The fundamental tools for understanding art and cultural heritage in Italy from ancient Rome to contemporary art


Theory of visual communication

The capacity of an onlooker of visualizing and interpreting the work of art in relationship with its context and on the other hand how art communicates through the estethic dimention to the viewer.

The course will deal with the theme of the Nude in paintings as a cultural representation of the human body.

Il nudo è un pensiero del corpo – The Nude is a thought of the body (De Chirico). The forma distincta of classical Nude was supposed to establish perfect communication and a philosophical ground for esthetics. Because the truth is depicted as naked, a special reflection will be devoted to the role of veil and the unveiling.

Through the comparison to classical and renaissance representation we will explain the shift of gaze and the point of reference of Nude and nudity in modern and contemporary art. Starting  from a shifting point: Manet’s Olimpia (1863).

In the second part of the course we will discuss the Natura Morta (Still life), a visual genre, defined by two distinctive features:

- the subject matter:  inanimate natural things and animals – flowers, fruits, insects, birds, etc, -  or man-made objects – books, candles, glasses, carpets, etc.; often contained in a close space as a niche. These iconic signs may have many different symbolic and religious values, as is in a still life sub-genre: the Vanitas.

- the composition:  the jutting out point of view, (aggetto), offers viewers the access to the content (oggetto). The visual arrangement may take the form of a Trompe l’Oeil.

In conclusion we will analyze the Natura morta in modern and contemporary art and its particular relevants in the photographic practice.