Key Concepts and Classic Texts in History and Philosophy of Art - HART8380

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 7 30 (15) Jonathan Friday checkmark-circle


This module will introduce you to key concepts that are central to understand fundamental debates in history and philosophy of art as well as art criticism. Some examples of key concepts are the notion of originality, influence, race, the aesthetic, fiction, beauty, gender and taste. The key concepts discussed in the seminars are subject to change.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 36
Private Study Hours: 264
Total Study Hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:

Essay (4,000 words) – 80%
Portfolio (2,000 words) – 20%

Reassessment methods:

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List:

Barthes, R., (2000). Camera Lucida. London: Vintage
Baxandall, M., (1985). Patterns of Intention: On the Historical Explanation of Pictures. New Haven: Yale University Press
Danto, A.C., (1981). The Transfiguration of the Commonplace: A Philosophy of Art. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press
Gombrich, E.H., (2000). Art and Illusion: A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation. Princeton: Princeton University Press
Schapiro, M., (1994). Theory and Philosophy of Art: Style, Artist and Society, New York: G. Braziller
Walton, K., (1990). Mimesis as Make-Believe: On the Foundations of Representational Art, Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press
Wollheim, R., (1987). Painting as an Art. London: Thames & Hudson

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate an advanced understanding of and familiarity with basic key concepts and some classic texts in history and philosophy of art;
2 Demonstrate knowledge of conceptual tools and the appropriate methodology necessary for independent art historical and philosophical engagement in these areas;
3 Demonstrate their ability to develop argument, engage critically with relevant literature, and contextualise issues and materials within the framework of contemporary art historical and art theoretical thought.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate advanced critical reading skills and a capacity to analyse complex arguments;
2 Demonstrate their written and oral communication and presentation skills, particularly regarding the expression of complex thoughts about the arts;
3 Demonstrate their capacity to listen attentively and critically to the views of others, whether spoken or written, and to make a relevant response that furthers the investigation;
4 Demonstrate their ability to conduct research and independent study into theoretical and historical materials;
5 Demonstrate their capacity to construct and evaluate arguments.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  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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