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Theories of Authorship in Early Modern Italian Art
Course code: HARTG071
Freud's Leonardo, Vasari's Michelangelo, Jarman's Caravaggio, feminism's Artemisia - who are these 'authors' and how did they come to be constructed? This course challenges the popular image of the artist as a solitary genius creating ex nihilo through an examination of different theories of authorship and a consideration of their application to the study of Italian Renaissance and Baroque art. Some of the issues addressed include: the role of authorship in self-portraiture, the historiography of connoisseurship, the Romantic myth of 'the Renaissance', Roland Barthes' Death of the Author, the post-Enlightenment splitting of repetition from originality. Some of the questions this course will examine include: what does 'authorship' imply in a period where artistic production was largely based on imitative practices, workshop collaboration, and the patron's demands? How do we understand authorship in an age before copyright law, originality and anxiety? Is the Old Master Author dead? Can we construct a serviceable notion of authorial intention? How does a sustained consideration of 'authorship' help us deconstruct the related themes of originality, genius, imagination and the artist in the study of Early Modern Italian Art?
Assessment: two essays amounting to 8,000 words in total.
Classes and timing: Not running in 2011/2.
Course tutor: Maria Loh, History of Art. For more information click here.
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