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Italian for Art History: Beginner - LFA00255L

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  • Department: Language and Linguistic Science
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Cinzia Bacilieri
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: F
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24
    • See module specification for other years: 2024-25

Module summary

Designed for complete beginners, this course has been created in collaboration with the History of Art Department as a Language for Specific Purposes course to enable students to carry out research on the topic of History of Art in Italian, as well as to maximise the benefits of future trips to Italy.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2023-24

Module aims

The module aims to enable absolute beginner students to develop Italian language skills particularly relevant to History of Art as a discipline.

In the module, students will gain familiarity with the most famous Italian monuments and artworks in particular from Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque Art, together with artists’ biographies and art critics’ texts through history.

This module will steadily build the knowledge, skills, and strategies necessary to communicate and interact in Italian over the course of a semester. It will focus on developing a communicative competence at beginner level, to about A1-level standard of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Students will engage, individually and in groups, in communicative activities and tasks emphasising three modes of communication: 1) reception activities (oral, audio-video, and reading comprehension); 2) production activities (oral and written production); 3) interaction activities (oral, written and online interaction).

The mediums of instruction are English and Italian.

The module will:

  • Explore the role of art within Italian society throughout history with a particular focus on Greek and Roman archaeology, Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque art & architecture.

  • Illustrate the key vocabulary of heritage protection in Italy e.g. conservazione dei beni culturali and famous Italian monuments within Italy.

  • Enhance employability skills by enabling students to give and ask for information in Italian at a museum in Italy or describe the most famous artworks in Italian located at the National Gallery in London or the Uffizi museum.

  • Illustrate key translation skills vital for working on original sources in History of Art.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students will acquire the following skills:

Language skills:

  • An ability to understand key information from Italian travel guides or websites and passages related to Italian Art. This may include biographies, descriptions and analyses of works of art, catalogue entries and technical information about the properties of works of art and architectural structures.

  • A familiarity with basic grammatical structures and especially the verb tenses most commonly found in History of Art-related material.

  • An ability to apply meta skills, such as dictionary and translation skills specific to History of Art, ability to recognise cognates, extract key information from passages in Italian written by Italian art critics or art historians.

  • Basic communicative skills to make the most of future study trips to Italy:

    • An ability to produce short simple phrases about people and places and about themselves (e.g. name, address, family, nationality), to describe themselves as well as simple aspects of their everyday life in a series of simple sentences prepared in advance.

    • Ability to interact in a simple way and to ask and answer simple questions about themselves and their daily routines.

    • Ability to recognise basic cultural differences (e.g. differing ways of numbering, measuring distance, telling the time, etc.) and to establish basic social contact by using the simplest everyday polite forms of greetings, farewells and introductions.

Employability skills:

  • Social cultural and global awareness

  • Presentation skills

  • Communication

  • Creativity and innovation

Module content

  • 3 one-hour seminars per week

  • Independent study in the form of preparation for class discussion is an essential part of students’ commitment

  • Particular emphasis is given to enable beginner students to start developing specialist language skills particularly relevant to Art History, both on research and employability skills

The History of Art-related topics covered might include:

  • Famous monuments (San Vitale in Ravenna, San Marco in Venezia etc) and “Italian cities of Art” (Rimini, Roma e Firenze etc).

  • Famous Italian artworks:

    • Brunelleschi e Donatello’s Crucifisso

    • Giotto’s Compianto sul Cristo Morto

    • Botticelli’s Adorazione dei Magi

    • Michelangelo’s Cappella Sistina

    • Piero della Francesca’s Il Battesimo di Cristo etc.

  • Biographies of Italian artists and art historians: Arcimboldo, Brunelleschi, Donatello, Caravaggio, Raffaello, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Palladio, Vasari, etc.

Employability Skills: Asking for information at famous museums and art galleries in Italy (Uffizi, Galleria dell’Accademia, etc.) and at the National Gallery, London.


Task Length % of module mark
Closed/in-person Exam (Centrally scheduled)
Italian for Art History Level 1
2 hours 60
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Oral Presentation
N/A 40

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Closed/in-person Exam (Centrally scheduled)
Italian for Art History Level 1
2 hours 60
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Oral Presentation
N/A 40

Module feedback

Formative assessment and feedback

  • Formative tasks done individually or in groups throughout the module.

  • Feedback will include written comments and oral feedback during class discussions.

Summative assessment and feedback

  • Students will be given written feedback and marks for their work within the University mandated schedule.

Indicative reading

In addition to the general language textbook (New Italian Project 1a (Libro dello studente + Quaderno + esercizi interattivi + DVD + CD), Ediligua) a bespoke booklet will be provided for the module in relation to the Art component.

The module will also include practice at translating passages from:

  • Touring club Italiano

  • Vasari, Le vite

  • Angelino & Porreca, Progetto Cultura Italiana: L'Italiano Attraverso la Storia Dell'Arte

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.