What is art history? This module gives students a full introduction to the study of the history of art at university level. From how to conduct research using an academic library and e-resources, to building arguments and writing up your findings, you will learn how to interpret and understand art objects, and how art historians have gone about this in the past and present. You will gain the tools to unlock different perspectives on images by studying ‘theory’ including: the social history of art; post-colonialism and race; feminism and gender studies; semiotics (the meanings of signs and symbols); and the economics of art (patronage, class and audiences). You will encounter works of art from the Middle Ages to the present, and undertake simple research tasks with your tutor’s guidance. By the end of the module you will be able to write captions and labels for art objects, carry out visual, contextual and critical analysis of art objects, and make comparisons between images.
The module includes a field trip to Buckland Abbey in Devon to see their recently rediscovered masterpiece, an outstanding self-portrait by Rembrandt; and Saltram House, a local example of a Palladian-style country estate rich in art, architectural and social history.
Assessment: 100% coursework