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Art Treasures of Italy

This class will offer an introduction to major works of art—including paintings, sculptures, and architectural monuments--created by Italian artists over the ages. We will begin with art created in ancient Rome, followed by Sicily, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and modern Italy. The historical background and important characteristics of each period will be reviewed. As social, economic, and political conditions changed over time, so too did the purpose of art and the role of the artist. We will explore how artists were influenced by and borrowed from other artists; yet they remained determined to express their own unique creative vision. The lives and works of acclaimed Renaissance artists, including Bellini, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael, among others, will be highlighted. For the modern period, which is less well known than the Renaissance, we will look at the work of 19th century Italians, belonging to the Scapigliati and Macchiaioli groups of artists and to Divisionism, the Italian school of post-Impressionism. The class will offer a visual journey of discovery of beautiful works of art, which will deepen our understanding and appreciation of these dedicated artists and the canon of beauty which they created.

LOUISE LOE is Professor Emerita of History at JMU where she taught from 1973-2020. Her areas of specialization include Russian History, European History and Modern Human Rights. She received a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University. She has traveled in Italy many times. In the Fall of 2010, she was the Faculty Member in Residence for the JMU Program in Florence, Italy, the home of many art treasures which will be discussed in this class.

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