Study abroad in Edinburgh

Course finder

Semester 1

History of Art 1A Art and Belief in Europe, 500 to 1700 (HIAR08025)


History of Art





Normal Year Taken


Delivery Session Year



This course cannot be taken alongside Approaches to Visual Culture (ARTX08086).

Course Summary

Explore the relationship of art, power and belief through this introduction to art and from late antiquity to the Renaissance. History of Art 1A provides an introduction to Art History at university level. The lectures in History of Art 1 cover almost 1400 years of the history of art, from c.500 to c.1700, from the Early Medieval period to the Baroque. The course (though it follows a roughly chronological sequence) is not a chronological survey and does not pretend to provide comprehensive coverage of this vast and complex subject. Instead the work of prominent artists, important types, key periods and diverse geographies of art are selected to provide representative examples for study. All our teaching considers the visual arts as a reflection of the societies in which they were produced.

Course Description

This course addresses developments in European art (including Britain, Italy, France and Germany) from the rise of Christianity, through the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, concluding with the religious upheavals of the early modern period. We look at the work of both early anonymous and later celebrated artists, such as Giotto, Jan van Eyck, Dürer, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, and consider issues surrounding art and identity, gender, sexuality, nationality, religious and political belief as well as issues surrounding the art objects themselves, such as patronage, materiality, display and reception. The course is delivered in three hour-long lectures per week for 11 weeks of the semester, plus one small group tutorial per week. In the lectures you will learn about the key works and ideas that underpin this period in the history of art. Lectures are supported by readings and activities on the course website. In the tutorials you will put the ideas and skills you have seen in the lectures into practice. Some of the tutorials will take place in Edinburgh's museums and galleries. You will be assessed by means of one essay and one end-of-course examination.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 50%, Coursework 50%, Practical Exam 0%

view the timetable and further details for this course


All course information obtained from this visiting student course finder should be regarded as provisional. We cannot guarantee that places will be available for any particular course. For more information, please see the visiting student disclaimer:

Visiting student disclaimer