Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

VPHB63H3: Fame, Spectacle, and Glory - 14th - 16th Century in Italy


Welcome to the Library Guide for Fame, Spectacle, and Glory - 14th to 16th Century Italy!

This Library Guide is meant to assist you with the completion of the research required for the successful completion of this course.

Course Overview and Goals

Welcome to this introduction and exploration of the art and issues of the Italian Renaissance era. We will analyze the ideas and institutions that developed during this period, including new styles and subjects with additional focus on the status of the individual artist, development of art theory and academic traditions, artistic competitions and patronage. Students should be aware that they are welcome to raise questions and introduce connections between ideas throughout the course, particularly during class discussions.

We will examine visual material using analysis of its artistic and cultural significance, in order to create a solid foundation for considering the widest possible range of questions about the object, its context and meanings.  

  • Artistic significance:  technique; materials; style
  • Cultural significance: location; original intended audience; function
  • What is the difference between visual analysis and artistic significance? Answer:  visual analysis (also known as formal analysis aka analysis of FORM)  is: “an analysis of the work of art , which is made up of such things as line, shape, colour, texture, mass, composition. These things give the stone or canvas its form, its expression, its content, its meaning.” [Rudolph Arnheim, Art and Visual Perception (1974), quoted in Sylvan Barnet, A Short Guide to Writing About Art (Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Education Inc.  eleventh edition, 2015, p. 48]  Artistic significance provides analysis of how factors such as the types of material(s) used, the techniques involved (such as painting or photography) and the style used carry additional meaning and importance.

Assignment - Artist Contract

For this assignment, you will write a paper that provides the design contract for an artwork. 

1. You will choose an artwork made in Italy between the dates of 1400 and 1600CE from the list given below.  Do NOT choose a work that is not on this list.

2. Your assignment will require library-based research, and will need to contain specific information listed below.  PLEASE DO NOT USE THE INTERNET AS AN INFORMATION SOURCE with the exception of websites already used in class or public museum websites approved by me first (marks will be deducted for use of Wikipedia)!!!! You may use class notes, the textbooks, or other books and articles from other courses or the library.

3. You will need to include careful detailed descriptions and visual analysis of your chosen artwork to ensure that the artist knows what to make.  Remember, this is a time in history when people value thoughtful, informative writing – include as much information as possible.  For example, will your artist need to use the highest quality blue pigment for the costume of a specific figure? The more detail you give, the better!

4. You may use the first person (as if you were the patron commissioning the artwork). Please provide an introduction and a conclusion, along with proper reference citations. You may wish to create different sections for your paper, where you discuss different topics such as subjects, materials, location, etc.

5. Any ideas, facts or direct quotations that you use from your research sources MUST be properly reported, using Chicago Style, in a reference citation (foot- or endnote).  If you don’t use reference citations, you are plagiarizing someone else’s work.

For how to create foot- or endnotes, see UTSC Writing Centre guidelines:

The full assignment and list of images/objects has been provided to you through Quercus.