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Art History: A Survey


Module description

This module will introduce you to key periods, themes and movements in western art from antiquity through to the late 20th century.

The module begins by exploring the foundations of European art, before moving on to the art and architecture of the medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods. A session on the 18th century is followed by a series of lectures that follow the European avant-gardes through late 19th- and 20th-century modernism, concluding with the period of intense artistic activity from Pop Art to Conceptualism. All these periods and movements are considered in their historical and theoretical contexts.

While lectures will provide you with a broad overview of stylistic developments and art historical approaches, smaller seminar groups allow for detailed discussion of individual artworks, exhibitions, buildings and texts. Self-directed gallery and site visits are an integral part of the module.

Indicative module content

The Classical Tradition

  • Medieval Art
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Renaissance Art
  • Christian Iconography
  • Baroque Art
  • Portraiture

The Academic Tradition

  • Challenges to the Academy 1863-1914
  • The Salon des Refusés, 1863
  • Art and Design between the Wars 1918-1945
  • Degenerate Art, 1937
  • Modernism and its Discontents: Art in the 60s
  • Live in Your Head, 1969