Liberal Arts

Art History II: Iconology & Iconography

The opportunity to understand the symbolic meaning of objects, persons and events represented in Renaissance art works.

ARH201 Iconography and Iconology - In search of Hidden Meanings
Instructor: Piergiacomo Petrioli

Course Description
This course is an introduction to Italian iconography and iconology by exploring in depth the identification, description and the interpretation of the content of art masterpieces between the 13th and the early 17th centuries. The course offers the students the opportunity to understand the symbolic meaning of objects, persons and events represented in Renaissance art works and the cultural background of the period, especially in Tuscany. The class starts with an introduction to the Italian religious iconography, focusing on the study and interpretation of some of the most important masterpieces by Duccio di Buoninsegna, Simone Martini and Giotto; it then deals with the socio-political use of art and propaganda, investigating the Medici’s patronage. The class then analyzes the importance of Renaissance Portraiture and special attention will be given to the symbolism of Love, and Female Iconography, focusing on Botticelli’s, Raphael’s and Titian’s masterpieces. Lastly it deepens Mythology and Allegory from 15th to 17th century.
As the Renaissance works are often still in their original physical settings, during field-studies to museums and churches in Florence and Siena, students will have a unique opportunity to experience the works as their original viewers did and as their creators intended.
Weekly meetings are composed of a series of classes with visual presentation, supplemented each time by thematic visits to churches, buildings and galleries in Siena and Florence. The power point presentation, slides will help in focusing on the subject in class. The field-studies will provide great opportunities to see some of the most important Renaissance works in their original location. Half-day excursions to San Gimignano and Florence (three field-trips).
The Siena School provides you with an “Amici del Museo degli Strumenti musicali membership card”, which grants you free, unlimited admission to many of the State museums of Florence. It is required for every site visit in Florence that you bring this card AND another form of photo identification. Failure to do so will require that you pay for your own admission to the museum. You will often have to use this card for your Looking Assignments in Florence as well. If your card is stolen or lost, please contact the staff at the ISLA Academic Support Office. N.B. This card is non-transferable and is personalized for each student.

The course has no prerequisites.

Course Hours
The course meets twice a week for a total of 3 hours a week. Total contact hours are 45 hrs including excursions. Suggested credits: 3; Course fees: €130
*Course meets at same time as Photography; students may choose one or the other.

Student Learning Expectations
By the end of this course, students gain a thorough knowledge of the Italian Renaissance Iconography, recognizing and defining the most important aspects of Iconology, developing practical perception, understanding the relationship between both historical and artistic events, valuing the importance of patronage, and focusing on primary and secondary sources, as well as bibliography.

Instructor's contact
Office Hours: after class or by appointment


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