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Last Supper, 1495–98, by Leonardo da Vinci (Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan)
Much as modern film directors offer varying interpretations of similar themes, Renaissance visual artists personalized biblical narratives through their work. The account of the Passion, Crucifixion, and Resurrection of Jesus is central to Christianity, and served as inspiration for masters including Giotto, Duccio, Piero della Francesca, da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Tintoretto.
Rocky Ruggiero, a specialist in the Early Renaissance, follows Christ’s journey of Holy Week—from the entrance into Jerusalem to the Last Supper to the events of his death and resurrection—as depicted in two centuries of art. The examination reveals how individual artists interpreted the story from the perspectives of their own styles and eras, ranging from the humanizing focus of Giotto’s paintings to the heroically sublime sculptures of Michelangelo.
In the process, Ruggiero places some of the most iconic works of Western art—including DaVinci’s The Last Supper, Michelangelo’s Pieta, and della Francesca’s Resurrection—in the context of the history, culture, and values of the late Middle Ages and Early Renaissance, discussing how visual representations of the Easter story reflected changing worldviews.
Ruggiero, who divides his time between Italy and the United States, has lectured on Italian art and architecture for American university programs in Florence, including those of Syracuse University, Kent State, Vanderbilt, and Boston College. He has also been featured in documentaries on the Italian Renaissance produced by the History Channel and PBS.
World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit
S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)