HISTORY OF ART CRITICISM (UNIT A)
Learning outcomes of the course unit
Students will become familiar with the broad outlines of the debate about the figurative arts between the early fifteenth and late 17th century. They will also acquire a range of essential tools for critically interpreting artistic literature sources.
Students will acquire tools for critically analysing complex sources such as periodicals, with particular attention to the relationship between text and image.
Course contents summary
Introduction to the history of art criticism.
The course aims to highlight the various issues connected to the methods and instruments involved in the discipline of the history of art criticism. Particular attention will be given to a reading of Giorgio Vasari's Lives, from which sources and models will be derived whilst considering the influence that this text had on subsequent writings about art.
Art periodicals. The history of art criticism through specialist and popular publications.
The second part of the course aims to offer students the bibliographical and critical tools that they require to contextualise and read a number of exemplary periodicals dedicated to the figurative arts published around the turn of the twentieth century.
J. Schlosser Magnino, La letteratura artistica. Manuale delle fonti della Storia dell’arte moderna, Scandicci (Florence), La Nuova Italia, 1964 (original edition Vienna 1924), pp.VII-13; pp.289-346 (Book V, Vasari).
L.Venturi, Storia della critica d’arte, Turin, Einaudi, 1964 (original edition New York 1936), pp.19-46.
P. Barocchi, “Storiografia e collezionismo dal Vasari al Lanzi”, in Storia dell’arte italiana. Materiali e problemi. L’artista e il pubblico, Turin, Einaudi, 1979, pp.5-81.
G.C. Sciolla, La critica d’arte del Novecento, Turin, UTET, 1995, pp. 3-49, 149-174.
Students must also be familiar with the topics dealt with during the lectures, with particular attention to the texts analysed by Cennini, Alberti, Ghiberti, Leonardo, Bellori, Winckelmann, Lanzi (distributed as photocopies available from the secretary’s office). The passages from Vasari to read are indicated below:
G. Vasari, Le Vite (1550): Dedication, Prefaces, Conclusion. Lives: I. Cimabue, Gaddo Gaddi, Giotto, Andrea Pisano, Ambrogio Lorenzetti; II. Lorenzo Ghiberti, Paolo Uccello, Donatello, Brunelleschi, Iacopo,Giovanni, Gentile Bellini; Leonardo, Giorgione, Correggio, Piero di Cosimo, Raffaello, Bartolomeo da Bagnocavallo, Marco Calavrese, Francesco Mazzola, Sebastiano del Piombo, Michelangelo.
Further indications regarding reading for Module B will be provided at the beginning of the course.
Classroom lectures are supplemented by seminar-based exercises in reading source texts.
At the end of the first module there will be a written test, which will then be discussed with students, while the final exam is oral.