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.

Death and the Art of Dying in the Renaissance North HISTART5110

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: School of Culture and Creative Arts
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

The course will examine the major pictorial and corresponding literary traditions relevant to death and dying in the visual culture of the later middle ages and the early renaissance in northern Europe. It will investigate interpretative approaches to a variety of artistic media, with an emphasis on illuminated manuscripts and early printed books.


Normally two hours weekly, lectures and seminars, for ten weeks.

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College level

Excluded Courses



Essay (80%), 4,000 words

Oral presentation (20%), 10 minutes

Course Aims

- to develop students' knowledge and understanding of artistic and literary traditions related to death and dying popular in northern Europe during the late middle ages and early renaissance

- to examine relationships between image-making and contemporary social and religious concerns

- to train students in the negotiation of original manuscripts and early printed books

- to expand students' critical thinking and analytical writing and to develop their oral presentation skills

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

- identify and articulate the characteristics of a variety of artistic and literary death genres popular during the late middle ages and early renaissance

- use text-image and other analytical methods to critically assess and evaluate these different genres and their cultural functions

- articulate and evaluate the relationship between image-making and contemporary social and religious concerns

- competently handle and negotiate original manuscripts and early printed books

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.