Week 1: Introduction and the house of Medici
We will introduce the various kinds of commissions and patrons (church, government and private) that characterize the Italian Renaissance. As we trace the rise to power of Florence’s ambitious and influential Medici family, we will examine some of the early masterpieces commissioned by Cosimo the Elder, the greatest private patron of his age.
Week 2: The Florence of Lorenzo the Magnificent
We will focus on the extraordinary life and patronage of Lorenzo de’ Medici. Banker, politician, statesman, diplomat and de facto ruler of the Republic of Florence, Lorenzo presided over a magnificent humanistic court of artists, poets and scholars.
Week 3: Art patronage in the Courts of Urbino, Mantua and Milan
The ruthless military rulers of the Italian Renaissance were at the same time enlightened patrons. We will examine the lives and patronage of the Gonzaga in Mantua, of Ludovico Sforza in Milan and of Federico da Montefeltro, duke of Urbino, whose leading court artists included such illustrious figures as Mantegna, Leonardo da Vinci and Piero della Francesca.
Week 4: Julius II, Patron of Bramante, Michelangelo and Raphael in Rome
We will see how Pope Julius II commissioned the most outstanding architects and artists of his age to create the great monuments and fresco cycles of the Vatican, including the new St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and Raphael’s Stanze.
For certificate students only:
Your instructor will evaluate you based on an essay, which you will complete at the end of the course. You will receive a grade of “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory.”
Textbooks and learning materials
Reading material (if applicable) will be available in class. Some course materials may be available online.