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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, 2009-10:
Please note that some special subjects will be capped, especially in cases where students need to look at manuscripts, etc. in museums. However, the level of capping will be left to the individual Lecturers concerned; in which case preference will be given to final-year students.
'Non Angli, sed angeli' is what the future Pope Gregory the Great is supposed to have said at the sight of fair-haired Anglo-Saxon boys being sold as slaves in Rome: tradition has it that he was so struck by this encounter that he set about the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity (Bede, The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, II,1). This special subject explores the momentous changes that the advent of Christianity brought about in Anglo-Saxon England, and which are testified to by the developments in the figurative and decorative arts that flourished from the end of the sixth century to the time of Offa (end of the eighth century). Questions of continuity and change, patronage and experiment, the relationship between a text-based religion and images, travel and the migration of ideas and sources will be investigated using a wealth of material: manuscripts, sculpture, metalwork, and architecture as well as the coinage of the time. This artistic period will be studied in a wide western-European context, so that far from being considered 'the Dark Ages', it might be more properly appreciated in its vibrant vitality as a first renaissance.
This special subject examines the exceptionally fertile period of French medieval art and architecture between the era of monastic reform and the end of the building boom at the end of the 13th century. Starting with Romanesque art in such areas as Normandy and Burgundy, it will examine the major sources of art comment in the 12th century including the writings of St Bernard and Abbot Suger. The Parisian art milieu c. 1150, including Saint-Denis, will act as a springboard to further consideration of the development of Gothic architecture in northern and eastern France (Notre-Dame, Paris, Laon, Soissons, Chartres, Bourges, etc.). Developments in metalwork and portal sculpture will be considered, and also illumination. High Gothic (Reims, Amiens) will follow, with consideration of the portfolio of Villard d'Honnecourt. The Parisian milieu will then be returned to with examination of Gothic architecture and 'scholasticism', the Sainte-Chapelle and Court art under Louis IX and the emergence of Rayonnant. Issues for discussion will include Gothic sculpture, theology and 'moralitas', the reception of French art and architecture in Western Europe more generally, and the loss of authority of French architecture to the geographical 'margins' from 1300.
Tiziano Vecellio, called Titian (c. 1488-1576) was the dominant Venetian painter of the 16th century and has remained one of the most universally admired of Western artists. Famed above all as an incomparable colourist, Titian was a remarkably adventurous and varied artist who essayed all the genres currently practised and left his mark upon them all. His career has few parallels in longevity and productiveness and he has been very much studied. However, many major problems remain to be resolved: of attribution, of dating, and of meaning.
This course will aim to provide a coherent account of Titian's artistic production, with particular attention paid to the different phases of his art, its variety, and the painter's constant experimentation. The focus will be on issues of style, development, dating, and meaning, and the approach will be primarily visual. Some attention will be paid to Titian's relations with other painters such as Giovanni Bellini, Giorgione, and Tintoretto and with his most significant patrons, but his art will stand centre-stage.
A study of Dürer as a painter, an engraver, a draughtsman, and a theorist demonstrates his prevailing place in the Northern Renaissance. His travels are studied and the impact of new ideas and forms on the development of his art. This involves a comparative analysis of Italian and Northern trends. However, the principal aim is to show the place of Dürer's production within his social and cultural environment (humanist, popular, religious, etc.). This approach should allow an understanding not only of the artistic but also of the cultural aspects of Dürer's art.
This course explores the transition from the late medieval fortified farm to the Renaissance villa inspired by antique literary and archaeological precedents, in both suburban and rural settings.
The functions of the villa ranged from recreation (horse-riding and hunting, theatre, music, bathing, literature, and art-collecting) to productive agriculture (arable farming, animal husbandry, viticulture, and forestry). Because the word 'villa' embraced the whole estate including both house and garden, the design of both villas and gardens will be considered together. Aspects to be explored include: the relationship of town and country; patronage and family identity; seasonal variations in use; gendered space both inside and outside; ideal and reality in the printed treatise; the intellectual life of the villa; the efforts to revive the villa culture of antiquity; the transition from nature to artifice; and the conscious appeal to all five senses in gardens. Examples will be drawn from many parts of Italy, but the most important topics will be the Medici family villas in Tuscany, the ville suburbane of papal Rome, and the villas of the Veneto, especially those designed by Palladio.
This course will cover the history of the Surrealist movement from its birth in Paris in 1924 to the dissolution of 'historical Surrealism' in 1969. It will focus on the developments of Surrealism during this fascinating period of French history and explore its revolutionary role in art, literature, and politics in France in the inter- and post-war years: from its birth in the aftermath of World War I, to its engagement with Marxism and psychoanalysis in the 1930s, to its exile in New York during World War II, to its post-war international exhibitions. Students will be encouraged to examine Surrealist art from a number of thematic perspectives - including desire, mythology, occultism, and utopianism, and to generally consider the relationship between Surrealist art and politics (gender, racial, and national) so that its successes and failures, and its legacy today, can be critically assessed.
This course will focus on the art of the capital, Constantinople, in the period between the end of Iconoclasm in 843 and the capture and sack of the city by the Fourth Crusade in 1204. In these centuries Constantinople was embellished with churches and palaces filled with mosaics, icons, and other treasures which were the wonder and envy of the medieval world. Visual representation was at the core of both Orthodox worship and imperial ideology; as political, economic, and social circumstances changed so did imagery. An important aspect of the course will be to locate Byzantine art in its historical context (including the audiences for and their reception of this art) and seek to draw out its essentially dynamic nature through the study of patronage and church and palace decoration. The course will also examine various conceptual issues, encompassing the function and meaning of icons, the notion of 'metropolitan' and 'provincial' production, the problems of Byzantine 'style', and the so-called 'renaissances' which took place in the period. Other themes will be the urban architecture and spaces of Constantinople and Middle Byzantine architecture. These topics will be addressed through the study of contemporary texts and the principal monuments of Constantinople, both in the city and those which were erected beyond it by metropolitan craftsmen, such as the churches at Ochrid, Hosios Loukas, Daphni, Nea Moni, and Nerezi. The material will include all the major forms of artistic expression - mosaics, wall paintings, icons, manuscript illumination, enamels, metalwork, and ivories.
This option will deal with French painting during a period of extreme political turbulence and great artistic fertility. Although the emphasis will be on the great painters whose work dominates the period - David, Gros, Girodet, Ingres, Géricault, Delacroix, Corot, Millet, and Courbet among others - their activity will be set within the context of governmental change, which brought changes in the pattern and content of state commissions, and broader cultural movements, in which some attention will be paid to contemporary developments in literature. This period is often thought of as comprising Neo-Classicism, Romanticism, and Realism, but it will be seen that such stylistic labels are quite inadequate to describe the wide range of art produced in France at the time.
The century from c.1750 to c.1850 was one of almost unprecedented development in British architecture. New relationships with the ruined buildings of the ancient Graeco-Roman world emerged in response to the effects of the Grand Tour and of the incipient science of archaeology, while an indigenous antithesis was represented by surviving or revived Gothic forms. The ideologies of the Picturesque and of Romanticism incorporated both classicism and medievalism, as well as more exotic forms of architecture inspired by Britain's trading links with the Far East. This was also the period in which Britain emerged as the world's first industrial nation, leading not just to new building materials and building types but also to rapid expansion of cities. In this special subject, the architectural effects of changing political and social imperatives in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries will be studied against the background of longstanding British traditions in building and landscape design.
This course will study painting in Britain during a period of unprecedented change. It will consider the importance of institutions as well as individuals, and will examine artists' careers in the light of political and social developments during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The course begins with the emergence of William Hogarth as a painter and a propagandist for his profession, before looking at the impact of the early Industrial Revolution upon the output of artists such as Joseph Wright and George Stubbs. It will then proceed to what may legitimately be labelled as 'the age of Reynolds', whose Discourses will provide the critical text for an examination of artistic theory and practice in the closing decades of the century. Finally attention will turn to landscape painting, and that 'decade of English naturalism' at the beginning of the nineteenth century which is associated with both Constable and Turner, before following the very different, though parallel trajectories of their respective careers.
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Cambridge University Reporter 08 May 2008
Copyright © 2011 The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge.