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AH231 – The Age of the Baroque: Art and Empire in the 17th Century

In block 3, students in AH231 will bring the history of art to life in a project that combines a class on the art, architecture, and sculpture of the 17th century in Europe with cutting-edge contemporary art.

What connects the art of the past with today’s art world?
What connects the art of the past with today’s art world?

Instructor(s)

Associate Professor Rebecca Tucker email

This class examines the innovative art and architecture made for the major courts of 17th-century Europe. In this century of remarkably varied artistic production, paradoxes abounded. Illusion competed with classicism; seriousness of purpose gave way to painted jokes; and artistic identity clashed with political authority. More than ever before, artists explored the dramatic and expressive possibilities of art in this turbulent period. Like today’s artists, Baroque masters struggled to identify and convey a heightened awareness of the complex relationship of an individual to a multivalent reality that resists concrete definition.

The students in AH231 will not only study the art history of the 17th century, but also work on a show entitled “Strange Beauty: Baroque Sensibilities in Contemporary Art” which will open in the IDEA Space on December 6. The exhibition features works by contemporary artists such as Jimmy Baker, Liza Lou, Andres Serrano, Cindy Sherman, Kehinde Wiley, and Sherrie Wolf. With these objects, which uncover connections between Baroque and contemporary experience, students will enter the dynamic territory of museum studies. Their task, simply put, is to make the living legacy of art history in contemporary art understandable, and vital, to today’s viewing public.

Prerequisite: AH 111 or AH 112 or COI