HART2207 Caravaggio and the Baroque

6 points
Not available in 2020UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 option in the History of Art major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Design and Creative Arts
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 2 elective
In Italian art of the seventeenth century, things are never quite as they seem. Caravaggio's highly naturalistic paintings merge biblical figures with local prostitutes and beggars; the sculptor Bernini turns hard marble into soft flesh and stillness into motion; Borromini's buildings appear to pulsate and envelope their visitors; and heaven and earth converge in vast ceiling paintings of palaces and churches. Besides such illusions, the Baroque revels in drama. Art no longer needs to be aesthetically pleasing - it can be ugly or horrific in its quest to provoke strong emotions. It is a period of innovation, producing the first feminist artist and the first global style. Yet it also is the first period fully aware of the history of art, bringing about changes in collecting and theorising art that reverberate into the nineteenth century. This unit examines Baroque art and architecture in the context of major historical developments, such as the Catholic Counter-Reformation and early colonialism. It also studies contemporary art theory through the prism of its arguable most iconic artist, the Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.
Students are able to (1) demonstrate oral communication and interpersonal skills; (2) analyse formal and technical qualities of Mannerist and Baroque artworks; (3) place artworks in cultural and historical contexts of central and southern Europe in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and demonstrate an understanding of how artworks can mediate social or cultural meaning; (4) apply principles of argument in art historical discourse; and (5) apply research techniques in art historiography.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) short essay; (2) long essay; and (3) oral assessment. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Arvi Wattel
Unit rules
HART1000 Great Moments in Art (formerly VISA1000)
HART1003 Ways of Seeing: Themes and Theories in Art
VISA2207 Art of the Counter-Reformation
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week; tutorials: 1 hour per week
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  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.