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Course 2023-2024 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.)

Synchronous Blended: Lessons in synchronous mode in the classroom (for a maximum of one hour per credit in remote mode)

Suggested background knowledge

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

Mission & Content Summary

The course studies the visual representations of the human body in many guises: aesthetic, political, social, cultural, and erotic among others. It analyses the different strategies that artists deployed to develop rhetorics of the body both physical and emotional. Throughout the Early Modern period and until the 19th century, the human body has been a central concern for artists trained in different traditions and a foundational subject of representation in Western art. However, the symbolic and historical meanings of corporeal images changed through time and space, shaped by specific cultures, beliefs, and norms. This course proposes a dynamic approach of the body in art considered as a focus of a composition, an object of investigation, a locus of gender and racial understanding, a vehicle for physical and emotional experience, the cornerstone of our creative power and ability.


-The Naked Body

-The Outer and the Inner Body

-The Body Expressivity

-Feeling through the body

-Fashioning the Body

-The Allegorical Body

-Embodying Ambiguity

-The Body of the Artist

-The Other Body

-Collecting the Body

-Visits to the Pinacoteca di Brera and the Museo Poldi-Pezzoli



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

During the course students will learn how to:

-Visually and historically analyze works of art from various periods, the human body being the basis of visual representations and an object of aesthetic investigation.

-Understand and be able to deploy in their own words major theoretical approaches used to interpret works of art.

-Discuss the relationships between the real and the represented body through works of art conceived as the occasion, the site, and the condition of a process of historical, social and cultural construction.



At the end of the course student will be able to...

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

  • Employ visual analysis skills such as analyse the iconography, the visual language and the technique of works of art (in particular paintings and drawings).
  • Understand European artworks of the Early Modern period in relation to the historical, cultural and social context.
  • Think of the human body as both an object and a subject, a representation as well as a sensibility that experiences, feels, and acts in the world.

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
  • Group assignments
  • Interactive class activities on campus/online (role playing, business game, simulation, online forum, instant polls)

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

-Group discussions

-Guest speaker’s talks

-Museum visits

-Group assignments and presentations

-Interactive class activities (tableaux vivants, portraits and self-portraits, role playing) to directly explore aspects of the theories discussed in class: the role of the body as a vehicle for knowledge, as a locus of sensory-aesthetic appreciation and creative self-fashioning, and as a necessity for all our perceptions, actions and thoughts.


Assessment methods
  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Individual assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  • x    
  • Group assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  • x    
  • Active class participation (virtual, attendance)
  • x    


    -Group discussions (in class & online): 30%

    -Group Assignments and presentations: 25%

    -Final Oral Exam: 45%



    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 Oral exam: oral test comprising open questions: 100% of final mark.


    The evaluation grades the ability of students to understand the themes of the course, based on the readings; the ability to place images within a historical narrative; the depth of analysis; and the clarity of the presentation.

    Teaching materials

    For attending students, the mandatory 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.


    Students are assigned weekly readings that will be discussed in class every week and will constitute, together with the lectures, the program for the final exam.



    In addition to the mandatory readings and other material available on Bboard for attending students, non-attending students are assigned extra readings that are also made available on the online platform.



    Last change 11/12/2023 15:03