Summer School 2021 - Course 18 - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Summer School 2021 – Course 18

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Course 18

The Baroque and its Rebels: Propaganda and Dissent in seventeenth-century Rome

Dr Giulia Martina Weston

Summer School – Online
Monday 5 – Friday 9 July 2021

A man's horse rears upwards on its front legs, while the man holds aloft a lance, about to throw it.

Salvator Rosa, Warrior with a lance on a rearing horse, n.d., The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust) © The Courtauld

Course description

The course explores opposing yet complementary patterns of artistic production and consumption in seventeenth-century Rome.  The term ‘Baroque’ is traditionally associated with the Catholic Counter-Reformation and with Absolutist monarchies, and our course will begin by exploring the output of such giants of painting and sculpture as Caravaggio, Pietro da Cortona and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Through chief examples of their propagandistic use of illusionism and theatricality, our analysis will closely interrogate the revolutionary and performative nature of their imagery, which was rewarded with fame and wealth by contemporary patrons, religious and secular alike.

At the same time, however, the Eternal City saw the rise of less orthodox and less well-known artistic expressions, that were openly at odds with the official culture and its dogma. In a detailed study of the works produced by Salvator Rosa, Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, Pier-Francesco Mola and Pietro Testa, we shall discover the first depictions of dissent in Western art. We shall trace the unfolding of this alternative Baroque in these artists’ treatments of unprecedented subject-matters. Moreover, investigating these rebels’ finely crafted entrepreneurial strategies will enrich our understanding of the intellectual ambitions and economic life of artists working in seventeenth-century Rome.

N.B. this is an extended version of Dr Weston’s previous course ‘Rebels of the Baroque: Painting Dissent in Seventeeth-Century Rome’

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