The purpose of this MA course is to equip you to undertake higher-level study in art history. Within it, you’ll explore six different methodological approaches in depth, from biography and iconography to feminist art history and the ‘period eye’. Each methodology is addressed by set books and associated material covering a range of different subjects, from Italian Renaissance art to Indian temple sculpture. For each block, you’ll also be expected to study works of art of your own choosing, applying the methods exemplified in each book, and to write an assignment – all of which will develop your analytical skills.
|About this course:|
|Course work includes:|
|6 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)|
|No residential school|
No current presentation - see Future availability
|This course is expected to start for the last time in February 2013.|
This course builds on the knowledge and skills that can be acquired through undergraduate study in this discipline. It offers a distinctive approach by bringing together ‘new’ and ‘old’ art histories, covering subject matter from the Renaissance to the present day. It will enable you to carry out supported independent study, preparatory to the training in research methods offered in the art history subject course Themes and issues in contemporary art history (A841) and the dissertation.
This course makes considerable use of information communication technology (ICT). Learning how to use, and obtain information from, online bibliographic and full text databases is an essential part of study at postgraduate level. Throughout this course and the MA in Art History as a whole, you will be required to access online databases and other ICT based reference sources, many of which will be made available to you through the OU Library (Open Library). You will have to access them on a frequent basis to download information to support your studies. You will also need to have access to a research library, whether a university library or a very large public library.
Block 1 considers Helen Langdon's Caravaggio: A Life, an example of biographical monograph which dominates art-historical writing. This example is used because it is a controversial subject presented in an attractive and deceptively simple way. In general students will consider why biography is such a common mode of art-historical writing, and the pros and cons of this approach.
Block 2 involves a close reading of Heinrich Wölfflin’s Principles of Art History, which seeks to provide a set of fundamental categories for the description and analysis of works of visual art, including painting, sculpture and architecture. Wölfflin’s work has had an enormous impact on twentieth-century art history, but it has also been subject to a great deal of criticism and to a variety of revisionist approaches. Students will be encouraged to engage critically with Wölfflin’s work and to participate in recent debates.
Block 3 will explore a variety of ‘iconographic’ approaches, that is the meanings of a complex image or programme of images and the changing ways in which events, persons, and ideas have been represented. It will compare the application of iconographical methodologies of Erwin Panofsky and Devangana Desai with subjects as diverse as Indian erotic sculpture and the Madonna lactans, and in so doing will evaluate the limits and advantages of this approach to art history.
Block 4 critically appraises two seminal books on Renaissance art by Michael Baxandall: Painting and Experience in 15th-century Italy (1972) and The Limewood Sculptors of Renaissance Germany (1980). Baxandall’s method, in contrast to the biographical approach, explores how artists, and the works of art they produced, operated within their original social, commercial and religious context. Among the key concepts to be explored is the ‘period eye’ – the attempted reconstruction of the mental and visual equipment brought to bear on works of art in a given society and time.
Block 5 examines Manfredo Tafuri's Venice and the Renaissance, a work of architectural history, which combines close attention to primary sources with the search for understanding of large cultural and social developments. Comparison of this book with later work and that of other historians will show how Tafuri’s ambitious aims both add to understanding and risk unbalancing the analysis of particular buildings and events.
Block 6 will consider Griselda Pollock’s collection of essays Vision and Difference: Femininity, Feminism and the Histories of Art (1988), a work widely recognised as constituting a seminal intervention within art history, marking the boundaries and nature of a growing area of Feminist Art History in the 1980s and shifting the terms of debate within the discipline. Questions of sexuality and cultural difference will be explored within the framework of Pollock’s methodological approach, encouraging students to review and assess the use of psychoanalysis, deconstruction and post-colonial theory as ‘tools’ for feminist analysis of both historical and contemporary forms of art practice.
By the end of this course you will have a good understanding of the contested nature of art history as a discipline, a familiarity with both traditional and more recent theoretical approaches (in particular the practice of six authors working within methodological approaches), and your own practical experience of working within these methods.
This course will be of particular relevance to students who wish to embark on a career in art history, in academic institutions, museums or art galleries, for instance.
To take this course, you must declare the MA in Art History (F33) (or another qualification towards which this course can count) as your qualification intention.You should have an honours degree or equivalent, ideally, but not necessarily, in art history. You need to ensure that your subject knowledge and study skills are adequate for study at this level. Please see the Faculty website for more advice on entry requirements. If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.
You are strongly advised to read the A840 Study Skills Pack and do the activities in it which can be found on our website. This pack will help prepare you for the rigours of postgraduate study. You will be required to read all the set books in their entirety so it will be advantageous to begin reading them as soon as your registration is confirmed. While it is not set reading for the course, you may also find the following book useful preparation; Hatt, M. & Klonk, C., Art History: A Critical Introduction to Its Methods, Manchester University Press, £14.99.
A840 is a compulsory module in our:
A840 is an optional module in our:
If you leave the MA in Humanities programme before obtaining your masters degree this module will qualify you for a postgraduate certificate. With another 60 credits from specified modules, including at least 30 credits from subject modules, you can obtain a postgraduate diploma.
Some postgraduate qualifications allow study to be chosen from other subject areas. We advise you to refer to the relevant qualification descriptions for information on the circumstances in which this module can count towards these qualifications because from time to time the structure and requirements may change.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.
One of the learning outcomes for this course is for you to develop the ability to exercise powers of visual discrimination by direct engagement with works of art. If you are blind or severely partially sighted you will experience difficulty in achieving this learning outcome. However, if you have a background in art history gained whilst usefully sighted you will be able to draw upon this experience. Reproductions of works of art will be available in electronic format. You will be able to magnify these reproductions within the limits of standard computer applications, but no textual descriptions or alternative formats of reproductions will be available and the use of a sighted assistant to interpret the works of art would conflict with the required learning outcome. If you are blind or partially sighted please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service for advice before registering for this course.
You will need to spend considerable amounts of time using a personal computer and the internet. Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader. Alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future. Our Services for disabled students website has the latest information about availability.
If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Services for disabled students website for more information, including:
Study guide, other printed materials.
The MHRA Style Book
You will need a computer with internet access to study this course as it includes online activities, which you can access using a web browser.
You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.
You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. The course will be taught by means of a combination of face-to-face and real time online tutorials. We may be able to offer group tutorials or day schools that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Where your tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking A840. Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.
The assessment details can be found in the facts box above.
You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.
The details given here are for the final course start in February 2013.
Students who studied this course also studied at some time:
We regret that we are currently unable to accept registrations for this course. Where the course is to be presented again in the future, relevant registration information will be displayed on this page as soon as it becomes available.
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|About this course:|
|Course work includes:|
|6 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)|
|No residential school|
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