ARTH 331 – Leonardo da Vinci: Unconventional Genius
Discipline(s): Art History
Available: fall semester 2023
Instructor: Michael W. Kwakkelstein, Ph.D.
Formerly AAH 330 – Special Topics in Art History: Leonardo
This course is an in-depth study of the drawings, paintings and scientific writings of Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise, France 1519) and seeks to define Leonardo’s development as a painter, a draftsman and a scientist. The student will become familiar not only with Leonardo’s individual masterpieces, but also with his theoretical ideas on nature and how to represent scientific knowledge in images (Leonardo regarded painting as natural science). The nature and significance of Leonardo’s extraordinary achievements as a painter and scientist will be assessed through close comparison of his works and writings with other artists and scientists. The student will gain insight in the design process of Leonardo’s painted works through attentive analysis of the preparatory drawings that reveal a close study of cause and effect in nature.
At the end of this course students will be able to:
– understand and appreciate the originality and universality of Leonardo’s genius.
– learn the significance of Leonardo’s pioneering research in various branches of knowledge and understand how that research relates to his artistic practice and theoretical ideals.
– become familiar with the role drawing played in the creative process, as well as Leonardo’s intention to compile illustrated treatises for the benefit of the painter.
Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.