A developmental, periodizing, and heteronormatively inflected approach to idiosyncratic male artist-geniuses such as Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, and Titian has dominated Renaissance art history. Yet given its cross-cultural, colonial origins, and paradoxical investment in both ‘pagan’ antiquity and Christian humanism, ‘pre-modern’ Renaissance visuality is anything but straightforward. In this circumscribed survey of sixteenth-century art, we will read scholarship invigorated by queer theory, feminist, post-colonial, and gender studies as well as primary sources by pioneering art historians and queer art writers, e.g. Vernon Lee and Walter Pater.
Class discussions and independent research will culminate in a research project and short presentation.