Course syllabus



Semester 1, 2019


Lecturer: Associate Professor Erin Griffey

Office: Arts 1, Room 747


Lecture times: Thursday 3-5pm (Clock Tower-South-room 039)

Lectorial 236: Thursday 1-2pm (Owen Glenn-room 005)

Lectorial 336: Thursday 10-11 (Owen Glenn-room 055)


Well-being always comes first

We all go through tough times during the semester, or see our friends struggling. There is lots of help out there - for more information, look at this Canvas page, which has links to various support services in the University and the wider community.



There is no designated text book for this course and the selection of texts reproduced in the course reader are specifically tailored to complement and extend the key concepts and themes that will be addressed in this paper. However, Alison Cole's Italian Renaissance Courts: Art, Pleasure and Power (2016) and Art of the Italian Renaissance Courts (1995), both available on Short Loan provide an accessible and detailed introduction to many of themes, patrons and artists that will be covered in this course for the princely courts. I also recommend that you consult Radke and Paoletti's Art in Renaissance Italy for general information on Florence, Rome and Venice, as well as the other required and recommended readings listed for each class and tutorial. In addition, a detailed Bibliography is provided in the Files section of Canvas, which will help direct your research for assignments.


The methodology used in this class is heavily indebted to Michael Baxandall’s notion of the “period eye”, as employed in his ground-breaking book, Painting and Experience in Fifteenth-Century Italy, which is available in the Fine Arts Library on Short Loan. Baxandall’s approach insists on the importance of the way artworks and objects functioned in their original context, for their assumed viewership and/or function. This course is constructed along these same lines; it attempts to situate objects in terms of function, patronage, and display. 


You will be evaluated through two assignments, which are different for Stage II and Stage III students, and a final exam. Stage 2 students complete a one-hour in class test and an essay; Stage 3 students complete an essay and a contract assignment. The due dates are different, so please see details supplied under "assignments" in Canvas.


Please contact me if I can help clarify an assignment, focus your study, or discuss anything that might be affecting your work in this class. I am available to give feedback on the outline of any essay, or the first paragraph, but I do not read full drafts.


You are strongly advised to attend all lectures and tutorials because they help synthesize what you have read, underscore important issues and cover material that is not in the readings. Content covered in the tutorials WILL be included in the exam. The tutor will take attendance. Though your attendance does not determine your grade in any specific sense, it is usually a revealing guide to your performance.


Recommended readings for lectures are detailed at the bottom of each lecture synopsis. Due to copyright restrictions, only some of these have been able to be digitised and are available through the ARTHIST 236/336 TALIS Reading List. In addition, many of the books are available on Short Loan in the General Library.

Tutorial readings are also available online through TALIS, where copyright allows. Otherwise, you will need to get the books from the library, with essential sources on Short Loan.  All starred (*) reading assignments for tutorials should be read in advance of class.  Be prepared to discuss the readings.


Please note that a worksheet is included under each module that relates to the week’s tutorial. These worksheets should be used in conjunction with the assigned reading for the tutorial – that is, you need to do the reading IN ADVANCE of the tutorial. Please see below for LINK to tutorial topics and worksheets, print out the worksheet for each week's tutorial and bring it to the tutorial with you. I will check these in the tutorials to see that they are completed. These worksheets are intended to help structure your reading and prepare you for key points of the discussion.


Late papers will be penalised 5 points for every week late or portion thereof.  I also hold late papers to higher standards because you have had the luxury of extra time.  The exception is for medical emergencies, for which I need to be contacted within a week of the doctor’s note.  If you are experiencing difficulty with an assignment, please contact me well in advance of the due date and I can help and may arrange an extension.  No papers will be accepted two weeks after the due date except for pre-approved cases. Remember that all essays are submitted centrally to Arts 1 and must also be submitted by the due date to Turnitin.

To view the LECTURE PROGRAMME, with topics and readings for each lecture, see HERE.


Course summary:

Date Details