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Taster Materials for Art History

The samples featured here mostly come from OpenLearn and iTunes U. They are taken from various points in the courses - some are relatively simple introductions but others are more complex extracts from the later weeks. You can view module books and study guides at many public libraries and at some Open University centres. You can also find a wealth of open access Art History and Visual Cultures resources on Open Arts Archive. Finally, once you have registered to study with us, please do take advantage of a wealth of information, ongoing support from academics in art history, and an opportunity to connect with fellow art history students on the art history ‘Study Home’ page.

Exploring art and visual culture (A226)
  • The OpenLearn unit Art and Visual Culture: Medieval to Modern has three sections focusing on Medieval to RenaissanceAcademy to avant-garde, and Modernity to globalisation.

  • There are also three albums of audio visual content related to each of the three books: 
    Art history: early modern starts with an introduction to studying art history by Dr Steve Edwards. It includes a collection overview (audio) and short videos on stained glass; Islamic religious art (c. 1450-1600); unravelling an icon, which looks at St. George and the boy from Mytiline in the British Museum; an examination of a 16th-century statuette; one woman's vision - a case study of Margaret of Austria's patronage; and a module taster.
    Art history: 17th to 19th centuries includes a collection overview, and videos on Rembrandt's Woman bathing in a stream; Christ Church, Spitalfields; Kedleston Hall; sculpture at Chatsworth; Polynesian art; and a short talk on garden design.
    Art history: modern and contemporary includes a collection overview; short videos on Jacob Epstein's Rock Drill; a photograph by the West African photographer Malick Sidebé; Doris Salcedo's installation Shibboleth in the Tate Modern Turbine Hall; as well as audio files on the move to abstraction and two pieces on abstract expressionism in New York.

  • The module information website asks 'why study art and visual culture?' and suggests how you might prepare to study art history.
A226 early modern album image

Podcast: Early Modern

A226 17-19Cs album image

Podcast: C17th to C19th

A226 modern and contemporary album image

Podcast: Modern and Contemporary

Art and its global histories (A344)
  • This short taster video for A344 will give you a sense of the ideas and artefacts you will encounter while studying this module.
  • Art and the Mexican Revolution
    The OpenLearn module Art and the Mexican Revolution explores one of Diego Rivera’s key murals which was commissioned by the Mexican government in the period after the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1920. These monumental public artworks, designed to win over the Mexican peasantry and working-class to the new post-revolutionary state, brought Mexican mural artists international acclaim and Rivera was subsequently awarded important commissions in the United States. Yet, due to his commitment to a figurative form of propaganda, Rivera’s reputation suffered during the Cold War period and these Mexican murals are now largely left out of dominant accounts of twentieth-century United States art.
  • A short excerpt from the introduction of the first A344 text, European Art and the Wider World 1350-1550.


MA in Art History

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