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The Materials of Art & Architecture - HOA00005C

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  • Department: History of Art
  • Module co-ordinator: Information currently unavailable
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module summary

The aim of this module is to explore the material nature of artworks and architecture.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2022-23

Module aims

The aim of this module is to explore the material nature of artworks and architecture. We commonly see art and buildings reproduced in photographs, but most artworks are three-dimensional physical objects constructed out of specific materials. Through a series of lectures and workshops, you will learn how to describe, analyse and interpret the visual and material qualities of a wide range of media, from stained glass, sculpture and buildings to oil painting, works on paper, photography and performance. We will examine the impact made by the choice of particular materials and techniques on the appearance and meaning of the work of art or architecture. We explore the history of looking and the reception of these material objects across a wide range of types and historical periods. The module also addresses ideas of materiality and how they inform our understanding and interpretation of works of art and architecture.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, you should have acquired:

  • The ability to engage in close visual observation and to analyse and interpret visual material.
  • Knowledge of a range of materials and techniques employed by artists and architects in different periods and an awareness of the impact made by materials and techniques on the work of art.
  • Awareness of the history of reception and the ways in which works have been designed for viewers, audiences and consumers.
  • Understanding of ideas concerning materiality.


Task Length % of module mark
The Materials of Art & Architecture
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
The Materials of Art & Architecture
N/A 100

Module feedback

You will receive feedback on assessed work within the timeframes set out by the University - please check the Guide to Assessment, Standards, Marking and Feedback for more information.

The purpose of feedback is to help you to improve your future work. If you do not understand your feedback or want to talk about your ideas further, you are warmly encouraged to meet your Supervisor during their Office Hours.

Indicative reading

  • R. Wollheim, Painting as an Art, Washington DC 1987
  • N. Bryson, Vision and Painting: the logic of the gaze, London1983
  • D. Freedberg, The Power of Images: Studies in the History and Theory of Response, Chicago1989
  • M. Kemp, 'Seeing and Signs: E.H. Gombrich in Retrospect' in Art History, 7,1984, 228-43
  • T.J. Clark, 'The Conditions of Artistic Creation', Times Literary Supplement. 24.5.74, 561-2, reprinted in E. Fernie (ed.) Art History and its Methods (1995), 248-255.
  • Cennino Cennini, The Craftsman s Handbook: the Italian Il libro dell arte [c.1400], trans. D. Thompson, reprinted New York 1954
  • D. Bomford, J. Dunkerton, D. Gordon, A. Roy, Art in the Making. Italian Painting before 1400, The National Gallery London 1989
  • D. Bomford, J. Kirby, A. Roy, A, Ruger, R. White, Art in the Making. Rembrandt, The National Gallery London 2006
  • N. Penny, The Materials of Sculpture, New Haven 1993
  • A. Hind, A History of Engraving and Etching from the 15th Century to the Year 1914, [first ed.1923], New York 1963
  • A. Callen, The Art of Impressionism. Painting Techniques and the making of modernity, New Haven 2000

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.