Course Title:  01:082:215  Baroque Magnificence

Academic Credits:  3 credits

Mode of Instruction:  Lecture

Course Prerequisites and Corequisites:  None

Core Curriculum:  AHp

Course Description:

Magnificent public squares, palaces and churches with sumptuously decorated interiors played a central role in legitimizing the beliefs and values of the triumphalist Catholic Church but also those of European monarchies and fledgling nation states.  This course explores the virtue of magnificence underlying the profusion of the arts of conspicuous display across Europe, 1600-1800, in a period of political and religious crisis, scientific discoveries and intellectual developments that shaped the modern world.  Lectures and discussions consider topics such as the imagery of the Catholic Church in its spiritual heart in Rome where it struggled to retain its relevance, royal iconography in the powerful courts of Spain and France, and art produced in the very different climate of the Protestant Dutch Republic, fueled by capitalism and a rising middle class. We examine new trends such as the art market, the Academy, travel and tourism, and the formation of private collections and cabinets of wonders. Our final weeks follow the exportation of Baroque art and artists to Russia, the Americas and Asia. How did Baroque art express the shifting balance of political power in Europe, national aspirations and global exchange, and Catholic vs. Protestant ideals? What role did Baroque art play in conveying collective identity, capturing everyday experience in a more and more secular society, and guiding the individual’s response to the world and beyond?

Learning Goals:

  • To gain awareness of major monuments, artists, and critical issues of Baroque art within the historical context of the period.
  • To learn the appropriate vocabulary and critical tools for discussing, analyzing and writing about works of art.
  • To be able to communicate easily and coherently in both written and oral form.
  • Develop critical reading and thinking skills necessary to summarize information and arguments presented in class readings and discussions.
  • To evaluate different ways of interpreting an object as presented in the readings and to synthesize the information from multiple sources in order to generate new insights.

Required and Recommended Course Materials:

Gauvin Bailey, Baroque and Rococo (London: Phaidon Press, 2012) is the survey text that provides the most comprehensive background information for the course.  It is available at the Rutgers Bookstore or from our course reserve in the Art Library, CAC.  Required reading assignments will be posted on Sakai, in the “Resources” folder. 

Course Requirements:

  • Class attendance and promptness.  More than three absences and/or tardiness will result in a lowered grade.
  • Class participation, which means not only being present but also being ready to discuss the material and reading assignments.
  • Class Museum Visit to the Metropolitan Museum, and brief looking assignment.
  • Midterm
  • 5- page Research Paper due towards the end of the semester (instructions to be circulated). Note that your grade will be lowered by one half point for each day beyond deadline.

Note: After each weekly lecture, the power-point will be posted on Sakai.  Required works of art and/or required terms will be so indicated.


  • 25% Class participation (includes Museum Visit and looking assignment)
  • 20% Midterm
  • 30% Research paper
  • 25% Final Exam


Fall, 2021 - Catherine Puglisi

Disclaimer:  These course description/synopses pages have been provided as samples and the information should not be considered accurate or current.  For actual course informatoin refer to the course site hosted by a Rutgers Learning Management System (Sakai, Canvas, etc.) as of first day of class.