EUROPEAN ART & ARCHITECTURE I: FROM ANCIENT GREECE TO THE RENAISSANCE
The course provides a survey of European Art and Architecture, beginning in ancient Greece and Rome, but concentrating on Gothic and Renaissance styles. Students learn to analyse images stylistically and historically and examples are chosen to reflect the rich artistic and architectural heritage of Oxford and its surroundings.
The small group seminars are supported by individual tutorials designed to allow students to express their own responses and tastes. Extensive use is made of electronic images and photographs and the more formal teaching is supported by regular visits to places of architectural interest, museums and galleries. Each student is encouraged to lead verbal presentations of approximately 10 minutes on pre-arranged topics. By the end of the course students will have learned a pictorial and architectural language, which will allow them to observe and write about images, and also to speak about them in a scholarly manner.
Note: Students may choose to take either European Art & Architecture I or European Art & Architecture II or both. It is not necessary to have taken I before taking II.
- How to read paintings: a preliminary tour of the Ashmolean Museum
- The classical architectural language of Ancient Greece
- Roman architecture and sculpture
- Romanesque architecture
- Gothic art and architecture in France
- Gothic art and architecture in England
- The Early Renaissance in Florence
- The High Renaissance: Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael
- The majestic style of Michelangelo
- English Baroque architecture
To raise awareness of the significant styles and characteristics of Western Art and the richness and complexity of our architectural heritage.
- To gain awareness of the pictorial and architectural language of European culture.
- To understand how to recognise and differentiate between different styles and forms.
- To present the knowledge and understanding acquired in a lucid and scholarly manner.
To be able to demonstrate knowledge of the pictorial and architectural language of art and architecture, both verbally and in written form.
Sample Essay Questions
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of looking at original artworks in a gallery, as opposed to viewing them in reproduction?
- Compare and contrast two buildings: one from the Gothic period, the other in the Renaissance style.
- Analyse and interpret two mythological paintings.
This class is normally delivered over one term, with 90 teaching contact hours or equivalent in the Michaelmas term, and 60 teaching contact hours for Hilary and Trinity terms. For students requesting credit, we recommend the transfer of three college credits for Michaelmas and two college credits for Hilary and Trinity, on successful completion of the class.
The list below is for guidance and to supply some ideas for preliminary reading. We recommend that you do not purchase the books on this list for the time being and certainly not all of them; most should be available from a good library. Your tutor will recommend the most appropriate books for purchase at the first class of term.
The Story of Art E.H. Gombrich
Learning to look at Paintings Mary Acton
Western Architecture: A Survey Ian Sutton
If you are unable to obtain books locally, they may be ordered from