Ways into advanced art history: historiography

Course Dates: 21/02/24 - 27/03/24
Time: 18:00 - 20:00
Location: Keeley Street
Develop a greater understanding of art history and how to analyse the cultural meaning of an artwork by going in-depth with the ideas of prominent art historians. This course looks at the history of art history – the history of interpretation.
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Full fee £149.00 Senior fee £149.00 Concession £97.00

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Ways into advanced art history: historiography
This course has started
  • Course Code: VB939
  • Dates: 21/02/24 - 27/03/24
  • Time: 18:00 - 20:00
  • Taught: Wed, Evening
  • Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)
  • Location: Keeley Street
  • Tutor: Sarah Jaffray

Course Code: VB939

Started Wed, eve, 21 Feb - 27 Mar '24

Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

This course gets to the core of what art history is: the history of art interpretation. What we know about the meaning of an artwork heavily depends on how it has been written about. The interpretation of art changes over time because the study of history is built from the present circumstances of the historian. In one time and place the interest might be in the classical age in another it might be socialism. Historiography is the study of how artworks accumulate information over time, allowing us to study the shifting cultural significance of a work of art.

Historiography is an essential method in art history. It is the study of where an artwork’s information comes from, who provides it and in what historical context. It teaches art historians to critical analyse historical information and scrutinise an artwork from multiple historical perspectives. We will learn how to be more critical and discerning of interpretations presented in museums and popular culture.

We develop an understanding of historiography by exploring one artwork, each week from two or more historical perspectives. This course includes readings by Griselda Pollock, Giorgio Vasari, T.J. Clark, Edward Said, Linda Nochlin, Roland Barthes and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak among others.

What will we cover?

• The impact of art historians on our understanding of artworks
• The historical context of interpretation
• How to use art historical text to develop a deeper understanding of an artwork’s cultural impact.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

• Discuss the impact of art historical interpretations on works of art
• Critically engage with an artwork’s interpretation(s)
• Understand how an artwork’s meaning is contingent on the work of art historians.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is for people who have done some art historical study before. You need a willingness to join in group discussion and consider the views of others. You will be required to use the course’s Google Classroom to access course documents and assignments, including the required readings.

It is recommended, although no required, that you have taken VB938 Ways into Advanced Art History: beauty and form before you take this course.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

You will be taught with lecture, slide presentation, activities, and group discussion. Each week we will have lecture for approximately 45 mins and discussion of texts, group activity for approximately one hour.

This course has required homework. You will be asked to read assigned pieces of art historical writing each week and be prepared to share your thoughts on these readings in group discussion. Additionally, at the end of the course, you will be asked to do an art analysis to be shared with the course cohort. The estimated time spent out of class on homework is between 1-2 hours each week.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You might wish to bring a notebook. You might wish to buy some of the books on any reading list given out in class.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Ways into Advanced Art History: writing and research
Art and critical theory: feminism and postcolonialism
Art and critical theory: vision and gaze
Art and critical theory: rethinking 'nature'.

Sarah Jaffray Tutor Website

Sarah Jaffray holds a BA and MA in Art History with an emphasis in 19th/20th century France and a minor in the Italian Renaissance. She holds a second MA in Cultural Theory from Goldsmiths, University of London. Sarah was a lecturer for several colleges and universities in the Los Angeles area before relocating to London in 2012. She has worked in curatorial roles at the British Museum and Wellcome Collection. In addition to her current teaching at City Lit, Sarah is a lecturer at the University of Arts London and the Tutor Coordinator for City Lit's Art History programme. Her art historical practice focuses on experimental narratives, artistic process, art pedagogy, politics and philosophy. Sarah's current research is focused on translation and empathy.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.