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Rethinking the Baroque


This module explores a range of stimulating scholarship circulating, in different ways, around 'baroque' art, architecture, and urbanism.

It examines the term 'baroque' in relation to art and architecture of a period, art and architecture and style, and with regard to more recent theoretical uses. It uses carefully chosen case studies to explore particularly interesting problems in baroque art (mainly drawn from c17th Italy). It includes an exploration of the promise, limits and potential of the term 'baroque' in light of long-standing conceptions and recent theorizations of the term for the study of history of art and architecture.

It engages with the term thematically and theoretically; but the module is not at all intended to 'cover' all art that has been termed 'baroque', nor even to introduce students to 'typical' baroque art. Instead, the module is formed in terms of case studies to allow detailed critical examination and imaginative exploration of carefully selected problems, themes, and art works from c17th Italy in light of important and recent scholarship.

Issues investigated might include: baroque sculpture and the haptic; relics, sanctity and death; festivals and ephemeral apparati; topography and piety; blood and tears; visual culture & gender & sexuality; the urban and plague and disease.

The Taking of Christ, 1602, oil on canvas, 53 x 67 in, by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

Module information

  • Module title
    Rethinking the Baroque
  • Module number
  • Convenor
    Helen Hills

For postgraduates