Study of a Single Artist - HA670

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
Autumn 6 30 (15) PROF T Henry checkmark-circle


The module will involve the study of a single artist of significance for the history of art. Through the in depth study of the works of art of a single artist, the interpretations made of them and the cultural significance of the artist's life and oeuvre, students will be introduced to a wide range of approaches and issues central to the theory and practice of the discipline of Art History. They will also acquire the subject-specific and generic learning skills necessary to progress to part II of their degree programme. The convenorship of the module will rotate among members of History of Art and with it the choice of artist to be studied. Lectures will be delivered by different HA staff members, and where appropriate external speakers, so that students are exposed to a range of different approaches and opinions. It is intended that when this module first runs the artist studied will be Pablo Picasso; an indicative list of other possible artists might include Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Ingres, Cezanne, Jackson Pollock, Frida Kahlo, Berthe Morisot or Rachel Whiteread. The purpose of the module, however, is not in itself to uphold a canon of established masters, and if the resources are available to deliver the module and the choice supports the learning outcomes, the artist chosen could be contemporary, outside the Western tradition, or working in a non-traditional medium.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 40
Private study hours: 260
Total study hours: 300

Method of assessment

Short Essay (1,500 words) - (30%)
Long essay (3000 words) - (50%)
Seminar Performance (20%)

Indicative reading

Paul Smith, A Companion to Art Theory (2002).

Richard Shiff and Robert Nelson Critical Terms for Art History (1996)

Ernst Kris and Otto Kurz, Legend, Myth and Magic in the Image of the Artist, 1979.
Giorgio Vasari, Lives of the Artists (any edition) Penguin 1987 is one indicative edition.

Margot and Rudolf Wittkower, Born under Saturn, 1963.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

- demonstrate that they have studied the life and oeuvre of a significant artist and the historical context in which he or she worked.
- demonstrate that they have studied, through the focused study of the art of a single artist, a number of key theoretical and critical concerns relevant to the History of Art programme as a whole.
- demonstrate that they have acquired, through a focused study of the art of a single artist, systematic understanding of the range and diversity of approaches to the study of art within the multidisciplinary History of Art programme.
- evidence that they have acquired conceptual understanding of the different types of critical writing which shape the discussion of the visual arts and developed the ability to critically evaluate the appropriate of the different approaches.
- demonstrate that they have acquired in depth understanding and knowledge in visual analysis of works of art, including how to 'read' an image.
- evidence that they have acquired systematic understanding of the various sites of production and display of the visual arts, the traditions associated with them, and the affect they have upon the form and content of such work.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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