Florence and the Renaissance


Between 1350 and 1550 the city of Florence produced
art that marks a true turning point in Western civilization.
But why there? Why then? This course examines the
possible reasons for the concentration of genius in that
city. In architecture, there was Brunelleschi, also noted
for discovering the rules of linear perspective; in painting,
Giotto, Masaccio, Filippo Lippi, Piero della Francesca,
Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Leonardo, Michelangelo and
Raphael; in sculpture, Verocchio, Ghiberti, Desiderio da
Settignano and again, Michelangelo. We will look at their
lives, but we will look more closely at their art, reading it
for what it says — directly, about politics, religion, money
and sex; and indirectly, about the ideal harmony underlying
all appearances. We will tie all of it into the scientific,
economic and technological changes roiling Florentine
society at the time.

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