Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Polychrome Sculpture and Painting in Golden Age Spain: The Quest for Reality HISTART4071

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: School of Culture and Creative Arts
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

The aim of this course is to explore the making and the meaning of religious painting and polychrome sculpture in Spain between 1600 and 1700, a time where painters, sculptors and polychromers pursued a quest for realism with uncompromising zeal and genius creating works to inspire devotion among believers. The course will not only study the artistic techniques and materials used to create paintings and polychrome sculpture in the Spanish Golden Age, but will also explore the intense dialogue between both arts, revealing that they were intricately linked and interdependent.


Ten x 2 hour sessions - one lecture, one seminar per week.

Requirements of Entry

Available to all students fulfilling requirements for Honours entry into History of Art, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes who qualify under the University 's 25% regulation.

Excluded Courses





Examination (2-hour duration) - 60%

Essay (2,000 words) - 30%

Oral presentation of 10 minutes - 10%

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

This course will provide the opportunity to:

■ acquire detailed knowledge of artistic techniques and materials used in Spain (c. 1600-1700).

■ outline a theoretical and historical context for understanding such techniques, materials and modes of making.

■ enable students to develop a sophisticated knowledge of key interpretative approaches to the material, technical and phenomenological particularities of artworks.

■ critically address the ways in which traditional notions of artistic practice can participate in art historical analysis.

■ interpret primary source material and develop students' abilities in dealing with such sources.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Describe and discuss a range of techniques and materials used by artists across the full historical range covered by the course.

■ Discuss the work of relevant artists in detailed and apposite terms.

■ Apply knowledge of historical changes in artistic practice to the question of the ontology of the artwork, and related ideas of material and semiotic 'authenticity'.

■ Utilise key theoretical concepts to elucidate the relationship between style and technique.

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.