Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

FNAR 343 / rost 343 baroque art


Tue  9:30-12:30        [Plus One Friday Class: March 19th 9:30-12:30] 

Instructor: G. Ted Bohr, SJ

Office: A2

Office Hours: Mon&Thur 11:00 – 12:30

Email: tbohr@luc.edu

Department Phone: 06.355.88.305

Course Description

            Baroque art history is the study of the painting, sculpture and architecture from 1600 to 1750. “The cradle of the Baroque was Italy and the artistic capital of Italy was Rome.” (Held and Posner, 21) The Baroque arose from a new spirit in the Catholic Church that began with the period of the Protestant Reformation. A renewed liturgy required a new kind of space for its celebration as a stimulus to devotion and celebration. Art historian Anthony Blunt describes the Baroque as rhetorical: “Artists aimed at arousing astonishment, at creating strongly emotional effects…”

            This course emphasizes the origins and development of the Baroque in Rome. Students are asked to identify the major monuments, their historical contexts, iconography, and stylistic features according to the basic characteristics of Baroque art. Direct experience of Rome and its enduring contributions to the culture of Europe and the world is our primary method and goal.

Learning Objectives: 

Knowledge Area (Artistic Knowledge and Experience, Historical Knowledge)

·         Acquire visual literacy. 

Through an examination of the art of the Renaissance to modern eras students will become familiar with works of art representative of these cultures and will learn to recognize elements of visual language (such as line, form, color, light, texture, space, proportion, composition) and to interpret how ideas are communicated through this formal language in ways that are relevant for their period. 

·         Acquire the critical and technical vocabulary to describe, analyze, and formulate arguments about artistic productions. 

Through the study of these periods and cultures students will acquire the appropriate artistic terminology and the skills of visual analysis necessary to critically describe, analyze and formulate arguments about these artistic productions. 

·         Assess how formal qualities of artistic expression are intrinsically tied to an audience. 

This course emphasizes how formal artistic qualities relate to the audiences of their time and how forms reflect different artistic aims relevant to a particular time and culture. Students will become aware of how art is linked to the social systems and beliefs of particular audiences. 

·         Examine multiple interpretive possibilities of art and know that interpretations both reflect the culture that produced them and change over time. 

In this course we will interpret art objects within contexts appropriate for their particular times and cultures.  Students will learn that aesthetic interpretations vary between cultures and time periods. 

·         Evaluate works of art in light of aesthetic and historic precedent. 

By examining the development of European art over time, students will learn how art works relate to their aesthetic and historic precedents, reflecting influences from and reactions to those precedents.   

·         Recognize and participate in the artistic-cultural life of the community. 

Through the paper project and field trip(s) students will utilize artistic resources in Chicago to study original works of art in person and to become familiar with cultural institutions in Chicago. 

Knowledge Area (Historical Knowledge):

·         Develop the ability to evaluate and explain the forces of historical continuity and change. 

In this course historical continuity and change is examined through the art forms of the Renaissance to modern periods. We will examine the historical evolution of visual forms and ideas of art as well as how these relate to historical events and social forces of their time. 

·         Develop an understanding of the relationships among historical events, culture, and social forces. 

In this course we will examine art within the context of history, culture, and society and explore how artistic forms are related to these contexts. 

·         Develop an awareness that human values, ideas of justice, and methods of interpretation influence and are influenced by time, culture, and personal perspective. 

In this course we will examine the varying and changing character of human values, perspectives, and ways of interpreting the world and human experience in different cultures and time periods through the study of works of art. 

Skills (Critical Thinking Skills and Dispositions):

·         Comprehend, paraphrase, summarize, and contextualize meaning of various forms of communication. 

In this course students will analyze visual images in terms of their artistic significance and their relationship to their cultural-historical context.  Students will also apply ideas in written texts to their interpretation of visual art. 

·         Analyze relationships among statements, questions, concepts, descriptions, or other forms of representation intended to express beliefs or ideas. 

In this course students will analyze relationships between forms and statements communicated visually in art works and evaluate how these express similar and diverse ideas. Students will also evaluate how information in various written sources relates to visual examples. 

·         Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of varying points of view. 

In research and class discussions students will evaluate various points of view regarding art and its relation to culture. 

·         Generate new ideas, hypotheses, opinions, theories, questions, and proposals; and develop strategies for seeking and synthesizing information to support an argument, make a decision, or resolve a problem. 

Utilizing both visual and written information, students will learn to form and support theses about what is communicated in works of art and how these works relate to their context.              

Required Texts:

Howard Hibbard. Caravaggio. Westview Press, 1983.

_____________. Bernini. Viking Press Penguin, 1965.

Required Library Reserve Books:

Julius Held & Donald Posner. 17th and 18th Century Art. Prentice-Hall.

John Varriano. Italian Baroque & Rococo Architecture. Oxford University Press.


Course Requirements & Grades

The final course grade (100%) consists of the following elements: First Exam (20%), Second  Exam (30%), Final Exam (30%), and Class Participation and attendance (20%).

Final grades will be assigned according to the following scale, where numbers indicate a student’s percentage of the total points available: 100-93 (A), 92-90 (A-), 89-87 (B+), 86-83 (B), 82-80 (B-), 79-77 (C+), 76-73 (C), 72-70 (C-), 69-67 (D+), 66-60 (D), 59-0 (F).


Course Schedule


Here is the tentative schedule for the course, including topics for each class session and the associated reading assignments (H/P: Held and Posner, etc.). Students will be expected to have thoroughly read the material assigned for each class session. This schedule may change or shift, depending on the pace of the course, and additional readings may be added on an ad hoc basis. Changes to the schedule will be announced in class, so attendance at every session is important. Please see the bulletin board for weekly On-Site weather and locations.

Week 1 (Jan 26)


Classroom: Historical & Religious Background of the period. Arch. forms and structures in Baroque.

Read: handout,

H/P 11-24


Week 2 (Feb 2)




S. Pietro in Vaticano

Read: On-Site Notes


Week 3 (Feb 9)



Caravaggio and the

Reform of Painting

Read: Hib, Caravaggio, 1-88. And Bernini’s Early Sculpture. Read:

Hib, Bernini, 23-67.


Week 4 (Feb 16)




S. Luigi dei Francesi & Doria-Pamphili Gallery

(6 Euro fee)

On-Site Notes.

Week 5 (Feb 23)




      First  Exam  


Week 6 (Mar 2)



S. Maria della Vittoria. S. Susanna, S. Carlo alle Quattro Fontane. S. Andrea al Quirinale. Fontana di Travi. Notes.


Week 7 (Mar 3)



Caravaggio’s Later Painting. Hib, Car. 164-267. Classicism in Baroque Painting. Handout.


Week 8 (Mar 10)




     Spring Break


Week 9 (Mar 17)




S. Ignazio. Il Gesu.

S. Andrea della Valle.

On-Site Notes.

Friday class: Mar 19th


Week 10 (Mar 24)




     Second   Exam  


Week 11 (Mar 31)



Piazza di Spagna. Via del Corso. Piazza del Popolo. S. Maria del Popolo.  Notes.

Week 12 (April 7)




Painting in Flanders and Holland. H/P 196-281

Week 13 (April 14)



S. Ivo alla Sapienza. Piazza Navona. S. Maria della Pace. S. Maria in Vallicella. Ponte S. Angelo. Notes.

Week 14 (April 21)



S. Giovanni in Laterano.

On-Site Notes.

Week 15   (Finals)




      Final Exam  







From the

Eternal City




Any element of this syllabus is subject to change at the instructor’s discretion.