Continuity and change in western art

This module gives students an overview of the history of art from the thirteenth century onwards. Taught as a history of style, subject matter, materials and meaning, the module involves the broad study of the major periods in western art including the Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo. You will learn about visual culture from different countries and how to place art in a historical context. Each class develops chronologically from the previous one, so that students become confident in their knowledge of the history of art as a whole and how art refers back and forth to earlier traditions or pursues new ways of making and seeing. By the end of the module you will be able to recognise different types of style and subject matter in art; identify art from different periods; and discuss wider themes such as patronage and taste; geographical location; social and political ideology; and the history of culture.

Topics include:

  • Courtiers and burghers: the conquest of reality in art
  • Popes and princes: art in Tuscany, Venice and Rome
  • Reformation and the north: Holbein, Bruegel and the new humanism
  • Nature’s mirror: Dutch painting of the seventeenth century, Rembrandt and Vermeer
  • The power and the glory: French Rococo at Versailles
  • The age of reason: Watteau, Hogarth and modern moral subjects
Assessment: 100% coursework