AH 340 - Cracking the Code: Leonardo da Vinci and Renaissance Art in Milan

This course introduces students to the history of Renaissance art with a special focus on the city of Milan and its most illustrious citizen, Leonardo da Vinci. More than simply a backdrop for Leonardo's achievements, Milan is considered here as his essential creative matrix. Throughout the course, we will pay special attention not only to Leonardo's impact on the city but also to Milan as a fertile terrain for his imagination, fantasies, and ingenious problem-solving skills. Taking advantage of the student's stay in Milan, the course emphasizes in-depth examinations of works that can be seen firsthand around the city. 

At the same time, students will broaden their understanding of the historical moment under scrutiny. Da Vinci's achievements in Milan are used as a prism through which to study major artistic, social and cultural issues of the period in which he lived and worked. Field studies around the city of Milan include the Castello Sforzesco, with Leonardo's fresco ceiling commissioned by the Sforza family, the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, with Leonardo's Codice Atlantico, the bronze Sforza horse at San Siro, the Museum of Science and Technology and, of course, The Last Supper.

Course Information


Art History

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No previous art history background is necessary, although the pace is that of a 300-level

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