The Baroque Imaginary (AH4117.01)

J. Vanessa Lyon

The Baroque has fascinated–and incensed–historians, cultural critics, and philosophers from Walter Benjamin and Erwin Panofsky to Gilles Deleuze and Peter Greenaway. Often aligned with an artistic ‘Golden Age’ exemplified by the complex and discomfiting works of Bernini, Rubens, Velázquez, and Vermeer, the Baroque has also been associated with ruinous decadence and excess, irrationality, preciosity and effeminacy, and lately, BLING—rhetorically charged notions that can be interpreted in religious, gendered, and racial terms. This course is an investigation of both seventeenth-century European painting, prints, and sculpture and (Neo)Baroque aesthetics as such. We will endeavor to identify at least some of the characteristic mentalities, themes, heuristics, and tropes that constitute the representational-epistemological—and certainly, the metaphysical—mechanics of this rich and varied mode or modes of artistic expression. A comparative essay, museum visit, and sustained original research will culminate in a research paper and presentation.

Learning Outcomes:
critical analysis of texts and images
humanities research and writing
formal analysis
interdisciplinary study

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: Interested students should email Professor Lyon ( with a brief description of interest, relevant previous coursework, and background in early modern history, literature, art, poetry, music, etc.--if it exists.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
Th 1:40PM - 5:20PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 12
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: 4000 , All courses , Art History , Four Credit , Fully In-Person