Interdisciplinary Honors Seminars


01:090:293:04 Index# 15508
Professor Sarah McHam, SAS - Art History
T 09:50A - 12:50P
Honors College, Rm. N-106
College Avenue Campus


Course WILL count for major or minor credit in Art History

This seminar examines the art and life of Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), arguably the greatest artist who ever lived. Although he is best known as a sculptor and painter, Michelangelo was also an architect, poet, and civil engineer.  We will look at his sculpture and painting within the context of their locations in Florence and Rome, and investigate his artistic, religious, political, economic, and personal motivations. Each week there will be assigned readings available in PDFs on the seminar website. Everyone must do the assigned readings and come to class ready to take part in discussion. Starting in week two, each week a small group of students will be responsible for presenting the readings and prompting discussion.  I will take the class through an overview of the period of Michelangelo’s career and the larger issues during the first part of the class.  Then the assigned group will present the readings. Students will also choose a subject on which to do research, present their findings to the seminar in a 20-minute oral report, and then write them up as a research paper due at the end of the semester. The research paper will be done in stages: thesis proposal, annotated bibliography, outline, first draft, and final draft.

SARAH MCHAM, is a specialist in Italian painting and sculpture between 1200 and 1600. Her book on the influence of Pliny the Elder on Italian art and art theory was published by Yale University Press in February 2013. Recent publications include articles such as “Pliny’s Influence on Vasari’s First Edition of the Lives,” Artibus et Historiae, 64 (2011), 9-23; “Giambologna’s Equestrian Monument to Cosimo I: The Monument Makes the Memory,” Patronage and Italian Renaissance Sculpture, ed. Kathleen Wren Christian and David J. Drogin, Surrey: Ashgate, 2010, 195-222; “Donatello’s Judith as the Emblem of God’s Chosen People,” The Sword of Judith: Judith Studies across the Disciplines, ed. Kevin R. Brine, Elena Ciletti and Henrike Lähnemann, Cambridge: Open Book Publishers, 2010, 307-24;“Tomba come testamento: Il monumento funerario di Andrea Bregno,” Andrea Bregno: Il senso della forma nella cultura artistica del Rinascimento, ed. Claudio Strinati and Claudio Crescentini, Rome: Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali and Maschietto editore, 2009, 414-29, and “Reflections of Pliny in Giovanni Bellini’s Woman with a Mirror,” Artibus et Historiae,  58 (2008), 157-71.

She also contributed to the exhibition and catalog, An Antiquity of Imagination : Tullio Lombardo and Venetian High Renaissance Sculpture, ed. Alison Luchs, to be held at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 4 July – 31 October 2009.  Her book, The Chapel of St. Anthony at the Santo and the Development of Venetian Renaissance Sculpture (Cambridge University Press, 1994), was the first historical assessment of the design and decoration of the burial chapel of St. Anthony of Padua, a major artistic commission of sixteenth-century Italy.  She has also published many essays and articles on fifteenth-century and sixteenth-century sculpture and painting in Tuscany and in the Venetian Empire.  

She has advised recently completed dissertations on such topics as Medici patronage of art in the Grand Duchy during the late 16th and early 17th century; the role of painted labels (cartellini) in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century painting; the painted illustrations of Virgil’s pastoral poetry; representations of the non-married ideal beloved in the Renaissance, and on the earliest representations of Mary Magdalen in Italy.