This course focuses on the history of museums in Rome, arguably the birthplace of the modern art museum. In Rome, the idea of turning private collections into what are today public museums was formulated as early as the 15th century; the Capitoline Museums include one of the oldest civic collections in Europe. The great 18th-century palace collections and exhibition spaces of the Villa Borghese and Doria Pamphili Gallery are among the most influential in the world. Rome’s cultural landscape, itself a kind of public museum, was a locus for the 18th-century Grand Tour. With weekly visits to these sites and other ancient Roman ruins, monuments, churches, palaces and villas, illuminated by selected readings and class discussion, students consider the evolution of museums over time and how certain collections, galleries and exhibition spaces have contributed to the image and ideology of Rome as the seat of Western civilization. The course includes a one-day academic excursion to a museum and archeological site outside of Rome and a three-day excursion to France.
Cross-listed with History 2400.