May 21, 2022  
Catalogue 2021-2022 
Catalogue 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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ART 331 - Seminar in Northern European Art

Semester Offered: Fall
1 unit(s)
Topic for 2021/22a: Games, Visual Wit, and Cultures of Play in Early Modern Northern Europe. The play-element in culture, wrote Dutch historian Johan Huizinga in Homo ludens, is the very form in which culture arises. Ludic endeavors underlie all human endeavors—art and poetry, law and war—blurring in that process the boundary between seriousness and frivolity, genuineness and pretense, actuality and fiction, etc. This seminar addresses the interconnectedness of play and culture, taking as its focus early modern art in Northern Europe. We investigate nuanced notions including games, play, wit, skill, while attending to the agencies of discernment, negotiation, difficulty, and risk. Works by Netherlandish artists including Hieronymus Bosch, Lucas van Leyden, Quinten Massys, and Pieter Bruegel the Elder are our objects of inquiry. Attending to visual, as well as material and intellectual cultures of play, we also examine playthings—puzzles, games, toys, historical as well as modern—and written texts ranging from treatises on chess to the satire of Erasmus of Rotterdam. The objective of this seminar is to test the possibility of reexamining the notion of play as well as understand the values of dexterity, acumen, and, above all, delight. Haohao Lu.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

Course Format: CLS

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