The Semiotics of the Tomb of Pope Julius II

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Nathanael Hauser


The topic of my thesis is the Semiotics of the funerary monument of Pope Julius II. This thesis topic presents a successful marriage of the Communication and Art History disciplines, as it uses a well-established Communication theory to more closely examine an image of art. Semiotics is a Communication theory that has been applied to Art methodology. It studies the representation of symbols in language, writing, and art, and what messages these symbols convey. In my thesis, I will apply the theory of semiotics to the tomb of Pope Julius II, and in a broader sense, the Renaissance era and the papacy. I will use the model of Charles Barthes, who applied Semiotic to language and art, to examine the funerary monument. I will use art historical methods of analyzing the social, religious, and political climate during the period in which the image was produced. I will attempt to establish the importance of the Renaissance funeral monument as a means to recall classical civilization and relate it to the della Rovere family using classical and Christian symbolism.

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