Art history

Writing Art History: Media, Society, Culture

Module code: V4155
Level 4
15 credits in spring teaching
Teaching method: Seminar
Assessment modes: Coursework

Writing Art History examines the different ways in which works of art have been written about and discussed. It is not confined to the types of writing usually published in academic text books and journals. Instead, it considers how the discipline of Art History shapes, and is shaped by, numerous forms of written and visual communication, including television, exhibitions, journalism, film and aspects of digital culture. The module is designed to develop your capacities to reflect critically on the multiple factors that inform art writing and to think about the ways in which different types of writing serve different purposes.

The module considers how key issues play out across different types of ‘text’: for example, how representations of artists vary across Hollywood film, monographic exhibitions and short articles published online; or the different ways in which the history of art has been represented through television series produced at different times or in different countries, and what they suggest about their broader cultural contexts. Writing Art History takes in a broad range of issues, including: the discipline of Art History, artists reputations, different types of historical narrative, value, owenership, museums and audiences.

Module learning outcomes

  • Engage critically with a wide range of 'texts' relevant to the study of Art History
  • Understand the various agendas that inform art writing
  • Appreciate relationships between different types of communication and the forms of understanding they encourage
  • Compare commentaries on art produced in different media
  • Appreciate some of the key themes and ideas that have informed the writing of Art History