ARTHIST 114G Understanding Art: Leonardo to Dali

ARTHIST 114G | BE, EDSW, EMHSS, LC | Semester One 2023 | City Campus | 15 points


The course examines the life and work of major Renaissance artists such as Leonardo and Michelangelo, followed by the Baroque master of light and dark, Caravaggio, and the artists of the Dutch Golden Age, Rembrandt, and Vermeer. We then move on to the charming Rococo of France in the eighteenth century, and later, to the more restrained Neoclassicism of David, contrasting with the spectacular Romanticism of Goya, Gericault, Turner, and Delacroix.

In modern society, we examine new subject material and approaches through the work of the Pre-Raphaelites in Britain. In France, Courbet and Manet were painting the modern city. Monet, Degas, and Renoir succeeded them with an Impressionist artistic vision, while the Post-Impressionists van Gogh, Seurat, Matisse and Picasso revolutionised artistic techniques. Salvador Dali and Marcel Duchamp introduce us to the world of dada and the surreal and Mondrian and Kandinsky to abstraction in Europe. Despite the course title, 'Leonardo to Dali,' through popular demand, we have extended the range of the course with Pollock and Rothko's abstraction and Warhol and Pop art in America.

A high level of visual literacy is increasingly necessary today to navigate our way through the world of images. Artworks are studied in terms of their structural, formal, thematic, and iconographic (symbolic) features and placed in their particular cultural and historical contexts. The course provides invaluable skills in acquiring an eye for detail and the technical vocabulary to interpret the history of ideas that are fundamental to all disciplines.

Restriction: ARTHIST 109

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Explain and apply elements of visual analysis to works of art, including painting and sculpture 
  2. Develop and write text which displays knowledge of art historical styles and contexts 
  3. Identify and analyse perspectives and critical commentary on the visual arts 
  4. Communicate measured arguments and interpretations of the visual arts 

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