History of Art 5521: Leonardo Da Vinci: Artist, Engineer, and Scientist

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HISTART 5521 (Renaissance Painting in Central Italy): LEONARDO DA VINCI:
ARTIST, ENGINEER, AND SCIENTIST

Professor Christian Kleinbub

The quintessential “Renaissance man,” Leonardo da Vinci has come to represent the very idea of genius, and no artist or scientist is more famous in our own times. What is more, his most famous painting, the Mona Lisa, is undoubtedly the best-known image ever made. So familiar are Leonardo’s images, however, that we tend to neglect them, glancing them over like well-known friends. What this course will attempt to do is make these images strange again. For Leonardo was hard­ly the person we so often make him out to be. Understood according to his own concerns and in light of his own times, Leonardo comes across as far stranger and more alien than the conventional caricature of present times. Among other things, we will learn how art, science, and engineering were once for Leonardo and many of his contemporaries one and the same profession. By considering each of Leonardo’s very rare paintings as an individual R&D project, this course will attempt to burrow deeper into not only what made Leonardo special but also what was, in fact, characteristic of the age. The results will show the Italian Renaissance past as a still largely unknown and unexamined country.

SPRING 2021
Class # UG: 34646 | G: 34645

INSTRUCTION MODE: ONLINE and SYNCHRONOUS

TUE & THUR 12:45 - 2:05