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ARTHIST 3I03 ItalPaint&Sculpt:1400-1580

Academic Year: Winter 2017

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Devin Therien


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 416

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23668

Office Hours: Monday (9:30-12:30) & Friday (11:30-1:00pm)

Course Objectives:



Renaissance Art examines the artists and themes that determined the trajectory of painting and sculpture during the period 1400 to 1580. The development of perspective, monumental free-standing sculpture, narrative painting, and fresco decoration will be explored by studying the works of such artists as Donatello, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Titian. The course also investigates how the invention of monumental ceiling paintings and frescoes facilitated some of the most dramatic changes in the history of Western Art. Beginning in early Renaissance Tuscany, the course charts the development of the arts throughout Italy, by focusing on the social and cultural forces that helped shape artistic activities in Venice, Florence, and Rome—the capitals of Italian Renaissance art.


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:


Stephen J. Campbell & Michael Cole, Italian Renaissance Art, Thames & Hudson: 2011.


Giorgio Vasari, The Lives of the Artists, Vol. 1, trans. G. Bull, Penguin Classics: 1988, Rev. Ed.



Reference Texts:

Frederick Hartt, History of Italian Renaissance Art: Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, Pearson Prentice Hall: 2006 (or newer); Sydney J. Freedberg, Painting in Italy, 1500-1600, Yale University Press: 1993; J. Pope-Henessey, The Study and Criticism of Italian Sculpture, Princeton University Press & The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1980; J. Pope Henessey, An Introduction to Italian Sculpture, London & New York: 1970, 2nd. Ed. Rev., 3 Vols.; J. Pomeroy & C. Strinati (ed.), Italian Women Artists from Renaissance to Baroque, Skira: 2007.


Primary Texts:

G. Vasari, The Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, trans. Gaston du C. de Vere, Everyman Library: 2006; E. G. Holt; A Documentary History of Art, Vol. 1 (The Renaissance), Doubleday Press, 1947-66;



Important Art Historians (Must Consult for Essays):


P. Barolsky, M. Baxandall, D. A. Brown, S. J. Campbell, M. Cole, E. Cropper, U. de Lia, C. Dempsey, D. Ekserdjian, D. Franklin, S. J. Freedberg, R. Goeffen, C. Gould, F. Hartt, C. Hope, P. Humfrey, M. Kemp, S. Lingo, J. Manca, H. Olsen, E. Panofsky, F. Pedrocco, T. Puttfarken, D. Rosand, D. Summers.


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


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


Students in this course will have received 10% of their grade by March 10, 2017.


Attendance 5%:  Attendance will be taken every class.


Participation 5%: Students must be prepared to openly 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 then discuss succinctly 2 important points about the work of art (approximately 6 sentences or 2 paragraphs).


Meetings with the Professor 5%: Meeting with the Professor for feedback and research assistance is required at least twice in the semester. Students must attend these meetings and be prepared to answer questions regarding their study methods, the state of their research, and grades. One meeting must occur before the mid-term and again after the mid-term essays have been returned. The professor reserves the right to request additional meetings.


Mid-Term Take Home Exam Essay 20% (A fully researched and edited 500 word Introduction to your Term Essay examining one of the options below. See full instructions on how to write your Term Essay below).


Term Essay 20%: Students will submit a succinctly-written 2000 word essay based on one of the following works using only primary sources (i.e. Ovid’s Metamorphoses; and The Holy Bible) and modern scholarly literature (post-1920):


Giambologna’s Samson and a Philistine or Federico Barocci’s Madonna del Popolo.


Alternatively, students may select one of the below works. This option must be presented to the Professor in both an oral statement and written document before approval. The Professor reserves the right to deny the student's proposal.


Tintoretto's Christ Washing His Disciples' Feet (Art Gallery of Ontario) or Veronese's Repentent Magdalen (National Gallery of Canada)


***Important Note*** Written Work (Mid-Term and Term Essays Only):

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 Chicago Manual on Style for books and journals. 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. 2% will be deducted for every spelling, grammatical, and formatting error.


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. Harald Olsen, Federico Barocci).


5% will be deducted for every citation linked to non peer-reviewed research materials (i.e. Blogs, Wikipedia, Studyblue, 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 or Institution webpages). The only exceptions are the Grove Dictionary of Art and Oxford Art Online. All biblical citations must come from The Catholic Encyclopedia.


Final Examination 30% (TBD)


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 exams and late papers will automatically be assigned a grade of 0. Exceptions to this policy will only be made in the specific instances outlined below (see McMaster Student Absence Form), and only when met by approval from the Faculty/Program office and course instructor.


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:

Jan. 4 & 6 – Course Introduction and Discovering the Italian Renaissance

Readings: Campbell & Cole, pp. 8-15; Vasari, Preface to Part One

Jan. 9, 11 & 13 – The Early Renaissance: Florentine Painting and Sculpture Before 1420

Readings: Campbell & Cole, pp. 16-47; Vasari, Cimabue, Giotto

Jan. 16, 18 & 20 – Ghiberti and Donatello: Innovation in Free-standing Sculpture

Readings: Campbell & Cole, pp. 50-82, 148-58; Vasari, Preface to Part Two, Ghiberti, Donatello

Jan. 23, 25 & 27 – Brunelleschi, Masaccio, Fra Angelico, and Donatello: Discovering Linear Perspective

Readings: Campbell & Cole, pp. 90-109, 132-44, 163-65; Vasari, Brunelleschi, Masaccio, Fra Angelico

Jan. 30, Feb. 2 & 3 – Verrocchio, Perugino, and Botticelli: Florence during the Reign of the Medici

Readings: Campbell & Cole, pp. 234-36, 239-47, 252-55, 271-73, 275-80; Vasari, Verrocchio, Botticelli

Feb. 6, 8 & 10 – Leonardo da Vinci: Painter, Sculptor, Architect, and Scientist

Readings: Campbell & Cole, pp. 247-52, 280-83, 312-320, 329-36; Vasari, Preface to Part Three, Leonardo da Vinci

Feb. 13, 15 & 17 – Michelangelo: Between Florence and Rome

Readings: Campbell & Cole, pp. 320-23, 326-29, 333-37; 393-96, 419-21, 447-54, 461-63, 472-75; Vasari, Michelangelo

Feb. 20-26 – Mid-Term Recess


Mid-Term Due on Feb. 27 at 8:30am in Class


Mar. 27, 1 & 3 – Michelangelo and the Sistine Ceiling

Readings: Campbell & Cole, pp. 346-54; Vasari, Michelangelo

Mar. 6, 8, & 10 – Raphael: Urbino, Rome, and Reputation

Readings: Campbell & Cole, pp. 338-42, 354-61, 372-93, 410-19; Vasari, Raphael

Term Essay Early Submission date: March 10th in physical format only


Mar. 13, 15 & 17 – Giorgione, Correggio, and Art in Northern Italy

Readings: Campbell & Cole, pp. 261-69, 402-407, 424-31, 438-440, 445-47; Vasari, Giorgione, Correggio, Titian

Mar. 20, 22 & 24 – Titian, Michelangelo, and Giambologna: Northern Colour and Florentine-Roman Design

Readings: Campbell & Cole, pp. 475-77, 487-90, 496-502, 544-52, 606-607; Vasari, Titian

Term Essay Due Mar. 20 at 8:30am in class


Mar. 27, 29 & 31 – Veronese, Tintoretto, and Barocci: The Art of Pagentry

Readings: Campbell & Cole, pp. 556-72, 564-72

Apr. 3 & 5 – The Italian Renaissance in the Age of Religious Reform

Readings: Campbell & Cole, pp. 525-29


Other Course Information:


In this course we will be using Avenue to Learn. Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of this course, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster e-mail accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course. The available information is dependent on the technology used. Continuation in this course will be deemed consent to this disclosure. If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor.


The University provides a variety of support services to help students manage their many demands. Reference librarians can provide invaluable research assistance. The Student Accessibility Services Centre (SAS) provides assistance with personal as well as academic matters. MUSC B107 and