Skip to content
Programs : Brochure
This page is the brochure for your selected program. You can view the provided information for this program on this page and click on the available buttons for additional options.
JAN: Engaging Christian Art: Italy and France
Assisi, Italy; Chartres, France; Florence, Italy; Paris, France; Rome, Italy (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Jan Term
Homepage: Click to visit
Restrictions: SMC-CA applicants only
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Jan Term 2019 12/31/2018 12/31/2018 TBA TBA
Program Description:
Course Title:
Engaging Christian Art: Italy and France

Course Description:
What shape should a church have, and how should it be decorated?  What symbols or scenes from the Bible would you feature, and how would you portray Jesus?  What do your answers to these questions say about your understanding of Jesus and theology?  Attempting to answer these questions will take us deep into the study of Christian art.

In this course we will study buildings, paintings, and sculptures in Italy and France that artists over the centuries have created to embody their understanding of the Christian faith. We'll situate the works in various eras of art and architecture, ask what they reveal about how the artists understood the gospel, and consider the influence of these works on our understanding of the Christian faith.

We will go from studying the earliest Christian art in the catacombs to the radically new way of seeing ushered in by the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists.  Our primary texts will include some of the most famous churches and museums in the world: the Duomo and the Uffizi in Florence; St. Peter's and the Vatican Museums in Rome; Notre Dame and the Louvre in Paris. Additional areas of study will be the art of the Early Church (the catacombs and Ravenna), Gothic architecture and stained glass in France (Chartres, Bourges, Paris), the Italian Renaissance (Ghiberti and Brunelleschi) and High Renaissance (Michelangelo and Raphael), and the flowering of the Baroque in Rome (Caravaggio, Bernini, Borromini), besides days spent studying art in wonderful towns like Assisi, Siena, and Orvieto.

Don't mistake this course as merely a guided tour. A thorough knowledge of the sites and texts will be required on papers and examinations. In addition, each student will design her or his own review of the masterpieces of the Christian faith.

Interested?  Come to the information sessions and learn more about what it is like to explore these cities – including sampling their gastronomical delights.

Upper Division

a) Grade of "B " or higher in either TRS 097 or TRS 189
b) Attendance at pre-registration meeting
c) Signature of instructor.   

Reading List:
Andre Vauchez, Francis of Assisi: The Life and Afterlife of a Medieval Saint
Neil MacGregor, Seeing Salvation
Raymond Brown, A Crucified Christ in Holy Week
John Drury, Painting the Word
Much of the reading will come in the form of a reader.

Basis for Final Grade:
One assigned paper and a few small projects before we depart (10%);
Regular preparation, quality of active daily participation, and special presentations (20%);
Special project (25%);
Final exam (45%)