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Module Descriptions

All modules are 30 credits and are taught in a single term.
 

Autumn Term

Core Module
 
HA936 Art History and its Methods
Students will begin by familiarising themselves with a range of theories and art-historical methods, which offer possibilities for interpreting meaning in art, or which set limits to interpretation. The module will centre on issues of methodology and will have a strong textual base. It will acquaint students with the major methodologies that have shaped the discipline of art history as an historical discipline. To this end, it will examine several theories of the history of art that either construct art as something with its own (internal) history, or make it into something determined by a wider social and political history. Other theoretical positions that may be covered include the institutional theory of art, aesthetics, theories of taste, and varieties of psychoanalysis. The module may also engage with some of the more pertinent methodological and interdisciplinary issues on the boundaries of Art History, for example Material Culture Studies.
 
Special Subjects
 
HA960 Deconstructing Medieval and Early Modern Buildings
Very few historic buildings have escaped alteration over the period in which they have been in use. Changes to liturgy, and to society, have required that the buildings are adapted to accommodate these changes. By studying the fabric of the buildings, reading the evidence in the structure and combining this with documentary research it is possible to build up a picture of the whole history of individual monuments. This research-based module introduces students to the subject of buildings archaeology and gives them the chance to get involved in a current research project on a local building, so that they also gain practical experience. Aspects such as building materials, documentary research, antiquarian and topographical studies, stylistic analysis and comparative studies will be evaluated as sources of information and scientific methods of analysis such as dendrochronology examined.
 
HA967: The Thirties: The Arts and Society in inter-war Britain
At the heart of this module is the debate over the role of art and the artist in modern society that occurred in inter-war Britain. Rather than considering artistic developments during the period in terms of conservative artistic ideas confronted by an imported model of avant-garde practice, the module tests alternative interpretations. The Victorian tradition that linked art with civic responsibility will be connected with the modern artist’s social engagement, and is contrasted with the aestheticism of critics like Roger Fry. The growing involvement of artists and designers not just in the area of fine arts and architecture but also in advertising, industrial design and film-making will be examined in the context of the precarious economic and political conditions of the period.
 
HA977: Visual Art and Poetry
This module will explore the relationship between art and poetry from the earlytwentieth century to the present, principally in the United States, examining collaboration between artists and poets, the work of artist-poets, and poets' reponses to the visual arts. The module will also attend to work that attempts to break down the boundary between the two kinds of art. Each seminar will require students to read a number of selected poems, to examine related works of art, and to read critical or theoretical material about both.
 
HA9XX: Latin American Modernism: 20th Century Objects, 21st Century Exhibitions
Brazilian art critic Mario Pedrosa famously remarked that his country was "condemned to be Modern." This module will attempt to discover what Pedrosa
meant by his statement via an exploration of Modern art across Latin America, its critical reception, and international display. The module is thus both a history and a historiography of Latin American Modernism. We begin with the establishment of European-style academies across Latin America in the early nineteenth century and progress through the founding of Modern art museums, institutes, and biennials in the 1950s. We will consider how Latin American Modern art developed in dialogue with European styles as well as local and indigenous influences and decolonial impulses. Readings will cover the complementary practices of theoretical writing, art production, and exhibition curation that have shaped the discourse surrounding the Modernist period. While students are welcome to conduct research on any Portuguese, French, or Spanish-speaking country for their independent research project, the module will focus primarily on the production of artists from Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina, Peru, Cuba, and Brazil.

Spring Term Venice

 
HA970: Research in Renaissance and/or Early Modern Art/Architectural History (Spring 2021Topic: Venetian Painting and Its Viewers )
and
HA971: Research in Modern and/or Contemporary Art and Architecture (Spring 2021Topic: Art and the Urban)
These modules aim to equip students with advanced knowledge and understanding of a specific area of study. They encourage students to develop their prior knowledge and understanding of art history at a higher level and undertake more focused and independent work. Students learn how to make effective use of primary sources, both artistic and textual, in developing and completing a research project and provide opportunities to develop research and writing skills whilst living in the city of Venice.
 
HA3C7 - Exhibiting the Contemporary
The aim of this module is to examine the importance of exhibitions for the interpretation of contemporary art and contemporary architecture. 'Exhibition' is here conceived as the (in principle public) time and space of 'showing' in the broadest sense. Taught in Venice through lectures, seminars and site visits, the module will involve the study of current exhibitions of contemporary art and architecture within and outside the frame of the Biennale, considered in conjunction with pertinent texts on contemporary exhibition-making, curating, and museum and exhibition history.

Spring Term Warwick

 
Special Subjects
 
HA958: Colour and its Meaning
This module will explore the meanings and effects produced by colour in art. It will examine the claims made, and influence exerted, by scientific, philosophical, psychological, and psychoanalytical theories of colour from Aristotle to Wittgenstein, Merleau-Ponty and neuroscience. It will investigate how language affects the perception and use of colour. And it will address the question of what makes colours harmonious or expressive. It will consider works of art from a wide range of cultures and periods, which could include Mexican art, C16th Venetian painting, Impressionism, Van Gogh, Cézanne, Kandinsky, Matisse, and paintings produced in the last few years by Gerhard Richter.
 
HA2C4: East meets West: The Visual Arts in Colonial and Postcolonial India
This module examines the production and development of the visual arts in India during its (British) colonial and postcolonial periods (c.1757 to the present day). We look at the ways in which colonial encounter, conquest and knowledge were experienced and articulated through architecture, painting, sculpture and photography, as well as through spectacles such as the Delhi Durbars and Great Exhibition of 1851. The module examines and contrasts the works of British and Indian artists, considering how issues of colonialism and nationalism impacted upon various artistic genres and media, as well as upon the patronage and training of artists. Finally, we consider recent works by Indian artists in relation to issues of local/global politics, diaspora and migration, and to broader structures of the contemporary, global art market. Topics may include: colonial and courtly cities; landscape, power and exploration; native and colonial photography; Indian nationalism and the visual arts; training artists in colonial India; gender and identity in Indian art; artists of the Indian diaspora; the Kochi-Muziris biennale and the globalisation of Indian art.
 
HA966: Leonardo : Art and Science
Using Leonardo’s exemplary activity and output both as an artist and as a natural philosopher, this module will explain in which ways practical aspects of art making (for instance lighting, chiaroscuro, and perspective) are strictly interlinked with aesthetic notions (in particular beauty) and the investigation of nature in its multiple phenomena as carried out by Leonardo on empirical grounds. A thorough examination of Leonardo’s artistic production (paintings, drawings, sculptural and architectural designs) and of Leonardo’s observations on and description of nature (articulated in the fields of optics, anatomy, and engineering) will underground the structure of the seminars.
 
HA978: Reality after Film
This module will focus on the place of moving image in contemporary art. The theme of reality, explored through different artistic and social approaches to realism, will be at the heart of the works and literature studied in class. This topic will be introduced with the early years of the cinema and its theories concerning film’s future role for writing history. The module will then be dedicated to practices since the 1960s, when video permanently entered the art word and transformed art’s vocation to mediate reality. Through close formal analysis and a historical approach, students will develop a nuanced understanding of the role of sound, movement and editing in relation to contemporary ways of both capturing and constructing reality.