The Expanding Renaissance Initiative (ERI), is a new Andrew W. Mellon-funded project from Smarthistory to expand the boundaries of art history in the classroom—in this case specifically the early modern period. Our plan is to work towards art histories that do not present European art as superior and help to weaken the binary western/non-western paradigm. The ERI is aligned with recent scholarship on what has been called “the global renaissance,” and while we embrace the term “global,” the ERI aims to do more than simply globalize, but to highlight overlooked subjects, materials, artists, groups, and locales.
From Lauren Kilroy-Ewbank, “Expanding the renaissance initiative”
Here we point to resources that we’ve created to help think about “renaissance art” a bit differently.
Why consider teaching a more expanded renaissance art?
It seems important now, more than ever, that we should be mindful of issues of global trade, cultural entanglements, colonization, itinerancy, empire, and gender and racial dynamics between roughly 1330 and 1650, in part to recognize the visual cultures and peoples of Africa, Asia, and the Americas as vital contributors (both willing and unwilling) to renaissance art and culture.
Resources for teaching
For some of the ERI content, Lauren created accompanying teaching resources that include brief introductions, lists of key terms and ideas, diagnostic quizzes, links to additional resources, discussion questions, research prompts, and in-class activities (like note-taking activities for videos that you can share and print as PDFs).
Here is a list of videos for which we have teaching and learning materials currently:
- Fresco of a camel at San Bauldelio de Berlanga in Spain (about a Romanesque fresco, so while not renaissance, it does raise important issues that set the stage)
- Do you speak Renaissance? Carlo Crivelli, Madonna and Child
- Medici porcelain, a failed experiment
- Bringing the figure to life: Alonso Berruguete at the Metropolitan Museum (about renaissance Spanish wooden polychrome sculpture)
- Saintly violence? Santiago on Horseback (about a Christian saint who becomes an icon of conquest in colonial Spanish Americas)
- Christ Crucified, a Hispano-Philippine ivory (about objects on the move across the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, and the Manila Galleon trade)
- and more on the way!