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Art History: Skills and Approaches


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 6
  • Convenor: Dr Charlotte Ashby
  • Assessment: a 2000-word foundation essay (20%) and 5000-word extended essay (80%)

Module description

In this module we introduce you to the core study skills required for the history of art and architecture. You will learn to analyse painting, architecture, sculpture, photography and contemporary art, and consider key critical and theoretical issues that shape the practice of art history.

You will work on applying these ideas, and exploring how they shape and reshape your understanding of the case studies that you will cover in the earlier part of the module. Towards the end of the module, you will progress towards independent study, and will build on the skills you have developed over the first two terms. Supported by workshops, you will develop your own extended essay on a case study of your choosing.

Indicative syllabus

  • Painting
  • Sculpture
  • Contemporary art
  • Photography
  • Architecture
  • Patronage and consumption
  • Formalism and the canon
  • Iconography and sign
  • Gender
  • Postcolonialism

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will:

  • have been introduced to the study of the history of art and architecture
  • have learnt to critically analyse and interpret art objects and buildings
  • be engaged with the concepts, values and debates that inform the study and practice of the history of art
  • have acquired and developed skills and knowledge of the discipline up to final-year undergraduate level
  • be prepared for entry to other Master's programmes offered by the school.