Michelangelo: Precedents, Innovations, Influence

An exploration of Italian Renaissance architecture and urbanism through the persona of Michelangelo as witness, agent, and inspiration. We look at architecture and urbanism in Florence, Rome, and Venice from about 1400 to 1600 as it formed, articulated, and reflected the creative achievements of this Renaissance genius. The course engages building typologies such as the villa, the palace, and the church, reviews the theory and practice of urban space-making, and evaluates the authority of the Classical past in the creation of new work. Particular emphasis on Michelangelo’s creative process and on his drawings. A workshop on drawing techniques for ink and chalk may be scheduled.
We begin with Medicean Florence under Lorenzo the Magnificent and with the Early Renaissance legacy of Brunelleschi, Michelozzo, and Alberti. Following Michelangelo’s footsteps, we move to High Renaissance Rome, with the achievements of Bramante, Raphael and Michelangelo himself. Returning to Florence, we investigate the Mannerist experimentation of Michelangelo and others in the 1520s and consider the acceptance and rejection of this idiom by Giulio Romano in Mantua and Jacopo Sansovino in Venice. Michelangelo’s mature and late styles in Counter- Reformation Rome and his influence on later architects conclude the course.