Aesthetics (i) (2014/2015)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Giorgio Franck
Giorgio Franck
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Semestrino IIA, Semestrino IIB

Lesson timetable

Semestrino IIA
Day Time Type Place Note
Monday 3:40 PM - 5:20 PM lesson Lecture Hall T.4  
Tuesday 3:40 PM - 5:20 PM lesson Lecture Hall T.4  
Semestrino IIB
Day Time Type Place Note
Monday 3:40 PM - 5:20 PM lesson Lecture Hall T.4  
Tuesday 3:40 PM - 5:20 PM lesson Lecture Hall T.4  

Learning outcomes

The relation between artistic creation and melancholy will be the object of the course. Under an aesthetical point of view, melancholy – which is a mournful representation of a lost and irretrievable object – is an expression of the Absolute’s nostalgia which art often originates.
Preliminary lessons will be dedicate to a general analysis of the several traditions joined to melancholy in different fields (philosophy, medicine, astrology, literature, art) from Aristotle to medieval culture and humanism.
But is only in XIX century that relation between melancholy and artistic creation becomes really crucial, as we shall see in the course’s following part dedicated to Leopardi and Baudelaire. Into their works – from different but complementary points of view – these two poets show clearly how closely connected, in modern world, are melancholy’s mourning toil and the labour from which artistic work arises.


Course’s contents: Aristotle: melancholy and the genius. – The doctrine of four humours. – Saturn, planet of melancholy. – The midday’s demon: the Fathers of Church and the sloth as a sin. – Eros and melancholy.
Leopardi: modernity, reason and poetry. – The desire without object. – Infinite and indefinite: the poetic of vagueness. – The beauty. – Terms and words. – Ancient culture and modern world. – Imagination – Naïve and sentimental poetry. – Leopardi and Romanticism. – Thought and affectivity. – Hearth’s poetry. – Melancholy and the loss of ancient culture. – The veil and the truth. – Deceits and enchantments. – Idea of love – Nature’s two visages – The excess of reason: philosophy and sorrow. – “Sweet melancholy”: between song and reflection. – Hope and memory.
Baudelaire: Spleen and Idéal. – XIX century’s disease: boredom as an emblematic sign of modernity. – Metropolitan wilderness. – Melancholy and phantasmagoria: the commodity. – The sumptuous jail of boredom. – Dream and immortality in Baudelaire – Ornithology of exile: the albatross and the swan. – Melancholy and allegory. – Melancholy and irony. – A symbol of the humbled artist: the clown. – Aureole’s loss and the prosaic world. – From melancholy to elation: the “land of plenty” and the poetic of luxury. – Beauty and love. – Melancholy and memory: the paradise lost.

Assessment methods and criteria

oral examination.

Teaching aids