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Phone: (603) 646-xxxx
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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2022-23

ARTH 27.01 The Ideal City

This course explores the Renaissance phenomenon of the “ideal city” – its origins, successes, and spectacular failures. During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, major artists and architects like Leonardo da Vinci participated in a radical experiment that transformed how urban spaces were designed, represented, and built. The Renaissance city was reinvented as a utopia, featuring straight processional avenues, a rigid street plan, and monumental sculptures inserted into public squares like props on a stage. We will consider a wide range of case studies, from fictional cities imagined in the pages of sketchbooks to new cities and towns that were built from the ground up. Throughout, we will question how architects exploited the basic infrastructure of daily life – roads, gates, walls, squares, and even sewage systems – to perfect their environments. How were those principles used to promote civic virtue and good governance or to reinforce social hierarchies and absolutist rule? We will make frequent visits to the Rauner Special Collections Library to work directly with rare books. The course requires no prior knowledge of art history, architecture, or the Renaissance.



Degree Requirement Attributes


The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.