NDSU Distance & Continuing Education (DCE)

Bringing Education to You

Course Descriptions

The Renaissance Code

EDUC 600

This 3-credit continuing education graduate course has been designed to acquaint teachers with the Italian art masters of the Renaissance. This course will help participants unlock the secrets hidden in the Italian art master’s paintings to the end that they will be better able to convey this knowledge to their students. The result will be improved student achievement, particularly as the content relates to the history and art of the period. The course will present the theory and underlying concepts and principles related to the topic and will decode the symbols in the paintings of Botticelli, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Mantegna, Masaccio, Uccello, and many others. The course will help participants know why they will be a much better teacher when they know and understand  how to more effectively decode the symbols of renaissance Italian art.  Secret messages and sacred symbols will be revealed in the artist’s use of color, perspective, imagery, etc. A knowledge of these symbols will give fresh insight on the artists and art of this time. Many teaching ideas, materials, strategies and activities will be shared, analyzed and evaluated to the end that students of participants will experience improved performance and higher levels of student achievement.


As result of participation in this course, the student will know and understand:

  1. The theoretical base for the course content as well as the underlying concepts and principles. 
  2. The related research related to the Renaissance and the artists of the period.
  3. The artists of the Renaissance and their works. 
  4. How to decode the hidden meanings in the Italian art works and how this will help participants improve their teaching. 
  5. Why the Renaissance needed a secret language.
  6. How to plan and implement a Mini Unit Project with related student lesson plans for Renaissance art projects. 
  7. The development of a viable and productive classroom Plan of Action. 


Required Texts:

Stemp, R. (2006). The secret language of the Renaissance. London: Duncan Baird Pub. Ltd.