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Bad Blood: Rivalries in the History of Art Italy: Art, History & Language Program Spring 2025 Semester - Florence

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Bad Blood: Rivalries in the History of Art

Bad Blood: Rivalries in the History of Art Course Overview


CEA CAPA Partner Institution: CEA CAPA Florence Center
Location: Florence, Italy
Primary Subject Area: Art History
Instruction in: English
Course Code: ARH364FLR
Transcript Source: University of New Haven
Course Details: Level 300
Recommended Semester Credits: 3
Contact Hours: 45
Prerequisites: None
Additional Fee: $120.00
Additional Fee Description:This course requires payment of an additional fee to cover active learning components that are above and beyond typical course costs, such as site visits, entrance fees and other expenses.


Why is there so much bad blood involved in the stories of artists and their artworks? Why did Michelangelo despise Raphael, even for decades after Raphae's death? How did Henry Matisse and Pablo Picasso balance their perpetual competition with a lifelong friendship? What transgression pitted the notorious titans of the London graffiti scene, Bansky and King Robbo, in a rivalry that ended with a tragic and unforeseeable death? Creativity as a result of rivalry has fascinated art historians since the 16th century. In fact, the publication of Giorgio Vasari's biographies in Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects helped establish Florence's place in the art historical world as one in which artists were continuously driven to outdo one another. In Florence and beyond, so many of the "composed" masterpieces from the Renaissance to the contemporary era owe their vitality, innovation, and success to backstage brawling.

This course considers commissions, contracts, and artistic creation side-by-side with aspects of the artists' own human experience - envy, jealousy, and the simple need for competition - by analyzing examples of artists' rivalries through the centuries. The drama of these stories is brought to life through contemporary quotes from poems, letters, treatises, contracts, interviews, statements, and more. The recovery and reconstruction of historical and sociological elements through narrative describe how the rivalries that delight today's art fans helped to inform the way cultures approach art and artists. Our investigative journey will transform some of the big names of the art world into real people - grumpy, ornery, antagonistic and flawed - and better reveals how all of us respond to art.

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