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David Birdsong, Chair 201 W 21ST STREET STOP B7600, HRH 2.114A, AUSTIN, TX 78712 • 512-471-5531

Spring 2008


Unique Days Time Location Instructor
37510 TTh
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
PAR 208

Course Description

The Italian City: Art, Architecture, and Civic Planning
      Florence, Venice, Siena: the cultural landscape of Italy is dominated by a series of cities so unique and rich in artistic treasures that any one example is worthy of a whole course of study. We begin, as a class, with the most famous and paradigmatic of all the Renaissance city-states, Florence. We will explore the development of art and architecture in a number of settings: civic, ecclesiastic, monastic, palatial, and private. This encompasses such grand projects as Brunelleschi's dome for the Cathedral as well as private, secular decoration in the Davanzati Palace. We will also examine the cities of Venice and Siena; each of these cities is distinguished by its own unique style of painting, architecture, and issues of urban planning. At the end of the semester, students will work together, in small groups, on urbanistic studies of some of Italy's lesser-known cities, such as Ferrara, Padua, Mantua, or Urbino. In the final classes, students will give group reports to the class regarding their findings about these smaller city-states. In each case, we observe the unique art and architecture that distinguishes the communities; in the process, we will also discover some of the cultural, artistic, and urban commonalities of these very diverse Italian cities.

Grading Policy

Exam I: 20%; Exam II: 20%; Exam III 20% (half of each exam is a take-home essay) Group project: 20% Short Assignments and Classroom Participation: 20%


Readings: We will be reading Gene Brucker's classic study, Renaissance Florence, as well as Patricia Fortini Brown's Art and Life in Renaissance Venice, and Loren Partridge's The Art of Renaissance Rome 1400-1600. In addition, there will be a packet of readings to supplement these books (IT Copy, 512 W. MLK, 476-6662).


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