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You are here: Home Courses Middlebury-CMRS Course List HIST 0270 Culture and Society in Later Renaissance Italy

HIST 0270 Culture and Society in Later Renaissance Italy

In the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries the Italian peninsula saw war, pestilence, political revolution, profound economic and social disruption; but also truly outstanding developments in scholarship, art and literature. Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo (to name only two) would have been remarkable in any age, but their achievements were founded on the wealth, wars, patronage and politics of Medici, popes and French kings. In recovering the learning of the classical world and in developing new ways of thinking about the individual, 'his' place in the world and how that world was to be governed, scholars and writers were also very much driven by contemporary imperatives and needs. This course allows students to use primary sources of this era (including texts in translation) to explore the Later Italian Renaissance.

Sample Topics

  • The Italy of the Renaissance
  • Ficino and the Golden Age of the Present
  • ‘Marvellously endowed by heaven’: Leonardo’s Cultivated Genius
  • Raphael: ‘simple, grave and majestic dignity’?
  • Governing the Republic: Machiavelli’s Prince or Machiavelli’s Dicourses?
  • Self-Fashioning and the ‘Renaissance Man’: Castiglione’s Courtier
  •  ‘A spirit with universal ability in every art’: Michelangelo
  • The Renaissance Epic: Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso


Some of the best fun I'd had
CMRS was one of the most challenging options I could have chosen for my study abroad experience, but was also without a doubt the most rewarding. It c...
Ross McIntire, Autumn Semester 2009, Carleton College