HSAH 300 Saint Peter’s and the Vatican: The Papacy and Architecture

Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Introduction to Art History is highly recommended

Site-visits fees: € 50,00

Course Description

The course will examine the history and development of Vatican territory and in its principal site of worship, the Basilica of Saint Peter, considered the center of Christianity and declared a world heritage site by UNESCO. Its nearly 2000 years long history will be discussed by analyzing its major archeological and artistical sites included the area of Borgo district – part of Rome now – which was strictly developed during the centuries in relationship to the new religious center. The course will be especially focused on the construction, restoration and renovation phases of Vatican Palace and Saint Peter Basilica, that involved the contribution of famous artists like Perugino, Botticellli, Raphael, Michelangelo, Bramante and Bernini. The section dedicated to the papal mansion purposes to display the innovative conception in relationship to its different functions: new official residence of the popes, museum and place for the elaboration of culture and thinking. Special focus will be on analyzing the artistical evidence, the collections of Antique and their arrangement, commissioned for decorating the site and as visual strategies to express the papal propaganda. Similar approach will lead the study of the other parts of the course dedicated especially to Saint Peter Basilica, as site of religious devotion and political ideology of the Roman Catholic Church.

Considerations will be also about the rise of Vatican City State as new a political entity and the development policy of the Church towards its cultural heritage in general and the strong impact with the increasing of tourism. A major component of the course is the study of art and architecture on site as a means to further appreciate the social function of art, its relationship to its context, and the impact on the viewer. This course includes site visits and field trips.