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

Undergraduate Course: Antiquity Recovered: Imag(in)ing Pompeii and Herculaneum (HIAR10008)

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
SummaryThis course covers a wide historical period and focuses on a series of art historical highlights unearthed from Pompeii and Herculaneum during the last two hundred years, from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. Case-studies will reflect the wealth and diversity of the materials exposed by excavation, including the Alexander mosaic, the painted frescoes from the Villa of the Mysteries and the Villa of the Papyri with its collection of bronze sculptures. We will explore how the artefacts recovered from Pompeii and Herculaneum have not only revised an ancient Greek and Roman art historical canon, but have simultaneously inspired works in painting (e.g. by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema), fiction (Bulwer-Lytton's novel The Last Days of Pompeii) and film (Up Pompeii!). In considering the (precarious?) relationship between antiquity and modernity, two sessions on pornography will use the so-called erotic artefacts from Pompeii to argue how such phallic, pagan items threatened to undermine the idealised status of the classical canon. Finally, we will turn from British media to Malibu in the USA, to look at J. Paul Getty's 'reconstruction' of the Villa of the Papyri as a home for his collection of furniture, paintings and antiquities. Key themes for this course include the use and abuse of the classical tradition and the relationship between antiquity and modernity, art and text. A proposed visit to the National Library of Scotland will introduce students to some of the illustrated texts (e.g. Le Antichit` di Ercolano) from the eighteenth century that have preserved and disseminated other image(s) of Pompeii and Herculaneum to posterity.
Course description Not entered
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: History of Art 2 (HIAR08012) OR ( Architectural History 2A (ARHI08002) AND Architectural History 2B (ARHI08003))
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have completed at least 3 History of Art courses at grade B or above, and we will only consider University/College level courses. **Please note that 3rd year History of Art courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces. These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Have gained detailed knowledge of a range of ancient artefacts from the buried cities - mosaics, sculptures, paintings and silverware - and a critical understanding of the various post-classical media and contexts in which they have been reworked.
  2. Engage with key art historical debates surrounding the study of these artefacts (e.g. originals vs. copies; Greece vs. Rome, public vs. private and theories of reception).
  3. Use this range of objects and texts, both primary and secondary, and will have grasped the multiple ways in which the ancient past was unearthed and manipulated to suit an early modern audience.
  4. Apply Analytical tools to the existing historiography on the sites which has been fragmented into different specialist areas of study and so denied its inherent interdisciplinarity.
  5. Call into question the (mis?)use of retrospective art historical labels like neoclassicism and romanticism onto the study of material culture.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Viccy Coltman
Tel: (0131 6)50 8426
Course secretaryMrs Sue Cavanagh
Tel: (0131 6)51 1460
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