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

Undergraduate Course: Cradle to Grave: Art and Society in Britain from Holbein to Hogarth (HIAR10143)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course introduces students to key issues in the relationship between art and society in sixteenth-, seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Britain. Through close study of visual and material culture, it will explore how social identities were constructed and represented.
Course description This course explores the relationship between art and society in early modern Britain. It examines the representation of gender, the life-cycle, religion, status and nationality across a range of media, including painted portraiture, funerary monuments, satirical prints, furniture, jewellery and dress. Students will gain an understanding of how men and women defined their social relationships and fashioned their identities. Is there a female voice in early modern visual culture? Did the Reformation create a Protestant aesthetic? How did art serve to bridge the rift of separation following a death? How did shifting notions of nationhood impact upon modes of display? Through individual presentations, group work, class discussion and site visits to, for example, the Museum of Scotland and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, the course probes issues relating to the function, meaning and experience of visual and material culture from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries; the role of display in the negotiation of social relations; and developments in the articulation of status and identity.

Course Topics:
1: Introduction: What is Visual Culture in Early Modern Britain?
2: Husband, Father, Lord: Constructing Masculinities
3: The Weaker Vessel? Picturing Women
4: Family Ties: Dynasty and Domesticity
5: A Question of Faith: Representing Religiosity
6: Material Culture and its Meanings
7: Models of Mourning: Visualising Death and Commemoration
8: Images of Rule: Position, Privilege and Power
9: Beer Street and Gin Lane: The Middling and the Lower Sorts
10: Uniting Britons: Depicting National Identity
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: History of Art 2A Reason, Romance, Revolution: Art from 1700 to 1900 (HIAR08027) AND History of Art 2B From Modernism and the Avant-Gardes to Postmodernism and Globalisation (HIAR08028)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students who have passed at least 60 credits of Architectural History at Level 8 can also take these courses. If the pre-requisites cannot be met, entry to this course can be negotiated in consultation with either the Course Organiser or Programme Director (History of Art).
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. analyse critically a range of artefacts from the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries with relation to recent historiography on art and society in early modern Britain
  2. examine the effects of shifting social structures on artistic representation and reception
  3. assess the primary visual and material sources through which social identities were expressed
  4. demonstrate developed skills of visual enquiry, analysis and communication
Reading List
Coltman, Viccy, 'Party-Coloured Plaid? Portraits of Eighteenth-Century Scots in Tartan', Textile History (41:2, November 2010).
Cooper, Tarnya, Citizen Portrait: Portrait Painting and the Urban Elite of Tudor and Jacobean England and Wales (New Haven and London, 2012).
Crawford, Patricia, Blood, Bodies and Families in Early Modern England (Harlow, 2004).
Cressy, David, Birth, Marriage and Death: Ritual, Religion, and the Life Cycle in Tudor and Stuart England (Oxford, 1999).
Fisher, Will, Materializing Gender in Early Modern English Literature and Culture (Cambridge, 2010).
Fletcher, Anthony, Gender, Sex and Subordination in England 1500-1800 (New Haven and London, 1996).
Gent, Lucy and Llewellyn, Nigel (eds), Renaissance Bodies, The Human Figure in English Culture c.1540-1660 (London, 1995).
Hamling, Tara, Decorating the Godly Household: Religious Art in Post-Reformation Britain (New Haven and London, 2010).
Hearn, Karen, Dynasties: Painting in Tudor and Jacobean England 1530-1630 (London, 1995).
Howarth, David, Images of Rule: Art and Politics in the English Renaissance, 1485-1649 (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1997).
Marciari Alexander, Julia, 'Painting a Life, The Case of Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland', Kevin Sharpe and Stephen N. Zwicker (eds), Writing Lives: Biography and Textuality, Identity and Representation in Early Modern England (Oxford, 2012).
Pointon, Marcia, Hanging the Head: Portraiture and Social Formation in Eighteenth-century England (New Haven and London, 1993).
Sherlock, Peter, Monuments and Memory in Early Modern England (Aldershot and Burlington, 2008).
Retford, Kate, The Art of Domestic Life, Family Portraiture in Eighteenth Century England (New Haven and London, 2006).
Vincent, S. 'To Fashion a Self: Dressing in Seventeenth-Century England,' Fashion Theory (Vol. 3, Issue 2, 1999).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Visual and critical analysis, independent research, presentation and communication skills, group work, organisation and planning
Keywordsearly modern,society,visual culture,material culture,self-fashioning,identity
Course organiserDr Catriona Murray
Tel: (0131 6)51 5940
Course secretaryMr Nathan Ross-Hammond
Tel: (0131 6)51 5880
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