Dec 15, 2021


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

Quality education Gender equality

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students will have acquired knowledge of the relationships between Italian Literature and Visual Culture, from the second half of the twentieth century to the first decade of the new millennium, with a focus on photography, graphic novel, advertising, cinema, television and videogames. Students will be able to identify and analyze the interactions between different languages and they will be capable of contextualizing them in the contemporary cultural environment.

Course contents

Artemisia between Literature and Visual Culture

The course focuses on the ways in which an artist from the past can be transformed into a literary character and then spread into national and international visual culture. Particularly, the course will investigate the case study of the seventeenth-century painter Artemisia Gentileschi. Her figure was rediscovered by Anna Banti's novel just after the Second World War, becoming the symbol of a courageous woman who struggled to become a painter in a male-dominated context. It is interesting to analyse the numerous artistic productions about her (novels, films, theatre performances and exhibitions) that have turned her into a global icon.

The themes addressed during the course will be:
1) the relationship between literature, painting and cinema 2) ekphrasis as the different modalities of verbal description of a painting 3) the question of the feminine character in literature 4) contemporary women writers and directors 5) iconology and "pictorial turn" 6) literature and visual art in postmodernity.


The students have to read and watch the following books and film:

- Anna Banti, Artemisia, 1947 (SE, 2015 or english edition UNP, 1988-2003)

- Susan Vreeland, The Passion of Artemisia (Viking, 2002)

- Artemisia by Agnès Merlet (1997)


Critical essays:

All the documents uploaded on VIRTUALE:

- Mary D. Garrard, Artemisia Gentileschi: The Image of the Female Hero in Italian Baroque Art (Princeton UP, 1989) [only Part Three, pp. 183-370]

- W. J. T. Mitchell, Iconology. Image, Text, Ideology (Chicago UP, 1986) [only Part One: pp. 7-46]

- Jesse M. Locker, Artemisia Gentileschi. The language of painting (Yale UP, 2015) [only Introduction, pp. 1-13

- Benedetti L., Reconstructing Artemisia: Twentieth-Century Images of a Woman Artist, «Comparative Literature», 51, 1999, pp. 42-61.

- Finucci V., 'A Portrait of the Artist as a Female Painter': The Kunstlerroman Tradition in A. Banti 's Artemisia, «Quaderni ďitalianistica», 8, 2, 1987, pp. 167-93.

- Heller D., History, Art, and Fiction in Anna Banti's Artemisia, in Contemporary Women Writers in Italy a Modern Renaissance, a cura di Santo L. Aricò, University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst (Massachusetts), 1990, pp. 45-60.

- Lent T. O., "My Heart Belongs to Daddy": The Fictionalization of Baroque Artist Artemisia Gentileschi in Contemporary Film and Novels, «Literature/Film Quarterly», 34, 3, 2006, pp. 212-18.

- Scarparo S., Artemisia: The Invention of a “Real” Woman, «Italica», 3, 2002, pp. 363-378.


Non-attending students have to contact the teacher to arrange a specific programme.

Teaching methods

In line with the restrictions imposed by the current health emergency, the course will be carried out in teaching mode:

traditional: the teacher will always be present in the classroom designated for teaching, students will alternate in attendance according to a schedule of shifts being defined (more detailed information about the shift and how to access the lesson in attendance will be provided later). It will always be possible to connect remotely and follow live streaming of the lessons in the classroom via TEAMS platform.

During the lessons students will be encouraged to actively participate in common discussions and reflections (also via chat). The didactics will make use of audiovisual tools and in particular the screening of films and documentaries useful for contextualizing and deepening the literary texts analyzed. In some specific cases a specialist may be called to give single lesson.

Assessment methods

The final test consists of the discussion of a paper (5-6 pages) on one of the course topics, to be agreed with the teacher. During the last lesson of the course there will be the opportunity for an oral presentation of the draft paper.
The final mark will be calculated by averaging the mark obtained with the other paper (5-6 pages) discussed at the end of the first module of the integrated course, titled Literature and the Art (1) (LM).
The Erasmus students have the option of taking one of the two integrated modules, so for them the final test consists of the discussion of a longer paper (7-8 pages).

Assessment consists in an examination aiming to assess the knowledge and critical skills acquired by the candidate during the course.

1. First-class marks will be awarded to candidates who demonstrate an ability to analyse texts in depth and to produce an organic overview of the topics covered in the course. Overall mark between 27 and 30 cum laude (high linguistic ability is required).

2. A mostly mnemonic knowledge of the subject, analytical skills lacking depth, and correct but not always apposite expression will result in a modest mark. Overall mark between 23 and 26.

3. Elementary knowledge, superficial understanding, poor analytical skills, and inapposite expression will lead to a pass or only slightly higher mark. Overall mark between 18 and 22.

4. Gaps in the candidate’s knowledge, inapposite language, and inadequate engagement with the secondary literature offered in the course will result in a fail mark.

Teaching tools

In addition to lectures, held by the teacher, audiovisual tools will be used to support the teaching. Students will also be invited to bring a significant contribution to enreach the issues upon which the course focuses.

Office hours

See the website of Filippo Milani