Fine Arts | Problems in 16th Century Art outside Italy; Varieties and Consequences of Early Modern Visual Wit
A638 | 25763 | Bret Rothstein


A study of 15th- and 16th-century northern European cultures of
seeing, this course takes as its starting point the historical
challenge of how to do things with things  that is, how to pose and
resolve social and intellectual problems in a primarily optical manner
and with maximum hermeneutic potential. Among other topics, we will
discuss types of interest (e.g., curiosity), appeals thereto (e.g.,
visual paradox), visual skill as social capital, and conflicting
notions of interpretive authority. Though primarily art historical in
origin, this course is designed to meet the needs of graduate students
across a range of disciplines as they wade, or are enticed to wade,
into the fashionable area of early modern visual culture.
Consequently, we will attend closely not only to contemporaneous
theories of vision and cognition but also to questions of materials,
facture, and the shifting cultural weight of pictures.