ARTH 330
Michelangelo: Biography, Mythology, and the History of Art
Last Offered Spring 2017
Division I Writing Skills
This course is not offered in the current catalog

Class Details

One might argue that Michelangelo’s enduring fame, and his preeminence in the European art historical canon, is as much a product of his artistic persona as his artistic achievement. Indeed, the classic image of the artist as a brooding, tortured genius of unstoppable creative force finds its roots in the Italian Renaissance, and specifically in the fascinating biography–and mythology–of Michelangelo. With a life and career more fully documented than those of any western artist to precede him, Michelangelo provides the foundations for a triangulation of person-persona-artistic production that has a modern ring. But what are the limits of our knowledge, and what are the boundaries of interpretation? And how might we approach the study of an artistic self when that self is, also, a work of art? In this course, students will become well-acquainted with the life and work of Michelangelo, giving critical attention to the connection between the artist and his work. We will investigate, in particular, the practice of interpreting his work according to his philosophical outlook, political convictions, religious beliefs, sexual desire, and more. While this course will bring us deep into the life and work of a single artist, one of its goals is to generate ideas about the very act of biographically-based art historical interpretation. How can thinking carefully about Michelangelo reshape our own thinking about art historical practice?
The Class: Format: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 3960
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation will be based on the quality and improvement of written work (5 weekly papers and 5 response papers, and a final written exercise addressing major themes of the tutorial), and oral dialogue
Prerequisites: one ARTH course of any level; open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors
Enrollment Preferences: none
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills

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