Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Italian Renaissance Architecture 1400-1600

LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Art and Art History

DESCRIPTION The study-unit will provide a comprehensive historical overview of Renaissance architecture in Italy during the period 1400-1600. It would relate the course of architecture to the humanist culture that flourished in Florence and subsequently in Rome, and other Italian cities such as Mantua, Urbino and Venice. The lectures will consider the pioneering works of Brunelleschi, Alberti up to the classical period of Bramante. It will also consider in detail the theoretical foundations of the Renaissance movement with particular reference to the writings of Francesco di Giorgio, Alberti, Serlio, Vignola and Palladio.

The unit will also consider the onset of Mannerism with reference to the architectural works of Michelangelo, Peruzzi and Giulio Romano. A component of the study unit will deal with the work of Andrea Palladio and the great influence he exerted leading to Palladianism.

Other aspects that will be covered will be principles of Renaissance city planning and urban spaces; the villa suburbana and Renaissance gardens; issues relating to architectural patronage and the dynamics of economics, politics and socio-cultural conditions and their effect on architecture.

Study-unit Aims:

- To provide the student with a well-grounded understanding of Italian Renaissance architecture as a product of a humanist culture;
- The student would have a sound knowledge of the main architectural works of the Italian renaissance and its protagonists;
- To have a basic understanding of the evolution of Renaissance architecture in Italy from inception to its full maturation and the transitory period to the Baroque referred to as Mannerism.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

a. comprehend the principles of Italian Renaissance architecture and the architects and patrons who distinguished themselves during this period;
b. distinguish and differentiate between the principles of Renaissance, Mannerist and early Baroque architectural works;
c. have a good understanding of regional differences to the manifestation of Renaissance architecture in Italy.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

a. use the knowledge acquired on the subject matter to serve as a platform for further studies on Italian Baroque architecture (which will be offered as a study unit for second year students);
b. be proficient in a wider understanding of humanist Renaissance culture in Italy and be able to interpret Renaissance architecture as a product of a complex interplay of various socio-political forces.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:

Peter Murray, 'The Architecture of the Italian Renaissance', Thames and Hudson, new revised edition.
Anthony Blunt, 'Artistic Theory in Italy 1450-1600', Oxford University Press, 2009.

Supplementary Texts:

Ludwig H. Heydenreich, 'Architecture in Italy 1400-1500', Yale University Press, Pelican History of Art series, revised 1996.
Wolfgang Lotz, 'Architecture in Italy 1500-1600', Yale University Press, Pelican History of Art series, 1995.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Essay SEM2 Yes 30%
Examination (2 Hours) SEM2 Yes 70%

LECTURER/S Conrad Thake

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.