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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Architecture - History

Undergraduate Course: Leon Battista Alberti: Theory & Practice of the Visual Arts in 15th-century Italy (ARHI10031)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryAlberti (1404-72) wrote treatises on painting, sculpture and architecture. In intending to be a comprehensible voice on matter for which a familiar critical and theoretical language was not generally current, he set himself a difficult task. By education at Padua and Bologna and as a scholarly employee of the Papal court, he was equipped for it. But no less was he prepared by his close familiarity with the practice of the arts themselves. He was moved to undertake the task by his confidence that moral and social life are sustained by the visual arts.

The course considers Alberti as an observer of contemporary practice and as the advocate of a practice to some extent aiming at a revival of classical values, one, at the same time, systematic and naturalistic. In addition, Alberti, though by background and education, entitled to depreciate the mechanical arts, painted, it is reported, sculpted, it is argued, and designed as an architect, it is universally acknowledged. As an educator, Alberti was also an advocate of architecture as an activity worthy of an erudite patron. He was instrumental, in the longer spread of history, in establishing the credentials of the visual arts, perhaps especially architecture, as proper concerns (bringing corresponding rewards in esteem) of the prince. The standing of the artist himself was raised by Alberti=s advocacy. Alberti's practice and his advocacy was peripatetic. The spread of Renaissance values beyond Tuscany was in part owing to his travels around the courts of Italy. Following in Alberti's footsteps, the course will trace this process of colonisation or evangelization from Florence of the Rucellai to Rome of the Popes, Ferrara of the Este, Rimini of the Malatesta, Urbino of the Montefeltro and Mantua of the Gonzaga.

Course description Not entered
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students must have honours entry to History of Art or its combined degrees or honours entry to Music or by agreement of Head of Subject Area.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Achieve an advanced understanding, in terms of content and method, of the history of art and architecture of the fifteenth century in Italy.
  2. See how contemporary literature (particularly the writings of Alberti) reflected and interacted with art and architecture, of the period.
  3. Read and research in a more self-directed way than in previous years.
  4. Exercising critical awareness with regard to secondary texts, the student will be able to organise diffuse and challenging material, constructing sophisticated architectural-historical argument.
  5. Develop skills of analysis of primary sources, visual and literary.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Jim Lawson
Tel: (0131 6)50 2619
Course secretaryMrs Rosie Hall
Tel: 0131 651 5802
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