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Course 2022-2023 a.y.


Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 31

CLEACC (6 credits - II sem. - OBS  |  L-ART/02)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (II sem.)

Class-group lessons delivered  on campus

Suggested background knowledge

Students are expected to have an effective knowledge of English, both spoken and written.

Mission & Content Summary

This course explores European art and culture from the late 16th to the early 20th century with a particular focus on urban space as a system of artistic production. At the crossing between art history, geography and urban studies, the course looks into the site-specific nature of artistic production. The visual arts of the early modern period will be analysed according to some paradigms: centre-periphery, court life-urban life, and nature-culture. The mission of this course is to provide students with critical tools to think about the geographic and local dimensions of art and culture by revising some significant moments of this history in Europe.


The course will begin with sessions composing a methodological introduction on the relationship between visual and urban culture, followed by three blocks addressing different themes:

  1. City portraits and maps in the visual arts;
  2. Technological devices in the visual arts and the shaping of urban experience;
  3. Relationship between the arts, esp. painting and drawing.

During the course, several classes will be devoted to the analysis of specific case studies, ie. artworks. Through a variety of teaching methods – including frontal teaching, reading seminars and museum visits – Students will have the opportunity to develop their visual skills, to reflect critically about the history of urban heritage and to learn to interpret the history of cultural institutions.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)
At the end of the course student will be able to...

At the end of the course students will have learned to:


  • Identify the main visual languages and techniques developed in Europe the period 1600-1900;
  • Describe the role of visual arts in shaping and mediating the relation to urban experience;
  • Identify the main themes in art history which relate to the social approach to the study of artworks.
At the end of the course student will be able to...

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Employ some visual analysis skills: Analyse the iconography, visual language and technique of works of art, especially paintings, prints and drawings, used to represent cities;
  • Orientate themselves in narratives of European history of art and culture: Deploy some historical knowledge about Europe’s art and culture in the period 1600-1900;
  • Interpret urban cultural heritage in historical perspective: Demonstrate understanding of the socio-cultural dimension of artworks and cultural heritage from today's perspective.

Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Company visits
  • Exercises (exercises, database, software etc.)
  • Case studies /Incidents (traditional, online)
  • Individual assignments

This course combines traditional frontal teaching (lectures) with other learning activities. In particular, the course includes the following:


  • Group presentations on case studies prepared in advance with the teachers’ guidance. Each presentation, on contemporary representation of cities during the global pandemic, should last for around 10 minutes;
  • Museum visits, to be confirmed depending on the program of museums in Milan.

Assessment methods
  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  •     x
  • Individual assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  • x    
  • Active class participation (virtual, attendance)
  • x    
    • Mid-term group presentation: 30% of final mark;
    • Final exam: 70% of final mark. Oral test with open questions. Questions are based on course notes, slide presentations and compulsory readings.


    Attending students are those who are present in class for at least 75% of classes. After the third exam session, all students are considered as non-attending.

    • Final exam: oral test comprising open questions: 100% of final mark. One question will be about an artwork chosen from a list published on the syllabus.


    The evaluation grades the ability of students to understand the themes of the course, as complemented by the readings; the ability to place images in a historical narrative; the depth of analysis; and finally the clarity of presentation.

    Teaching materials

    For attending students, the compulsory readings (journal articles or book chapters) and class material (slide presentations) are made available on the online platform. Power Points and other visual resources are uploaded on the Bboard online platform after each class. Two glossaries also are available to students in preparation for the exam.


    For students who wish to familiarise themselves with the history of art, it is suggested they read E. Gombrich, The Story of Art, London: Phaidon.



    In addition to the compulsory readings and other material available on Bboard, non-attending students are required to prepare on a work of art by reading an article chosen from a list provided at the beginning of the course.

    Last change 15/12/2022 17:50