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.

Defining the Renaissance: Objects, Theories, Categories HISTART5113

  • 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
  • Taught Wholly by Distance Learning: Yes

Short Description

This team-taught course will be one of two required core courses for the MLitt Art History: The Renaissance in Northern Europe and Italy. Lectures and seminars will focus on objects, theories, and approaches relevant to different aspects of renaissance visual culture, with an emphasis on original works of art and artefacts in Glasgow collections and regional architecture to be examined in situ.


Normally 2 hours per week, lectures and seminars, for 10 weeks. In addition, there will be up to three 1-hour masterclasses offered by guest lecturers.

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College level

Excluded Courses



Essay (80%), 4,000 words and oral presentation (10 mins, 20%)

Course Aims

- to introduce students to different types of objects, approaches, and theories relevant to the study of renaissance visual culture in its broadest sense: art, drama, courtly ceremonial, liturgical practices, etc.;

- to encourage students to engage critically with current theories and scholarly approaches to the renaissance and period artistic practices

- to acquaint students with key cultural and historical issues relevant to renaissance visual culture

- to provide students with technical training in the handling and negotiation of original works of art and architecture

--to provide students with multiple opportunities for teaching and discussion in front of original works of art

- to explore the specific material, symbolic, and cultural significance of artefacts, artworks, and architecture selected as foci for course themes

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

demonstrate interdisciplinary knowledge of key objects, theories, and approaches relevant to renaissance visual culture in both Northern and Southern Europe;

identify and assess the material, symbolic, and cultural significance of renaissance artworks and artefacts with reference to relevant period social, political, artistic, and religious issues;

demonstrate technical knowledge and correct handling and negotiation of original manuscripts and early printed books, artefacts and works of art;

accurately interpret primary renaissance source materials using the appropriate research aids;

demonstrate this knowledge orally and in writing according to established scholarly conventions

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.