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HA932 - Venetian Luxury and Display: Urban Fabric, Material Culture and Social Practice 1200 - 1600

  • Module code: HA932
  • Module name: Venetian Luxury and Display: Urban Fabric, Material Culture and Social Practice 1200 - 1600
  • Department: History of Art
  • Credit: 30

Content and teaching | Assessment | Availability

Module content and teaching

Principal aims

The option is one of two that MA students take in their term in Venice. While the other option addresses Venetian theories and writings on art, this asks students to look at the urban fabric of Venice as a whole, making maximum use of the opportunities offered by in situ and research-led, interdisciplinary teaching. The course’s approach is informed by recent work on urban geographies and material culture, and consciously eschews traditional art historical analysis. Topics will address how distinctive Venetian settings informed the design of art/artefacts and in turn their consumption by Venetian and non-Venetian consumers. Venice’s position as Europe’s principal centre of production for luxury goods is a central concern of the course, and will relate painting and sculpture with the city’s metalwork, glass, printing, and textile industries. Trade, Venice’s pivotal position between East and West, and the city’s large foreign communities provide the backdrop.

Principal learning outcomes

The module will equip students for the study of Venice’s urban fabric through a broader theoretical understanding of the methodologies of urban history, material culture studies and design history. They will demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of and a detailed understanding of Venice’s significance as a centre of production for a broad range of artistic and luxury goods, in particular how original contexts – ritual, political, economic and intellectual – influenced the design of artefacts and buildings, and Venetians’ experience of them.

Timetabled teaching activities

One-to-one tutorials. Presentation at annual Postgraduate Conference.

Departmental link

Module assessment

Assessment group Assessment name Percentage
30 CATS (Module code: HA932-30)
A (Assessed work only) 5000 word essay 100%
VA (Visiting students only) 100% assessed (part year) visiting 100%

Module availability

This module is available on the following courses:



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