Prof. Maryanne Horowitz
The Italian Renaissance
 Spring 2011. Use on-line syllabus which will be updated as needed.



Prof. Maryanne Horowitz   Office N Swan C2
Class Meets: MWF 8:00-9:25. a.m. Location: Johnson 104
Office Hours:  Mon. 1:00-1:55 p.m. and Fri. 8:15-10:10 a.m.  and by appointment. Email fastest   Office phone: 323-259-2583

Horowitz homepage       or



Campus mail to Horowitz, 
Hist. Dept., Swan Trailers


Books and Internet   In Bookstore unless otherwise noted.  Some on reserve also.

         Margaret L. King, The Renaissance in Europe, 2005 edition (a college textbook)  (Abbreviation King)

  •  Kenneth Bartlett, ed., The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance (primary sources) (Abbrev. Bartlett) (Students. may purchase a lightly used copy with cash to Joyce Fairbee in History Dept. Office.)
  • Patricia Brown, Art and Life in Renaissance Venice (Abbrev. Venice)
  • James Cowan, A Mapmaker's Dream: The Meditations of Fra Mauro, Cartographer to the Court of Venice, 2007  (Fiction which effectively presents Renaissance world-views) (Abbrev. Cowan)
  • Carlo Ginzburg, The Cheese and the Worms
  • Anthony Grafton, New Worlds, Ancient Texts (New Worlds)
  • Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance Links  See also websites  in King
  • DOCUMENT ANALYSIS FORM (for use in analyzing documents in Bartlett and images)


Week: Do the readings before Tuesday of each week.  Bring appropriate book as indicated.

1) King "Introduction" and ch. 1, starting p. 18 and New Worlds, forward, introduction and ch. 1.

W Jan. 24  Introduction of students and of Italian Renaissance course.  Lecture "Controversy on Characteristics of Italian Renaissance" Burckhardtian Renaissance Outline  or   

Powerpoint Burckhardt

2) King, ch. 2 (republics). Bartlett, ch. 1 and pp. 355-357 (songs of Lorenzo de' Medici)ch. 2  and pp. 270-75 (Petrarch)   and pp. 363-372 (Boccaccio).  Bartlett, ch. 3 on Florence (Villani, Boccaccio, documents, Bruni) and pp. 363-378 (Boccaccio &  documents).  New Worlds, ch. 2, "Navigators and Conquerors'


 M. Jan. 25   Bring New Worlds and King for discussion.   Note King on small, medium, and large "Renaissance"

W. Jan 27  Bring Bartlett to discuss readings: Petrarch, Quintillian, Cicero, Lorenzo de' Medici.   Bring Bartlett to discuss Petrarch. Images from ArtSTOR:"Giotto in Arena Chapel, Padua, in Trecento"  


3)  King, ch. 3 (human dignity and humanist studies) and pp. 262-63 (printing) and 342-350 (women's education).  Bartlett, ch. 4 on humanism (Salutati, Vespasiano da Bisticci, Poggio Bracciolini, Nicoli, Bruni, Nogarola), ch. 8 on education (Bruni, Guarino, Salutati, Cereta). New Worlds, ch. 3.


M Jan. 31  Dialogues on Petrarch selections. Lecture: "Silence or Rhetoric? The Humanist Education of Women"

W. Feb. 2 Bring Bartlett to discuss individual assignments.Lecture on Renaissance Visual Arts


4) King, ch. 4 (new visions). Bartlett, in ch.11. pp. 402-441 (Vasari on Raphael, Vasari on Michelangelo, Cellini), pp. 349-350 (Michelangelo and Pope Julius II), in ch. 7, pp. 216-268 ( Il Pinturicchio decorating room to Pope Pius II in Siena Cathedral, Isabella d'Este and Perugino on decorating her study, Alberti, Da Vinci, photo essay)  New Worlds, ch. 4.


M Feb. 7   Library room 124 , 7:50 a.m.  to see Film on Michelangelo and Pope Julius II: The Agony and the Ecstasy (film 139 minutes) DN623 B9A 83, 1988 reserves) 

W Feb. 9 Bring Bartlett for discussing artists and patronage. Example of Medici and Gonzaga portraits (group in ArtStor) to inspire your choice for visual assignment for Wed Feb. 16. Comment on film. Philosophy in Neo-Platonic Mode Lecture Outline    Philosophy in Neo-Platonic Mode (powerpoint version)   


5) King, ch. 5 (home and piazza).   Bartlett, ch. 6 (marriage, family, women, pp. 139-208 (Barbaro, Alberti, Dati and Strozzi families, Machiavelli's comedy, Cereta, documents on poor women)  New Worlds, ch. 5 and Epilogue See visual assignment for Wednesday.


M. Feb. 14 Lecture: "Gardens of the Mind in the Renaissance" Individual responsibilities in Bartlett, ch. 6.


W. Feb. 16 Lecture: "Renaissance Popes, from papal court of Avignon to papal court of Rome"  *Pass in a list  of 3-6 figures with identification as in model of figure list handed out on Medici and Gonzaga Group portraits.  Be prepared to state what the series shows: a reasonable goal is to support, contradict or modify a viewpoint of Burckhardt. You may pick your evidence of Renaissance material culture  related to your interests for the class paper.  The campus has color printers for printing images from ARTstor or books. If you have created a public folder in ARTstor, record its URL.


6) King, ch. 6 (church and people),  Bartlett, ch. 9 (church and papacy), pp. 297-340 (Pius II, Valla, Alexander VI, Savonarola, Dati), Bartlett ch. 10 , pp 358-362 (Burchardus on reign of Alexander VI)

 M Feb. 21  Holiday

W. Feb 23   Bring Bartlett to discuss individual assignments Completion of lecture "Renaissance Popes, from papal court of Avignon to papal court of Rome"


7)  King, ch. 7 (state and war) and pp. 225-234 (Machiavelli).  Bartlett, Machiavelli, pp. 351-354, Guicciardini, pp. 381-392. Machiavelli, The Prince (selection on-line at    Ch. XV-XIX  on morality.   Read King, "Venice: Venice in the Renaissance"  in Encyclopedia of the Renaissance, ed. Grendler, reference section of  library. (vol. 6 pp.225-231) as you check Grendler (index back of vol. 6) for articles useful for your topic.

M. Feb. 28 Meet in Braun Room of Library (main floor far to the left, usually locked) for hands-on workshop with 16th and 17th century books. Individual discussion of student paper plans (at least a casual written statement please as a start. See March 16 due date below).

W March 2   Brown Lab, main floor of library. Essay Exam, Brown Room of Library.  5 8-minute short essays: identify and state significance OR relate one item to a general trend. (topics reflect class work)  A 40- minute essay in which you'll need to know humanist texts in Bartlett. Readings tested through week 6 (mainly in King and Bartlett, only chs. 1-2 Grafton).


Oxy spring break-March 5-13.  Start James Cowan's fictional A Mapmaker's Dream  at least Intro., text to p. 42. Read Brown, Art and Life in Renaissance Venice (called Venice), ch. 1 (otherness of Venetians)


8) Venice, complete ch. 1 and ch. 2 (visual world) & ch. 3 (public life)

M. March 14 Bring Brown, Venice, and Cowan to discuss.   Fuller Lecture on gardens of mind in the Renaissance (see Feb. 14 above)

W. March 16 Classroom:  Pass in paper proposal.  Pass in paragraph abstract of paper plan and Bibliography of Primary and Secondary Sources. At 8:45 am we are returning to Braun Room (set up like a Renaissance studiolo, as in King pp. 66-69)


9) Venice chs. 4 (pious people) & 5 (private worlds). Bartlett,  pp. 341-348 (intro. to elite, Aretino) Read Cowan to p.104.

M. Lecture "Development of Renaissance Capitalism" 

W. March 23  Bring Venice to discuss chs. 4-5.  Presentations from travellers' tales in Cowan.



10) King, ch. 11 (new worlds);   Venice, ch. 6 (Caste, Class Gender).

M. March 28  Lecture:  Debate on Nobility by Birth or Character


W. March 30  Bring to discuss "3 Poems," by Veronica Franco (reserve) Bring King, discussion of ch. 11. Bring Brown, discussion of Ch. 6. (Report on individual assignments) Some may bring a few pp. of primary source for research paper (source due Monday).


11)  King on women, especially pp. 140-1, 252, 348-9

Complete James Cowan, A Mapmaker's Dream: The Meditations of Fra Mauro, Cartographer to the Court of Venice .There's office hour appts. on my door for signups to discuss paper progress. Place a few pages of a key primary source for paper on reserve.

M. April 4  Meet in room 124 for seeing Dangerous Beauty

W. April 6   Meet in Library room 124 to view film Dangerous Beauty. Discussion of film.


12) Read Ginzburg, pp. 1-101 on first trial of Menocchio. Bartlett, Castiglione, pp. 188-191 and Della Casa, pp. 392-401.Readings from student primary sources of research papers generally on electronic reserve.


Mon. April 11  Discussion of your thoughts on Cowan.   Discussion of Ginzburg. Note section labels in Table of Contents. OK to omit sections 17-18, and 58-60. For understanding the historian's method, see especially sections 15, 24, 27, 28, 31.  An idea of particular interest (parallel to Fra Mauro) is  Toleration  from Mandeville( top of p. 22 in sect.10 and section 23)  Menocchio's cosmological origin theory is in  section 27.For Menocchio's books and method of reading (related to lecture today), read sections 11-15.

Lecture: Elizabeth Eisenstein, Printing Press as an Agent of Change. 

Wed. April 13  Discussion of important primary sources for your student papers.  Student research paper presentations/student responses.


13) Read Ginzburg, pp. 102-128 on second trial of Menocchio.

Mon. April 18 Student research paper presentations/student responses

Office hour today 9:35-10:25 in a booth in Samuelson Pavillion replaces 1-1:55 hour.


Wed. April 20 Discuss the evidence on Menocchio.  Discussion also of court life: Bartlett, Castiglione, pp. 188-191 and Della Casa, pp. 392-401.


14) Read Translator's Note, and 2 prefaces in Ginzburg, pp. viii-xxvi.

*Mon. April 25   8 page paper 12 point, plus endnotes, bibliography due in 2 copies. Debates on labelling the period " Renaissance" or  "Early Moden Europe"       

Wed. April 27 Evaluate methodology of  Grafton's New Worlds, Ancient Text, and consider how Cowan's book puts some of the historical trends in a fictional biographical form.  Evaluate methodology of Ginzburg. Compare Menocchio to Fra Mauro and to La Peyrere. Last class. Review for Final.





To gain knowledge of the main trends of the Italian Renaissance (1300s-1500s) and to be familiar with the diversity of city-states and creative individuals.

To critically evaluate historical generalizations about the Italian Renaissance via direct contact with primary texts and images.

To improve one's oral and written skills as a student of the liberal arts.


  • 25% Mid-Term Exam in-class. In Brown Lab, main floor of library.
  • 25% Grade on Paper. Write a well-organized 8-page paper in 12 point, plus endnotes and bibliography. Pass in 2 copies. Your historical argument should involve a critical analysis of a selection of primary source texts (primary source images are optional but would allow less texts) which interest you and inform you about an aspect of the Italian Renaissance. If appropriate for your topic, you are encouraged to include visual primary sources as well (refer to figure in a required class book, cite exact image in ArtSTOR or xerox image for appendix) Generally, students will be using sources from selections in Bartlett and reserves. If you wish, you are allowed to add one additional primary source text 30-100 pages. Include at least 2 scholarly journal articles in your Secondary sources.  Bibliography should be divided into Primary sources and Secondary sources, and each primary source cited should have an individual entry for this paper  so that translator is clear (for example,  items in Bartlett, give full information on the source Bartlett used). Use  Univ. of Chicago Endnotes:  
  • 25% Attendance, regular participation, timely progress on paper, individual and small group analysis of primary source readings. Come at least one office hour to discuss possible  paper plans by Wed. March 16 and again perhaps week of April 4.
  • 25% Final Exam.

    Medical note required for taking a makeup exam. Lateness on paper deadlines is not acceptable (necessary to pass in whatever you have accomplished on time). 

    College Policies:

     If you have specific physical or learning disabilities and require accommodations, please let me know early in the semester so that your learning needs may be appropriately met.  “Students with documented disabilities who are registered with Disability Services are required to present their accommodation verification card to the instructor at the beginning of each semester or as soon as possible thereafter. Students who experience significant physical or mental impairments can contact Disability Services at (323) 259-2969 to learn about available services and support.”

    College Policy on Academic Honesty: Policies are at . A new paragraph on the topic appears in this year's College Catalog, at . 

The exams will involve essays on major topics raised in class in which you will interpret specific primary sources (verbal texts or visual artifacts)  provided within class books. A general essay may ask you to include a certain number of specific people, events, texts or images from a list in arguing your interpretation of a presentation by a class book or Horowitz lecture.


1) Evaluating primary documents and images from a time period and experiencing how historians piece together the patterns of past cultures (analysis and synthesis). Analyze a document considering who, for whom, what, where, when, original language, genre, tone, reliability, and argument. 2) Stepping into the issues and concerns of people who lived in the past (empathy, tolerance, capacity to think from someone else's assumptions and worldview).  3) Considering different historical perspectives or interpretations of historical events and transformations.

CLASS THEMES FOR HISTORICAL KNOWLEDGE (main topics for exam essays):

1) Socialization by gender and rank in the lives and thoughts of men and women in Italian city-states of 14th-16th centuries (Bartlett). 2) Major political, socio-economic, and cultural trends in the Mediterranean world, including fascination with the ancients (King, Grafton) and with faraway places (Cowan, Grafton) 3) Distinctive variations between the republics of Florence and Venice and among the courts of Rome, Milan, Urbino, Ferrara, Mantua, and Naples (King,  Brown). 6) Individual ideas and attitudes on key issues during the Renaissance ( Renaissance individuals exhibited by Bartlett, Ginzburg, Cowan, The Agony and the Ecstasy and Dangerous Beauty 7) Intellectual traditions of humanism, neo-Platonism, Aristotelianism in relationship to antiquity, to Church doctrine, and to new discoveries (King, Bartlett, Grafton)