Course Title:  01:082:310  The High Renaissance in Italy

Academic Credits:  3 credits

Mode of Instruction:  Lecture

Course Prerequisites and Corequisites:  None

Core Curriculum:  None

Course Description:

Sixteenth-century art and architecture, emphasizing the achievements of the great central Italian masters: Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo;  The artistic cult of personality and rivalry with classical antiquity; The crisis of Mannerism.

The High Renaissance is the era that went from Leonardo da Vinci to Michelangelo and from Raphael to Titian. These are often considered the greatest artists of all times and this seminar will analyze why this is the case. We will carefully discuss many masterpieces, including Leonardo’s Last Supper and Mona Lisa, Michelangelo’s David and Sistine Chapel, Raphael’s School of Athens and Transfiguration and Titian’s Venus of Urbino and Pietà. We will study how fierce rivalry motivated these artists to challenge and ultimately outdo each other with their opposed approaches to art. We will see how they struggled with their patrons, be it popes, princes, kings and how they arranged themselves with the differing interests of humanists and the Church. The representation of women in the Renaissance will be a special focus and in particular Titian’s undermining of the misogynist constitution of his time. The class will end with the waning of the Renaissance and the onslaught of the Counter-Reformation, which led to one of the darkest chapters in the history of art: Paolo Veronese’s Inquisition trial. Students taking this seminar will practice visual analysis and get an introduction into art theory and Mannerism. They will familiarize themselves with the highlights of sixteenth-century Italian art and thus gain an in-depth understanding of one the groundbreaking periods in the history of humanity in which the basis to our (post-)modern society was laid.

A field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC is part of the class.

Learning Goals:

Not available

Required and Recommended Course Materials:

Not available


Research Paper: The paper should be 6-7 double-spaced pages in 12 point font (bibliography not counting).  The papers are due in class. E-mailed papers are not accepted. No extensions are granted and late papers are marked down a half-grade each day (for instance: A to A- to B+, etc.).
Papers more than one week late are not accepted.


  • On-time attendance is mandatory. Absences and lateness will lower your final grade.
  • Students absent more than three times will be withdrawn and will receive a WF.
  • Students are also expected to participate – your questions and observations help shape class discussions, and regular participation will improve your grade.
  • Cell phones are prohibited, including text messages



Professor Benjamin Paul

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