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Interpreting Northern Renaissance Art - HOA00059M

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  • Department: History of Art
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Jeanne Nuechterlein
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2022-23

Module aims

This module investigates the methodologies used to interpret northern European Renaissance art, focusing on the art of Germany and the Low Countries in the 15th and 16th centuries. It will address how art-historical approaches have changed from the foundations of the discipline in the 19th century to the forms of interpretation most widely used today, including such topics as attribution, formal analysis, iconography, patronage, technical analysis, gender studies and cultural history. We will examine some of the most recent work interpreting northern Renaissance art in new ways, and we will also investigate some other approaches that have not been applied to this particular field of art history. How might the northern Renaissance field benefit from ideas developed in other areas of art history, or other disciplines? Are there new kinds of questions and answers waiting to be developed?

Module learning outcomes

  • understand the history of methodological changes in the study of northern Renaissance art
  • evaluate the relative benefits and weaknesses of different methodological approaches to northern Renaissance artworks
  • analyse methodologies developed in other fields of art history and/or other disciplines and experimentally apply them to northern Renaissance works


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
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

  • Bernhard Ridderbos et al., Early Netherlandish Paintings: Rediscovery, Reception and Research (2005)
  • Alexander Nagel and Christopher S. Wood, Anachronic Renaissance (2010)
  • Christopher S. Wood, A History of Art History, pp. 57-86 ‘1400-1500’ and ‘1500-1550’ (2019)

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.