Saturday, March 09, 2019 9:30 am - 1:15 pm
Denise Budd / Columbia University
When considering artistic genius in the Italian Renaissance, the individuals who most commonly come to mind are the great triad of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Michelangelo and Raphael. These three often contentious rivals have been categorized as Universal Men, gifted in many arts and areas of intellectual pursuit. It is Leonardo who is most often imagined in this multifaceted way, as artist, scientist, engineer, and musician. Yet, in reality, unlike his more productive counterparts, Leonardo was a painter who infrequently completed a painting, a sculptor who rarely sculpted, and architect who never built anything. He penned drafts of treatises on the arts, and planned many more on wide-ranging subjects, although none of these were completed or published in his lifetime.
Even more elusive than his artistic identity is his personality. Described in the 16th century as possessing a divine combination of beauty, grace and talent, the several thousand pages of notes he carefully penned reveal almost nothing about himself. What they do demonstrate, however, is Leonardo’s genius of sheer invention and investigation, with ideas that he envisaged so relentlessly that they became his art. That he rarely had the will, time, or even ability to carry them out is beside the point. This course will discuss Leonardo’s career, examining several of his most canonical works, as well as considering his most ambitious plans that never came to fruition.
Denise Budd teaches art history at Columbia University and a wide range of Renaissance art classes at Rutgers University. She has published several articles on Leonardo da Vinci based on her studies of the artist and his documentary evidence. Following this interest in archival work, her current research has extended to the history of collecting Renaissance art in Gilded Age America, with a focus on the tapestry collector and dealer Charles Mather Foulke.
Richard Bell / University of Maryland
The American Revolution is this country’s founding moment. It marks the birth of a nation committed to the promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It’s a staple of school and college curriculums and as a result, most people know something about the American Revolution and about the Founding Fathers who signed the Declaration of Independence and led their thirteen colonies into a bold new future as the United States.
But the full story of the American Revolution requires us to look beyond the lives of Washington, Hamilton, Franklin, Adams, and Jefferson. This class focuses on all the things you might not have learned in high school or college about this great struggle for independence. It probes unexpected corners of this sprawling, eight-year war and expands its cast of characters substantially to include the typhoid-ridden immigrant corset-maker who wrote the pamphlet that gave colonists the confidence to believe they could beat Britain; the Massachusetts woman who disguised herself as a man so that she could serve in Washington’s Army; the enslaved stable hand at Mount Vernon who ran off to join the war and who ended up on the other side of the world; and the widow who became the most important Native American leader during the war. Studying their lives and exploits will reveal the breadth and depth of the sacrifices that the colonists made as they worked to turn a small-scale protest over the price of goods like tea into a fight for freedom.
Richard Bell is a Professor of History at the University of Maryland. He has won more than a dozen teaching awards, including the University System of Maryland Board of Regents Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has held major research fellowships at Yale, Cambridge, and the Library of Congress and is the recipient of the National Endowment of the Humanities Public Scholar award. He serves as a Trustee of the Maryland Historical Society, as an elected member of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and as a fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He is also the author of the new book “Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and their Astonishing Odyssey Home”.
Heather Berlin / Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
You are your brain, according to modern neuroscience, but how exactly do your thoughts, feelings, perceptions and sense of self derive from this three-pound organ locked inside the black box of your skull? Cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Heather Berlin has been seeking answers to those questions for decades, and finding surprising answers in the brains of people with psychiatric and neurological disorders. What happens in the brains of people who can’t control themselves, or whose sense of self is fragmented, or lost entirely? By tracing the distinct brain circuits that give rise to her patients’ disorders, Dr. Berlin is revealing the neurophysiology that makes each of us who we are.
Join us on a journey deep into the brain, the mind, and the self, as Professor Berlin reveals the startling and exciting recent findings of cutting-edge neuroscience. How does your brain accomplish spontaneous creativity? How much self-control or “free will” do we really have? And what does the future hold, once brains begin to integrate with “neural prosthetics”? Get to know your dynamic unconscious mind, a bigger part of “who you are” than you could ever guess, with Dr. Berlin as your guide.
For more lectures about the human brain check out the rest of Professor Heather Berlin’s lectures in our video library. Sign up for One Day University Membership today for unlimited access to hundreds of talks and online lectures.
Heather Berlin is a cognitive neuroscientist, Professor of Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Visiting Scholar at the New York Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. She is a committee member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Science and Entertainment Exchange, and host of the PBS series “Science Goes to the Movies,” and the Discovery Channel series “Superhuman Showdown.”Professor Berlin has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including a Young Investigator Award from the American Neuropsychiatric Association, the International Neuropsychological Society Phillip M. Rennick Award, and the Clifford Yorke Prize from the International Neuropsychoanalysis Society.