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Unit information: Introduction to Early-Modern Art in 2014/15

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Unit name Introduction to Early-Modern Art
Unit code HART10216
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Dent
Open unit status Open




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

Description including Unit Aims

This unit provides a broadly chronological introduction to European art from the later Renaissance to the nineteenth century. This is a dynamic period in which artists not only meet the challenges raised by bouts of religious and political iconoclasm, but also respond to the transformation of the European world through the impact of scientific discourse and encounters with previously unknown cultures. Introducing a variety of art-historical practices, it will not only focus on a range of significant individuals and major artistic works, but also on thematic issues such as artistic institutions, the rise of exhibitions and the relationship between art and the contexts of its production. It will consider works from a number of European traditions, seeking to examine their individuality but also the links between them.


The unit seeks to provide a sound introductory understanding of significant themes and individuals involved in artistic production in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It aims to introduce students to key works produced by significant artists and to enable them to distinguish the particularities of such works. It also seeks to explain the differing professional contexts in which artists worked and the impact on them of events of the time. It will use a variety of art-historical methods to introduce students to the range of approaches in the discipline.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit, the students should:

1. have gained a broad chronological understanding of the development of art production and consumption during this period

2. be acquainted with a group of major works of art produced during this period

3. be able to reflect upon these objects in their historical context

4. be able to assess some of the ways in which art was used and consumed by patrons, both individual and institutional

5. be aware of different approaches to art, and be able to reflect critically upon these different approaches. Students will have been given the opportunity to tackle some of the key issues and concepts connected with the study of the art of this period, and given the opportunity to develop their visual recognition, iconographical skills and visual analysis.

Teaching Information

2 x 1hr lectures weekly over 10 weeks plus 1 x 1hr seminar weekly over 10 weeks.

Assessment Information

1 x 2000 word essay (formative), 1 x 2 hour examination (100%)

Reading and References

  • M. Craske Art in Europe 1700-1830 (Oxford, 1997)
  • A. Harris Seventeenth Century Art and Architecture (London, 2005)
  • J Martin Baroque (Harmondsworth, 1989)
  • V. Hyde Minor, Baroque & Rococo: Art and Culture (New York, 1999)
  • D. Irwin, Neoclassicism (London, 1997)