Decorative Arts of 16th-Century Italy





The 16th century in Italy was a period of political and religious upheaval, as the Italian peninsula became a battleground in an ongoing conflict between European powers, as great families rose and fell and the papacy responded to the challenges of religious reform. This time of instability was also a crucial period of innovation and achievement in the decorative arts. This interdisciplinary course explores the role of the decorative arts in the formation and expression of individual, familial, and cultural identity during a tumultuous time. Students analyze the form and function of a wide variety of objects, including small bronzes, ceramics, tapestries, and hardstone, and the ephemeral decorations of courtly display. Among the themes under consideration are the cult of antiquity, the role of gender, ritual and domestic display, princely and private collecting, and the meaning of such terms as “High Renaissance” and “Mannerism.” 3 credits.