The Italian Renaissance
Fall Semester 1998

Frank Luttmer
108 Classic Hall
M W F: 10-11, 12-1

Course Description and Objectives

The Renaissance is a discussion-oriented seminar focusing on the culture of Italy from roughly 1350 to 1550. The course is designed to introduce students of the liberal arts to the sources and historiography of the Italian Renaissance. While consideration is given to the economic, social, and political history of the period, considerable emphasis is placed on Renaissance humanism and art and on the relationship between culture and society. There are no prerequisites to the course, but students are expected to be able to analyze and interpret primary documents thoughtfully, evaluate alternative interpretations of historiographical problems critically, and write substantive, interpretive research papers.


Donald Wilcox, In Search of God and Self
Rosa Maria Letts, The Renaissance
Benjamin Kohl and Alison Smith, eds., Major Problems in the History of the Italian Renaissance
Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier
Machiavelli, The Portable Machiavelli
Giorgio Vasari, The Lives of Artists vol. 1
Primary texts taken from the Internet or on reserve in the library.
Joseph Williams, Style (recommended)


Final grades will be based on an evaluation of the following.

1. Two mid-term exams (15% each) and a final exam (20%)

2. A Research paper submitted in two drafts (15% for the first draft and 20% for the second)

3. Class participation and daily writing assignments (15%)


State and Society in the Renaissance

Sept. 9:
The Problem of the Renaissance
Wilcox, 3-8; Kohl and Smith, 3-31

Sept. 11:
Italian City-States
Wilcox, 11-30, Kohl and Smith, 119-144

Sept. 14:
Italian City-States
Kohl and Smith, 145-176

Sept. 16:
The Fourteenth Century Crisis
Wilcox, 31-42; Kohl and Smith, 35-55

Sept. 18:
The Economy
Kohl and Smith, 56-81

Sept. 21:
Urban Society
Kohl and Smith, 82-115

Sept. 23:
Marriage and Gender
Kohl and Smith, 317-350

Sept. 25:
Conspicuous Consumption
Kohl and Smith, 351-391

Sept. 28:
Spirituality and Ritual
Kohl and Smith, 392-420

Sept. 30:

Renaissance Humanism

Oct. 2:
The Medieval Tradition
Wilcox, 43-56; Aquinas

Oct. 5:
Wilcox, 57-73; Petrarch

Oct. 7:
Kohl and Smith, 215-252

Oct. 9:
Defining Humanism
Wilcox, 74-89; Kohl and Smith, 284-303

Oct. 12:
Humanist Education and Scholarship
Wilcox, 90-105; Kohl and Smith, 303-313

Oct. 14:
Civic Humanism
Kohl and Smith, 253-283

Oct. 16:
Wilcox, 106-122; Pico; Ficino

Oct. 21:
Neoplatonism and Science
Wilcox, 123-141; Copernicus

The Early Renaissance in Art

Oct. 23:
The Origins of Renaissance Art
Letts, 1-13; Vasari, 23-47, 57-81; Images of Renaissance Art I

Oct. 26:
The Early Renaissance in Art
Letts, 14-18; Vasari, 83-93, 105-132; Images of Renaissance Art II

Oct. 28:
The Early Renaissance in Art
Letts, 18-28; Vasari, 133-174; Images of Renaissance Art III

Oct. 30:
The Early Renaissance in Art
Letts, 29-54; Vasari, 174-198; Images of Renaissance Art IV

Nov. 2:
Late Cinquecento Art
Letts, 55-70; Vasari, 224-248; Images of Renaissance Art V

Nov. 4:

Court Culture, Politics, and Literature in the High Renaissance

Nov. 6:
Wilcox, 143-156; Castiglione, 31-90

Nov. 9:
Castiglione, 90-104, 124-134, 193-226

Nov. 11:
Castiglione, 281-345

Nov. 13:
Machiavelli, 77-126

Nov. 16:
Machiavelli, 126-166

Nov. 18:
Skinner, 157-172;Kohl and Smith, 177-194

Nov. 20:
Machiavelli, 167-218

Nov. 23:
Machiavelli, 218-238, 264-270, 279-306, 345-348, 351-356

Art in the High Renaissance

Nov. 30:
Wilcox, 173-190; Letts, 71-76; Vasari, 249-271; Images of Renaissance Art VI

Dec. 2:
The Venetian Schools and Raphael
Letts, 76-83, 89-94; Vasari, 284-324

Dec. 4:
Letts, 84-89; Vasari, 325-364

Dec. 7:
Letts, 94-98; Vasari, 364-442

The Transformation of Italy in the 16th Century

Dec. 9:
The End of the Renaissance in Italy?
Wlicox, 191-200; Kohl and Smith, 421-441

Dec. 11:
The End of the Renaissance in Italy?
Kohl and Smith, 452-456

Dec. 14-18:

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