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ARTHIST 3D03 17th Century Art

Academic Year: Fall 2016

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Devin Therien


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 416

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23668

Office Hours: Monday 9:30-11:30 & Friday 11:30-1:00pm

Course Objectives:


Course Description:

Seventeenth-Century Art examines the Baroque movement by focusing on the culture in Rome, Naples, Madrid, Paris, and Amsterdam—the centers of seventeenth artistic, scientific, and religious culture. As the first era of a truly international artistic movement, Baroque culture is punctuated by several themes that will be examined in this course. These include: 1) the creation of modern archeology and its influence on the representation of Anicent history; 2) the Catholic Reformation and production of powerful religious imagery; 3) Court culture and the self-fashioning of individuals and families; 4) the expansion of artistic subject matter and merger of arts; and 5) the revolutionary scientific discoveries that created a new understanding of planetary and earthly dynamics. At its core, this course investigates some of the most influential social and cultural changes, which continue to be felt today.



Course Objectives:

By the end of this course students should be able to:

• define, describe and analyse key artists, art works, and themes in the history of Seventeenth-Century European Art and Culture

• demonstrate critical reading skills, particularly in the area of critically-evaluating historical and modern interpretations and examinations of Baroque art and artists.

• apply historical research and writing skills introduced in class.

• demonstrate verbal and written communication skills through regular discussions and papers.


Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Ann Sutherland Harris, Seventeenth-Century Art and Architecture, L. King: 2008, 2nd Edition


Benedict Leca & Devin Therien, Illuminations: Italian Baroque Paintings in Canadian Collections, Art Gallery of Hamilton & D. Giles Ltd.: 2015


Reference Texts (Must Consult for Essays):


G.P. Bellori, The Lives of the Modern Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, trans. A. S. Wohl, Cambridge University Press: 2005; E. G. Holt; A Documentary History of Art, Vol. 2 (The Baroque and the Eighteenth Century), Doubleday Press, 1947-66; R. Wittkower, Art and Architecture in Italy, 1600-1750, Yale University Press: 1999, 6th Ed.; Hans Vlieghe, Flemish Art and Architecture, 1585-1700, Yale University Press: 2004; Jonathan Brown, Painting in Spain, 1500-1700, Yale University Press: 1999; Seymour Slive, Dutch Painting, 1600-1800, Yale University Press: 1999; Anthony Blunt, Art and Architecture in France, 1500-1700, Yale University Press: 1999.


Important Art Historians (Must Consult for Essays):


S. Alpers, O. Baschman, S. Ebert-Schifferer, O. Bonfait, K. Christienson, E. Cropper, C. Dempsey, S. Dickey, W. Franitz, M. Garrard, J. Held, M. Jaffe, D. Jaffe, M. Loh, C. Lorse-Belkin, W. Liedtke, D. Mahon, E. Panofsky, A. E. Pérez-Sánchez, L. Pericolo, H. Perry Chapman, P. Rosenberg, S. Schütze, R. Spear, N. Spinosa, P. Sohm, A. Summerscale, J. Unglaub, A. Wheelock Jr., L. De Witt


Online Resources (Non-McMaster Libraries, Encyclopedia, & Image Databases):


RKD – Netherlandish Institute for Art Library:

Kubikat – German Art Libraries Network:

E. P. Taylor Research Library, Art Gallery of Ontario:

AMICUS, Library and Archives Canada:

Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, Metropolitan Museum of Art:


Method of Assessment:

Course Evaluation: Participation, 5 %; 3 Pop Up Monday Quizzes, 5% each (15% of final grade); Take Home Mid-Term (Short Essay Exam), 20%; Term Essay, 30%; Final Exam, 30%

Students in this course will have received 10% of their grade by November 4, 2016.


Participation 5 %: Students are expected to attend every class and be prepared to discuss the assigned weekly readings and other subjects that are raised during lecture. Students must participate regularly to receive a good grade.

3 Pop Up Monday Quizes 5 % (each): Each quiz will be a 20 minute written analysis of a work of art that has been discussed at length in the preceding class and/or weeks. Students must identify the artist and work and discuss succinctly 2 important points about the work of art (approximately 6 sentences or 2 paragraphs).

Mid-Term Take Home Exam Essay 20 %: (A 1000 word research essay examining the representation of femininity in a painting to be introduced in class on Wednesday, October 5th, 2016). Comparisons with other works of the same subject are essential as well as other works by the artist. The papers must be submitted in physical form on Monday, October 17th at 8:30 am in class.

Term Essay 30 % (Due Nov. 18th at 8:30 am in class): Students will submit a succinctly-written 2000 word essay based on one of the below works:


Luca Giordano’s Massacre of the Children of Niobe (Art Gallery of Hamilton), Jusepe Ribera’s St. Jerome (Art Gallery of Ontario), Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s Crucified Christ (AGO); Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s Pope Urban VIII (National Gallery of Canada); Mattia Preti’s St. Paul the Hermit (AGO); Peter Paul Rubens’s Massacre of the Innocents (AGO); Nicolas Poussin’s Venus, Mother of Aeneas, Presenting Him with Arms Forged by Vulcan (AGO); Simon Vouet’s Fortune Tellers (NGC); Rembrandt’s A Woman at Her Toilet (NGC), Jacob Jordaens’s As the Old Sing so the Young Pipe (NGC); or Matthias Stom’s Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery (Montreal Museum of Fine Arts).


Alternatively, students may select another work of art by one of the following artists that must be approved by the Professor: Caravaggio, Annibale Carracci, Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith Leyster, Johannes Vermeer, Frans Hals, Gerrit van Honthorst, or Diego Velázquez.


***Important Note*** Written Work:

All written work will be marked on grammar, clarity of writing, and organization, as well as content, analysis, and depth of research. All essays must include a thesis statement, outline of arguments, successive arguments that support the thesis, and a conclusion that restates the thesis and makes several concluding points about the subject discussed. All essays must be properly referenced, with footnotes and a bibliography corresponding to the format used by Ann Sutherland Harris in the course text. All essays must have a cover page and illustrations of all the images discussed. Lastly, they must be printed in Calibri Body font, double-spaced, and have 1.5 inch margins. 1% will be deducted for every spelling, grammatical, and formatting error. An A+ essay will be posted on Avenue to Learn for students to consult.


All research must be conducted using peer-reviewed publications, including academic journals, books, and exhibition catalogues. Students must use the authoritative catalogue raisonné (complete catalogue of works) when writing about their chosen artist (i.e. Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard for Peter Paul Rubens).


5% will be deducted for every citation linked to non peer-reviewed research materials (i.e. Blogs, Wikipedia, Khan Academy or any online content that is not peer reviewed. This rule also applies to artist essays or descriptions of art works found in General Dictionaries (i.e. Encyclopedia Britannica) or Gallery, Museum, and Institution webpages). The only exception is the Grove Dictionary of Art at Oxford Art Online. All biblical citations must come from The Catholic Encyclopedia.


Final Examination 30% (TBD)


***Important Note***

This course uses Avenue to Learn to post the course outline, weekly slide presentations, research aides, and grades.


Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

LATE AND / OR MISSED WORK: It is the responsibility of each student to attend class, tests and exams and meet the requirements of the course. Missed quizzes and exams as well as late papers will be assigned a grade of 0. Exceptions to this policy will only be made in the specific instances in accordance with the Faculty of Humanities policies.


Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:


Sept. 7 & 9 – Course Introduction


Readings: Sutherland Harris, pp. xi-xxi


Sept. 12, 14 & 16 – Discovering the Baroque: Federico Barocci and the Carracci Reform in Painting


Readings: Sutherland Harris, pp. 3-23


Sept. 19, 21 & 23 – Caravaggio and The Carracci in Rome


Readings: Sutherland Harris, pp. 24-49


Sept. 26, 28 & 30 – Caravaggio and the Roman Caravaggisti


Readings: Sutherland Harris, pp. 50-55 & Therien, pp. 43-49; 52-55


Oct. 3, 5 & 7 – Caravaggio and International Caravaggism 


Readings: Sutherland Harris, pp. 134-36; 200-28; 260-67; 315-18; De Witt, pp. 67-77

(Oct. 5, Mid-Term Take Home Essay Image Presented)


Oct. 10, 12 & 14 – No Class (Mid-term break)


Oct. 17, 19 & 21 – The Carracci School and High Baroque Painting in Rome


Readings: Sutherland Harris, pp. 56-77; 113-24; 273-88

(Mid-Term Essay Due on Oct. 17 at 8:30am in class)


Oct. 24, 26 & 28 – Italian Baroque Sculpture: Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Alessandro Algardi


Readings: Sutherland Harris, pp. 85-112


Oct. 31, Nov. 2 & 4 – Baroque Painting in Flanders: Rubens, Van Dyck, and Jordaens (1608-1640)


Readings: Sutherland Harris, pp. 143-85

(Oct. 31st, Early Essay Submission Due Date—physical copies only in class)


Nov. 7, 9 & 11 – Baroque Painting in the Netherlands: Hals, Rembrandt, and Vermeer


Readings: Sutherland Harris pp. 319-73


Nov. 14, 16 & 18 – Baroque Art in France: Art Made for a King (Simon Vouet to Charles LeBrun)


Readings: pp. 258-94, 303-310

(Essays Due Nov. 18 at 8:30am & Discussion of Final Exam in class)


Nov. 21, 23 & 25 – Baroque Painting in Spain from Ribera to Murillo


Readings: Sutherland Harris pp. 228-38


Nov. 28, 30 & Dec 2 – Genre and Landscape Painting in Italy and the Netherlands

Test Ban Dec 1 -8

Readings: Sutherland Harris pp. 186-94, 295-302, 356-65, 378-88


Dec. 5 & 7 – Late Baroque Art (Giordano, Baciccio, and Ricci) and the Post-Modern Baroque


Readings: 127-34

(Final Exam Review on December 7th)

Other Course Information:

This course uses Avenue to Learn.