European Gold and Silver





A history of precious metals from postmedieval times to early 19th-century Europe, when electroplating and other industrialized processes transformed the nature of the materials and their production. Students learn how the development of techniques and aesthetic shifts interacted and shaped the history of gold, silver, and related metalwork. Lectures chart the artistic development of metalwork in relation to other decorative arts. The course will also examine how work in precious metals was overseen by civic or crown authorities, how it was marketed, how it circulated at home and abroad, and how it functioned as an index of wealth and social status. Students discuss various types of function (for example, cultic vs. secular, votive objects vs. gifts, display vs. functional) and shifting social customs that dictated changes in the use and appearance of metal objects. Major designers, makers, and patrons from Italy, Germany, France, the Netherlands, and England are studied. 3 credits.