ARTH 245 * Introduction to Art History * Professor Sarah Benson * Fall 2004


Final Review

Sample questions

Part I: Early Renaissance in Italy and the North
Part II: High Renaissance, Mannerism, and the Rise of Secular Painting
Part III: Baroque Art, from Sun King to Dark Chamber


Final Thursday 16 December, 3:00-5:30 p.m.
Room change: final will be held in HEC, our normal lecture room

Key Dates
1618-48 Thirty Years' War, clash between Protestant and Catholic powers (primarily Spain and the Netherlands)
1625 Justin of Nassau cedes Dutch city of Breda to Spanish commander Ambrogio Spinola
1648 Treaty of Westphalia ends Thirty Years' War; Northern Netherlands gains independence from Spain
1648-53, the Fronde, Civil War in France
1649 Charles I, King of England, beheaded
1686 Siamese Embassy to France

Important Figures
Who were these people? Describe their careers and how these intersected with contemporary politics and with the production of art. Cite relevant dates.
find out more: Encyclopedia Britanica | Grove Dictionary of Art

Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556)
Marie de' Medici (1573-1642)
Pope Alexander VII (Chigi, r. 1655-1667)
Louis XIV (b. 1638, r.   1643-1715), King of France

In your answer place the work in a historical context and/or in the context of other related works. Refer to and explain specific examples from the work to make your argument.
Your answer should follow the format:

Location {if in situ }

Reviewing images
identification: identify artist, subject, date, medium, and original location if in situ
patronage: who commissioned this work and for what purpose? if we don't know the identity of the specific person, does the location, subject, or style of the work tell us that it might have been a noble, merchant, man, woman...?
function: are its functions political, devotional, magical, instructional, propagandistic ... ?
audience: where and how would it have been seen and used? was it designed for a particular audience? who would have had access to it? men and women? people of different classes, ages?
comparison: how does it relate to other works we've discussed in class?
medium: how does the medium affect the messages that the work conveys?   Consider advantages and limitations of techniques and the value of materials.
readings: do the arguments and analyses made in any of the readings apply to the work? what would you say about the object as an iconographer or social historian of art? how would you analyze the work from the point of view of gender and feminist studies?
themes: how does the work exhibit some combination of the themes: 1) classicism, 2) imitation of nature, 3) portrayal and meanings of the human form, 4) status of artist, 5) role of patron and spectator?

Essay questions in which you should formulate an argument that compares the two works as evidence for trends in the production of art and in broader social and historical events or changes; you will need to refer to specific details in the works to support your argument and to refer to readings and other works of art we have discussed. These may be from Part I, Part II, and Part III

Study questions
The actual exam questions will be selected from these. Take the opportunity to prepare ahead of time.

For each essay, you should set up an argument in the first paragraph and then demonstrate it by choosing examples of key images (painting, sculpture, architecture, prints, manuscripts, etc.) and citing information from lecture and readings. Make sure that you refer to specific details of the images that you discuss. A complete essay should answer all parts of the question, make use of a variety of different images or objects from all periods that we have covered in lecture, show how these fit into a historical pattern, and take account of the geographical location in which the objects were produced. All essays should bring in arguments from and show familiarity with relevant readings; think about whether the author's arguments could also apply more broadly to other images that we have studied. Or do other images seem to contradict or complicate the arguments of the authors we have read?

You may study and go over notes with other students, but the argument and outline of your essay must be your own.
You cannot consult with your instructors ahead of time about your answers.

1) In lectures, discussions, and readings, we have discussed numerous techniques used by painters, sculptors, and printmakers for engaging spectators. Taking into account changes over time in both Southern and Northern Europe, discuss some of these techniques, the effects that artists wished to have on their audiences, and their purposes (religious, political, moral, aesthetic, erotic, etc.).

2) Whether religious imagery, mythological scenes, or portraiture, much Renaissance and Baroque art was concerned with the portrayal of the human figure. As a starting point, discuss and campare the readings that we have done on the portrayal and meanings of bodies: Janson, "The Image of Man in Renaissance Art"; Cropper, "The Beauty of Woman"; Rosenthal, "Manhood and Statehood." Explain the expressive purposes for which the human body was used by the painters, sculptors, and printmakers we have studied, paying attention to differences in different time periods, locations, and in the representation of male and female.   You should consider both ideal and "realistic" or ugly bodies, the meanings that bodies were made to convey, and the purposes for which artist or patron created the work.

3) The centuries of the Renaissance & Baroque saw major changes in the political organization of Europe. Florence rose as a Republic with a strong central government in the 14th century, only to become a Medici dukedom in the 16th century; French and Spanish monarchs built large nation states; the Dutch achieved independence as a Republic governed largely by the middle classes; while Rome faced the decline of its political power in the wake of the Reformation. Giving examples from each of these locations, explain the role of art and architecture in these political shifts and in shaping or communicating the national identities of patrons and viewers.

4) During the span of centuries covered in this course, the status of artist was changing in Europe. Using examples of specific artists (painters, sculptors, architects), discuss how these changes are thematized or reflected in their work. Consider for example changes in patronage, the art market, and ways in which artists sought to promote themselves in both Southern and Northern Europe.

5) Compare the new basilica of Saint Peter's in Rome and Louis XIV's Versailles as architectural complexes encompassing both architecture (interior and exterior) and decoration. Take into account the intended users of the space, the sequence in which these people would have moved through the space, and what messages or visual statements artists and patrons make. How do they relate to earlier structures on the sites? Address the functions of these two architectural complexes and similarities or differences in their uses and the status and aims of their patrons.

6) In your last set of readings, David Hockney revisits many of the images that we have seen over the semester and offers new explanations for why they look the way they do. Taking Hans Holbein's The Ambassadors as a case study, compare the approach and insights of Hockney, who is an artist not a historian, to the iconographic and social-historical approaches of art historians as Barnet defines them. What sort of questions would each ask about the work and what sort of evidence would each need to answer these? You should suggest what iconographic and social-historical interpretations of the Ambassadors might be and compare these to Hockney's findings. Do the approaches complement each other? Are they in any way incompatible?