120: Triumphs: An Anthropology of Literature and Art, from Ancient Rome to the Present Day

TuTh 11-12:30 | Dwinelle 243 | Instructor: Henrike Lange

Units: 4 Satisfies L&S Arts & Literature breadth requirement.

This class combines elements from Professor Lange’s art history seminar “Psychologies of Art” and her Italian Studies graduate seminar “Trionfi/Triumphs.” It offers a cross-disciplinary investigation of the long history of triumphs in art, architecture, music, ritual, theory, religious studies, and general political iconography. Responding to the distribution of enrolling students’ interests, the class will focus on the late medieval / early modern, nineteenth and early twentieth century, and present-day components of triumphs. We will discuss triumphal gestures in history in the form of monuments, processions, and iconographies from ancient Roman triumphs to the present day in a global framework. Stations of this cultural history investigation include the ancient Roman arches and their relief decoration, booty and spolia, the Christian medieval “triumph of humility,” Renaissance triumphs in literature (Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio), the imagery of triumphs in print and painting (Mantegna, Dürer, Rubens), the Latino tradition of religious processions, operatic adaptations, Fascist triumphal imagery under the direction of Mussolini and Leni Riefenstahl, and other modern examples of triumphs and reversals in contemporary Italian cinema such as in Roberto Benigni’s La vita è bella.

Conducted in English, the class is open to majors from all fields. Italian and other non-English texts (such as French, Spanish, and German) will be introduced on a basic level if desired by the students.

Taught in English. No prerequisites.