AH30010 Writings on Art

Academic Year 2021/2022

This module is only open to art history majors for whom it is compulsory. This module provides an overview of the principal trends in writing on art from the Renaissance to the twentieth century. It thus builds upon the thematic modules undertaken in Levels 1 & 2, enabling students to place their cumulative experience in a methodological framework. Particular emphasis is placed on those approaches that characterise art history as a discrete academic discipline. Topics include formalism, connoisseurship, Marxism, iconology and feminism. It aims to provide students with a theoretical and critical context for their final-year study of art history and to aid them in identifying the ideas that inform their own approaches to the subject. This lecture is supplemented by mandatory small-group seminars.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students should be able to: 1. Understand the principal methodologies employed in modern art history; 2. Analyse and compare different art historical methodologies; 3. Relate this knowledge to other art history coursework; 4. Understand the basic benefits and limits of the Western approach to art.

Indicative Module Content:

Indicative lecture topics:

Introduction: the history of art history
Giorgio Vasari and the biographical tradition
Johann Joachim Winckelmann and the cultural tradition
Iconology and Semiotics
Marxism and Social Art History
Visual Culture

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Seminar (or Webinar)




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Lectures, supplemented by tutorials. Lectures will provide broad frameworks while tutorials will be devoted to close readings of primary texts and class discussion. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Requirements:

All students wishing to take a major in art history are required to complete this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
AH20200 - The Modern to the Contemporary, AH20230 - European Architecture

AH10070 - Dublin: Its Museums

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Essay: End of Semester Essay of 3,000 words (not including footnotes and bibliography). Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Assignment: Literature Review of 1,000 words. Week 7 n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Individual feedback on Essay Abstract (due in Week 7) will allow students the opportunity to revise their approach in advance of submission of the final assignment. Final written: assignment: individual written feedback post-assessment available on request.

These primers are widely available for purchase. Copies are available in the James Joyce Library and in the School of Art History Reading Room (J007).

Fernie, Eric, Art History and its Methods. London, 1996.
Harrison, Charles and Paul Wood (eds), Art in Theory 1900–2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas. London, 2003.
Hatt, M. and C. Klonk, Art History: A Critical Introduction to its Methods. Manchester, 2006.
Preziosi, Donald (ed.), The Art of Art History: A Critical Anthology. Oxford, 1998.
Name Role
Ms Carla Briggs Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Philip Cottrell Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Roisin Kennedy Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor John Loughman Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Emily Mark-Fitzgerald Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 Fri 12:00 - 12:50
Seminar Offering 2 Week(s) - 3, 5, 8, 10 Fri 10:00 - 10:50
Seminar Offering 3 Week(s) - 3, 5, 8, 10 Fri 14:00 - 14:50