27928 - Laboratory (1) (LM) (G. A)

Course Unit Page


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

Gender equality Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the workshop the student is able to organize and collect complex information in a coherent form, he can apply critical analysis methodologies on the visual arts. Can make appropriate use of the sources of information needed to deal with research in the various areas of the visual arts.

Course contents

The seminar aims to discuss some particularly significant moments of intersection between art and politics. Without any claim to completeness or exhaustiveness, its aim is to show how, starting from some specific aesthetic experiences or their critique, concepts and paradigms typical of political modernity have been developed. At the same time, it will be investigated how some "political" authors have used, criticized, crossed artistic experiences to renew their specific disciplinary languages.

The main themes of the meetings will be the following:

  1. Introduction: Art, iconology and politics in the modern age
  2. Iconology, art of government and reason of state.
  3. Ambrogio Lorenzetti and the politics of art: the fresco of good government in Siena
  4. Perspective, representation, to be represented: between Panofsky and Hobbes
  5. Political iconology: the frontispieces of the Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes
  6. Behemoth, or multitude, people and civil war
  7. Velasquez, Foucault and political art
  8. Rousseau, and the political criticism of theatrical reasoning
  9. David, Marat, the ancient Romans, the revolution and Marx
  10. 10.Goya, the dream of reason, critique and enlightenment
  11. Modernism, Modernity and criticism of modernity
  12. Machinery and politics: from fascist aesthetics to the new man
  13. Walter Benjamin, the work of art and violence
  14. Leni Riefenstahl, National Socialism and Führerschaft
  15. For the critique of the representation


1. Representations and political representation

Rappresentanza/rappresentazioni. Una questione di studi culturali, a cura di M. Cometa e d. Maniscalco, Macerata, Quodlibet, 2014.

Ernst H. Kantorowicz, La sovranità dell’artista, in Id., La sovranità dell’artista. Mito e immagine tra Medioevo e Rinascimento, Venezia, Marsilio, 1995, pp. 17-38.

P. Schiera, Politica moderna e comunicazione: la dottrina per immagini, «Annali dell’istituto storico italo-germanico in Trento», XIX, 1993, pp. 233-242.

Stuart Hall, The Work of Representation, in Stuart Hall (ed), Representation: Cultural Representations as Signifying Practices, London, Sage, 1997, pp. 13-73.

E. Panofsky, Iconologia e iconografia. Introduzione allo studio dell’arte nel Rinascimento, in Id., Il significato delle arti visive, Torino, Einaudi, 2010, pp. 32-57.

C. Ginzburg, Rappresentazione. La parola, l’idea, la cosa, in Id., Occhiacci di legno. Nove riflessioni sulla distanza, Milano, Feltrinelli, 1998, 82-99.

2. Ambrogio Lorenzetti's 'buon governo'

P. Schiera, Il Buongoverno “melancolico” di Ambrogio Lorenzetti e la “costituzionale faziosità” della città, «Scienza & politica», 2006, pp. 93-108.

Q. Skinner, Ambrogio Lorenzetti e la raffigurazione del governo virtuoso e Ambrogio Lorenzetti sul potere e sulla gloria delle repubbliche, entrambi in Q. Skinner, Virtù rinascimentali, Bologna, il Mulino, 2002, pp. 53-153.

P. Boucheron, Scongiurare la paura. La forza politica delle immagini, Milano, Jaca Book, 2018.

3. The Political Representation

E. Panofsky, La prospettiva come “forma simbolica”, in Id., La prospettiva come “forma simbolica” e altri scritti, Milano, Feltrinelli, pp. 37-117.

T. Hobbes, Leviatano, Firenze, La Nuova Italia, 1976, pp. 155-180.

G. Agamben, Stasis. La guerra civile come paradigma politico, Torino, Bollati Boringhieri, 2015.

4. The limits of Representation 

R. Brandt, Diego Velázquez: Las meninas o La familia de Felipe IV, in Id., Filosofia della pittura. Da Giorgione e Magritte, Milano, Bruno Mondadori, 2003, pp. 270-297.

M. Foucault, Le parole e le cose. Un’archeologia delle scienze umane, Milano, Rizzoli, 1978, pp. 17-30.

R. Brandt, Francisco Goya: Il sonno della ragione genera mostri, in R. Brandt, Filosofia della pittura. Da Giorgione e Magritte, Milano, Bruno Mondadori, 2003, pp. 349-361.

M. Horkheimer – T.W. Adorno, Dialettica dell’illuminismo, Torino, Einaudi, 1976.

5. Representation and Virtue

J.J. Rousseau, Lettera sugli spettacoli, Palermo, Aestethica, 2013.

C. Ginzburg, David Marat. Arte politica religione, in Id., Paura reverenza terrore. Cinque saggi di iconografia politica, Milano, Adelphi, 2015, pp. 81-114.

K. Marx, Il 18 brumaio di Luigi Bonaparte, in Id., Rivoluzione e reazione in Francia 1848-1850, Torino, Einaudi, 1976, 171-185.

6. Modernism e representations

M. Berman, Tutto ciò che è solido svanisce nell'aria. L'esperienza della modernità, Bologna, il Mulino, 2012

K. Marx - F. Engels, Manifesto del partito comunista, Milano, Feltrinelli, 2017.

7. The catastrophe of Representation

W. Benjamin, L’opera d’arte nell’epoca della sua riproducibilità tecnica, Torino, Einaudi, 1966. W. Benjamin, Per la critica della violenza, in Id. Angelus Novus. Saggi e frammenti, Torino, Einaudi, 1976, pp. 5-28.

M. Ricciardi, Tra carisma e funzione. La «Führerschaft» di Adolf Hitler, in «Ricerche di storia politica», 5, 2002, n. 3, pp. 365-375.

G. Didi-Huberman, Immagini malgrado tutto, Milano, Cortina, 2005.

Teaching methods

Unless otherwise indicated, due to the restrictions imposed by the current health emergency, teaching will be carried out in a didactic manner:

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 lessons in the classroom via TEAMS platform, lectures and seminar discussions.

Assessment methods

Given the seminar character of the laboratory, attendance is strongly recommended.

1) Attending students
Attending students will have to write a paper of at least 2500 words using the texts listed in one of the thematic sections of the bibliography in addition to what was said during the lectures.

2) Non-attending students

Non-attending students will have to write a paper of at least 3500 words using the bibliography listed in one of the thematic sections of the bibliography.

All papers must be delivered at least one week before the institutional exam date.

Office hours

See the website of Maurizio Ricciardi