Celtic Art in Context CELTCIV4040

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2 (Alternate Years)
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

An introduction to the visual culture of the Celtic-speaking peoples from the Iron Age to the present day with special emphasis on the Early Medieval period (AD 400-1200). The approach is consciously inter-disciplinary and seeks to integrate art historical and other approaches to material culture with an examination of contemporary texts relating to the social and cultural context of art and artists.


2 classes a week, each 1 hour long, over 10 weeks.

Requirements of Entry

Normal requirements for entry to Honours

Excluded Courses





The mark for this course will be determined on the basis of an essay worth 25% of the total, a seminar worth 20% of the total (which breaks down as 5% for the oral presentation and 15% for structure and content assessed by means of a written handout), a mark for class preparation and participation worth 5% of the total and a two-hour degree examination worth 50% of the total.

Essay: The essay should be a formal essay, of no less than 2000 words, and should comply with guidelines for essay completion given in the Celtic and Gaelic Honours Coursebook.

Seminars: All students will be expected to present a topic during a seminar. This will consist of introducing the topic or question to the class, describing the basic concepts and data involved, and leading discussion on the topic. In addition, all students are expected to contribute to discussion during the whole range of seminars.

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

■ to develop the intellectual and analytical skills acquired during the first two years, whether in Celtic or elsewhere

■ to explore methodological approaches and techniques of analysis, as applied to a specific subject area

■ to introduce debates and interpretations, as well as new ideas derived from current research

■ to encourage the development of transferable skills by fostering individual initiatives, personal choice, and group discussion

■ to foster an understanding of pre-modern visual culture through analysis of key surviving artworks and the main problems of methodology and interpretation which attach to them

■ to foster a critical awareness of the contribution of visual arts to understanding the history, culture and society of the Celtic-speaking peoples, especially in the Early Middle Ages

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ outline the social and cultural functions of Celtic art objects

■ demonstrate a critical understanding of their modes of production (technical and social)

■ describe and analyze iconography, ornament and other elements of style

■ evaluate the potential of an interdisciplinary approach to the study of early medieval Celtic art

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.