History of Art MA

Albrecht Durer: From Germany to Italy and Back Again HISTART4001

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Culture and Creative Arts
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course examines the relationship between Northern European and Italian Renaissance pictorial cultures with particular reference to Dürer's exposure to and adaptation of Italian art and ideas. A comprehensive survey of Dürer's prints, drawings and paintings will form the main visual material, together with the work of selected earlier German artists and of Dürer's German and Italian contemporaries. The course will pose the question of what the Renaissance means in the North, of what is involved in the importation of one culture into another, and it will examine the validity of the terms 'Late Gothic' and 'Renaissance' and of notions of artistic progress based on the use of such terms.


One lecture and one seminar per week, with an oral presentation and follow-up discussion in the seminar, over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus

Excluded Courses





Vistual Test (40 Minutes) - 10 %

2000 Word Essay - 30 %

120 Minute Exam - 60 %

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 aims to:

■ assess Dürer's art in the context of his own interest in Italian sources

■ examine the wider traditions of German art between c.1450 and c.1530 in the light of Dürer's career

■ evaluate the wider processes of art-historical categorisation and selection via selected analysis of received critical approaches to the art of Northern Europe.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ identify, evaluate and contextualise the works of art discussed in the course

■ critically assess and discuss the broader patterns of artistic development in Northern Europe during the period covered by the course

■ assess the critical and historical value of such terms as 'Gothic', 'Late Gothic' and 'Renaissance' with reference to materials and themes covered

■ present and discuss these themes in coherent written form

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.