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Italian Renaissance Art

Level 1 (CQFW Level 4), 10 Credits.

Available Dates:

This course is currently not being offered in the academic year 2015 - 2016.

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This course explores the art of the Italian Renaissance and will focus on the work of specific artists within historical, social and cultural contexts. The course aims to provide an introduction to one of the most splendid eras in European civilization, a period that witnessed unparalleled creativity and productivity in the arts.

The course begins by exploring what the term ‘Renaissance’ means followed by a brief overview of the artists whose work facilitated the foundations of Renaissance art, such as Cimabue and Giotto. This leads to an exploration in two parts of early Renaissance art discussing artists including Masaccio, Brunelleschi, Donatello and Uccello. Weeks five through to eight will be individual case study sessions on Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Michelangelo. It will conclude by focusing on High Renaissance artists such as Titian and Tintoretto and finishes by introducing the development of Mannerism.

Course schedule

Week 1 – Introduction: What is the Renaissance?
Module overview with a group exercise and assignment brief

Week 2 – Beginnings: Giotto and narrative
This session will examine the work of Giotto and his contemporaries as the forerunners of Renaissance artists

Week 3 – Early Renaissance 1
This session concentrates on the early Renaissance painters, sculptors and architects, such as Masaccio, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Filippo Brunelleschi and Pisanello

Week 4 – Early Renaissance 2
This session will focus on the work of artists, including Donatello, Paolo Ucello, Filippo Lippi and Piero della Francesca.

Week 5 – Case study: Botticelli

Week 6 – Case study: Leonardo da Vinci

Week 7 – Case study: Raphael

Week 8 – Case study: Michelangelo

Week 9 – High Renaissance
We will explore the artists of the high Renaissance, including Titian, Tinteretto and Paolo Veronese and the beginnings of Mannerism

Week 10 – Course review and recap

Who is this course for?

Anyone with an interest in the topic. No previous knowledge is assumed.

Learning and Teaching

There will be a mixture of short lectures and discussion, the precise proportion to be determined by the needs of the students enrolled. Also we will discuss examples and case-studies. This will encourage the development of knowledge and understanding of the ideas and concepts discussed in the course. Intellectual skills will be encouraged through participation in class discussion, reading and coursework.

Coursework and Assessment

To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved. Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects.

The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning. Our methods are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.

You will not have a formal examination but you will be asked to produce some written work (at the tutor’s discretion, part of the assessment may be by a presentation):


3 short written assignments (1500 words in total): you will choose three paintings and interpret and critically evaluate each. These will be written using formal academic language with accurate and consistent referencing.


Essay (1500 words): you will choose a topic covered during the module. This could include an analysis of a specific period or a particular artist. This will demonstrate your skills at identifying, interpreting and evaluating the material discussed. This will be written using formal academic language, in an essay structure with accurate and consistent referencing.

Reading suggestions

Library and Computing Facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University library and computing facilities. You can find out more about these facilities on our website under Student Information, or by ringing the Centre on
(029) 2087 0000.

Accessibility of Courses

Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and Dyslexia screening. Please contact the Centre on (029) 2087 0000 for an information leaflet.

Further Information

A range of further information can be found on our web site or in Choices. This includes the times and dates of courses and an explanation of accreditation and credit levels.