Music Theater Building (formerly Fine Arts Building) 1008
Section Information for Spring 2017
What makes a work of art “valuable”? How does the cultural and social significance of a work relate to its price? How did artists carve out niches in a growing art market by generating distinctive products? This seminar examines concepts of value in the art of Early Modern Europe by addressing these questions. We will investigate how artists such as Mantegna, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Titian negotiated the system of patronage in Renaissance Italy. Working for prominent families in the communes and the noble courts, they created works that communicated specific artistic, cultural, and political values to a diverse audience. This period also saw the rise of an art market in parts of Europe. Focusing on Netherlandish artists such as the Brueghel family, Rembrandt, and Vermeer, we will explore how artists adopted different creative and marketing strategies in an increasingly complex market. We will ask what historical conditions made possible for a wider spectrum of the population to purchase works of art, and how individuals constructed social identities through artistic consumption. This course will also explore how the production of copies, spin-offs, and forgeries can, paradoxically, tell us about the changing value of originality in this period.
Satisfies the writing intensive requirement in the major.