(balancing one’s own weight in a shadow of antithetical sides) by Paul Baughman

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ART H 361 A: Italian Renaissance Art

We look forward to safely returning to in-person instruction and activities this autumn quarter. Current and prospective students please visit our COVID-19 Updates pages.
Summer Term: 
Meeting Time: 
MWF 9:40am - 11:10am
ART 003

Syllabus Description:

Contact Information

Instructor: Steven Bunn (seb3@uw.edu)
Office Hours: TBA (probably Mondays and Friday, immediately after class), and by appointment; location T.B.A.


Art History 361 surveys the painting, sculpture, architecture, and graphic arts of the Italian Renaissance. Emphasis is given to the major artistic centers of Florence, Rome, and Venice, as well as many other cities such as the courtly artistic centers of Mantua, Milan, and Urbino. Themes include the status of the image in Renaissance art, the role of artistic invention, individual and collective creativity, the growing self-awareness of artists, the influence of political, historical, and social place, and the changing narratives and mythologies that have shaped our perception and understanding of the Renaissance.


This course meets three days a week for lecture and discussion. 

Learning Goals

  • Become familiar with major Renaissance artists, their personal styles, and the major artistic trends of various Italian cities and regions.
  • Learn ways in which artists and intellectual communities responded to the cultural stimuli of the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries in Italy and Europe.
  • Understand how art often reflects the goals of its makers and/or those who commission it.
  • Be able to read and interpret the language of Renaissance art, its symbols, narratives, and main subjects, and how and why they were used.
  • Become familiar with the power of images, and how they are used to express religious, political, and personal convictions, as well as the range of responses to the image.
  • Understand the role of artifice as a key feature of Renaissance art, and the different ways artists employ technical skill, workmanship, and the self-conscious act of creating to reinforce the meaning and function of art and its relationship to the viewer.


  • The required textbook for the class is Italian Renaissance Art by Stephen J. Campbell and Michael W. Cole (Thames & Hudson, 2012). The book is available at the UW bookstore and many brick-and-morter and online sellers, and you can "rent" an online version of the textbook from Amazon and other sellers for a very reasonable price. A copy will also be placed on course reserve for use in the Art Library.
  • Additional readings will be available as PDF files.

Academic Integrity

Plagiarism is defined as using in your own work the creations, ideas, words, inventions, or work of someone else without formally acknowledging them through the use of quotation marks, footnotes, bibliography, or other reference. Please check with your instructor if you have questions about what constitutes plagiarism.
Instances of plagiarism will be referred to the Vice Provost/Special Asst to the President for Student Relations and may lead to disciplinary action.


Attendance in class lectures and keeping up with all assigned readings is expected for success in this class. If you miss a class for any reason, it is your responsibility to contact fellow classmates for notes. Please make every effort to be on time, as arriving late can be disruptive. If you must enter the room after lecture has begun or depart early, please do so quietly and do not let the door slam behind you.
  • Make-up assignments will not be given without legitimate documentation of severe illness, family emergency, etc. Extensions for the research paper and its related assignments will be granted only under similar circumstances. Vacations do not qualify as acceptable reasons for make-up work. Late papers without a verifiable excuse will lose 0.5 points per day (for example, a paper due Friday that would receive a 4.0 will receive a 2.5 if turned in on Monday). If you miss a scheduled due date, it is your responsibility to be in touch with the instructor as soon as you are able in order to schedule a make-up.
  • Grade Appeals : coursework and exams will be returned promptly. If you have any questions about a grade, please discuss the situation with the instructor within a week of receiving it.
  • Last-minute questions: I can't promise timely response in the final 24-hours before an exam or an assignment due date. In other words, plan ahead and don't procrastinate until the last minute with an important question!


  • A 3.8–4.0 is given to a student who has exhibited the highest possible performance in all aspects of the course—the exams, final paper and related work, and answers to the weekly assignments are excellent. This student independently seeks out additional information about art history beyond the material presented and is highly committed/passionate about their work.
  • A 3.4–3.7 is given to a student who exhibits superior performance in all aspects of the course—the exams, final paper and related work, and participation are uniformly of high quality. This student has a thorough understanding of all concepts presented, and is motivated to improve and succeed.
  • A 2.9–3.3 is given to a student who has good performance in most aspects of the course. This student shows a good grasp of key ideas presented and consistent participation that reflects a clear understanding of almost all concepts being presented.
  • A 2.5–2.8 is given to a student who has fair performance in the course. The work is adequate and reflects the minimum needed to complete assignments. Participation and motivation are moderate.
  • A 0.0–2.4 is given to a student with poor performance in the course. Exams do not demonstrate an acceptable comprehension of the material and assignments are poorly presented, miss major themes and connections, or are incomplete. This student does not understand the majority of concepts presented and rarely participates in class.

Access and Accommodations

Your experience in this class is important to me. If you have already established accommodations with Disability Resources for Students (DRS), please communicate your approved accommodations to me at your earliest convenience so we can discuss your needs in this course.

If you have not yet established services through DRS, but have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations (conditions include but not limited to; mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts), you are welcome to contact DRS at 206-543-8924 or uwdrs@uw.edu or disability.uw.edu. DRS offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and/or temporary health conditions.  Reasonable accommodations are established through an interactive process between you, your instructor(s) and DRS.  It is the policy and practice of the University of Washington to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law.

Department Policies

School of Art + Art History + Design Policies

Catalog Description: 
Sculpture, painting, and architecture from 1300 to 1600.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
January 10, 2018 - 9:21pm