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COURSE NAME: "Introduction to Art and Architecture. Rome, a Case Study"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2019

INSTRUCTOR: Erick Wilberding
EMAIL: ewilberding@johncabot.edu
HOURS: MW 6:00-7:15 PM

No city in the world can boast the wealth of art and architecture that Rome possesses, and the city provides an ideal framework for understanding international trends and changes between the 1st century BC and the present day. The course will consider the historical, political and international contexts that shapes the form and display of art and architecture, as well as provide a foundation for understanding major artistic works and directions.
Rome is arguably the most fascinating city in the world, filled with art and architecture that has profoundly influenced the course of history. Over the last 20 centuries Rome has held a unique and deeply important position in the culture of the West. This class will survey the history, art, and architecture of Rome and how the city's character and appearance alter over the centuries. We pass from Republican to Imperial Rome, then to Papal Rome.  The popes govern the city through many vicissitudes until the Kingdom of Italy claims the city as its capital in the late 19th century. The Italian monarchy then falls in the 20th century with the founding of the Republic. We look at each period.

We examine ancient masterpieces like the Ara Pacis, the Arch of Constantine, the early Christian basilicas, mosaics from the time of Charlemagne, the paintings of Raphael and Michelangelo, the sculpture of Bernini, the city planning of Valadier, the radical innovations for the new capital as well as the later alterations during the Fascist period. We will finally consider the projects of contemporary architects such as Renzo Piano, Zaha Hadid, Massimiliano Fuksas, and Richard Meier.

Students will learn how to speak about works of art and architecture so that on the basis of style and content they can explain clearly why a work belongs to a particular period. They will compare the characteristics of the visual arts within a particular historical period with ideas, issues, or themes in the humanities or sciences. Knowledge about the works of art will be gained, but students are expected to express understanding and apply this knowledge in a critical manner. 

There is more significant and influential art and architecture in Rome than we have time to speak about. But this course will be a beginning. For a brief stay in Rome this is an ideal course for learning the city.
Students will have an understanding of the development of art and architecture in Rome from the Augustan Period to the present. They will recognize basic works and learn basic facts concerning their cultural and political contexts.


Students will learn the questions that art historians pose of the visual culture of the past. They will learn more about the difficulties of interpretation as well as the basic subject matter and iconography, the purpose and function of the work of art, and issues touching on patronage.


Students will develop their skills of visual analysis and learn how to place a work of art within its historical period by its formal characteristics.


Students will develop an awareness of the different attitudes towards the artist and the artwork in different cultures of the world.Students will understand better the unique resources of the city of Rome.


Students will learn how to speak and write about visual culture. In particular students will deepen their understanding of historical writing that largely is directed to questions of cause and effect as well as significance. They will understand better the basic structure of historical writing (point, explanation, justification).
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Rome: The Biography of a CityChristopher HibbertPenguin UKISBN-10: 9780140070781  
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
The Inheritance of Rome: Illuminating the Dark Ages 400-1000Chris WickhamPenguin Books;ISBN-10: 0143117424  
Medieval Rome: Stability and Crisis of a City, 900-1150Chris WickhamOxford University PressISBN-10: 9780198811220  

Participation and academic professionalismContribution to the academic milieu of the class: contribution to class discussions, willingness to share own observations, and collaborative behavior20%
4 Visual Analyses4 Visual analysis of three works from diverse periods, cultures and media. One must be architecture, another sculpture, and a third must be painting. The fourth is a choice.20%
PaperA five page paper on a work of art or architecture in the city20%
MidtermIdentifications of individual works, terms & definitions, multiple choice questions, analytical comparisons 20%
Final examinationIdentifications of individual works, terms & definitions, multiple choice questions, analytical comparisons 20%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the cour
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

Attendance is mandatory. Discussions depend upon each student’s presence and preparedness. All absences must be documented and approved.

Two (2) unapproved absences will result in an automatic deduction of one step in the final course letter grade (e.g. “A–” reduced to a “B+”).

Three (3) unapproved absences will result in an automatic deduction of two steps in the final course letter grade (e.g. “A” reduced to a “B+”).

Four (4) or more unapproved absences will be considered sufficient grounds for expulsion from the course with a final letter grade of “F”.

All documentation regarding absences must be maintained by the student and presented at the end of the semester to the Professor for consideration and approval as ‘excused’.

As stated in the official catalogue, absence from a class meeting in which a final examination, mid-term, or other major examination has been scheduled will be officially excused only if the student:

Notifies the Office of the Dean of his/her inability to attend before the beginning of the class meeting for which the examination is scheduled;

Subsequently presents to the Dean documented evidence of a serious difficulty preventing attendance.
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


SessionSession FocusReading AssignmentOther AssignmentMeeting Place/Exam Dates
September 2Introduction & Analysis of Art. Republican Rome. Hibbert, 3-23 Excerpt: Plutarch, Life of Marcellus (21): Triumph of Marcellus following capture of SyracuseMONUMENTS: The Servian Wall, Temple of Vesta or Hercules Victor?, Temple of Portunus, Tabularium, Pons Fabricius, Theater of Pompey  
September 4Brick into Marble: The Rome of AugustusRequired: Hibbert, pp.24-38; Vergil, The Shield of Achilles. SUGGESTED: Rehak, P. “Aeneas or Numa? Rethinking the Meaning of the Ara Pacis Augustae,” Art Bulletin 83 (2001), 190-208MONUMENTS: Julius Caesar, Forum of Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Augustus of Prima Porta, Forum of Augustus, Mausoleum of Augustus, Ara Pacis, Theater of Marcellus 
September 9Nero's Rome / Peter and Paul / Flavian RomeHibbert, 38-52; Tacitus on the Great Fire (in-class)MONUMENTS: Claudius, Porta Maggiore, Nero, Domus Aurea, Vespasian, Flavian Amphitheater (Colosseum), Arch of Titus 
September 11High Imperial Rome: Trajan, Optimus PrincepsHibbert, 44-63. SUGGESTED: Boatwright, Gargola, & Talbot, 367-373.MONUMENTS: Baths of Trajan, Forum of Trajan, Column of Trajan, Markets of Trajan 
September 16High Imperial RomeExcerpt from Cassius Dio, Roman History 69.4 (Death of Apollodorus of Damascus) SUGGESTED: Boatwright, Gargola, & Talbot, 373-379. MONUMENTS: Temple of Rome and Venus, Pantheon, Mausoleum of Hadrian, Base of Column of Antoninus Pius, Equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, Commodus as Hercules, Arch of Septimius Severus 
September 183rd Century Rome: Soldier Emperors and PersecutionsSUGGESTED: Christopher J. Haas, “Imperial Religious Policy and Valerian’s Persecution of the Church, A.D. 257-260,” Church History 52/2 (1983), 133-144.MONUMENTS: Caracalla, Baths of Caracalla, Philip the Arab, Trajan Decius, Christ / Sol Invictus mosaic, Aurelian Wall, FIRST ANALYSIS (FORMATIVE, NOT GRADED)  
September 23Christian Art before ConstantineExcerpts from Passion of Perpetua and Felicity (martyrs) Excerpt of sermon of Leo I (Sermon 85 on Saint Lawrence)MONUMENTS: The Good Shepherd fresco Catacomb of Saints Peter and Marcellinus, Sarcophagus with philosopher, Baths of Diocletian  
September 25Constantine and RomeHibbert, 64-71. SUGGESTED: P. Peirce, 'The Arch of Constantine: Propaganda and Ideology in Late Roman Art', Art History 12 (1989), 387–418.MONUMENTS: Roman Senate House, Basilica of Maxentius, Arch of Constantine, Old Saint Peter's, Saint John Lateran, Santa Costanza, Sarcophagus of Costanza 
September 30A Pagan or a Christian Rome?Excerpt: The plea by Symmachus for the Altar of Victory (382 CE) REQUIRED: Margaret R. Miles, "Santa Maria Maggiore's Fifth-Century Mosaics: Triumphal Christianity and the Jews," The Harvard Theological Review 86/2 (April 1993), 155-175.MONUMENTS: Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, Christ enthroned, Abraham and Melchisedek Mosaic (S. Maria Maggiore), Saint Paul outside the Walls, Lateran Baptistery 
October 2Rome in the Early Middle AgesHibbert, 72-96 Excerpts from Pope Leo I (r. 440-461) and Pope Gregory the Great (r. 590-604)MONUMENTS: Santa Sabina, Apse Mosaic Saints Cosmas and Damian, Maria Regina, Virgin of Clemency (Rome. Sta. Maria in Trastevere), San Stefano Rotondo, Ponte Nomentano 
October 7Carolingian RomeExcerpts from Einhard's Life of CharlemagneMONUMENTS: Triclinium Mosaic of Leo III, Mosaics of Santa Prassede, Apse Mosaic of Santa Maria in Domnica, "Chair of Saint Peter," Apse Mosaic of San Marco SECOND ANALYSIS DUE  
October 9Rome in the Middle AgesSUGGESTED reading: Hetherington, 1970 on mosaics by Cavallini in Santa Maria in TrastevereMONUMENTS: Apse Mosaic San Clemente, Santa Maria in Trastevere, Santa Maria sopra Minerva, Apse Mosaic Santa Maria Maggiore, Giotto, Arnolfo di Cambio, Medieval Houses in Rome 
October 16Rome in the Early RenaissanceHibbert, 113-124. SUGGESTED: Gail L. Geiger, "Filippino Lippi's Carafa "Annunciation": Theology, Artistic Conventions, and Patronage," The Art Bulletin 63 (1981), 62-75MONUMENTS: Masolino, Chapel of Saint Catherine; Fra Angelico, Chapel of Nicholas V, Filippino Lippi, Carafa Chapel 
October 21Rome of Sixtus IVHibbert, 125-138MONUMENTS: Sistine Chapel (building and decoration of 1481-1483); Hospital; Ponte Sisto 
October 23Rome in the High RenaissanceHibbert 139-152 Excerpts from Macchiavelli, The Prince (regarding Cesare Borgia) (handout)MONUMENTS: Works for Alexander VI Borgia; New St. Peter's Basilica; Raphael Stanze; Leonardo's work in Rome 
October 28Michelangelo in RomePrimary sources (translated) on Roman commissions (handout)MONUMENTS: Pietà; Sistine Ceiling; Monument for Julius II; Resurrected Christ; Last Judgment; Capitoline Palaces; Porta Pia; Dome of St. Peter's 
October 30The Sack of Rome; Rome in the later 16th CenturyHibbert, 153-178 Excerpts from the Autobiography of Benvenuto CelliniMONUMENTS: Works of Salviati, Cellini, Vasari, late Roman Mannerists, Villa Giulia  
November 4Rome in the Baroque: CaravaggioHibbert, 179-199 Selected documents on Caravaggio in Rome (police records, etc)MONUMENTS: Sick Bacchus; The Cardsharps; Gypsy Fortuneteller; Contarelli Chapel, Cerasi Chapel, Madonna del Loreto, Entombment of Christ THIRD ANALYSIS DUE 
November 6Rome in the Baroque: BerniniExcerpt from the Autobiography of Teresa of AvilaMONUMENTS: Apollo & Daphne, Pluto & Persephone, Baldacchino, Triton Fountain, 4 River Fountain, Cornaro Chapel, Chair of St. Peter, Colonnade of St. Peter's Basilica, Blessed Ludovica Albertoni 
November 11Rome in the 18th CenturyHibbert, 200-226. SUGGESTED: Hereward Lester Cooke Jr., "The Documents Relating to the Fountain of Trevi" The Art Bulletin 38 (1956), 149-173. J.J. Winckelmann, Thoughts on the Imitation of Greek Art in Painting and Sculpture," (photocopy to be distributed).MONUMENTS: Trevi Fountain, Facade of St. John Lateran, Facade of S. Maria Maggiore, Works of Mengs and Canova 
November 13Rome in the 19th CenturyHibbert, 227-285MONUMENTS: Works of Valadier, Works for Pius IX 
November 18Rome in the 19th Century: Capital of a New Kingdom Public monuments for patriots (Garibaldi, Cavour, Victor Emanuel), new ministries, streets, squares, churches for non-Catholics. Monuments to Giordano Bruno, Cola di Rienzo. Piazza dei Cinquecento FOURTH ANALYSIS DUE 
November 20Rome in the 20th Century: Fascism 1Hibbert, 286-303. SUGGESTED: David Atkinson and Denis Cosgrove, "Urban Rhetoric and Embodied Identities: City, Nation, and Empire at the Vittorio Emanuele II Monument in Rome, 1870-1945". Annals of the Association of American Geographers 88 (1998), 28–49MONUMENTS: Altare della Patria, Forum Mussolini, Selected Futurist works, Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, Sapienza University. LIBERTY (not Fascist) MONUMENTS: Quartiere Coppedè  
November 25Rome in the 20th Century: Fascism 2 MONUMENTS: Piazza Augusto Imperatore 
November 27Rome after the War: Expansion MONUMENTS: Works for the Summer Olympics of 1960  
December 2Rome in the later 20th and early 21st Centuries MONUMENTS: Works of Renzo Piano, Richard Meier, Massimiliano Fuksas, Zaha HadibPAPER DUE
December 4Review