Dec 05, 2023  
2024 January Term Course Catalog 
2024 January Term Course Catalog
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JAN 408 - Engaging Christian Art: Italy & France

Type: Travel

Dates: January 1 - January 27, 2024


Instructor: Tom Poundstone


Course Fee: $4900 *All expenses included: airfare, lodging, transportation, food, excursions, etc. The only remaining expenses will be souvenirs and food in airports. Travel shot costs will depend on individual insurance coverage.


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 and situate you as dialogue partners with some of the world’s most famous artists.

In this course, we will study buildings, paintings, and sculptures in Italy 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.

Our primary “texts” will include some of the most famous churches and museums in the world: the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, the Uffizi in Florence, St. Peter’s and the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, and the Borghese Galleries in Rome.  We will go from studying the earliest Christian art in the catacombs to the beginnings of the Italian Renaissance in Assisi in Florence to the High Renaissance masterpieces of Michelangelo and Raphael, to the flowering of the Baroque in Rome.  We will also spend days studying the art and cathedrals in the wonderful medieval cities of Siena and Orvieto.


Come to the information sessions and learn more about what it is like to explore these cities - including sampling their gastronomical delights and perhaps trying our hands at making some pasta dishes too.

Prerequisites & Notes

  • Grade of B- or higher in either TRS 281 or TRS 380-389
  • Attendance at pre-registration meeting; 
  • Signature of instructor.   

Information Sessions:

 Date  Time  Location
 Thursday, September 7th  7:00PM  Dante 218
 Monday, September 11th  5:30PM  Dante 218
 Wednesday, September 13th  5:30PM  Dante 218
 Tuesday, September 19th  7:00PM  Dante 218

* Meetings will last for 75 minutes (ie from 7:00 to 8:15 and from 5:30 to 6:45).  If a student needs to leave early, they won’t be there to fill out the distributed forms.


** Failure to attend Health & Safety Orientations will result in immediate drop from the course, and once registered all course fees are non-refundable. 

Credits: 3

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