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The Artwork in History


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 4
  • Assessment: a 500-word essay plan and bibliography (20%) and 2000-word essay (80%)

Module description

This module revolves around a series of complex art historical case studies, from different moments in art history. You will be preparing for and taking part in lively seminar discussions that focus on the social and economic as well as artistic circumstance of making and exhibiting artworks, and consider their reception. The development of your writing skill is supported by specific workshops on writing academic essays, and on using a range of secondary and primary sources introduced by the module.

Case studies typically include:

  • Art in religious settings: Santa Croce in Florence, Italy
  • Art academies and challenges to them: the Salon des Refusés, 1863 Paris
  • Modernism: Picasso’s Demoiselles d’Avignon, 1907 to now
  • Art and design: the British Galleries in the Victoria and Albert Museum

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • demonstrate awareness of the importance of understanding the historical circumstances of the making and reception of artworks
  • analyse artworks in social and historical contexts
  • research and apply the arguments in a range of art historical texts in their own writing
  • write an essay using appropriate academic conventions.