The Rediscovery of Antiquity

The Western Roman Empire fell to the Goths in the fifth century, but the classical tradition prevailed, transformed by its successors to meet the requirements of each new age. Beginning with the rediscovery of ancient art and literature in the Renaissance, this course traces the search for the past in the adventures of the Grand Tour, exotic journeys of early travelers to the Near East, the eighteenth-century explorations at Pompeii and Herculaneum, Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign, the nineteenth-century excavations of the great cities of Assyria, and the Homeric epics. The reaction of the West was expressed in the neoclassical and Egyptianizing styles of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and ultimately in modern art and design. These movements are explored through the study of regional and national styles by examining works in various media and by utilizing publications, prints, and drawings in New York collections to introduce students to the materials that influenced the architects, artists, and designers who sought to emulate the arts of the ancient world. 3 credits. Satisfies the pre-1800 requirement.