Course syllabus







Domenico Ghirlandaio, ‘Birth of the Virgin’, c. 1486-1490


ARTHIST 325: Imaging the Renaissance

Semester 2, 2019

Lectures: Monday 10 am - 12 pm


Lecturers: Dr Natalie Bell (Art History)

Contact details TBA


Associate Professor Kim Phillips (History)

Room 727, Humanities / Arts 1 (building 206)


Dr Lindsay Diggelmann (History)

Room 733, Humanities / Arts 1 (building 206)


The 2019 Courseguide will be added closer to the start of semester 2. For reference, here is the 2016 version:

Art History 225/325 Courseguide 2016


Course Description

‘All history involves representation, and all representations are part of history.’ (Peter Burke)

‘Imaging the Renaissance’ offers an examination of major topics within the society and culture of Europe between c. 1400 and c. 1700, especially as expressed in visual images. The structure is thematic and the course will combine the differing approaches of historians and art historians to the Renaissance period, broadly defined. Topics include the Renaissance Court, Merchant Culture, Carnival, Food, Masculinities, Femininities, Witchcraft, and Death. Examples will be taken from Northern Europe and from Italy, drawing on the work of artists such as Bruegel, Holbein, Dürer, Mantegna, and Ghirlandaio.

Each topic will be discussed in two consecutive lectures. The first will provide historical background material and an introduction to historiographical issues surrounding the weekly theme. The second will focus on important artworks and their interpretation. This will be complemented by discussion of key images and readings on the topics in tutorials.


It is intended that students who complete Art History 225/325 successfully will:

  • Improve their knowledge of European society during the Renaissance period.
  • Gain familiarity with a number of significant visual representations of past societies and develop the skills to evaluate them effectively.
  • Engage with scholarship on an inter-disciplinary basis (especially through written assignments), learning to appreciate and adopt methodologies used both by historians and by art historians.


More generally, in line with the University of Auckland’s Information Literacy Policy, Art History 225/325 seeks to develop information literacy by helping students to:

  • Improve their confidence and capability in analysis and discussion of historical and artistic sources and relevant academic literature, both in written and oral formats.
  • Undertake library research with the aim of organising and writing academic assignments that include coherent arguments and supporting evidence.
  • Become familiar with information technology as a tool for academic research.


Note: This course is cross-listed by the disciplinary areas of Art History and History. Students may use it to fulfil part of their degree requirements in either Art History or History (but not both).

Course summary:

Date Details