History of Art 2.1: Modernism Matters


The History of Art 2.1: Modernism Matters module for 2D/3D Students will explore aspects of the history of Modern Art from the 19th to mid-20th century structured under broad themes considering the authors and historiography of the discipline and considering the legacy of Modernism in contemporary art production.

The lecture series will draw on diverse examples from Western European and American art from the 19th Century and the Modernist avant-garde to mid-20th century, including Western engagement with non-Western art. Irish art of will be referenced in the context of broader themes when relevant, and there will be one dedicated week to Modern Irish Art. 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 examples of how Modernist movements, ideas and art works inform our understanding of Post-modern developments and 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 Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art and IMMA. This compulsory element of the module fosters student access to national collections and the continued potential that these repositories of visual culture offer to learners.

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.

Art History 2: Modernism Matters aims to deepen the learners’ understanding of Modern art, its movements, manifestations and manifestos. This module will provide a consolidation of learning within the discipline of Art History and aims to develop learners’ independent, critical analysis of works of art. Learners will advance their skills in evaluation, discussion and writing about works of art; to empower further study in the discipline and ultimately to assist 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. Determine a range of criteria useful in the evaluation of art differentiating between description, interpretation and evaluation and utilize these techniques in their analysis of artworks.

  4. Distinguish between modern movements and styles and identify their key characteristic and ideologies.

  5. Be familiar with some important authors of modern Art History and Theory literature and significant learning resources of the discipline.

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