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Art History 366 - Northern Renaissance Art

Spring 2011
Instructor: Steven Bunn (email:


splash photo Lectures: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 2:30–3:50pm; Art 003
Office hours: Monday and Friday, 1-2pm; Art Building, room 367


This class surveys the painting and graphic arts of artists working north of the Alps during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Artists of the Low Countries and German-speaking regions will be emphasized, including Jan van Eyck, Hieronymus Bosch, Albrecht Dürer, and Pieter Bruegel the Elder. We will study individual styles, trends in iconography, the impact of naturalism and realism as visual approaches, patronage, and the social, religious, political, and personal influences that impacted the arts of the period.


  • Midterm Exam: Monday, May 2, 2011, 2:30–3:50pm (Art 003)
  • Last Day to Submit Paper Topic: Friday, May 13, 2011 (see paper page for more information)
  • Paper Due: Friday, May 27, 2011 - in class
  • Final Exam: Tuesday, June 7, 2011, 2:30–4:20 pm (Art 003)


  • Complete all assigned readings before class, and be prepared to discuss the material.
  • Actively engage in the artworks presented in class. If you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask (either in-class or during office hours).
  • Your grade will be based on two written exams, and a five to six page paper (including an earlier deadline for selecting your topic).
  • Absences from class: You are responsible for the content of all lectures and assigned readings. If you miss an exam due to illness or emergencies notify the instructor immediately.


Required book:

• Smith, Jeffrey Chipps. The Northern Renaissance. London: Phaidon, 2004.

This book is available at the UW Bookstore.

Optional, but highly recommended:

• Barnet, Sylvan. A Short Guide to Writing About Art. 10th edition. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson, 2010.

This book provides information for writing art history papers and general information about how art historians think, talk, and write about art, as well as good ideas for carrying out art historical research. Any edition would be helpful, but the more recent ones have good information about using the internet as a research tool (and notes many of the pitfalls).


Additional required readings are posted on the UW library E-reserves, which can be read on-line or printed. See the class schedule for daily assignments, which should be read before class.


  • Midterm: 35%
  • Final: 35%
  • Paper: 30%

- Make-up Exams and Late Work -

Make-up exams–either before or after the scheduled time–will not be given without legitimate documentation of severe illness, family emergency, etc. Extensions for written work will be granted only under similar circumstances. Vacations do not qualify as acceptable reasons for make-up work. Late papers and written assignments will lose 0.5 points per day (for example, a paper due Friday that would receive a 4.0 will receive a 2.5 if turned in on Monday). If you miss a scheduled exam, it is your responsibility to be in touch with the instructor as soon as you are able in order to schedule a make-up.

- Grade Appeals -

Coursework and exams will be returned promptly. If you have any questions about a grade, please discuss the situation with the instructor within a week of receiving it.


Bring a large blue or green exam book to both exams. Be prepared for approximately 12 slide identifications, each with a short essay. [update: See midterm and final exam pages for complete information.]

For Slide Identifications, all of which will be selected from images on the flashcards, be prepared to supply the following information:

  • Name of the artist
  • Title of the work
  • Approximate date (+/- 5 years, although for some works, such as those for which the date is an important part of the discussion, the specific date is expected).
  • In a short essay, describe the artwork in detail as it was presented in class lectures, discussions, and readings. Main ideas include: iconography, interpretations, patronage, function and use, stylistic and technical innovations, and the work's importance in the context of northern Renaissance art history. You are expected to support your essays with carefully-chosen examples from the lectures and readings. If the example is in situ, or its original location is important, you should incorporate this information into your essay.

The Final Exam is not cumulative; however, you are expected to bring up examples from the first half of the class to support your answers.


  • Paper Topic due Friday, May 13, 2011
  • Paper due in class: Friday, May 27, 2011.
For maor information, see the paper page.


Flashcards for all required images are posted on the School of Art's Image E-Reserves. The flashcards will form the "primary" set of material that is the basis for slide identifications and essay questions on the exams. However, they will only be a selection of the overall material covered in class lectures, discussions, and readings. The best exam answers will generally refer to other works we have looked at in class or that were part of your readings in order to completely explain themes and ideas. Therefore, always think about how art we have studied that is not included in the flashcard sets compare to those that are.

A user name and password is required for the E-Reserves, Lecture Slides, and some other resources on the course website. A handout will be distributed on the first day of class with this information, and is available from the instructor. All protected pages use the same user name and password.

Within 24 hours of each lecture the images discussed in class will be posted on the Lecture Slides page of the website. You are strongly encouraged to review these frequently, and to coordinate your class notes with these images and assigned readings.


The School of Art reaffirms its policy of equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, or status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam-era veteran in accordance with UW policy and applicable federal and state statutes and regulations.


  • Plagiarism is defined as using in your own work the creations, ideas, words, inventions, or work of someone else without formally acknowledging them through the use of quotation marks, footnotes, bibliography, or other reference.
  • Please check with your instructor if you have questions about what constitutes plagiarism.
  • Instances of plagiarism will be referred to the Vice Provost/Special Asst to the President for Student Relations and may lead to disciplinary action.


  • If you expect that you will require special needs, please see me as soon as possible.
  • If you would like to request academic accommodations due to a disability, please contact Disabled Student Services, 448 Schmitz, (206) 543-8924 (V/TTY) or
  • If you have a letter from Disabled Student Services indicating you have a disability that requires academic accommodation, please present the letter to me so we can discuss the accommodations you might need for the class. Please take care of this at the earliest possible time in the quarter so that the best accommodations can be made.


Preventing violence is everyone's responsibility. If you're concerned, tell someone.

  • Always call 911 if you or others may be in danger.
  • Call 206-685-SAFE (7233) to report non-urgent threats of violence and for referrals to UW counseling and/or safety resources. TTY or VP callers, please call through your preferred relay service.
  • Don't walk alone. Campus safety guards can walk with you on campus after dark. Call Husky NightWalk 206-685-WALK (9255).
  • Stay connected in an emergency with UW Alert. Register your mobile number to receive instant notification of campus emergencies via text and voice messaging. Sign up online at

For more information visit the SafeCampus website at **.

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All information subject to change.


May 25, 2011 - Here is the Cologne School, Christ Before Pilate. Click to enlarge.

March 30, 2011 - Here is a a link to the scriptorium scene I showed in class today from The Name of the Rose (YouTube).