The course treats of art and architecture of the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Qualified as “Early Modern” this historiographical structuring tries to distinguish the different levels of the various secularizations as an human-civilization-progress; but after the doubled catastrophe of the World-Wars of the 20th century this narrative doesn’t seem to be valid anymore and can’t serve for the former art-history, which is based on the convention of an linear stylistic evolution. Critically reflecting these traditionaries lineaments and considering individual but exemplary work of art or architectural monument (following the chronology) we prefer to elaborate a comprehension in his cultural-historic context. But such soundings first demand always referring to our contemporaries to consider and define the individual position.
To avoid any predetermination we intend to thematize not only the main works of the traditional history of art but also those, which are generally minor known:
- In the early stages we thematize the giant project of the gothic and modern Dome of Milan instead to analyse another time the bizantinism of Brunelleschi’s dome at Florence;
- We contrast the different ideas illustrating the Holy Trinity of Jan van Eyck’s Gent-Altar with Masaccio’s Florentine fresco;
- We discuss the suggestive rhetoric of Alessandro Baricco interpreting the Deposition of Christ at Madrid of Rogier van der Weyden;
- We distinguish the various narratives represented of the monumental Italian and Flanders cycles of the second half of 15th or the first half of 16th centuries;
- We consider the artistic intention to fascinate and affect by analysing the “Sposalizio” of Raphael, the “Last supper” of Leonardo and the Roman “Pietà” of Michelangel;
- We contrast the “Four Apostles” of Dürer with the “Transfiguration” of Raphael;
- We discuss the architectural projects for St. Peter and we expose the project-idea of Bramante’s “Tempietto”;
- We thematize the “Villa Suburbana” (“Poggio a Caiano”, “Casina di Pio IV” and the “Malcontenta”;
- European Mannerism will be declared and explained by paintings and etchings of Pieter Brueghel the Elder, particularly by his “Parable of blind men”;
- To recognize the pictorial colourism we examine paintings of Titian, Veronese, Tintoretto and other artists of the “School of Venice”;
- To consider “Seeing” we treat Parmigianino’s “Self-Portrait”, Holbein’s portraits of “The Ambassadors” and Poussin’s “Self-portrait”; this give us the occasion to explain the role of the Academies of Art and Architecture, to speak about the “Paragone”, about the “Idea”, about the “Querelle des anciens et des modernes and finally about “Sublime” and “Beauty”;
- We discuss the modernity of the baroque-artist and the problem to be incriminated to “ingannare” (Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s “Verità”);
- We thematize the rivalry of “court-artists” and the competition of “bourgeois-artists”, who offered their products to the art-market (Bernini – Borromini; Rubens – Rembrandt) and we look at the new sorts of paintings: the landscapes, the still-lifes and the vedute;
- Finally we arrive to the complex monuments of European absolutism as “Versailles” and “Caserta” and recognize his beginning decadence, the inquiry of his rationalism, the nostalgia of Watteau’s “Pellegrinaggio a Citera”, which passes to Piranesi’s and Hogarth’s enlightenment criticism, to the nightmares of Goya and to some realized and not-realized theoretical or utopian projects of late 18th century French “Revolution-Architects”.
Consciously we refuse the lineament of artistic styles often used by manuals and favour rather to elaborate various but advanced views on the works of art and architecture regarding their contextuality.