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WGSS 231
Art, Life, and Death: Locating Women in Italian Renaissance Art Spring 2020
Division II Writing Skills
Cross-listed WGSS 231 / ARTH 231

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Renaissance art is the stuff of blockbuster museum exhibitions, mass tourist pilgrimage, and record auction prices. From our modern vantage point, the cultural accomplishment of the 15th and 16th centuries in Italy clearly has the ability to astound. Calling to mind the inimitable imagination of Botticelli, the scientific genius of Leonardo, or the superhuman creativity of Michelangelo brings into focus an inspiring narrative of individual accomplishment, innovation, and progress (ideals we easily understand and may well share). This is an important story we still tell of human achievement. This tutorial explores a critical question: where are the women in this narrative? Women were not typically artists, so how might we bring their roles, force, and power into focus? To do this, we will turn away from the grand historical narrative we so easily recognize and enter a more foreign world: a realm of everyday experience in which art-never created for its own sake-was powerful, and mattered to people. Art shaped realities and mediated the fundamental questions and of life and death, from power, sexuality, love, desire, and self-definition, to mortality and communion with divinity When we approach Renaissance art on its own terms, our picture expands to include women, their lives, and what they themselves wanted to see. In addition to secondary scholarship, we will pay close attention to primary sources (including images themselves), giving students ample change to forge original arguments: one of the central goals of the tutorial.
The Class: Format: tutorial; some tutorial meetings will be conducted at local museums
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 3236
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: engaged reading and conversation; five 5-page tutorial papers (with revisions to one of these as final project); five 1- to 2-page responses to partner's tutorial papers
Prerequisites: first-year and sophomore students (this class is open to students with no experience in art history)
Enrollment Preferences: a statement of interest will be requested in the event the course is over-enrolled
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
WGSS 231 Division II ARTH 231 Division I
WS Notes: This course's fundamental goal is to support opportunity and skills to construct compelling and original written arguments. Tutorial partners will share standards and guidelines for strong writing with instructor: common concepts and language for critique, discussion, and applause. We will consider the power of argument inextricable from the quality of writing, and thus address writing issues, strategies, and successes in a deep way, organically and consistently, in every tutorial meeting.
Attributes: ARTH pre-1800 Courses

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