Mysteries of Northern Renaissance Art

This course examines some of the most hauntingly beautiful and enigmatic works in the history of art, from a period of deep religiosity and aristocratic ideals, emerging contrary middle-class values and exceptional artistic ambition and self-consciousness. We will begin with a solution for the still unsolved riddle of the Ghent Altarpiece and the birth of modern painting in the north, move through debates about disguised symbolism and new conceptions of the artwork in Robert Campin and Rogier van der Weyden, the crisis of modernity in Hieronymus Bosch and the emergence of a new (sublime) order in the art of Pieter Bruegel, among others.

2 credits

Course Code: HTA 315

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.