The paper for this class is intended to be an exploration of a particular subject or problem concerning, usually, a work of art by one of the major artists of the sixteenth century. We will discuss this in more detail in class, but it is important to say that you will be guided to produce a paper of about 6-8 pages that conforms to the standard structure of an undergraduate semi-research paper.
To Begin the Paper
The first step in writing your paper is to select a topic. Please look through the 16th-century portion of our text for inspiration if you haven't anything in mind already. I have put together a short list of suggestions that should be doable. Please note that I would like each student to work on a unique topic, so if there are two students longing to work on Michelangelo's designs for the toaster I expect the two to duke it out until one wins.
- Portraiture is a fine subject--you can concentrate on a particular painting or sculpture or the style of an artist or...
- Leonardo drawings--pick a few on one subject (nature, inventions, architecture, grotesques, etc)
- Leonardo's portraits--you can concentrate on one (Mona Lisa, Ginevra de'Benci, others) and consider the origins and some related portraits.
- Leonardo's fresco painting
- Leonardo--religious art
- Michelangelo--early sculpture or painting (again, pick one example and examine it with some context of his other works)
- Is the wooden crucifix (Fig. 16.33) really by Michelangelo?
- Michelangelo's Pietas
- Michelangelo's drawings
- Michelangelo's tomb for Julius II
- What's all this about Michelangelo and the Laocoon?
- Michelangelo's non-finito "style"
- Luca Signorelli's San Brizio Chapel frescoes in Orvieto Cathedral
- Was Piero di Cosimo really pazzo?
- Designs for St. Peter's basilica from Bramante to Michelangelo
- Ideas about urban design in the 16th century.
- Raphael and the High Renaissance style
- Mannerism--is it what it used to be?
- A Mannerist artist
- Lots of work is being done now on Parmigianino, Giulio Romano, Lorenzo Lotto, Ammannati and Venetian art in general.
- Palladio studies are still very healthy.
- There seems to be a Titian exhibition every few months.
The length of the above list is not to overwhelm you but to give you an idea of the many choices available. Avoid, however, the temptation to spend all of your time thinking about making the perfect choice. Look through the text (and perhaps some of the titles on reserve) and pick something.
You will need to inform me of your choice by Monday, 5 February. Please write up your choice as a one-half page explanation. You may hand this in earlier if you wish.
Next Step? I'll Let You Know Soon!