AH20240 The Age of Michelangelo: Mannerism in Italy 1520-1600

Academic Year 2021/2022

This course runs on Monday evenings and assesses the impact of the mature Michelangelo on the art of central Italy and its culture of art theory during the mid-to-late sixteenth century. Its particular concern is the development of Mannerism - a complex and challenging artistic style that defined the final phase of the Renaissance in Florence and Rome. Once maligned as a dissolute reaction against the values of the High Renaissance, Mannerist art is now appreciated for its apparent modernity, intellectual intensity and precocious expressionism. In exploring shifting perceptions of Mannerism, the course will investigate the cultural principles of the period and how they were shaped by Michelangelo's pervasive influence. We will also address the factors involved in the establishment of art history as a scholarly discipline under the stewardship of Michelangelo's acolyte and follower, Giorgio Vasari, and briefly look at other Italian centres of artistic production to throw Mannerism into relief. This module would be a good choice for those students who have completed the foundation module AH10120 The Art of the Renaissance.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this module, students should be able to demonstrate the following:
- an ability to regularly and punctually attend classes, engage with their lecturers, work to set deadlines, and submit original, non-plagiarised work in accordance with the standards expected at university.
- familiarity with, and understanding of, a range of recommended set texts and critical/ theoretical sources relevant to the course, and be able to work under test/ exam conditions without reliance on lecture notes or other learning aids.
- an appreciation of the development of Michelangelo's art and the Mannerist style in central Italy and elsewhere, and the work of key artists of the period.
- an understanding of how Mannerism relates to the theoretical and aesthetic debates of the period and the intellectual, social and professional rise of the artist during the renaissance generally.
- an ability to articulate an appreciation of the particular technical characteristics of Mannerist art, and identify, date, and critically analyse the work of its leading practitioners across the fields of painting, sculpture and architecture.
- connoisseurial skills vital to a competency in the history of art, and with particular relevance to the artists covered on this module.

Indicative Module Content:

Lectures will chiefly concentrate on the impact of Michelangelo on central Italian art and art theory and the development of Mannerism as an artistic style in Florence and Rome. The course will also intermittently address Mannerism's pan-Italian character, with regard to other centres such as Mantua and Venice. In addition to supplying profiles of leading Mannerist artists, such as Michelangelo, Pontormo, Bronzino and Giulio Romano, the classes will exercise a strong interest in the aesthetic debates, critical culture, and socio-political upheavals of the period, including the Sack of Rome, the development of the Counter Reformation and the Medici domination of Florentine politics.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Field Trip/External Visits




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The delivery of this module may be subject to ongoing Covid restrictions. In addition to formal classes, students will be strongly encouraged to study relevant works of art in the National Gallery of Ireland and to visit UCD library to make use of recommended texts. An over-reliance on web/ digital resources is discouraged wherever circumstances allow. It is also essential that while students should strongly engage with recommended texts and lecture content, they should also develop their own, informed, ideas and arguments. Assessment will be via a written essay and slide test at the end of term.

NB. Resits and repeats: it is incumbent on any undergraduate student who fails this module to contact the lecturer as soon as possible, and early in the subsequent term, to announce their intention to resit, and to obtain details of resit assignments. Any resit/ repeat registration/ fee issues should be dealt with by the UCD College Arts and Humanities Programme Office. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Recommendations:

This module would be a good choice for those students who have completed the foundation module AH10120 The Art of the Renaissance. Students taking Art History as part of their degree designation should not take any Stage 2 or 3 Art History modules until they have completed their Stage 1 Art History requirements.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
AH30330 - Mannerism: Art & Theory

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Class Test: A class test will take place at the end of term - details tbc. Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Essay: The essay will be due mid-term, details tbc. Unspecified n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

You will receive written feedback on your essay and will have the opportunity to discuss this and your exam performance with the lecturer concerned.

A preliminary reading list for this module is available from Philip Cottrell on request - email philipcottrell@hotmail.com
Name Role
Ms Carla Briggs Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Conor Lucey Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Frances Coulter Tutor
Ms Rachel Healy Tutor
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 Mon 18:00 - 18:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 Mon 19:00 - 19:50