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

Postgraduate Course: Verdant Landscapes: Early Modern Land Imaginaries (HIAR11108)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course studies the legacy and formation of early modern landscape imagery. In light of current global concern with the future of landscape environments, this course studies the legacy of early modern landscape imagery with particular address to how it can inform continuing relationships between political and landed environments. It will interrogate the historical emergence of landscape imagery as a new genre of art in this period: when, why, and how did this new subject matter in visual representation arise. It will consider the impact of the so-called 'discovery of the New World', as well as travel and trade to the Far East, as forging a new perception of landscape environments through encounter with new lands. It will also study the relationship between early modernity's 'scientific revolution' based on close visual observation 'in the field', and the emergence of landscape painting as a new genre of art in this period.
Course description Major themes and subjects fall under a cluster of categories stemming from an overarching antinomy between 'wilderness' and 'cultivation': ocean, river, forest, mountain, sky; pasture, field and garden. Specific motifs of landscape imagery will be explored, for example: tree, leaf, flower, grass, cloud, snow, earth, rock and stone, sunlight, moon and stars. Such themes of botanical continuity will intersect with pressing questions of historical change in the husbandry of the land, by looking at histories of farming, fishing, gardening and pastoral methods as well as concerns with reforesting and animal extinction already present in early modern discourse. The course will also consider the relationship between artistic study of the landscape and the new methods of visual observation that underpinned the so-called 'scientific revolution' of the Galilean telescope, as a critical context for the era's changing view of the landscape manifest in art. It will further address questions of word and image in the evocation of land in poetry, literature, and music, from Virgilian eclogues to fairy tales. Taking up the paradigms of the pastoral, classical, biblical, and heroic landscape, it will consider how such visions of bucolic landscapes were disrupted by early modern topographical accounts and mapping images with uses for land valuation and travel navigation.

The course will test questions of historical development alongside definitions of 'landscape' as a new genre of art in this period. it will enable and encourage students to consider the ways in which our approaches to studying the art of the past can be framed and contextualized in order to address pressing concerns of the global present. It will foster interdisciplinary approaches both within and beyond the academy, and make full use of research resources in Edinburgh museums, galleries and libraries pertinent to the subject.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
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. Demonstrate a detailed understanding of the early modern landscape imagery: the major genres and key themes.
  2. Critically evaluate the scholarship on visual representations of landscape environments and existing theoretical frameworks for its analysis.
  3. Develop new approaches to the topic through case studies, including contextual analysis, comparison between works and genres, and direct engagement with objects and primary sources.
  4. Develop and present in written form a reasoned historical analysis of the materials for study focused around a cohesive grouping of object(s), text(s), themes and argument.
Reading List
Kenneth Clark, Landscape into Art (London: John Murray, 1979)

Svetlana Alpers, The Art of Describing: Dutch Art in the Seventeenth Century (Chicago; London: University of Chicago Press, 1984)

Simon Schama, Landscape and Memory (New York: Harper Perennial, 2004)

Malcolm Andrews, Landscape and Western Art, 'Bibliographic Essay' (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1999) pp 236-42.

Ulrike Gehring & Peter Weibel, Mapping Spaces: Networks of Knowledge in 17th-century Landscape Painting (Hirmer, 2014)

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Generic cognitive skills:
Students will develop critical analysis, evaluation, and synthesis; identify, conceptualise, and define new and abstract problems and issues; develop original and creative responses to problems and issues; critically review, consolidate, and extend knowledge.
Research and enquiry:
Through seminars, in-class activities, and independent research, students will develop highly- honed skills in research and enquiry to identify and creatively tackle problems, and to seek out opportunities for learning.
Working with others:
Students will exercise substantial autonomy and initiative in professional and equivalent activities and in group activities; take responsibility for own work; work in a peer relationship with specialist practitioners and fellow students.
Personal and intellectual autonomy:
Students will use their personal and intellectual autonomy to critically evaluate ideas, evidence and experiences from an open-minded and reasoned perspective, stimulated by analytical skills developed in close textual readings and independent research for the summative assignment.
KeywordsLandscape,painting,drawing,print,Global Early Modern
Course organiserDr Genevieve Warwick
Tel: (0131 6)50 4111
Course secretaryMrs Anna Johns
Tel: (0131 6)51 5740
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