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Unit information: Art of the Northern Renaissance (Level M Lecture Response Unit) in 2021/22

Unit name Art of the Northern Renaissance (Level M Lecture Response Unit)
Unit code HARTM0032
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Kelly
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of History of Art (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit covers art produced in France, the Low Countries (the Netherlands, Belgium and Flanders) and Germany, during the late fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries. The glories of the Italian Renaissance have sometimes been allowed to overshadow the equally fascinating and extraordinary art that was produced in the north of Europe during the same period. Equally, assumptions about what the Renaissance was, and what the term means, have largely proceeded from considerations of Italian art. We will consider the ways in which the term might have differing meanings and differing implications when used in a northern European context. Media to be examined will be mainly painting and sculpture, but may also include metalwork and the graphic arts. Key artists to be studied may include: the Limbourg brothers, Claus Sluter, Jan van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden, Hans Memling, Albrecht Durer, Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Breugel. Key issues to be considered may include: the ways in which the term ‘Renaissance’ is used, both now and in the past, and what it means (and has meant) in historical and art-historical scholarship focussing on France, the Low Countries (the Netherlands, Belgium and Flanders) and Germany; the ways in which the ‘Northern Renaissance’ may be seen as distinct from the ‘Italian Renaissance’; patronage, function, and reception of – and trade in – the art of northern Europe.

Intended Learning Outcomes

1) To give students a thorough grounding in the art of the Northern Renaissance and to consider how and why it differs from that of the Italian Renaissance.

2) To place students in direct contact with the current research interests of the academic tutor and to enable them to explore the issues surrounding the state of research in the field.

3) To develop students’ ability to work with primary sources relating to this field and produce a research-led essay based on such sources.

4) To develop students’ abilities to integrate primary source material into a wider art historical and historiographical analysis.

5) To develop students’ ability to learn independently within a group context.

Teaching Information

Classes will involve a combination of long- and short-form lectures, class discussion, investigative activities, and practical activities. Students will be expected to engage with readings and participate on a weekly basis. This will be further supported with drop-in sessions and self-directed exercises with tutor and peer feedback.

Assessment Information

One summative coursework essay of 5000 words (100%). This will assess ILOs 2-5.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. HARTM0032).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.