85117 - History of Arts in Medieval and Renaissance Italy (1) (LM)

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Paolo Cova

  • Credits 6

  • SSD L-ART/02

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language English

  • 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 Sep 19, 2022 to Oct 28, 2022

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students will be able to develop a general vision of the history of Medieval and Renaissance art. On one hand, students will know how to use the skills necessary to become familiar with the artistic production of the period, and on the other, they will be able to analyse some of the main works of the history of Medieval and Renaissance art using specific methodologies, and relate these to one another appropriately.

Course contents

Classes will be divided in three sections. The first one (I) will introduce students to medieval and renaissance history and to the different approaches to a work of art (style, techniques, iconography, ecc.), and will discuss the most important methodological issues about them. The second (II) will offer, in chronological order, the main lines of Italian artistic history between the beginning of Middle Age and early XVI century: Late Antique and Early Christian Art, 'Barbaric' Art, the medieval revivals (Carolingian and Othonian), Romanesque Art, Gothic Art, the Early Renaissance, the High Renaissance. The third one (III) will consider a specific topic, which this year will be “Donatello and Jacopo della Quercia: the decline of the Middle Ages and the rise of the Renaissance."

Readings/Bibliography

(I) Together with their personal notes, students must carefully read and study one of the following texts:

- E. Panofsky, Perspective as symbolic form;

- M. Baxandall, Painting and Social Experiences in 15th century Italy;

- R. Wittkower, Sculpture: processes and principles;

- A. Warburg, The Renewal of Pagan Antiquity;

- B. Berenson, The Italian painters of the Renaissance;

- L. Bellosi, Giotto;

- Verrocchio Master of Leonardo, edited by A. De Marchi e F. Caglioti.

Each book can be studied in one of their different editions, and both in Italian or in English, as you prefer. Students who will not attend classes will choose two books.


(II) Personal notes from the lessons. Students must read ONLY THE SECTIONS CHRONOLOGICALLY CONNECTED WITH OUR CONTENTS in a general survey of the artistic period we will consider (the so-called 'manuale').

I can suggest two possible titles, one in English

- H. Gardner, R. Tansey, F. Kleiner, Art through the Ages (in different editions);

and one in Italian

- C. Bertelli, Invito all’arte 2, by P. Cova, E. Daffra, S. Nicolini, ed. Azzurra, Pearson 2017;

- C. Bertelli, Invito all’arte 3, by E. Daffra, M. Pavesi, ed. Azzurra, Pearson 2017.

Students who will not attend classes are requested to read the 'manuale'.


(III) Together with their personal notes, students must carefully read and study one of the following texts:

- Donatello. The Reinassance, edited by F. Caglioti;

- F. Caglioti, L. Cavazzini, A. Galli, N. Rowley, Reconsidering the young Donatello, in «Jahrbuch der Berliner Museen», 57 [2015 (2018)] & P. Cova, The Ludovisi Tondo: a rediscovered sculpture by Jacopo della Quercia, in «The Burlington Magazine», vol. 163, n. 1414 (January 2021), pp. 5-14;

- J. H. Beck, Jacopo della Quercia, vol. I-II.

Each book can be studied in one of their different editions, and both in Italian or in English, as you prefer. Students who will not attend classes will choose two books.

Teaching methods

Lectures. In addition to the general syllabus, seminars and / or visit outdoors by the teacher and his collaborators are also planned.

Assessment methods

Oral examination for all the points I, II and III of the syllabus (see the relevant section above). The interview will be based on specific questions about the bibliography and the topics discussed during the lessons for points I and III, and on the stylistic identification and analysis of three images of artworks of the period object of classes (not necessarily already shown in a lesson) for point II. It will be assessed as excellent the performance of the students achieving an organic vision of the course contents, the use of a proper specific language, originality of reflection and familiarity with Medieval and Renaissance Art. It will be assessed as discrete the performance of those students showing mostly mechanical or mnemonic knowledge of the subject, disarticulated synthesis and analysis capabilities, or a correct but not always appropriate language, as well as a scholastic study of Medieval and Renaissance Art. It will be assessed as barely sufficient the performance of those students showing learning gaps, inappropriate language, lack of knowledge of the instruments of Medieval and Renaissance Art. It will be assessed as insufficient the performance of those students showing learning gaps, inappropriate language, no orientation within the recommended bibliography and inability to analyze Medieval and Renaissance Art.

Teaching tools

Projection of images (power-points) or videos dedicated to the most important artworks, monuments, artists and art historians of our history during lectures.

Office hours

See the website of Paolo Cova