History of Art 1: Introduction to the Discipline


The History of Art 1: Introduction to the Discipline module is designed with a threefold teaching strategy introducing the learner to a methodological toolkit to critically engage with works of art from the past. Learners will primarily explore various ways of approaching the study of historic works of art and architecture; secondly considering the authors and historiography of the discipline and thirdly applying these approaches to understanding and making contemporary art.

The lecture series will draw on diverse achronological examples predominantly from Western European art from antiquity to Medieval, Renaissance, Mannerist, Baroque periods and beyond with an emphasis on the cultural contexts of art production. Significant authors of art history will be referenced and their contribution and approach will be critiqued, drawing the learners’ attention to how art history has been written and presented and highlighting changes within the discipline in the modern era.

Auxiliary workshops will encourage learners to discuss their understanding of the lecture content and will expand the topics to discuss how a study of the history of art can inform the production of contemporary art. The workshops will stimulate active learning through discussion and participation in exercises and dialogue. Workshop size is based on a maximum of 18-20 students so as to facilitate group work and discussion. Workshops take place in a seminar room with blackout, PC and digital projection of AV and online resources.

The importance and vitality of experiential learning by viewing actual works of art and architectural space will be embedded in the module with guided field trips to the National Gallery of Ireland and local cultural sites including the Galway City Museum and the medieval St. Nicholas collegiate church. This compulsory element of the module fosters student access to national and local resources and the continued potential that these repositories of visual culture offer to students.

A range of links to GMIT library resources, audio visual materials, activities and discussion forums will be available to module participants on the GMIT virtual learning environment, Moodle.

The Introduction to Art History module aims to deepen the learners understanding of art; to provide a foundation for learners to independently and critically investigate, analyse, evaluate, discuss and write about works of art; to empower further study in the discipline and ultimately to augment their own development as artists.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Write and present clearly articulated, factually supported critical reflections on a topic from the lecture series employing academic methods of research and citation.

  2. Comprehend and employ a wide ranging vocabulary within the discipline of art history to articulate verbal and written analysis of works of art

  3. Employ methods of observation in the analysis of art applying techniques of description, interpretation and evaluation

  4. Apply a range of criteria and methods in the independent investigation of art and artefacts differentiating between description, interpretation and evaluation and utilize these techniques in their analysis of artworks

  5. To contextualize art production in the broader socio-economic and ideological historic circumstances

  6. Be familiar with some important authors of art history and how to access the literature and learning resources of the discipline

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