ARCH 430

Theories in the History of Visual Culture


This pro-seminar course focuses on theoretical and methodological issues in the historical study of art, visual culture, and the urban environment. Critical texts on the subject will be read and discussed, and central issues and problems of art historical and critical analysis will be examined through key notions and interpretative tools of the discipline. Issues of production, patronage and use of works of art and architecture, issues of representation, issues of style and meaning will be discussed within the framework of a range of approaches to the interpretation of works of art as cultural products.

The course is structured around readings on the critical concepts and issues listed below. The readings provided for each week’s topic aim at familiarizing the students with historiographic and current issues in the scholarship and to provide a wide range of approaches to each topic.

The students are expected to write a short essay (max. 2 double-spaced pages, and references) for each week, describing and discussing the concept or issue in question each week, basing their essays on a selection of the provided readings for the week. During the final period, students will have the opportunity to rewrite or revise two of the essays they have previously submitted.


February 8   : Introduction

February 15 : Style I

February 22 : No Class – Studio Trip

February 29 : Narrative I

March 7       : Narrative II

March 14     : Representation I

March 21     : MIDTERM EXAM

March 28     : Monument/Monumentality

April 4         : Patronage I

April 11       : Patronage II

April 18       : Gender/Body

April 25       : Periodization and denominations:

May 2          : Reviews

Date of Final Exam will be announced.


Abstracts presented each week - 40%, Midterm Exam - 30%, Final Exam – 30%