Section Information for Spring 2014What 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 Brunelleschi, Botticelli, 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. The rulers in Northern Europe likewise underscored their status through the visual arts, and were prepared to handsomely reward their favorite artists. We will consider how artists like Titian and Rubens mythologized the monarchical power of their patrons, and at the same time asserted their own financial and social successes. This period also saw the rise of a market for finished works of art 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 art market. This course will also ask how the production of copies, spin-offs, and forgeries can, paradoxically, tell us about the changing value of originality in this period.
Studies a particular aspect of Renaissance or baroque art. Topics may be monographic, thematic, or concentrated on the art of a smaller time period or a particular area.
May be repeated for credit when topic is different.