This course is a detailed study of the drawings, paintings and writings on art of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519). It examines Leonardo’s development as a draftsman and as a painter, focusing on his theories in relation to his working methods, and then explores how he became the most inventive Italian Renaissance artist active in the late 15th century Florence and beyond. Particular attention will concentrate on Leonardo’s innovations in portraiture and landscape, the contrasts between the role of the artist in the Republic of Florence versus the court society of the Duchy of Milan, and his idealistic approach to sculpture.
The aim is to introduce you to the art and thought of Leonardo da Vinci and to enable you to understand and appreciate the universality of his genius. These goals can be achieved through an analysis of da Vinci’s writings in conjunction with the works of art he actually created. Furthermore, da Vinci’s technical experiments in painting and superb preparatory drawings specifically help to demonstrate the overall high intellectual level of his artistic commissions.
- Kenneth Clark, Leonardo da Vinci, revised and introduced by Martin Kemp, 1993
- Course packet:
- Frederick Hartt and David G. Wilkins, History of Italian Renaissance Art, Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, 6th edition, 2007
- John T. Paoletti and Gary M. Radke, Art in Renaissance Italy, 1st edition, 1997
- Giorgio Vasari, “Life of Leonardo da Vinci”, in The Lives of the Artists, translated by Julia C. Bondanella and Peter Bondanella, Oxford ed., 1998
- Mandatory course reader