This course looks at the work of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarotti, the two protagonists of the High Renaissance whose fame has assumed mythical proportion over the centuries. The work of these artists will be analyzed against the cultural and intellectual background of sixteenth-century Italy. Issues discussed include the philosophical and scientific inquiries that defined the humanist discourse, new challenges of knowledge, and rise of the mercantile aristocracy. The focus of the course will be on the impact of these developments on the arts and the re-definition of the Renaissance visual code. Leonardo's analytical scrutiny and Michelangelo's sweeping vision are two opposites that epitomize the new visuality. The class will analyze major works of the period to understand the development of their respective styles and their impact on the artistic scene. The course will conclude with an examination of the myth of Leonardo and Michelangelo, its reception and relevance today.