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History of Art Tripos, 2000: Special subjects

The Faculty Board of Architecture and History of Art give notice that they have approved the following special subjects for the History of Art Tripos, 2000 (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 308):

Papers 2 and 3. The mask and the face: European portraiture from Hogarth to Hockney

Portraits are one of the most frequently-encountered art-forms, especially in Cambridge, and yet they have been very little studied in their own right. This special subject looks at the problems surrounding the interpretation of faces and figures, beginning with Hogarth's discrimination between 'character' and 'caricature', and the new 'scientific' physiognomics of the Enlightenment. It traces the ways in which portrait artists in Europe have drawn on other genres, such as history-painting, landscape, and still-life to articulate their subjects, and considers the effect of photography on portrait conventions. Among the artists discussed are Hogarth, Reynolds, Gainsborough, Batoni, Raeburn, David, Goya, Ingres, Gillray, the Pre-Raphaelites, Manet, Van Gogh, Picasso, Kokoschka, Dix, Klimt, Schiele, Beaton, Hiller, Johns, and Hockney.

Papers 4 and 5. The development of painting in Central Italy c. 1280-1350

This course examines the development of fresco and panel painting between the late thirteenth century and the revival of patronage in Rome, and the Black Death. Major artists will include Cimabue, Cavallini, Giotto, Duccio, Simone Martini, and the Lorenzetti brothers. Particular attention will be given to large scale programmes of mosaic and fresco decoration in papal Rome, and Assisi, with reference to the decorations of the Upper Church of San Francesco. The course will move on to examine art and patronage in Florence and Siena and in particular the production of painted altarpieces. Consideration will be given to patronage, technique, and style, Italian painting of this period being seen from the perspective of medieval art in Western Europe. A major theme will be the role of painted images within contemporary Italian religious and civic culture.

Papers 6 and 7. Medieval and Renaissance Architecture in Venice 1300-1600

The evolution of the Venetian townscape depended on a range of distinctive factors. This course examines the peculiar physical problems of building on marshy lagoon islands and the reasons lying behind this choice of site. Through the chosen period, the changing nature of the respective roles of client, craftsman, and architect is investigated. We consider the nature of Venetian society, both secular and religious, and the architectural settings that evolved to accommodate it. In the context of the city's role as a great international emporium, we analyse how trading contacts influenced architectural expression. With the help of written descriptions and visual renderings of the townscape, the ideological content embodied in both private and public building is explored.

Papers 8 and 9. British Architects and Italy from Jones to Soane

This course will explore the varying ways in which British architecture was transformed during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by the impact of Italian architecture, whether through publications or travel. Attention will be paid to the shift of interest from Palladio to antique architecture, both Roman and Greek, as in the temples at Paestum and in Sicily. This will involve study of the travels and designs of architects such as Jones, Burlington, Chambers, Adam, and Soane, as well as the impact of the archaeologist, engraver, and architectural theorist, Piranesi.

Papers 10 and 11. Art and Architecture in Rome, 1500-27

These years encompass the High Renaissance in Rome, from the election of Julius II to the Sack of Rome by the troops of the Emperor Charles V in 1527. It was a period in which, under the patronage of successive Popes, Julius II, Leo X, and Clement VII, some of the grandest works of western painting, sculpture, and architecture were produced, by artists such as Michelangelo, Raphael, and Bramante, all of whom undertook massively ambitious projects which marked a new phase in Western Art, one in which the achievements of Classical antiquity were equalled if not surpassed: the Sistine Ceiling and the Julius Tomb, the Vatican Stanze and the Villa Madama, the Belvedere Courtyard and St Peter's. But it was also, towards the end of the period, that a new expressive and sometimes eccentric current of art began to appear, later known as Mannerism. This course will concentrate on the major projects and the major artistic personalities, situated in the context of the activities and the patronage of the Popes and their courts, but the antecedents of the Roman High Renaissance in Florence, Umbria, and Milan will also be looked at, as will the activities of the artists of the next generation in Rome between the death of Raphael in 1520 and the Sack.

Papers 12 and 13. Stained Glass: from Gothic to Gothic Revival

The option will study stained glass, its production, function, and significance, from the twelfth to the nineteenth centuries, looking mainly at England but always in relation to continental developments. Through concentrating on one medium, it will be possible to examine the processes underlying stylistic change as well as the wider socio-political, economic, and religious factors; covered will also be the effects of technological advances, the varying design sources, and the role of medievalism as a reaction to contemporary culture.

Papers 14 and 15. The Carracci and their Followers

Ludovico Carracci (1555-1619), and his cousins, the brothers Annibale (1560-1609) and Agostino (1557-1602), were among the most influential of all Italian artists. Traditionally and rightly regarded as artistic reformers, they synthesized the divergent regional styles of sixteenth-century Italy, renewed the study of the nude and of nature, and imbued Italian painting with a clarity, vigour, and life-likeness which left little of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century European painting unaffected. Ludovico worked primarily in Bologna; Agostino, also a prolific engraver, and Annibale at first collaborated with Ludovico in Bologna, and then moved to Rome where the work of Annibale, the most talented of the three, acquired international renown. The Carracci were also teachers of incalculable importance, and their pupils included many major artists of the next generation: Reni, Domenichino, Albani, Lanfranco, Tiarini, and Guercino.

For two centuries the Carracci were among the most revered of Italian painters, comparable in status with Raphael; it was only in the nineteenth century, with the rise of interest in the Italian primitives, that their reputations and those of their followers plummeted, and that they came to be seen as apostles of eclecticism. In recent years, however, their achievements have been reassessed and a revival of scholarly and public interest in them and their pupils has been expressed in a series of major exhibitions and monographs, and a flourishing periodical literature. The rediscovery of paintings and drawings by and associable with the Carracci and their followers continues apace and the field of study is anything but stable. This course will focus on the nature of the Carraccesque reform of the 1580s in Bologna, will study in depth the Roman career of Annibale, and will follow the currents of 'Baroque Classicism' that find their source in him in the works of his major pupils.

Papers 16 and 17. Modern movements in painting in England and France, 1880-1920

European art of the period covered by this course is characterized by fierce individualism on the one hand and by an emphasis upon artistic alliances on the other. From Whistler's Ten o'clock (1885) to the explosions of the Futurists at the Sackville Galleries (1912), artists took to the podium to expound their ideas about art. The Salon des Indépendents in Paris, like the New English Art Club in London, offered the comfort of mutual support to like-minded artists who found themselves at odds with the official taste of the official Salon and the Royal Academy respectively. Travel between the major centres of artistic production became an important element in campaigns by the avant-garde, first within Europe, then, by the end of the period, between Europe and the United States of America. The course will attempt to study the careers of individual painters against this background of alliances. It will relate theory to practice and will take account of the relevant social and political pressures. It will touch upon the following broad topics: after Impressionism, Symbolism, the impact of non-Western cultures, Cubism, the machine aesthetic, and the emergence of abstraction.
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Cambridge University Reporter, 20 May 1998
Copyright © 1998 The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge.