Course Title: Research and critically analyse history and theory to inform artistic practice

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2007

Course Code: VART5775C

Course Title: Research and critically analyse history and theory to inform artistic practice

School: 340T Art

Campus: City Campus

Program: C5048 - Diploma of Arts (Visual Arts)

Course Contact : Kellyann Geurts

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4472

Course Contact

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Steve Cox -

Nominal Hours: 70

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites


Course Description

In this course students research and analyse history and theory for application to artistic practice. The course includes the need for critical analysis of information, and the challenging of different points of view to inform personal work.

The course introduces students to various contemporary art forms. Historical contexts are presented thematically. The course starts with the beginnings of Modernism at the end of the 19th century, and continues chronologically to the present day. The extent to which art movements have been connected to specific historical, social and political environments is analysed. Outside the plastic arts, literature and cinema are also examined where relevant.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

CUVCOR13A Research and critically analyse history and theory to inform artistic practice


Link research to artistic practice


Research history and theory


Update and maintain knowledge of trends within own area of artistic practice

Learning Outcomes

1. Research history and theory

2. Link research to artistic practice

3. Update and maintain knowledge of trends within own area of artistic practice

Details of Learning Activities

Delivery is in the form of lectures.

Visiting arts practitioners may be invited to illustrate issues discussed within the course, where applicable or relevant.

Teaching Schedule

Week One          
 Orientation Week
Week Two             
Week  Three                    

Brief overview of Victorian values and background to the era. Discussion of the Pre Raphaelite aesthetic. The Victorians and death. Eminent Victorians, such as Oscar Wilde and Lewis Carrol. Sexual hysteria and hypocricy. 

Week Four  
Edouard Manet and the birth of Modernism. Background information on the era. Works such as Le Dejeuner Sur L’Herbe are discussed in the context of the socio-political climate of the period.

Week Five
Edgar Degas and the birth of photography. Looks at the influence photography had on the work of Degas and other artists of this period.

Week Six
Cezanne and the ’science of looking’. The historical development  of Cezanne’s paintings and the ’scientific’ approach to looking.

Week Seven  
Vincent Van Gogh. Aims at deconstructing the various myths and legends that have accumulated around this ’outsider’ artist.

Weeks Eight & Nine
Picasso and the avante-garde. The history of Picasso’s work, covering each period of his production. Myths about the artist are deconstructed.

Week Ten

German Expressionism. Key artists of the movement are examined in the light of the socio-political events of the period. Psychosis and neurosis. The landmark film Das Kabinet die Doktor Kaligari.

Week Eleven

Dada - artistic nihilism. This anti-culture movement is discussed in the in the context of the socio-political developments of the period. The First World War and its aftermath. Tristan Tsara and Hugo Ball’s Cabaret Voltaire. The antics of the key players.
To be announced
Weeks Twelve & Thirteen

Surrealism. The impact of Sigmund Freud’s discovery of the subconscious. A history of the movement is presented from its beginning as a literary movement to the fully fledged outcomes of  later incarnations. Key artists are discussed. Bunuel’s film Un Chien Andalous.

Weeks Fourteen & Fifteen
Abstract Expressionism. This quintessentially American movement is examined in the light of socio-political events of the period. The wish for an entirely new art, free of narrative and subject. All the key particpiants are examined.

Week Sixteen 
Film. To be announced.

Weeks Seventeen & Eighteen
Preparation and Submission of Essay

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

Students are required to research for essays independently, using library resources.

Overview of Assessment

Two essays (one in semester 1 and one in semester 2) at 50% each

Assessment Tasks

Assessment is by way of one essay per semester, with supporting reference material. The first will be 1500 words. The second will be 2000 words. 

Assessment Matrix

Students need to present a clear and concise written essay that demonstrates a full understanding of the area under discussion. The essay must include a full bibliography and visual references of the works under discussion. It is vitally important to remember that any form of plagiarism is illegal.

Other Information

The course is delivered in the auditorium on Level 1. Information will be imparted via audio visual means; slides, powerpoint, video and dvd presentations.

Course Overview: Access Course Overview