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HA931 - Venetian Art and its Histories

  • Module code: HA931
  • Module name: Venetian Art and its Histories
  • Department: History of Art
  • Credit: 30

Content and teaching | Assessment | Availability

Module content and teaching

Principal aims

How were artists in Renaissance Venice viewed by their contemporaries? Was there a specifically Venetian theory of art in the Renaissance and Early Modern periods? How did architects from the Veneto change the course of European architecture through their writings rather than their buildings? The option is one of two core options that MA students take in the Autumn term, whilst based in Venice. While the other core option focuses on urban spaces, material culture and luxury goods, this module examines Venetian art theory and historiography, developing students’ ability to place the works of art and architecture they encounter in Venice within contemporary critical frameworks. The focus will be on primary sources, including key texts by Pietro Aretino, Marco Boschini Ludovico Dolce, Andrea Palladio, Carlo Ridolfi Francesco Sansovino and Sebastiano Serlio. We will also examine central Italian writers who developed negative interpretations of Venetian art, principally Giorgio Vasari.

Principal learning outcomes

By the end of the module student will be equipped with an in-depth knowledge of Venetian painting, sculpture and architecture and its histories from the sixteenth century to the present day. Through an advanced understanding of historical context and evidence they will demonstrate engagement with the conflicting discourses on art in the sixteenth century, for example, Vasari’s advocacy of design over colour. They will also be able to relate contemporary literary sources to surviving visual evidence and images to a sophisticated level.

Timetabled teaching activities

Taught in Venice

Departmental link

Module assessment

Assessment group Assessment name Percentage
30 CATS (Module code: HA931-30)
A (Assessed work only) Assessed Course Work 100%
Assessed Course Work 100%

Module availability

This module is available on the following courses:



Optional Core
  • Postgraduate Taught History of Art (V4P2) - Year 2