History of Modern Art (2017/2018)

Course partially running (all years except the first)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Giorgio Fossaluzza
Giorgio Fossaluzza
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Other available courses
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Semester 1 dal Oct 2, 2017 al Jan 20, 2018.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes


Prof. Giorgio Fossaluzza
Bachelor in Foreign Languages and Cultures for Publishing

Learning outcomes, methodology and course contents

This course is institutional in nature and aims to use new methods to enhance or supplement the art history background students have already acquired in their previous education. It allows novices of the discipline to engage with it gradually yet systematically and using a non-superficial approach.
The course is also designed to train all the students in “reading” works of art. Taking into account the multiplicity of existing methods in the study of art history, the course aids students in acquiring basic historical knowledge to instruct them, above all, in how to recognize and assess artwork in stylistic and qualitative terms. All of this is combined with the objective of providing the methodological and cultural bases for a well-informed reading of all the fields of the visual arts and images from any time period and context.
The introductory classes are therefore devoted to the various methods that contribute to knowledge about art history and related specialized disciplines. Students will also be provided with a basic dictionary of terms that they can translate into the chosen languages of their study programs. The initial lessons will employ a seminar format to focus on describing images as a preliminary exercise to prepare students to engage with the historical discipline.
The content, and time frame in particular, the leading figures and their languages, the contexts and techniques covered in this course are all chosen keeping in mind that, for the majority of students, ‘History of Modern Art’ is a preparatory course for ‘History of Illustration’. However, this history of art course addresses modern art on a European scale, what in the past was theorized as Western art, along with its fundamental connections, so as to be useful for students of foreign languages and literature.
Indeed, this course provides the framework of a diachronic route through modern art history from the late Gothic to Neoclassicism. It refers mainly to the Italian setting, but also references the milestones and key figures in the history of other European countries to provide comparative terms. In addition to the analysis of style, this course therefore also focuses on the contours and history of Italian and European art, that is, the historical and cultural context surrounding centers of artistic production and patronage.
In this regard the course seeks to provide the tools students need to recognize iconographic markers, to engage in an iconological consideration of certain works, to use sources and to understand the main techniques.
It also includes a section on the history of collecting and the development of the major European museums.
The goal is to offer students the opportunity to add an understanding of art history, or more generally of the visual arts with their specific idioms, to the knowledge they have already acquired in the study of languages and the history of foreign literature.


Students are strongly recommended to consult the Italian version of the program, where several key concepts are outlined in more depth. The following list contains the Italian titles of the manual chapters that are assigned to be studied.


1. L’alba del Rinascimento a Firenze. Contesto storico (manuale, 2012, vol. 2, pp. 14-19).
Filippo Brunelleschi: profilo, principi architettonici (prospettiva e modulo), committenze (pp. 20-31). Donatello: primo periodo fiorentino, soggiorno padovano, ultimo periodo (pp. 32-35; 38-39). Masaccio: linguaggio pittorico, opere e confronti (pp. 42-47).

2. La prima metà del Quattrocento in Toscana.
Beato Angelico, Filippo Lippi, Domenico Veneziano, Andrea del Castagno, Paolo Uccello, Benozzo Gozzoli. Manuale, 2012, pp. 52-61.
La scultura toscana del primo Rinascimento (Lorenzo Ghiberti, Iacopo della Quercia). Manuale, pp. 68-73.
L’edificio ideale di Leon Battista Alberti; i trattati (*da integrare con appunti delle lezioni e voce wikipedia). Manuale pp. 74-77 e pp. 80-81.

3. La pittura fiamminga e l’Italia.
Jan van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden e gli altri pittori fiamminghi citati.
Manuale, 2012, pp. 64-67.

4. Piero della Francesca, profilo e opere. Manuale p. 86, pp. 92-99.

5. La Firenze medicea e l’Italia centro-meridionale.
Firenze: Verrocchio, Pollaiolo, Botticelli (manuale pp. 108-114 e pp. 126-127).
Umbria e Roma: Perugino, Signorelli (manuale pp. 115-117 e pp. 120-121).
L’Italia meridionale: Antonello da Messina (manuale pp. 122-125).

6. Il Rinascimento nell’area veneta.
Fra Tardogotico e Rinascimento (Rinascimento “umbratile”): Jacopo Bellini
Conseguenze della presenza di Donatello a Padova. Andrea Mantegna, Giovanni Bellini, (manuale pp. 131-135; pp. 138-141; pp. 144-148; Gentile Bellini e Carpaccio pp. 149-150).


7. Il Cinquecento. Contesto storico e concetti principali: Maniera moderna e Manierismo (manuale pp. 175-181).
Bramante a Milano e Roma (pp. 184-191). Leonardo da Vinci (pp. 194-199; pp. 202-204; pp. 206-207). Michelangelo (pp. 210-223; pp. 226-230). Raffaello (pp. 233-245; 248-249).
Giorgione, Tiziano (pp. 252-261; pp. 264-270).
Lorenzo Lotto (pp. 276-279).
Correggio (pp. 280-283).

8. Il Manierismo.
Manierismus: concetto storiografico, sua formulazione tra Otto e Novecento (*da integrare con appunti delle lezioni e voce wikipedia, con particolare evidenza alla diaspora degli artisti conseguente al sacco di Roma del 1527).
Prima fase a Firenze: Andrea del Sarto, Rosso Fiorentino, Pontormo (manuale, 2012, pp. 289-294).
Lo stile clementino: Giulio Romano a Roma e a Mantova, Parmigianino. Manuale, 2012, pp. 295-299.
Seconda fase a Firenze: Bronzino, Cellini, Giambologna (pp. 302-303).
Il Cinquecento in Europa, Dürer tra Germania e Italia (pp. 314-319).
Veneto: Tintoretto e Veronese (pp. 327-335); Bassano (pp. 336-337); Sansovino e Palladio (pp. 338-345).

Note: Students are advised to organize their study process by postponing the introductory chapter on the Baroque (as mentioned in point 12) and instead beginning with the study of post-Tridentine art and Carracci (as indicated in point 10). To this latter part, they should add pp. 352-354 (as indicated in point 10 as well).

9. Arte post-tridentina. Contesto e artisti (manuale, 2012, pp. 352-354). L’Accademia dei Carracci a Bologna e Annibale Carracci a Roma (pp. 377-381). Il classicismo a Roma dopo i Carracci (pp. 386-388).
(*Supplement this part with the chapter about Poussin and Lorrain “Sviluppi del classicismo”, found in the handouts and taken from Arte nel tempo, vol. 2, ed. by P. De Vecchi, E. Cerchiari, Bompiani).

10. Caravaggio. Profilo e opere (manuale pp. 391-395; pp. 400-403). L’eredità della pittura di Caravaggio (pp. 404-405).

11. Il Barocco. Contesto (manuale pp. 372-376).
Bernini e Borromini (pp. 410-429). La pittura barocca, l’opera di Pietro da Cortona (pp. 438-443). Guarini e Longhena (pp. 430-434).

12. La pittura europea nel Seicento. Contesto e protagonisti in Francia, Spagna, Fiandre, Province Unite (manuale pp. 453-457), Velázquez (pp. 460-461).
Rubens, profilo e opere (p. 453, p. 456).
Inigo Jones e il neopalladianesimo (*da integrare con appunti delle lezioni e voce wikipedia).

13. Il Rococò. Caratteristiche e centri (manuale pp. 472-481).
Il vedutismo (pp. 487-489). Tiepolo, profilo, Würzburg (pp. 490-493) e il decennio spagnolo.

14. Il Neoclassicismo. Contesto storico-culturale (manuale, 2012, vol. 3, pp. 13-16; pp. 18-19, dispensa in copisteria). Winckelmann (p. 20). David, profilo (pp. 21-25). Canova, profilo (pp. 26-31).
Inquietudini preromantiche: Füssli e Goya (pp. 63-67).

Topics for Erasmus students
First part
1. Brunelleschi and his architectural principles
2. Donatello: itinerary, the two florentine periods and the sojourn in Padua with main works
3. Masaccio
4. Leon Battista Alberti: treatises and works
5. Mantegna
6. The Flemish school
7. Piero della Francesca
8. Giovanni Bellini
9. Antonello da Messina
10. Firenze and Lorenzo il Magnifico, historical context, Botticelli, Verrocchio, Pollaiolo
Second part
11. Leonardo
12. Michelangelo
13. Raffaello
14. Giorgione and Tiziano
15. Mannerism: concepts and artists
16. After Counter-Reformation, Carracci, Annibale Carracci in Rome and Classicism
17. Caravaggio
18. Bernini and main characteristics of Baroque art
19. The 17th century protagonists in Europe, with reference to geography and history: Poussin, Rubens, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Velasquez
20. Rococo in Europe and Italy with reference to geography and history: general style characteristics and main artists
21. Tiepolo and Canaletto
22. Neoclassicism and Canova

Additional chapters to the manual on Neoclassicism (vol. 3) and other handouts are available at the copy shop ‘Replay’. Introductory topics and terminology: lecture notes.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
C. Fumarco, L. Beltrame Vivere l'arte 2. Dal Rinascimento al Rococò Mondadori 2012

Assessment methods and criteria

Final Exam: Written test

The test consists in
- a questionnaire composed of 5 questions on topics relating to the period from the early Renaissance to the 15th century
- a second questionnaire, also made up of 5 questions on topics relating to the period from the 16th century to Neoclassicism
In the same exam (4 hours long), students may choose to be tested on only the first questionnaire or on both questionnaires . If they choose to split the test into two sections, they must follow a set order: a first exam focused on the questionnaire covering the first period (from the early Renaissance to the 15th century) and, only if they pass that exam, a subsequent one focused on the questionnaire covering the timespan from the early 16th century to Neoclassicism.
The exam questions may concern an author’s profile (ex. Donatello and his periods - for instance Donatello in Padua - Bernini, Canova) or the context in which he worked, or more general concepts (ex. Maniera Moderna, Mannerism, Baroque, Neoclassicism, with examples). Some questions might also focus on the profiles of artists of “lesser” standing (ex. Botticelli and Laurentian age, Verrocchio and Pollaiolo in comparison), or single works of art (ex. Ghent Altarpiece, Cappella Brancacci, Caravaggio in San Luigi dei Francesi, Cappella Cornaro). The questions consist of multiple components in order to suggest a possible “progression” among arguments or facilitate thematic links, thereby pushing students to go beyond flat, superficial summaries of the material.