HISTORY OF ART CRITICISM
Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course wants to provide students with a basic knwoledge that allows them to critically analyze the sources of the artistic literature. It is therefore proposed to build a framework of knowledge that will allow him to frame texts in an historical context and bring them back to the theoretical debate and to contemporary artistic production; at the same time the course wants to put the student in front of the analysis of each individual text, training him to grasp its complexity. During the lessons particular attention will be paid to the use of a specific terminology, that the student must acquire and be able to use. Similarly the close links with the other disciplines (historical, literary, artistic, philosophical, etc..), that a reconstruction of the artistic debate necessarily implies, will be highlighted.
A knowledge around the manuals of modern art
Course contents summary
The first part of the course aims at covering some of the milestones of the development of the "history of art criticism", with the intention of presenting the different methodological approaches and the resulting different definitions of the fields of the research (lecture topics: Julius von Schlosser, Lionello Venturi, Rosario Assunto, Giulio Carlo Argan). As an example the critical success of an art work from the past is reconstructed in its essential lines, comparing different literary as well as iconic models (shooting, quotes, etc..) that operate a re-reading of it.
In the second part of the course we intend to outline - in its general features – the debate about visual arts between the fifteenth and eighteenth century, providing for every covered author and topic a bibliography of references for any further research (lecture topics: Cennini, Alberti, Ghiberti, Leonardo, Vasari, Bellori, Malvasia, Winckelmann, Diderot). Particular attention will be dedicated to the reading of Vasari's Vite, identifying its sources and models, while taking also into account the incidence of this text on the following artistic literature.
J.Schlosser Magnino, La letteratura artistica. Manuale delle fonti della Storia dell’arte moderna, Scandicci ( Firenze), La Nuova Italia, 1964 ( ed. orig. Wien 1924), pp.VII-13; 289-346 ( libro V, Il Vasari)
L.Venturi, Storia della critica d’arte, Torino, Einaudi, 1964 ( ed. orig. New York 1936), pp.19-46
R. Assunto, Critica, in Enciclopedia Universale dell’Arte Venezia-Roma, Istituto per la Collaborazione culturale, 1960, vol. 4, pp.128-156;162-163
G.C.Argan, Critica d’arte, in Enciclopedia del Novecento, Roma, Istituto dell’Enciclopedia Treccani, 1975, I, pp.1114-1122
P.Barocchi, Storiografia e collezionismo dal Vasari al Lanzi, in Storia dell’arte italiana. Materiali e problemi. L’artista e il pubblico, Torino, Einaudi, 1979, pp.5-81
D.Levi, Il discorso sull’arte. Dalla tarda antichità a Ghiberti, Milano, Bruno Mondadori, 2010, (Introduzione, pp.1-31)
V.Strukelj, Capolavori nel mercato delle immagini: tra dissacrazione e analisi critica, in Le immagini tradotte. Usi Passaggi Trasformazioni, a cura di C. Casero e M. Guerra, Prefazione di L.Hutcheon, Diabasis, Reggio Emilia 2011, pp.96-108
Le Vite de più eccellenti Architetti, Pittori, et Scultori italiani da Cimabue insino a' tempi nostri descritte in lingua Toscana da Giorgio Vasari Pittore Aretino, in Firenze, appresso Lorenzo Torrentino MDL, ed. cons. a cura di L. Bellosi e A. Rossi, Presentazione di G. Previtali, Torino, Einaudi, 1986, pp.3-17,89-108,112-113,117-129, 207-215, 236-241, 242-259-, 275-326, 539-571, 610-641, 775- 780, 793-800, 848-917
other texts read during the lessons: Cennini, Alberti, Ghiberti, Leonardo, Bellori, Malvasia, Winckelmann
Side by side with the lectures, seminars are planned for the students to comment, guided by the teacher, and explain texts (especially some biographies taken from Vasari's Vite), putting in place the proposed methodological reccomendation and identifying some specific issues.
Assessment methods and criteria
Written tests are expected during the course (to verify the acquired knowledge, the writing ability, the comprehension of written texts), while the final exam is an oral proof. The knowledge of the topics covered in class - supplemented by the readings indicated into the program- will be scrutinized, together with the ability to capture at least in its essential traits the methodological problems, to interpret texts, to clearly and organically articulate the responses, using an appropriate terminology. For passing the exam various skills are required, such as a general knowledge of the topics covered, a good chronological orientation, and a particular attention will be paid to the reading of the sources.