Art History

The Art of Venice


Course Description

Titian. Flora. 1515 circa.
Florence, Uffizi Gallery

Course Lectures and Schedule

The Monuments List

On the Papers

News About Venice
Books on Venice : Art and Architecture
Venice in Fiction
Art and Architecture of Venice
Venice Described
Movies of Italian Renaissance or Baroque Appeal


This is a course on the history of the art of Venice from its origins of the city to the 18th century. Greatest weight will be given to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Our approach will include an exploration of the unique historical, political, and religious characteristics of Venice. In art, the emphasis will be on painting and architecture, but sculpture will not be left out. Venice has always been recognized as a significant art center for the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and in the last twenty years new research has provided us with new and varied discoveries and interpretations of the city's art and culture. This course can only skim the top of this history and these new studies, but another focus of this course will be the introduction of some of the important modern writers and their interpretations. We will also be using films and videos to achieve an even more vibrant feel for the city.

Prerequisites: Art History 206 or a similar lower-division art history course recommended. Those with no art historical background are advised to read over the relevant sections of any of the standard art history survey texts.

Texts: There is no single text for this course. We will use several articles and two books, available as paperbacks:

  1. Patricia Fortini Brown. Art and Life in Renaissance Venice. New York, 1997.
  2. John Steer. Venetian Painting. London and New York, 1970, 1986.

Please note that you are required to read both of these books asap.

Also: there will be some books on hold in the Richter Library for you to read, and there will also be a few electronic reserves. Those that are required are indicated on the Schedule of Lectures below.

Course Requirements: Four short (3-4 pages) papers, a midterm. and a final. Each counts for for one-third of your grade.

Please note that faithful attendance is expected: your final grade may be lowered if you miss more than two classes.

Video: Early Morning in Venice

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