Theory and Practice of Art History

Subject AHIS30019 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 hours: a 2-hour seminar per week throughout semester.
Total Time Commitment:

Total expected time commitment is 170 hours across the semester, including class time.


Completion of 37.5 pts of level two subjects in Art History and enrolment in the Bachelor of Arts or Graduate Diploma in Arts (Art History). Bachelor of Arts students should endeavour to take the capstone subject in their final semester of study after completion of 25 pts of 3rd year.



Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Dr Anthony White


Subject Overview:

This capstone subject examines the theory and practice of art history. Through a survey of the different approaches to the study of art which have emerged since the early modern period the subject will provide students with a fundamental grounding in the methodologies of the discipline. Students will also learn the broader critical and analytical skills necessary for the study of art at higher levels. The subject introduces students to the issues involved in applying art historical methods to real world contexts both within the academic environment and in industry contexts such as the museum sector. The subject will involve students in the research and interpretation of works of art encountered in University of Melbourne collections.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of the subject students should have:

• encountered art in Melbourne collections, institutions, museums and civic spaces, and encounter specialists whose job it is to conserve, collect and display these objects;

• developed a broad understanding of the historical and aesthetic characteristics of artworks produced during selected artistic periods (for example High Renaissance, baroque, rococo, neoclassical, contemporary art);

• an understanding of the varying contexts informing works of art, including the relationship between art and its methods of production and preservation, its engagement with society and installation in museum settings, and the different ways in which viewers respond to art and interpret the meanings and messages which it conveys;

• achieved a fundamental grounding in the methodologies of the discipline of history, and in the broader critical and analytical skills necessary for the study of art at higher levels;

• the ability to conceptualise theoretical problems, form judgments and arguments and communicate critically, creatively and theoretically through essay writing, tutorial discussion and presentations;

• the ability to communicate knowledge intelligibly and economically through essay writing and tutorial discussion;

• the ability to manage and organise workloads for recommended reading, the completion of essays and assignments and examination revision;

• the ability to participate in team work through involvement in syndicate groups and group discussions.


A 2000 word exercise 50% (due during the semester) and a 2000 word take-home examination 50% (due during the examination period).

This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 80% attendance and regular participation in tutorials. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available

Recommended Texts:

D'Alleva, Anne, Methods and Theories of Art History, London: Laurence King Publishing, 2012

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This capstone subject is compulsory and only available to students undertaking a major in Art History or the Graduate Diploma in Art (Art History).

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Art History
Art History Major
Graduate Diploma in Arts - Art History

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