ARTHIST 114G : Understanding Art: Leonardo to Dali

Arts

2021 Semester One (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Is seeing learned? Can an image be read in the same way as a text? Understanding images from different historic periods, from Leonardo da Vinci to Andy Warhol, is central to everyday life. Visual literacy is fundamental to all disciplines. This course provides students with tools for making sense of various kinds of images and objects: photographs, advertisements, paintings, film, television, monuments, buildings, maps, landscape, digital and internet images.

Course Overview

"You look, but you do not see," Sherlock Holmes said to Dr Watson.
This course is about how to look at and really see visual images and objects -- about how to observe, analyse, interpret and understand paintings, monuments and sculptures. 
We explore the life and work of the major Renaissance artists such as Leonardo and Michelangelo, followed by the Baroque master of light and dark, Caravaggio, and the artists of the Dutch Golden Age, Rembrandt and Vermeer. In modern society new approaches to art are examined through the work of Monet, Degas, van Gogh, Edvard Munch and Picasso. Salvador Dali and Marcel Duchamp introduce us to the world of dada and the surreal, Mondrian and Kandinsky to abstraction and Warhol to the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertising that flourished in post-war American society. 
A high level of visual literacy is increasingly necessary today in order to navigate our way through the world of images - at times a flood of images in which it is easy to drown. It is not just that visual images are central to everyday life, it is rather that they are increasingly predominant, even dominating, in social and cultural life and communications. To misunderstand them is to be severely disadvantaged. 

In this course students will learn how visual images are constructed, how they generate ideas and emotions, how they "work"’ on their consumers (that is, "us"), as well as how they can be interpreted and understood. To these ends the course involves close and intensive study of specific paintings, photographs and sculpture. As much as possible the images and objects selected for study are compelling and memorable in themselves. 
How and why can we learn so much about seeing and understanding images and objects generally from the close study of individual works? In this course images and objects are studied in terms of their structural, formal, thematic and iconographic (meaning-producing) features. They are also placed in the social and cultural contexts in which they were produced and used, in order to more fully understand how the production of meanings is context-specific. 
The various ways an image or object can be, or has been, interpreted and understood are studied. This course provides invaluable skills in observing, analysing and interpreting - skills that are fundamental to all disciplines.

Course Requirements

Restriction: ARTHIST 109

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Graduate Profile: University

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Explain and apply elements of visual analysis to works of art, including painting and sculpture (Capability 1)
  2. Develop and write text which displays knowledge of art historical styles and contexts (Capability 4)
  3. Identify and analyse perspectives and critical commentary on the visual arts (Capability 2)
  4. Communicate measured arguments and interpretations of the visual arts (Capability 4)

Assessments

Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Test 20% Individual Test
Essay 30% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 50% Individual Examination

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 24 hours of lectures, 10 x 1 hour tutorials, 36 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 40 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including tutorials to complete components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities, that is, the tutorials will not be available as recordings.
The course will not include live online events.
Attendance on campus is required for the test and exam.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website http://disability.auckland.ac.nz

Well-being always comes first
We all go through tough times during the semester, or see our friends struggling. There is lots of help out there - for more information, look at this Canvas page https://canvas.auckland.ac.nz/courses/33894, which has links to various support services in the University and the wider community.

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html.

Disclaimer

Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.