History of Art


Time:        Wednesdays 10.30am – 12.30pm
Dates:       Autumn term 2019: Monday Sept 16th – Friday Dec 13th
                   (Half term Oct 21st – 25th)
                   Spring term 2020: Jan 6th – April 3rd (Half term Feb 17th – 21st)
                   Summer term 2020: April 27th – May 22nd
Venue:      Victoria Hall
Fees:          £128 for a 12-week term
                    £43 for a 4-week summer term
Tutor:        Dr. Laurie Taylor

This course is for anyone interested in different kinds of art works, their production and meaning. The aims of the course are to consider the artwork as a physical object and to understand how the meaning of the artwork is generated by its material form and the processes by which that form has been engaged by the artist. Materials and process are the fundamental building blocks of any artwork, and this has been true throughout art history. The profound effects of modernisation and industrialisation in the late 19th century meant that materials and process took on added significance in the 20th century, affecting both how artworks were created and how they were defined. We will look at materials such as paper, metal, wood, stone, glass, textiles, paint, found objects, print, the body, digital media, and photography at different periods and in different movements in 20th century art, including Cubism, Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, and Conceptualism. We will examine the ways in which these materials were used in the creation of artworks, as well as the different connotations and associations they acquired along the way, ultimately discovering how material makes the meaning. The weekly lectures are accompanied by slide presentations.

The course is structured to be loosely chronological, with the Autumn term covering materials and movements from the end of the 19th century to the mid-20th century, such as for example photographic techniques, wood carving, textiles, and paint and brushstroke. The Spring term will cover the second half of the 20th century, for example murals and the politics of image; and the printings of Andy Warhol. The Summer term will examine those material developments that closed the 20th century and brought us into the 21st. The Autumn and Spring terms will also each include a museum visit.