Left: Leonardo da Vinci, 1452-1519
Mona Lisa, La Gioconda, La Joconde, c.1503-6
Musée du Louvre
Right: Marcel Duchamp, 1887-1968
Rectified Readymade, L.H.O.O.Q, 1919
Understanding Art: Leonardo to Warhol
SEMESTER 2, 2019
Course Convenor: Robin Woodward
Course Lecturers: Erin Griffey, Elisha Masemann, Sophia Powers, Robin Woodward
Tutors: Mirren Brockies, Anya Samarasinghe
Lectures: Tuesdays and Fridays 10am - 11am
Course delivery format:
2 hours of lectures per week
and 1 hour of tutorial in weeks 2-4 and 6-12 inclusive. Ten tutorials in total.
Timetable and room details can be viewed on Student Services Online
Summary of Course Description:
‘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. Salvator 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 and sculptures. As much as possible the images and objects selected for study are compelling and memorable in themselves.
‘I break up an event into little pieces and analyse it’: Li Yan, contemporary artist.
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 are context-specific. The various ways the one image or object can be, or has been, interpreted and understood are studied, while the limits of verbal interpretation of images are also considered. As such, the course provides invaluable skills in observing, analysing and interpreting, skills that are fundamental to all disciplines.
A student who successfully completes this course will have the opportunity to:
- acquire knowledge of art historical styles and apply it
- understand and carry out visual analysis
- acquire skills in report writing, critical thinking, academic literacy and presentation
Weighting of assignments and due dates
20% test In class test: Tuesday 20 August
30% essay Due date: Monday 7 October
50% exam at the end of the semester
Tues 23 July Introduction to Renaissance Art in Florence and Rome EG
Fri 26 July The Renaissance Portrait: Ghirlandaio, Leonardo & Piero della Francesca EG
Tues 30 July Art for the Renaissance Palace: Botticelli, Benozzo Gozzoli & Donatello EG
Tutorials Tues and Wed Visual Analysis: Painting
Fri 2 Aug The Art of Devotion: Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel EG
Tues 6 Aug Mannerism: Bronzino and Pontormo EG
Tues/Wed Tutorials Visual Analysis: Sculpture
Fri 9 Aug Baroque Rome & the Catholic Counter-Reformation: Caravaggio & Bernini EG
Tues 13 Aug The Art of the Dutch Golden Age: Rembrandt and Vermeer EG
Tues/Wed Tutorials Subject Matter, Theme and Context
Fri 16 Aug The Shift to France: Versailles, Rococo, Neoclassicism, Romanticism RW
Tues 20 Aug CLASS TEST EG
Tues/Wed No Tutorials
Fri 23 Aug The Modern City: Paris RW
Tues 27 Aug Courbet in Context EM
Tues/Wed Tutorials Essay Writing
Fri 30 Aug The Beginnings of Photography SP
Monday 2 September – Saturday 14 September 2019
Tues 17 Sept Painters of Modern Life: Manet and Degas RW
Tues/Wed Tutorials Art and Life
Fri 20 Sept New Ways of Seeing: Monet and Impressionism RW
Tues 24 Sept Form and Colour: Cezanne and Seurat RW
Tues/Wed Tutorials Colour and Technique: Painting
Fri 27 Sept Visualising Emotion: Van Gogh and Munch EM
Tues 1 Oct Expressionism in Germany and France EM
Tues/Wed Tutorials Sources and Influences
Fri 4 Oct War and its Aftermath EM
ESSAY DUE: MONDAY 7 October
Tues 8 Oct A New Pictorial ‘Language’: Cubism RW
Tues/Wed Tutorials Cubism
Fri 11 Oct Early Twentieth Century Photography SP
Tues 15 Oct The Invention of Abstraction EM
Tues/Wed Tutorials Representation and Abstraction
Fri 18 Oct Sense and Nonsense: Dada EM
Tues 22 Oct Whatever Happened to Traditional Sculpture? RW
Tues/Wed Tutorials What is Art? Focus: Duchamp/Exam Preparation
Fri 25 Oct Setting the Scene for Warhol EM
Recommended reading: This will be indicated each week
Workload and deadlines for submission of coursework:
The University of Auckland's expectation is that students spend 10 hours per week on a 15-point course, including time in class and personal study.
Students should manage their academic workload and other commitments accordingly.
Deadlines are indicated above.
You should submit your work on time. In extreme circumstances, such as illness, you may seek an extension but you may be required to provide supporting information before the assignment is due.
Late assignments without a pre-approved extension will be penalised by loss of marks.
The syllabus page shows a table-oriented view of course schedule and basics of course grading. You can add any other comments, notes or thoughts you have about the course structure, course policies or anything else.
To add some comments, click the 'Edit' link at the top.