Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

FNAR 344 Early Italian Renaissance Art

Fall 2016



INSTRUCTOR: John Nicholson

Meeting: Tuesday – Thursday, 2:20 – 3:35 pm.

Instructor: John Nicholson


Course Description

     The term Renaissance (literally “rebirth”) as used in art history designates the movement of renewal in the visual arts (painting, sculpture, and architecture) that originated in fourteenth century Florence and continued into the sixteenth century. This course deals with the first phase of the movement, the “early Renaissance” of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The study begins with the Italo-Byzantine and Gothic styles of the late Middle Ages and the new naturalistic style exemplified in the painting of Giotto and his followers in the fourteenth century. Florence held the dominant position in the fifteenth century (the quattrocento) with the innovations of Brunelleschi (architecture), Donatello (sculpture) and Masaccio (painting) followed by figures such as Fra Angelico, Leonbbattista Alberti, Piero della Francesca, Andrea del Pollaiuolo, Sandro Botticelli and others. The influence of Florentine art spread to northern Italy where artists such as Andrea Mantegna and Giovanni Bellini created their distinctive styles.  The final section will deal with the transition to the High Renaissance in the art of Leonardo da Vinci and the early works of Michelangelo and Raphael.

     This study will be implemented through assigned readings, slide lectures, classroom discussion and a visit to Florence. Students will be advised and encouraged to visit churches, museums, and galleries during their travels in Italy and other European countries.


Course Objectives

     The primary objective is to impart a knowledge and understanding of this very important period in the history of Italian and European art. Works of art will be studied in relation to historical context, the role of artists and patrons, techniques, materials, iconography (content and meaning), and stylistic features. Thus, the course will also serve as an introduction to the problems, methods, and terminology of art history. In a wider context, this will promote an understanding of the very rich Italian contribution to European and world culture. Another, not less important objective of the course, is to instill an awareness of the impact that art has always had focusing and organizing our perception of the world and thereby enriching individual and social life.



Required Text.

Frederick Hartt & David C.Wilkins. History of Italian Renaissance Art. 6th  ed.      Prentice-Hall.

Photocopied supplementary readings.






Course Requirements


There will be three examinations on dates to be assigned.

-         Changes in exam dates are not open to negotiation. Absence from an exam without a valid excuse will result in an F (0 points) for the exam.

-         Make-up exams require a valid excuse. Make-up exams will not be given for travel-related absences.

-         Cheating or dishonesty of any kind on an exam will be penalized with an F grade.


Participation and Attendance

Because the viewing and discussion of slides is an essential part of the course, regular attendance at class is expected. Fifteen points have been assigned for participation and attendance. Those absent from four or more meetings will forfeit the fifteen points assigned for this requirement.



Course Grade

First exam, 20%. Second exam, 30%. Final exam, 30%. Class participation, 20%.

Grading Scale

93-100 = A. 89-92 = A-. 

86-89 = B+. 81-85 = B. 78-80 = B-.

75-77 = C+. 71-74 = C. 68-70 = C-. 

63-67 = D+. 59-62 = D.

58 and below = F.


Office Hours

Weekly hours posted on the Bookstore bulletin board.

E-mail: jnich1@luc.edu


Lectures and Reading

Note. All chapter and page references are to Hartt & Wilkins, 6th Ed.



-         Italy and Italian Art. Ch. 1, 17 - 36.


TheLateMiddleAges: Italo-ByzantineandGothic

-         Painting in Tuscany and Rome. Ch. 2, 39-57.

-         Sculpture in Pisa and Siena. Ch. 2, 57-64.

-         The Art of Giotto and His Followers. Ch. 3, 73-99.

-         Painting in Siena. Ch. 4, 103-30.


The Early Quattrocento in Florence


-         Brunelleschi and the New Architecture. Ch. 6, 159-75.




-         The 1401 Competition. Lorenzo Ghiberti. Ch. 7, 177-85.

-         Early Donatello. Ch. 7, 185-90. 192-95.


-         Gentile da Fabriano. Ch.8, 201-04.

-         Masolino and Masaccio. Ch.8, 205-19.


The Second Renaissance Style

-         Fra Angelico and Fra Lippo Lippi. Ch. 9, 221-37.

-         Leonbattista Alberti. Ch. 10, 239-46.

-         Later Ghiberti and Donatello. Ch. 10, 251-52; 255-61. Ch.12, 302-05.

-         The Second Renaissance Style in Painting: Paolo Uccello, Domenico Veneziano, Andrea del Castagno, Piero della Francesca.Ch.11, 265-97.


The Late Quattrocento in Florence

-         Antonio del Pollaiuolo. Ch. 13, 325-31.

-         Alessandro Botticelli. Ch. 13, 337-53.


Gothic and Renaissance in Northern Italy

-         Andrea Mantegna. Ch. 15, 398-408.

-         Antonello da Messina and Giovanni Bellini. Ch. 15, 412-14.


Transition to the High Renaissance

-         Leonardo da Vinci. Ch. 16, 445-68.

-         Michelangelo. Ch. 16, 469-78.

-         Raphael. Ch. 16, 479-83.