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History of European Jewelry

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This course traces the design and development of jewelry—objects of adornment worn on the body—from the beginning of the postmedieval period to the early 20th century. The scientific and symbolic properties of the materials used (gold, silver, gemstones) are reviewed, as well as the pertinent metalworking techniques. Since many of the actual pieces have been lost, alternative sources of information are investigated, such as paintings, design drawings, prints, and archival documents. Outstanding achievements of certain periods and individual artists are highlighted. A critical review of past jewelry history publications suggests more innovative modes of inquiry and methodological approaches. Firsthand viewings of actual works during several visits to local collections, galleries, and studios reinforce the classroom lectures and help establish basic typology and terminology. 3 credits.