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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Centre for Open Learning : History, Classics and Archaeology

Undergraduate Course: 'The State as a Work of Art' in Northern Italy, c.1300-c.1650 (LLLE07042)

Course Outline
SchoolCentre for Open Learning CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 7 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course charts the development and progress of the influential states of Northern Italy in the Renaissance and early modern period. The states will be considered in their political, economic and cultural contexts, placing them alongside the contemporary growth of major European powers.
Course description Starting from the nineteenth-century Swiss historian Jacob Burckhardt's premise of the 'State as a Work of Art', the course charts the development, flowering and sometimes the decline of the patchwork of states that covered Northern Italy in the Renaissance and early modern period. Individual dynasties will be examined against the growing influence of major European powers. We will also explore the political and economic transformation of these regional states and the cultural magnificence of their courts that was central to the identity of their rulers.

The course will include lectures, seminar discussion and one-to-one discussion of the course and formative assessment to feedforward to the final assessment. Students will be introduced to a range of contemporary sources (history, literature, architecture, art) and will develop their critical analysis skills during lectures and group discussion.

Content summary:
1. The State as a Work of Art: Introduce Jacob Burckhardt's work and the section on the evolution of the city-state. Introduce the northern states of the Italian peninsula and provide an overview of historical context and key events.
2. The Duchy of Milan: Political structures and power relations in Milan. The Visconti and the Sforza. Events during the Italian Wars (1494-1535). Imperial and Spanish Milan in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
3. Small Principalities 1: Mantua. Analysis of the political structure and image construction. The Gonzaga dynasty: patronage and war.
4. Small Principalities 2: Ferrara and the Este dynasty.
5. Genoa: Maritime Republic.
6. Venice: The Most Serene Republic.
7. Duchies, marquisates and feudal principalities: Montferrat, Saluzzo, Trent, Aquileia.
8. The Rise of Piedmont and the House of Savoy.
9. Women and Power: Isabella d'esme, Marchioness of Mantua; the Duchesses of Savoy and other regents.
10. Conclusions: Discuss the influence of the state, trade and the economy, the cultural and political changes during the period, and compare the forms of government and image projection considered throughout the course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  16
Course Start Lifelong Learning - Session 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 78 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) The assessment (2,000-word essay worth 100% of the final mark) will be due after the end of the taught course. The formative assessment (essay plan) will be due mid-way through the course.
Feedback Students will receive written feedback for their formative assessment (essay plan), submitted mid-way through the course. They may discuss this with the tutor; students may contact the tutor for an informal discussion of progress at any time in the term. Students will receive written feedback on their coursework and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser by appointment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate, by way of coursework as required, an understanding of the different forms of the Italian city-state and the role of particular dynasties in the politics of Renaissance and early modern Italy.
  2. demonstrate, by way of coursework as required, comprehension of strategies of Renaissance image management, both in public and private, and acknowledge the role of the court.
  3. demonstrate, by way of coursework as required, a critical awareness of Italian Renaissance cultural productions, including works of material culture, art, architecture, and literature, and be aware of the role of patronage.
  4. demonstrate, by way of coursework as required, an understanding of the wider political, economic and cultural context of Northern Italy in this period.
Reading List
Burckhardt, J., 1990. The Civilisation of the Renaissance in Italy. London: Penguin.
Cole, A., 1995. Art of the Italian Renaissance Courts. London: Orion.
Gambarini, A. and Lazzarini I., 2012. The Italian Renaissance State. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hollingsworth, M., 1994. Patronage in Renaissance Italy. London: John Murray.
Martines, L., 1979. Power and Imagination: City-states in Renaissance Italy. London : Allen Lane
Rosenberg, C. M., 2010. The Court Cities of Northern Italy: Milan, Parma, Piacenza, Mantua, Ferrara, Bologna, Urbino, Pesaro, and Rimini. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Written and oral analytical skills.
Handling a range of historical sources.
Confidence in contributing to group discussion.
Special Arrangements This is a for-credit course offered by the Centre for Open Learning (COL); only students registered with COL should be enrolled.
KeywordsItaly,renaissance,early modern
Course organiserDr Sally Crumplin
Course secretaryMr Benjamin Mcnab
Tel: (0131 6)51 4832
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