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Art and Devotion in Fifteenth-Century Italy


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 7
  • Convenor: to be confirmed
  • Assessment: to be confirmed

Module description

In this module we aim to generate a fresh approach to a much-studied period. The fifteenth century in Italy has long been regarded as a turning point in the history of art, and the self-conscious emulation of the art and learning of the classical world has been taken as the defining characteristic of the period. This 'Renaissance' is often paired with the Reformation of the sixteenth century and presented as a comprehensive challenge to received ideas. Yet the culture of the fifteenth century remained rooted in traditional religious observance and one of its most important legacies was its contribution to the transformation of the Christian visual tradition.

We will use the institutions and practices of traditional religion to structure an approach to the art of the period. We will look at some of the most celebrated works in the western canon, not as independent aesthetic objects but as integral parts of a rich ritual system.