Topic outline

  • Course Description

    Places: 12

    This art history course focuses on ten art objects, considered in their original and critical contexts. The selection of case studies aims to map the wealth and diversity of art historical research: from iconic ‘masterpieces’ to popular imagery, votive objects and craft. Works discussed may range from the Parthenon marbles and Velazquez’ ‘Las Meninas’ to wax penises and birth plates.

    Each case study introduces different questions and approaches for discussing art works: a series of lessons in critical interpretation. The sessions are intentionally not arranged in chronological order: the aim is not to outline a ‘history of art in 10 objects’, but to present a range of case studies that can introduce students in an accessible way to different perspectives on the study of art.

    Course Coordinator

    Dr Camilla Rostvik camilla.morkrostvik@abdn.ac.uk

    • What skills does the course develop?

      You will develop skills of inquiry, analysis and communication through the study of selected art objects.

      You will gain an understanding of the formative impact of the historical and artistic contexts in which they were created.

      You will develop skills of synthesis and analytical comparison by writing an assignment on a case-study art object.



      • What will the timetable be like?

        2 x 1-hour lectures per week plus a 1-hour weekly tutorial.


        • How will I be assessed?

          1 x 2,500-word essay (90%)

          Students will select an artwork from a pre-determined list as the basis for their essay or make their own choice in consultation with the course coordinator.

          Class participation (10%)


          • Anything else I should know?

            You join in week 7 of the course and will be allocated to one of the weekly tutorials, meaning that you study alongside our art history students.


            • What did previous students think about this course?

              NEW Medical humanities option 21-22

              The parent course had 100% approval ratings in 2020-21.

              “The teaching was very effective, articulate, and fascinating.”

              “All faculty was on top of the curriculum and gave the students enough material to engage effectively with the topic of the week.”