History of Art MA

The Renaissance Palace HISTART4056

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Culture and Creative Arts
  • Credits: 40
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This course examines the use of architecture and the fine and decorative arts within princely ceremonial and image making. It will focus on the cultural and artistic exchanges between the Valois, Habsburg, Tudor and Stewart courts in the 16th century.


1 x 1hr lecture; 1 x 1hr seminar per week over 10 weeks, both semesters as scheduled in MyCampus. This is one of the Honours options in History of Art and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Excluded Courses





Examination (180 minutes duration) - 60%

Two x Essay (3,000 words) - 15% each

Seminar presentation of 10 minutes accompanied by 800 words paper or PowerPoint slides - 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:


■ develop an informed understanding of how architecture, portraiture, heraldry and the decorative arts, including dress, were used in the construction of princely image

■ map the political, dynastic and cultural relationships between European courts in the 16th century and the ways in which these were expressed visually and materially

■ offer students a different kind of object-based art-historical training and encourage them to engage with the current approaches to the study of the Renaissance palace, particularly the focus on ceremonial and material culture

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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


■ articulate the interplay between architecture, portraiture, heraldry and the decorative arts, including dress, in the construction of princely image with reference to specific case studies and current debates

■ describe and evaluate Renaissance decorative arts demonstrating an understanding of motifs, material characteristics and technical processes

■ attempt to interpret the iconography employed within specific Renaissance palaces with reference to the political, religious and ideological geographies of the 16th century

■ cross reference different types of evidence, written and visual, in order to visually reconstruct and contextualise princely ceremonial

■ present an interpretive argument with close reference to visual evidence

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.