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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ARTF2053 Venice: Image and Imagination

20 creditsClass Size: 25

Module manager: Dr Eva Frojmovic

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module aims to explore the ways in which an idea of 'Venice' was created through cultural practices and representations from the medieval period to the twentieth century in art and other media. The module will combine art historical analysis of major image cycles, monuments and artistic genres that were developed in Venice but which also articulate changing ideas about what Venice signifies with the analysis of texts, paintings, films and exhibitions that share in creating the 'modern' concept of Venice culminating in its current status as the city of the Bienniale de Venezia The module explores the ways of imaging and imagining the city state in order to practice a social and gendered history of art and a critical analysis of the formations of cultural memory.


At the end of the module students will have an understanding of ways of reading cultural and visual representations as modes of constructing the image of a place, a state, and a cultural memory, and an icon. The students will have knowledge of and methods of critical reading of major monuments, genres of painting and representations that collectively produce the European image of Venice. The students will have developed methods of close visual and textual analysis. The students will have a critical understanding of the production of meanings for a place and its visual culture by way of cultural practices and visual or textual representation.

Learning outcomes
By the end of this module students will have
- An understanding of the art historical discourses around Venice, and its images, artefacts and spaces as historical 'production.'
- Through the analysis of its representations in several media, including art, architecture, manuscripts, literature and cinema, an appreciation of the changing meanings of Venice which have acquired political and ideological significance in the Western imagination.
- Developed a range of research tools, methodologies and presentation formats.


Across the semester students will study 5 themes. These could include:
Theme 1: San Marco, the image and the invention of a state
- The Cult Image: Pala d'Oro, Nikopeia and the appropriation of Constantinople
- Constructing a Venetian narrative order: The Mosaics of San Marco / imagined community

Theme 2: Renaissance Venice
- Renaissance Altarpieces between north and south (Bellini/Durer, Giorgione, Titian: invention of Sacra Conversazione, narrative/dramatic altarpieces)
- Renaissance portraits: subjectivity, character and gender (Bellini/Antonello da Messina, Titian)
- Telling Stories to Stabilise Society: Carpaccio and the Scuole
- Painted poetry and the invention of art (Titian's poesie, gender, art collectors, studiolo culture)

Theme 3: The Stones of Venice:
- Romantic Venice; Turner and Ruskin in the nineteenth century
- Sky and Water; Manet, Whistler, Monet and after.

Theme 4: Venice and Modern Art 1895-:
Venice and Contemporary Art: The Biennale and the place of Venice as centre for contemporary art

Theme 5: Cinematic Venice
Weekly screenings
Venice, Drama and Movies
For example: Shakespeare's Venice Othello (Welles, 1952) /The Merchant of Venice (Radford, 2004).
Hollywood's Venice: Death in Venice (Visconti 1971) and Don't Look Now (Roeg, 1973) Screenings will build up an archive for the final session.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Preparing for lectures, to include reading, note-taking and preparation for presentation and essays.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Verbal Presentation and essay 1 will provide a measure of student progress through the semester. Attendance will be monitored.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2000-2400 words40.00
Report600 words max10.00
Essay3000 words50.00
PresentationVerbal presentation to be recorded in report0.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 13/05/2019


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