DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

DECODING DA VINCI  CSCH.3002 Rafanelli (4 credits)

This interdisciplinary seminar will take as its point of departure Dan Brown's contemporary fictional thriller, The DaVinci Code. Students are expected to read the book over semester break, before the course begins. After discussing the book in detail, we will view the Hollywood movie based on the book, in order to come to a better understanding of how the book was translated onto the big screen. The class will then move away from modern popular culture, and will turn to the analysis of primary texts as a way of coming to a deeper understanding of some of the more controversial historical "facts" alleged by Dan Brown. Students will first read biblical, exegetical, and Gnostic literature to come to a better understanding of the historical identity of Saint Mary Magdalene. In this process, students will come to a deeper understanding of how Mary Magdalene's image has been invented and reinvented over the centuries. The class with then be introduced to the discipline of art history and will begin an in-depth analysis of the life and work of one of the best known, but perhaps least-understood, artists of the Italian Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci. Together we will examine the artist's oeuvre, training, stylistic development, and importance to the development of the High Renaissance style in Italy. We will also read Leonardo's own words about the making of art. We will also read the work of several authors, who in one way or another invent or reinvent Leonardo, contributing to the myths and legends surrounding the life and work of the artist, and blurring the line between fact and fiction. Students will be asked to read a sixteenth century biography of Leonardo, written by Giorgio Vasari, as well as Sigmund Freud's famous psychobiography of 1910 "Leonardo da Vinci and a Memory of His Childhood." There will also be a field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art Drawings Study Room to view the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci. Approved for Art History credit. (Spring 2012)

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.