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Berlin, Germany

(FUBiS Course Offering) Art, Culture, and European Societies

Global Temple Conference

Course Number: 
Semester(s) Offered: 
Summer 2023
Credit Hours: 

This course examines the shift from elitist forms of representation in the arts to the increased popularization (and democratization) of European politics and culture from the 18th to the 20th centuries. Using both contextual (historical) and formal (art historical) tools for analysis, the class will trace stylistic changes in art, literature, music and the press. More specifically, this includes a consideration of political propaganda and neoclassicism during the revolutionary epoch to romanticism, realism, impressionism, and expressionism concurrent with the establishment and commercial expansion of the modern nation state. Additionally, the course will consider the "democratization" (or popularization) of visual and material culture through the lithographic press, the daily newspaper, photography, and poster publicity. The concluding unit will incorporate visual propaganda in particular European countries during the perilous decades that preceded and followed World War I.

Why take this course in Berlin?

FUBiS course name: History of European Art: Local Traditions and Transnational Networks

This course explores European art from the 15th to the 20th century with a particular focus on urban centers like Florence, Rome, Venice, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Paris, London, and Berlin. The aim is to analyze how the visual arts contributed through the centuries to shape local identities as well as European cultural traditions common to different countries and transcultural, global networks.

The course will present iconic moments of the history of the arts in Europe by drawing a special attention to episodes of cultural exchanges and hybridization that arose from travelling artworks as well as from artists’ travels in Europe and beyond. From the role of artists like Raphael and Michelangelo in 16th-century papal Rome to the rise of genre painting in the Flanders and the Dutch Republic of the Golden Age, from the ‘painters of modern life’ in 19th-century Paris to the German Avant-garde of the 1920s, we will analyze the artworks and their authors in relation to the different historical contexts and the places of their creation. Recurrent will be the focus on the complex interplay between artists and patrons, between local traditions, individual creativity and the broader social, political and cultural contexts in which artworks and buildings were produced.

Students will gain understanding of the main art movements and relevant artists from the Renaissance to the postwar period as well as the basic concepts and terminology of art history. Visits to the outstanding collections of Berlin museums will allow the participants to study in depth specific artifacts and to learn how to look closely at works of art.

Instructor: Dr. Stefano de Bosio - Dahlem Humanities Center, FU Berlin
Stefano de Bosio earned his PhD in 2011 from the University of Turin. He previously studied History of Art in Turin, Italy and at the Université Paris IV–Sorbonne. In 2013 he received the title of Specialista in Beni storico-artistici from the University of Bologna. He collaborated with the Gabinetto dei Disegni e delle Stampe of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence (international research project EUPLOOS, 2013). In 2013/14 Stefano de Bosio was a post-doctoral fellow at the Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte in Paris. 

Special Notes: 

Repeatability: This course may not be repeated for additional credits.


An elementary knowledge of European history is welcome but not necessary.