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COURSE NAME: "Renaissance Rome and Its Monuments"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2023

INSTRUCTOR: Anna Tuck-Scala
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TH9:15 AM 12:00 PM
PREREQUISITES: On-site; activity fee: €25 or $33

Rome City Series - This on-site course will study the monuments of Renaissance Rome: painting, sculpture and architecture produced by such masters as Bramante, Raphael, and Michelangelo, all attracted to the lucrative service of popes, cardinals and nobles of the Roman court. On-site classes will investigate examples of palace and villa architecture, chapel decoration that encompasses altarpieces and funerary sculpture, as well as urbanistic projects where the city itself was considered as a work of art. In-class lectures will introduce historical context and theory allowing the student to understand artworks studied conceptually and place commissions of painting and sculpture within a socio-historic framework.

After the return of the papacy from Avignon,  the squalid  and neglected conditions in Rome began to improve around 1420. By the middle of the 15th century, Rome began to rival Florence as the leading center of the Renaissance, a period characterized by the reconciliation of classical ideals and ancient learning with Christian and humanistic beliefs.  In Rome, the re-establishment and expansion of papal power revived, restored, and renewed the city, seat of the Catholic Church and Ancient Roman Empire, as "caput mundi".  Self-aggrandizing popes and cardinals commissioned grand works during the so-called High Renaissance (ca. 1500-1520) from artists renowned for their genius, such as Bramante's New Saint Peter's project, Michelangelo's Sistine Ceiling and Raphael's frescoes in the Stanza della Segnatura.  This on-site course  investigates how and why  Renaissance paintings, sculptures, buildings,  and urban projects not only reflect, but actively create, the image of Rome as an ideal heavenly and secular city.

Classes are organized chronologically and thematically, with a focus on the invaluable opportunity to view firsthand  works of art in their original context. Class discussions will be based on the analysis of  monuments and  textual sources from the time period, as well as more recent studies conducted with different methods, but closely related to on-site visits. Familiarity with original works of art and primary sources will  provide the foundation for studying the specific historical and cultural context of the Renaissance in Rome.


Students will obtain extensive  firsthand knowledge of  Renaissance painting, sculpture and architecture in Rome, and  learn about the period's cultural context.

Viewing, analyzing, reading about and discussing works of art in their original location will train students to understand and interpret visual culture. 

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberCommentsFormatLocal BookstoreOnline Purchase
The Art of the Renaissance in Rome 1400-1500Loren PartridgePrentice Hall 2003XXXX  Hard Copy  
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
On PaintingLeon Battista AlbertiPenguin Classics 1991XXXX  
Michelangelo: The Artist, the Man, and his TimesWilliam E. WallaceCambridge University Press 2012XXXX  
The Lives of the ArtistsGiorgio VasariPenguin Books 1987XXXX  
The Renaissance in RomeCharles L. StingerIndiana University Press 1998XXXX  
The Craftsman's Handbook (Il Libro dell'Arte)Cennino CenniniDover 1960XXXX  

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Classic Art: An Introduction to the Italian RenaissanceHeinrich WolfflinPhaidon 1984XXXX  
History of Italian Renaissance Art: Painting, Sculpture and ArchitectureFrederick HarttPrentice Hall 2011XXXX  
The Sistine Chapel: The Art, the History and the RestorationCarlo PietrangeliHarmony Books 1986XXXX  
RaphaelRoger Jones and Nicholas PennyYale University Press 1983XXXX  
A New History of Italian Renaissance Art, 2nd ed.Stephen J. Campbell and Michael ColeThames and Hudson 2017XXXX  
Italian Frescoes: High Renaissance and Mannerism 1510-1600Julian Kliemann and Michael RohlmannAbbeville 2004XXXX  
General requirementsThis is an upper-level art history course. No distinction is made between art and non-art majors in class. Grading is not based on a curve. 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. The professor should be contacted immediately if any questions or problems arise. Any student who has a need for accomodation 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. 
Ten short papers: (minimum 250 words each)Students will turn in a written analysis of what was learned from reading, viewing, and discussing Renaissance monuments studied on-site in each class. Specific guidelines will be provided.30%
Oral presentationA brief presentation/class-led discussion of a monument (about 10 minutes) will be given. The topic will be chosen by the student from a list of options.20%
Final Exam Specific guidelines will be provided, including a list of monuments.30%
Participation and improvementRegular and punctual class attendance is mandatory. Viewing and discussing works of art on-site will be the highlight of the course. Even if students have studied the course material 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 other sites in Rome will be recommended. Students should take advantage of Italy's incomparable artistic wealth by visiting other cities known for Renaissance art, especially Siena, Florence and Venice. To earn a high grade it is necessary to be actively engaged and participate regularly in class discussions.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 t
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.


Regular and punctual class attendance is mandatory. Absences are excused only with official documentation of illness or emergency.

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
Thursday, Sept 7, 2023 (Meet in classroom C23)INTRODUCTION AND ORIENTATION TO COURSEBurckhardt, pp. 104-107; Jensen, "Introduction: The Meaning of the Renaissance", pp. 1-6; Stinger, pp. 1-13; Kristeller, "The Humanist Movement", pp. 21-32   
Thursday, Sept 14, 2023; Meet at the Arch of ConstantineTRACING THE REBIRTH OF ANTIQUITY IN ROME The Arch of Constantine, Santa Pudenziana, Santa Prassede Vasari, Preface to "Lives of the Artists" (particularly pp. 25-38; 45-47); Stinger, pp. 59-76  
*** Friday, Sept 15, 2023 (make up day for Nov 23 holiday); Meet in classroom PAINTING FROM THE SO-CALLED PROTO-, EARLY AND HIGH RENAISSANCE PERIODS (Pinacoteca at the Vatican Museums) Visit Santa Maria in Trastevere (Pietro Cavallini's mosaics)Cennini, excerpts from "Il libro dell'arte"; Leon Battista Alberti, "On Painting"; Vasari, Preface to Part Two "Lives of the Artists"  
Thursday, Sept 21, 2023: Meet outside Colosseo metro stop on ground levelFROM ANTIQUITY TO THE RENAISSANCE: BASILICA OF SAN CLEMENTETextbook: Partridge 1996, pp. 109-112  
Thursday, Sept 28, 2023; Meet in classroom before going out on-siteEARLY RENAISSANCE CHURCH: SANTA MARIA DEL POPOLO (Pope Sixtus IV as "Urbis Restaurator")Dunlop 2003, pp. 259-285; Stinger, pp. 31-46  
Thursday, Oct 5, 2023; Meet at PantheonFROM ANTIQUITY TO THE RENAISSANCE IN THE PANTHEON, SANTA MARIA SOPRA MINERVA Geiger, pp. 62-75; Wallace, "Michelangelo's Risen Christ", pp. 1251-1280; Wallace, pp. 3-19, 28-49, MacDonald, pp. 108-112  
Thursday, Oct 12, 2023); Meet in classroom before going on-siteRENAISSANCE CHURCHES: SANT'AGOSTINO AND SANTA MARIA DELLA PACE (BRAMANTE'S CLOISTER)Bonito 1982, pp. 268-276  
Thursday, Oct 19, 2023VILLA FARNESINAHartt, pp. 534-541;Rowland 1986, pp. 673-730  
Thursday, Oct 26, 2023: Meet in classroom for lectureMICHELANGELO'S SISTINE CEILING and RAPHAEL'S STANZA DELLA SEGNATURASaint Augustine on Christian Doctrine, pp. 64-65, 74-75; Stinger, pp. 264-291;Vasari, "Life of Raphael"; Verdon, "Pagans in the Church: 'The School of Athens' in Religious Context"; Wolfflin, pp. 50-67; Wallace, pp. 89-105, 180-188  
Thursday, Nov 2, 2023BRAMANTE'S TEMPIETTOStinger, pp. 181-188; Rowland 2006/7, pp. 225-238  
Thursday, Nov 16, 2023; Meet at center of Saint Peter's SquareNEW SAINT PETER'S BASILICA AND MICHELANGELO'S "PIETA'"Vasari, "Life of Michelangelo"; Contract for the "Pietà"; Michelangelo's letter about the Tomb of Julius II (2 May 1506); Selected poems by Michelangelo; Ziegler "Michelangelo's 'Pietà'", pp. 28-36; Wallace, pp. 222-229 (Michelangelo at Saint Peter's)  
***Thursday, Nov 23, 2023 NO CLASS/HOLIDAY (make up day Sept 15)    
Thursday, Nov 30, 2023: Meet at top of Capitoline HillCAPITOLINE HILL, PIAZZA DEL CAMPIDOGLIO, PALAZZO VENEZIA (façade) and MICHELANGELO'S "MOSES" in S. Pietro in VincoliBlondin 2005, pp. 1-25; Stinger, pp. 254-264; Wallace, pp. 229-232, 330-337; Frommel, pp. 39-65; Wallace, pp. 72-80, 105-107, 188-199; Panofsky, pp. 561-579  
Thursday, Dec 7, 2023 (Meet in classroom before going on-site)PONTE SISTO, VIA GIULIA AND PALAZZO FARNESE (FACADE)   
DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED: FINAL EXAM (during finals week ) Read all of the textbook, Loren Partridge, "The Art of the Renaissance in Rome 1400-1600", before the final exam. Focus on material covered in class. DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED