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ART 399: Venetian Art & the Venice Biennale: Assignment

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Assignments for ART 399

Draft Due to MyClasses on Monday, May 20, 2019 by 5:00 pm
Presentation to be made according to final travel itinerary, TBA
Assignment:  Give a 15 minute presentation about a Renaissance work of art or architecture that we will visit while in Italy. (Note that you may not present on an image you are writing about for your term paper.)  Your presentation should introduce us to the work of art, its patron, and the essential elements of message, audience, historic context, and style. 
This assignment is worth 20% of your course grade. 
Research your work of art or architecture using texts from the library and articles from JSTOR. This assignment requires at least FOUR scholarly sources.  Websites and book reviews do not count as appropriate sources. (You will likely have to ILL some of these sources, so start researching early!) Oxford Art Online and the museum website are permissible to use but DO NOT COUNT as one of your sources. Presentations that use Wikipedia will receive a zero on the assignment. 
Be prepared and organized, since you only have 15 minutes. We’re looking for a substantial analysis of the content and context of the work of art to help us better understand Venetian art while in Italy. 
There will be some time for questions, so be prepared!
Sometimes in Italy, a work of art might unexpectedly be under restoration or traveling to a different museum, so please bring one 8.5x11” color image of your work with you to Italy, so we have an image to look at in case yours is unavailable.
Please note that not completing your presentation will result in a zero for the assignment grade and for attendance that day.
Questions to consider when researching your work of art:
1. Who is the patron of the work of art? What do you know about them? What might their motivation have been when commissioning such a work?
2. Where was the work’s likely original location? Who might its original audience have been?  How would they have encountered the work of art?
3. In what ways does the work relate to historic, religious, philosophical, or other ideas of the time period? How does it relate to Venetian history or propaganda?  How does it engage ideas of gender, identity, or power? 
4. What is the iconography or subject matter of the work?
5. How does the treatment of the iconography compare to other paintings that display the same theme? Think about both the larger composition and the smaller stylistic characteristics.
6. Can you find a primary source text for the subject matter? If so, be sure to reference it in your presentation. 
7. In what artistic style is the work created? How is the work characteristic of that style?
Your presentation should consider the above elements and NOT the biography of the artist.  This is about the work of art NOT the artist.
Presentation Options:
If you would like to present on a work of art or architecture that is not on this list please talk to Dr. Liston.  More options might open up as travel itinerary is finalized.
1. Giovanni Bellini, San Giobbe Altarpiece, c. 1480, Accademia
2. Vittore Carpaccio, Miracle at Rialto, 1494, Accademia
3. Vittore Carpaccio, Dream of St. Ursula, 1495, Accademia (You might want to give a short overview of the rest of the paintings in this cycle.)
4. Gentile Bellini, Procession in the Piazza San Marco, 1496, Accademia
5. Gentile Bellini, Miracle of the Cross at the Bridge of San Lorenzo, 1500, Accademia
6. Giorgione, Tempest, c. 1505-1506, Accademia
7. Titian, Presentation of the Virgin, 1534-1538, Accademia
8. Tintoretto, Miracle of the Slave (aka, Miracle of St. Mark), 1548, Accademia
9. Tintoretto, Removal of St. Mark’s Body from the Funeral Pyre (aka, Carrying the Body of St. Mark), 1562-1566, Accademia
10. Paolo Veronese, Feast in the House of Levi, 1573, Accademia
11. Titian, Pieta, c. 1575-1576, Accademia
12. Titian, Assumption of the Virgin, c. 1515-18, Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari
13. Titian, Pesaro Altarpiece, 1519-1526, Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari
14. Tintoretto, Last Supper, 1592-1594, San Giorigio Maggiore
15. Palladio, Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, begun 1566, island of San Giorgio Maggiore
16. Palladio, Church of il Redentore, 1577, island of Giudecca
17. Jacopo Tintoretto, Any number of works created for the Scuola Grande di San Rocco: Crucifixion, Christ before Pilate, Ecce Homo, Mary Magdalen, etc.
18. Jacopo Sansovino, Loggetta di San Marco, 1546 (sculpture at the base of the bell tower in the Piazzetta San Marco)
19. Titian, Flora, c. 1516-1518, Florence, Uffizi Gallery
20. Titian, Venus and Cupid, c. 1550, Florence, Uffizi Gallery
An excellent presentation:
Addresses a substantial number of the questions above
Demonstrates a depth of research
Demonstrates a good understanding of the context and content of the work
Presents pertinent and relevant information (not go off on tangents, etc..)
Increases the audience’s understanding of the topic
Makes connections to works or concepts we have covered in class
Is well organized and concise

Contemporary Artist Presentation and Handout

Worth 20% of your final grade. 

Presented May 1st or 8th during class (see syllabus). 

Sign up for a presentation topic on the Contemporary Artist Presentation Topic discussion board on MyClasses before class on March 6th. There will be fifteen presentations on fifteen different artists, so sign up earlier than later, as popular artists and topics tend to go quickly. When you sign up for a topic, make sure that the artist that you want to discuss hasn’t already been assigned to another student (two students cannot present the same topic).

You will prepare a 15-minute presentation (accompanied with a PowerPoint) plus a handout (in .pdf format) about an artist whose work we will see in the Biennale. You will be graded on your in-class presentation, plus the PowerPoint and handout that you will upload to this assignment (upload one .ppt file for the PowerPoint, one .pdf for the handout). Please note that not completing your presentation will result in a zero for the assignment grade and for attendance that day (even if the PowerPoint and handout are submitted).


  • Your first step will be to look at the artist’s website. There you will be able to find their “CV” or curriculum vitae (an academic term for a resume) which will list where and when they have exhibited. Either the CV or another section on their site (sometimes labeled “Bibliography”) should include a bibliography of articles and reviews of their work.
  • The CV will outline will where and when the artist previously exhibited, if at all.
  • The bibliography will provide you with a list of reviews, articles, and books about the artist and their work (you can also search sources such as Art ForumArt NewsTheNew York TimesThe Guardian, ) You will need to get several of these reviews and scholarly sources to learn enough about the artist to give us a thorough presentation. (You will likely have to ILL some of these sources, so get researching early!)
  • You must use at least 3 sources for your project that are NOT websites (articles from Art ForumArt NewsTheNew York TimesThe Guardian, etc. that you find online are acceptable for this assignment, as are books or peer-reviewed journal articles).

Presentation: Your presentation and PowerPoint should introduce us to the artist and their work. DO NOT focus on their biography (you can put any pertinent biographical information on your handout).

Your presentation should address the following questions:

  • What kind of work do they make now? Include example images in your PowerPoint
  • What media do they work in?
  • What kind of ideas does their work deal with?
  • What artists have influenced them? Show relevant examples in your PowerPoint
  • What kind of work do you think they might do for the Biennale? How does their most recent work fit into the rest of their oeuvre?
  • Introduce and present an in-depth analysis of at least 3 images of the artist’s work based on your research

Handout: Prepare a 1-page handout on your artist and post it on MyClasses before your presentation. Think of this as a cheat-sheet for the rest of the class to follow along with your presentation, and so we can refer to it in Italy (I’ll compile all of the handouts into one travel-friendly PDF).

The handout should include:

  • Key information summarizing the artist and their work (include the url for the artist’s website with this information)
  • Where did your artist grow up?
  • Where did they go to school (college and graduate)?
  • Have they had any significant exhibitions (solo or group-shows) before the Biennale, and if so where?
  • Have they been well reviewed (by whom, when, and where)? Have they won any significant awards (i.e. Guggenheim fellowship, etc.)?
  • How does this artist relate to the class discussions and readings, and why?
  • Bullet points are fine
  • An image or two that illustrates the artist’s work
  • A bibliography of 3-5 sources if people are interested in reading more about the artist.

On the day of your presentation, be prepared and organized, since you only have 15 minutes. Practice your presentation ahead of time to make sure it will fit within the time constraint, and make sure you proofread your PowerPoint and handout before sharing them with the class. Your presentation should provide the class with a thorough analysis of your artist, their work, and their possible output at the Biennale. Don’t just tell us what we could find out on Wikipedia!!!  Save the handout for bibliographic details or tangential information, and focus your presentation on the key themes and ideas in your artist’s works. You need to provide your classmates with a substantial analysis of your artist so that we will all be familiar with the artist and their work when we see their contribution to the Biennale in Venice. After your presentation, there will be some time for questions, so be prepared! 

An excellent presentation:

  • Addresses all of the questions above
  • Demonstrates a depth and breadth of research (an ideal mix of sources includes an interview with the artist, an exhibition review, plus a longer scholarly essay that examines the artist's work in-depth)
  • Demonstrates a good understanding of the content and themes of the artist’s work (what kind of work do they make now, out of what, and why do they make that work? Has their work stayed the same throughout their career, or has it changed and why?)
  • Presents pertinent and relevant information about the artist and their work (not go off on tangents, etc.)
  • Increases the audience’s understanding of the artist
  • Makes connections to works or concepts we have covered in class
  • Is well-organized, direct, and concise 

Contemporary Artist Topics:

(if you would like to present on an artist who is showing at the Biennale but is not on this list please talk to Dr. Kruglinski )  

  1. Argentina: Mariana Telleria
  2. Australia: Angelica Mesiti
  3. Austria: Renate Bertlmann
  4. Belgium: Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys
  5. Brazil: Bárbara Wagner & Benjamin de Burca
  6. Canada: Inuit artist collective Isuma, led by filmmakers Zacharias Kunuk and Norman Cohn
  7. Chile: Voluspa Jarpa
  8. Czech and Slovak Republic: Stanislav Kolíbal
  9. Denmark: Larissa Sansour
  10. Estonia: Kris Lemsalu
  11. Finland: Miracle Workers Collective
  12. France: Laure Prouvost
  13. Georgia: Anna K.E.
  14. Germany: Natascha Süder Happelmann (Natascha Sadr Haghighian)
  15. Ghana: Felicia Abban, John Akomfrah, El Anatsui, Ibrahim Mahama, Selasi Awusi Sosu, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye
  16. Great Britain: Zoe Whitley
  17. Greece: Panos Charalambous, Eva Stefani, and Zafos Xagoraris
  18. Indonesia: Handiwirman Saputra and Syagini Ratna Wulan
  19. Ireland: Eva Rothschild
  20. Italy: Enrico David, Chiara Fumai, and Liliana Moro
  21. Korea: Hwayeon Nam, Siren Eun Young Jung, Jane Jin Kaisen
  22. Lithuania: Lina Lapelyte, Vaiva Grainyte, and Rugile BarzdÅžiukaite
  23. Mexico: Vargas Lugo
  24. New Zeland: Dane Mitchell
  25. Phillippines: Tessa Maria Guazon
  26. Poland: Roman Stanczak
  27. USA: Martin Puryear