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ARTH 119 — Love at First Sight: Visual Desire, Attraction, and the Pleasures of Art

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Mondays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 8 weeks
Date(s): Jan 9—Mar 13
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Jan 11
Unit: 1
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $440
Instructor(s): Emanuele Lugli
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
Please Note: No class on January 16 and February 20
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Jan 9—Mar 13
8 weeks
Refund Date
Jan 11
1 Unit
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
Emanuele Lugli
Please Note: No class on January 16 and February 20
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Why do dating sites rely on photographs? Why do we believe that love is, above all, a visual force? How is pleasure, even erotic pleasure, achieved through looking? While the psychology of impressions offers some answers, this course uncovers how poets, songwriters, and especially artists have explored myths and promoted ideas about the coupling of love and seeing. Week by week, we will reflect on love as a political critique, social disruption, and magical force. And we will do so by examining some of the most iconic works of art, from Dante's writings on lovesickness to Caravaggio's Narcissus, studying the ways that objects have shifted from keepsakes to targets of our cares. While exploring the visual roots and evolutions of what has become one of life's fundamental drives, this course offers a passionate survey of European art, from Giotto's kiss to Fragonard's swing, that elicits stimulating questions about the sensorial nature of desire and the human struggle to control emotions.

Assistant Professor of Art History, Stanford

Emanuele Lugli teaches and writes about late medieval and early modern art. He is the author of two monographs, The Making of Measure and the Promise of Sameness and Unità di Misura: Breve Storia del Metro in Italia. His forthcoming book, Knots, or the Violence of Desire in Renaissance Florence, will be published in early 2023. He received a PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.