First year modules

Historical Concepts in the History of Art

This module provides a thorough foundation in the historical concepts and categories employed in the analysis of works of art. Examples include: the meaning of style; artistic ‘schools’; iconography and symbolism; the meaning of ‘genre’ and different artistic genres; the distinction between ‘fine’ and ‘applied’ art; and the figure of the artist.

These themes are explored in relation to individual artworks that are studied both in reproduction and also in situ, in the Barber or other museums and galleries in Birmingham. The module also includes study skills sessions that introduce students to conventions of academic research, reading and writing.

Debates and Methods in the History of Art

This module gives a thorough introduction to the various contemporary approaches and methods used in the interpretation of works of art, with a particular focus on the questions and debates that are prompted by their use in art history.

Examples include: formal analysis; semiology; the social history of art; gender studies; studies of patronage and the art market; biography; theories of visual culture. These themes are explored in relation to individual artworks that are studied both in reproduction and also in situ, in the Barber or in other museums and galleries in Birmingham. The module also includes further study skills sessions, including the opportunity to reflect on work submitted and assessed in the first semester.

Object and Medium 1: Paintings, Drawings, Prints, Sculptures

This module gives a thorough introduction to the various media, techniques and processes used in the production of paintings (egg tempera and oil), drawings, prints and sculptures (marble and bronze).The module examines the ways in which materials and processes shape the appearance of two- and three-dimensional artworks,. The module examines examples from a wide range of periods. Particular emphasis is given to the study of artworks at first hand, using the collection in particular of the Barber Institute.

Object and Medium 2: Photography, Film, Performance and Installation

This module gives a thorough introduction to the various techniques and processes used in the production of photographs, films, performance and installation art. It also considers the meaning of ‘place’ in shaping the meaning and function of art, examining the film theatre and the settings of exhibitions and installations of twentieth century and contemporary Emphasis is given to the study of galleries and collections in Birmingham, such as the MAC and IKON.

Ideas of the Renaissance

This module considers the concept of the Renaissance. Examining a range of works of art as well as textual sources, it explores the role that the Renaissance plays in the history of art and how this came to be, by looking at texts by Vasari and Burckhardt. As such, it explores ideas such as ‘medieval’ versus ‘Renaissance’, and ‘the North’ versus ‘Italy’. It also examines artistic practice and the rise of the artist, gender and the Renaissance, and hierarchies of art forms.

Concepts of Modernism in the History of Art

This module considers the concept of Modernism. Examining a range of works of art as well as textual sources, it explores some of the defining practices of Modernism, such as: the Avant-Garde; ‘Primitivism’; the role of feminism and photography in modern art. As an exploration of Modernism as an art historical concept, the module also considers more recent debates within art history over the meaning and use of the term.

Module outside the main discipline (MOMD)

An MOMD is a module in a subject which is not normally a part of the student's main degree programme but which may be taken for additional credit to enhance their study. Schools and Departments across the University open up modules to students from other areas in a wide range of subjects and disciplines.

 

Disclaimer

Modules and courses are constantly updated and under review. As with most academic programmes, please remember that it is possible that a module may not be offered in any particular year, for instance because a member of staff is on study leave or too few students opt for it. The University of Birmingham reserves the right to vary or withdraw any course or module.