Visualising Bodies

The details
Art History and Theory
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 18 December 2020
04 June 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA V3R9 Art History with Modern Languages,
BA VR3B Art History with Modern Languages (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad)

Module description

This module addresses a subject that has historically been one of the abiding concerns of visual art: the body. Although the module covers a broad chronological span –from c. 1300 to c. 1600 (the period that is sometimes termed the Renaissance) –it focuses primarily on the sixteenth century in Italy. The module will explore issues such as narrative, giganticism, androgyny, eroticism, struggle, violence, and dissection, as well as bodily metaphors in architecture, and the artist's own embodied practice. It will consider how the body became a locus for debates about politics and theology in this period and how it was sometimes regarded scientifically as a 'body of knowledge.' In so doing, the module will examine the works of artists such as Giotto, Duccio, Donatello, Masaccio, Ghiberti, Michelangelo, Giulio Romano, Titian, Dürer, Caravaggio, and others.

Module aims

The aims of the module are:
to investigate the tradition of the representation of the human body in the artworks examined within the module;
to consider how the body was made to stand for a broad range of complex ideas;
to consider how the body became at different times a locus of politics, knowledge, and desire;
to encourage students to develop skills in written communication through the writing of essays, and in oral communication through active participation in seminars.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module students should have:a) a good understanding of the relationship between art and the body in a specific period and geographical location;b) the ability to describe, analyse and interpret works of art and architecture featured in the module;c) the ability to write in an informed manner on the relationship between art and the body and to form an argument relating to various aspects of the topic;d) the ability to approach relevant secondary sources critically;e) the ability to relate art of the period to its wider context.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

There will be a two-hour combined lecture and seminar each week. All teaching events will be accessible to students on and off campus either face-to-face or remotely through online teaching. Week 8is Reading Week.



Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Essay 1 - 2000 words     
Coursework   Essay 2 - 2000 words     

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Caspar Pearson, email:
Dr Caspar Pearson



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


Further information
Art History and Theory

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.