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The working methodology of this course asks students to develop larger ideas about what a painting or work of art means by looking closely at specific details, working out from the particulars to the larger point an artist is making through said-details. Over the next two weeks, we’ll do our unit on painting, starting with the Renaissance image The Bridgewater Madonna by Raphael and later moving to modern art with Warhol’s Marilyn Diptych. Using one specific detail from The Bridgewater Madonna, make a short argument tying that detail to a larger argument that the image is advancing on some theme/topic. In other words, tie the depiction of the image’s subject matter to a larger interpretation/reading of what you think the painting is saying.

For example, you might say that the dark background encloses Mary and the Baby Jesus off from the public world, making them private citizens rather than public religious figures, emphasizing their humanity above all else.

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