Special Topics: Imagining Jerusalem in Art and Architecture from the Renaissance to the Modern Period
Throughout history fascinating images of Jerusalem were created in art and architecture. This course investigates these images from the Renaissance through the early twentieth century, a period which witnessed intense interest in the city from a religious, political, and romantic perspective. While Jerusalem occupied the very center of the world in t-shaped maps of the middle ages, the city long remained the focus of attention for Christians and Jews who sought to literally or symbolically regain the sacred city with its famous, biblical sites. Renaissance Popes imagined Rome as the "New Jerusalem." Christian rulers vainly attempted to launch crusades, now and then, from the fifteenth through the seventeenth centuries; yet despite failures to accomplish this goal, the focus upon Jerusalem remained strong within European culture. Religious scholars, both Jewish and Christian, and European architects, continuously sought to reconstruct an "authentic" image of the ancient city and Temple in order to better understand the biblical events of the past. Many subsequent works of architecture such as the Sistine Chapel were inspired by the desire to re-create Solomon's Temple in Rome. Artists often depicted the Holy Land and the Temple of Jerusalem in the backgrounds of paintings and prints portraying biblical subjects. Moreover, Christians literally embarked upon pilgrimages to Jerusalem to renew their faith and achieve salvation. In fulfillment of envisioned events of the End of Days, Christians, as well as Jews, focused upon Jerusalem as the site for the messianic age and Second Coming of Jesus. European travelers were attracted by the exotic landscape and people of this region in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and Jewish settlers of the early 20th century viewed Palestine as an ancient homeland of refuge from persecution. All of these diverse motivations contributed to the creation of splendid works of art and architecture.
Estimated cost of materials: less than $50.
Category for Concentration Distributions: D. Europe and the U.S., 3. Early Modern