Special Topics: Experiencing Early Modern Sculpture
"Experiencing Early Modern Sculpture" engages with the visual and material characteristics and practices particular to sculpture. Often relegated to the sidelines of art history classes, this course seeks to teach how to talk about sculptures and to explore the diverse contexts and processes with which sculptors worked. This medium-specific focus allows us to consider how sculptures functioned in the early modern period while allowing for effective bridges to the students' contemporary surroundings and viewing practices. Students will discuss basic theoretical and art historical issues raised by sculptures (such as mimesis and the agency of art objects), learn how the objects were made, consider their visual effects, and explore how audiences past and present interact with the works. To impress upon the students the vast differences between, for example, small-scale terracotta models and monumental bronze statues, this course will take full advantage of locally available early modern sculptures at UMMA and either the Detroit Institute of Arts or the Toledo Museum of Art, while integrating site visits to public sculptures on campus, the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, and UM's School of Art & Design as stand-ins for participating with the visual and material qualities exclusive to the art form. While early modern European sculpture will be the course's core, the in-person assessment of sculptures and display practices will enliven our understanding of and appreciation for sculpture.
Estimated cost of materials: $50-$100.
HISTART category for concentration distributions: D. Europe and the US, 3. Early Modern.