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COURSE NAME: "Caravaggio"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2020

INSTRUCTOR: Anna Tuck-Scala
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: W 2:15-5:00 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: One previous course in Art History or permission of the instructor. Partially on-site; mandatory overnight trip to Naples; activity fee: €25 or $33

Caravaggio (1571-1610) provides a noteworthy case study of how an artist’s fame changes over time when the works of art do not. Best known for his striking representation of light and use of naturalism, his anecdote-filled biographies led to a negative assessment of the artist and his works. The course looks at the artist’s output from an array of historical, thematic, and methodological points of view. The aim is to arrive at an understanding of Caravaggio’s works within their historical context from the 17th century to the present day. The mandatory trip may require a fee.
At the turn of the seventeenth century, Michelangelo Merisi (1571-1610), known as "Caravaggio", created paintings which challenged the visual and cultural norms of western art. He blurred the boundaries between sacred and profane, and dismissed ideal beauty based on correct anatomical drawing. His idiosyncratic realism, unorthodox portrayal of religious subjects, dramatic night lighting, and promotion of still-life, led the seventeenth-century biographer, G. P. Bellori, to declare that with Caravaggio "began the representation of vile things." During the decade after his death, a variety of artists followed him (the Caravaggisti) and explored his revolutionary innovations. Interest in Caravaggio spread beyond Rome, shaping the development of the Neapolitan school of painting, and influencing great artists all over Europe, such as Rubens, Rembrandt and Velàzquez. With the revived taste in antiquity in the eighteenth-century, Caravaggio (as well as baroque art) fell into oblivion. In the early twentieth century, Roberto Longhi rediscovered Caravaggio for the modern era. In fact, the perception that modern painting emerged in Caravaggio's works has made him extemely popular today. His rebellious, violent life which ended prematurely in a mysterious way have also captured the imagination of mass culture. Since the 1980s,  fascination with mythical Caravaggio as "the ill-fated, subversive modern painter" has morphed into "Caravaggiomania", producing an overwhelming avalanche of publications on his life and art, much of which fiction and movies.

This course focuses on Caravaggio's oeuvre and its historical importance. All efforts will be made to study the painter's works first hand, and in their original locations/contexts. Priority will be given to primary sources in order to obtain a solid understanding of what is known for certain about Caravaggio's life and art. Students will read selected publications in English: the monograph by Puglisi to grasp research on Caravaggio as a whole, and articles, with different methodological points of view, for analysis and discussion. Of import is discerning fact from fiction, unmasking the authors' agendas, and assessing the usefulness and significance of a wide range of interpretations of Caravaggio.

Classroom lectures, on-site visits in Rome, and an all-day trip to Naples will provide precious and ample opportunities for students to immerse themselves in Caravaggio's art and vision. In Rome, every attempt will be made to see all of his output open to the public. In Naples, Caravaggio's works in the Capodimonte Museum, the Pio Monte della Misericordia and Galleria Palazzo Zevallos Stigliano will be viewed. 
The latter part of the course will focus on the reception of Caravaggio in Naples and the development of painting there.

Please note: The mandatory full-day trip to Naples requires a transportation fee by train (approximately 50 Euros). Details will be discussed on the first day of class.
Student learning outcomes:
---Firsthand viewing of a large number of Caravaggio's paintings in Rome and Naples
---Knowledge about Caravaggio and his context from a historical perspective
---Understanding of the reception of Caravaggio from the Caravaggisti to his appropriation by popular culture
---Familiarity with seventeenth-century painting in Naples
---Increased skills for critical thinking and interpretation of facts vs. fiction
---Improved proficiency in writing, communication of ideas,  and oral presentation
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberCommentsFormatLocal BookstoreOnline Purchase
CaravaggioCatherine R. PuglisiPhaidonISBN-0-714834165     
The Lives of Caravaggio: Mancini, Baglione, BelloriHelen LangdonXXXISBN-101843681382     
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
CaravaggioHoward HibbardXXXXXXXND63.C26H44 
Caravaggio: A LifeHelen LangdonXXXXXXXND623.C26L36 
Painting in Naples 1606-1750 from Caravaggio to Giordano(exhibition catalogue 1982)XXXXXXX  
Caravaggio: Reflections and RefractionsLorenzo Pericolo and David M. Stone (editors)XXXXXXXND623.C26C543 
Caravaggio: Realism, Rebellion and ReceptionGenevieve Warwick (ed.)XXXXXXX(e-book) 
Altarpieces and their viewers in the churches of Rome from Caravaggio to Guido ReniPamela M. JonesXXXXXXXN7952.R6 JCC 
Italian and Spanish Art 1600-1750, Sources and DocumentsRobert Enggass and Jonathon Brown (editors)XXXXXXXN6916E5 
Art and Architecture in Italy, 1600-1750Rudolf Wittkower (Joseph Connors and Jennifer Montagu, editors)XXXXXXXN6916.W5 1999 

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Caravaggio (exhibition catalogue 2010)Claudio StrinatiXXXXXXXND623.C26A4 
Caravaggio and His Followers in Rome(exhibition catalogue 2011)XXXXXXXND623.C26A4 
Caravaggio's Pitiful RelicsTodd OlsonXXXXXXXND623.C26047 
Caravaggio and His CopyistsAlfred MoirXXXXXXX(e-book) 
Caravaggio: The Artist and His WorkS. Ebert-SchiffererXXXXXXXND623.C26 E241 
Caravaggio StudiesWalter F. FriedlaenderXXXXXXXND623.C26F7 
Beyond Caravaggio(exhibition catalogue 2016)XXXXXXXND623.C26T752016 
The Italian Followers of CaravaggioAlfred MoirXXXXXXXND623.C26M6 
General requirementsThis is an upper-level art history course. All students are expected to attend every class and meet on time, keep up with the assigned readings, and complete all assignments and take exams on schedule. Grades will be lowered for non-compliance and unexcused absences. Specific guidelines for all assignments will be provided and graded accordingly. Assigned readings will be available on reserve or on JSTOR or Moodle/Course Post-it on the MyJCU website. The professor should be contacted immediately if any questions or problems arise. Any student who has a need for accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the professor privately to discuss the specific situation as soon as possible at the beginning of the course. The required documentation should be on file. Please see the website for the complete policy.  
JournalStudents will keep an intellectual journal of what is learned from viewing, discussing, reading and thinking about Caravaggio's paintings. Specific guidelines will be provided. Journals must be well-written to earn a high grade.20%
Participation and improvementRegular and punctual class attendance is mandatory. Viewing Caravaggio's paintings in person and discussing them in class are the focus of the course. Even if students have studied Caravaggio before, it is expected that they will attend every class and learn something new. It is essential to meet on time and bring student IDs for discounts when possible. In churches, respectful behavior and appropriate dress are required (no sleeveless shirts, mini-skirts, shorts, hats, flip-flops, etc.). Visits to locations outside of Rome to see Caravaggio's paintings will be recommended. To earn a high grade it is necessary to be actively engaged, do the readings, and participate regularly in class discussions.15%
Oral presentationA brief oral presentation will be given (about ten minutes) which will compare a Caravaggio painting to a work by a Caravaggisti painter in Naples. The topic will be chosen by the student.15%
Midterm Examination (25%) and Final Examination (25%)Specific guidelines will be provided for the exams. The final exam is not cumulative.50%

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 course.
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.

You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed. The final exam period runs until _(see academic calendar)___________
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
Wednesday, September 23, 2020 (Meet in classroom--to be announced)Introduction, Historiography and Critical Fortune of CaravaggioJohn Gash, entry on "Caravaggio, Michelangelo Merisi di", Grove Dictionary of Art, Oxford Art Online.Over the course of the semester, students should read the monograph by Catherlne Puglisi (1998) and the Lives of Caravaggio with introduction by Helen Langdon, 2016. 
Wednesday, September 30, 2020 (meet in classroom)Discussion of Lives of Caravaggio and PowerPoint lecture on Caravaggio's early periodWarwick, "Introduction: Caravaggio in History," in Caravaggio: Realism, Rebellion, Reception, 2006, pp. 13-22; Puglisi, "Caravaggio's Life and Lives Over Four Centuries," in Caravaggio: Realism, Rebellion, Reception, 2006, pp. 23-25.  
Wednesday, October 7, 2020 (meet in classroom before going on-site)Caravaggio's neighborhood and his first public commission in the Church of San Luigi dei FrancesiWittkower, Art and Architecture in Italy, vol. I, 1999, pp. 19-26; Christiansen, "Caravaggio and 'L'esempio davanti del naturale'", The Art Bulletin, vol. 68, no. 3 (Sept 1986), pp. 421-445.Recommended reading: Camiz, "Death and Rebirth in Caravaggio's 'Martyrdom of Saint Matthew'", Artibus et Historiae, vol. II, no. 22 (1990), pp. 89-105. 
Wednesday, October 14, 2020 (meet in classroom before going on-site)Caravaggio's early religious paintings in the Doria-Pamphilj GalleryCamiz, "Music and Paintings in Cardinal del Monte's Household," Metropolitan Museum Journal, vol. 26 (1991), pp. 213-226.  
Wednesday, October 21, 2020 (meet in classroom before going on-site)Caravaggio and copies: Caravaggio's paintings in the Capitoline GalleryMoffitt, "Caravaggio's Gypsy Cheats: Naturalism as a Contemporary 'Low-LIfe' Subject", in Caravaggio in Context: Learned Naturalism and Renaissance Humanism, 2004, pp. 41-62.  
Wednesday, October 28, 2020 (meet at entrance to Vatican Museums)Caravaggio's Entombment painting in the Vatican PinacotecaGraeve, "The Stone of Unction in Caravaggio's Painting for the Chiesa Nuova", The Art Bulletin, vol. 40, no. 3 (Sept 1958), pp. 223-238; Wright, "Caravaggio's Entombment Considered In Situ", The Art Bulletin, vol. 60, no. 1 (March 1978), pp. 35-42; Sickel, "Remarks on the Patronage of Caravaggio's Entombment of Christ", The Burlington Magazine, vol. 143, no. 1180 (July 2001), pp. 426-429.  
Wednesday, November 4, 2020 (meet on-site)Caravaggio's paintings in the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica di Palazzo Barberini AND Caravaggio's paintings in the Cerasi Chapel, Church of Santa Maria del Popolo"From a letter written by Vincenzo Giustiniani to Amayden" in Italian and Spanish Art: 1600-1750. Sources and Documents by Enggass and Brown, 1992, pp. 16-20; Steinberg, "Observations in the Cerasi Chapel," The Art Bulletin, vol. 41, no. 2 (1959), pp. 183-190.  
***Friday, November 6, 2020 (meet in classroom) JCU make up day for Wednesday classesSTUDENT PRESENTATIONS   
Wednesday, November 11, 2020 (meet in classroom before going on-site)Caravaggio in Trastevere: Church of Santa Maria della Scala and Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica di Palazzo Corsini AND Caravaggio's Madonna of Loreto for the Cavaletti Chapel in the Church of Sant'AgostinoParks, "On Caravaggio's 'Dormition of the Virgin' and Its Setting," The Burlington Magazine, vol. 127, no. 988 (July 1985), pp. 438-448; Gage, "Caravaggio's 'Death of the Virgin', Giulio Mancini, and the Madonna Balsphemed", in Caravaggio: Reflections and Refractions, ed. by Pericolo and Stone, 2014.  
Wednesday, November 18, 2020 (meet in classroom)Midterm exam   
**Friday, November 20, 2020Caravaggio in Naples: ALL DAY FIELDTRIP TO NAPLES (Italo train: Rome 7:40 am-Naples 8:54 am; Naples 18.35- Rome 19:46)Tuck-Scala, "Caravaggio's 'Roman Charity' in The Seven Acts of Mercy", in Parthenope's Splendor: Art of the Golden Age of Naples, vol. VII, 1993, pp. 127-163; McTighe, "The End of Caravaggio (exhibition review)", The Art Bulletin, vol. 88, no. 3, 2006, pp. 583-589.  
Wednesday, November 25, 2020 (meet on-site)Caravaggio's span of development: paintings in the Galleria BorgheseFINISH READING PUGLISI MONOGRAPH  
Wednesday, December 2, 2020 (meet in classroom)Caravaggio today and Neo-Baroque popular culture's appropriation of a baroque genius Rorato, Caravaggio in Film and Literature. Popular Culture's Appropriation of a Baroque Genius, 2014, pp. 203-208.  
Wednesday, December 9, 2020 (meet in class room)Ideas for future research on Caravaggio   
DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED (between December 11-14): FINAL EXAM