History of Art: an introduction

Academic year: 2022/23

Credits: 6

Period: second semester

Number of hours: 48

Teacher: Pasquale Focarile (

Language of instruction: English

Learning Outcomes


The course aims to provide an overview of the development of Western modern art (13th-17th century) with a particular focus on Tuscan and Roman art. Starting from the genesis with Giotto (painting) and Nicola and Giovanni Pisano (sculpture), the course will explore the main artists, themes and styles operating during this long period (mainly in painting and sculpture), and that created the conditions for the later development of western art.

Assessment criteria of Knowledge

Students must demonstrate their understanding of the main themes and styles of painting and sculpture in the long term considered, through two tests: a written test, which consists in the analysis of a work of art of their choice (iconography, style, history); an oral test: starting from the works examined during the course, students will have to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of textbooks.


The aim of the course is to acquire general information on the development of Western Modern art, so as to learn how to correctly analyze a painting or sculpture. Each period had its own artistic challenges and goals and the awareness of these elements leads will lead students to the ability to ask the appropriate questions to get the right answers.

Assessment criteria of skills

Students will be asked to participate during the lessons, trying their hand at the analysis of paintings and sculptures from the epochs under consideration.


The focus on Tuscan and Roman art is designed to allow students to understand the artistic heritage they have before their eyes during their study period in Tuscany. This exercise will hopefully stimulate students to look critically around, asking themselves questions, for any subsequent curiosity or professional study about art in the broudest sense.


No special prerequisites are required.


Stephen J. Campbell-Michael W. Cole, A New History of Italian Renaissance Art, second edition. Thames & Hudson Ltd., 2017.

Rudolf Wittkower, Art and Architecture in Italy 1600-1750, I., Early Baroque. Yale Univesity Press, 1999 (Ed. Revised by J. Connors and J. Montagu)