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Rome, Italy

Rome Seminar in Art & Culture

Global Temple Conference

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This seminar topic focuses on the troubled relation between perception and cognition in three historical moments of Western culture: the Renaissance and the birth of single point perspective; the Baroque and Counter-Reformation; and the postmodern critique of Enlightenment rationality. We speculate about how our culture has been shaped by collaboration and conflict among visual, visionary, ideological and rational ways of knowing the world. The scope of inquiry embraces literary, philosophical, painterly and cinematic texts.

Among the questions to be raised are:

  • What is the relation between visual and verbal representation?
  • Is the perceptual realm of sight necessarily subordinated to rationality?
  • What is the place of visual representation in the tug-of-war between imaginary and real spheres of being?
  • What historical and ideological exchanges between vision and rationality continue to affect our social and political orders?
  • What role does aesthetics play in the making of a public sphere?

​The seminar is conducted in English through lecture/discussion sessions and closely coordinated field trips. The class sessions focus upon the listed readings below in the theory of ideology and the history of art. The field sessions focus upon Roman illusionist painting; Caravaggio and the Counter-Reformation; Baroque sculpture and architecture; and the holdings in futurism and abstraction at the Museum of Modern Art in Rome.


Art History 8450:  Special Projects