Postgraduate taught 

Art History: Technical Art History, Making & Meaning MLitt

Testimonies On Artists' Practice: Documentary And Visual Sources HISTART5077

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Culture and Creative Arts
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

The aim of this course is to present students with historical documentary and visual testimonies on the artistic practice from Early Italian Painting to contemporary practice. A historiographic review of the key primary art technological texts on artists' techniques will be the main focus of the course. The developments of the methodology of technological source research, which dates back to the 18th century, and recent new approaches, using reconstructions and scientific analyses, will be discussed.


Lecture/seminars: 2.5 hours weekly for 10 weeks
1 Workshop in Special Collections: 2 hours

Excluded Courses





Essay 80% 4,000 words

Presentation 20% 15 minutes 

Course Aims

This course aims to:


■ Provide detailed knowledge of key documentary and visual sources, on artists' techniques and materials across a wide historical range.

■ Provide a theoretical and historical context for interpreting such sources.

■ Provide students with the methodology to study such sources, as well as the tools to arrive at a correct interpretation.

■ Critically address the ways in which traditional notions of artists' practice can be evaluated through primary source material.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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


■ Apply the studied methodology and interpretative skills to primary art technological sources.

■ Interpret knowledgeably and contextualise a broad range of source material on techniques and materials across the full historical spectrum covered by the course.

■ Apply knowledge of historical source material to the examination of artworks.

■ Apply this knowledge to art historical research by combining various strands of research

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.