Art History and Theory
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 18 December 2020
11 May 2020
Requisites for this module
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.
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.
By the end of this module students should have:
a substantial understanding of the relationship between art and the body in a specific period and geographical location;
the ability to critically describe, analyse and interpret works of art and architecture featured in the module;
the ability to write at length in an informed manner on the relationship between art and the body and to form an argument relating to various aspects of the topic;
the ability intelligently to relate works of art to primary sources, and art historical and theoretical literature relating to the topics covered on the module;
the ability to write in a synthetic manner, drawing links between different artists, artistic centres, and periods of the Renaissance;
the ability to articulate the relationship between politics, knowledge, sexuality, and the body in the period under consideration.
No additional information available.
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 8 is Reading Week.
- Patricia Simons. (c1992) '"Women in Frames: The Gaze, the Eye, the Profile in Renaissance Portraiture"', in The expanding discourse: feminism and art history, New York: IconEditions., pp.38-57-
- Talvacchia, Bette. (c1999) Taking positions: on the erotic in Renaissance culture, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
- Koerner, Joseph Leo. (1996) The moment of self-portraiture in German renaissance art, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- Payne, Alina Alexandra. (1999) The architectural treatise in the Italian Renaissance: architectural invention, ornament, and literary culture, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Olson, Todd P. (2002-02) 'Pitiful Relics: Caravaggio's Martyrdom of St. Matthew', in Representations. vol. 77 (1) , pp.107-142
- Goffen, Rona. (1999) 'Mary's Motherhood According to Leonardo and Michelangelo', in Artibus et Historiae. vol. 20 (40) , pp.35-
- Simons, Patricia. (1997) '"Homosociality and Erotics in Italian Renaissance Portraiture"', in Portraiture: facing the subject, Manchester: Manchester University Press., pp.29-51-
- Vitruvius Pollio. (1960) The ten books on architecture / Vitruvius ; translated by Morris Hicky Morgan ; with illustrations and original designs prepared under the direction of Herbert Langford Warren: Dover.
- Katherine Park. (1998) '"Masaccio's Skeleton: Art and Anatomy in Early Renaissance Florence"', in Masaccio's Trinity, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press., pp.119-140-
- Michael Gaudio. (2002) 'The Space of Idolatry: Reformation, Incarnation, and the Ethnographic Image
Original text', in RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics: The University of Chicago Press., pp.72-91
- Auerbach, Erich. (c2003) Mimesis: the representation of reality in Western literature, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
- Mason, Peter. (2009) Before disenchantment: images of exotic animals and plants in the early modern world, London: Reaktion.
- Alberti, Leon Battista; Kemp, Martin. (1991) On painting / Leon Battista Alberti; translated by Cecil Grayson, with an introduction and notes by Martin Kemp, London: Penguin.
- Puttfarken, Thomas. (1998-06) 'Caravaggio's 'Story of St Matthew': A Challenge to the Conventions of Painting', in Art History. vol. 21 (2) , pp.163-181
- Sawday, Jonathan. (1995) The body emblazoned: dissection and the human body in Renaissance culture, London: Routledge.
The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.
Assessment items, weightings and deadlines
|Coursework / exam
||Essay 1 - 2500 words
||Essay 2 - 2500 words
||120 minutes during Summer (Main Period) (Main)
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Caspar Pearson, email: email@example.com.
Dr Caspar Pearson
Prof Richard Simon Clay
Professor of Digital Cultures
Available via Moodle
Of 18 hours, 18 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).
* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.
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