History of Art


Art/Architecture in London Modules

These elective courses are open to both UCL degree students and affiliate students who are registered outside the History of Art department.

These elective courses are open to both UCL degree students and affiliate students who are registered outside the History of Art department.

These 10 week courses are aimed as challenging introductory courses for non-History of Art students (both UCL degree and visiting affiliates) and focus on works in London’s rich museum and gallery collections and the city’s architecture. 

The contents and syllabus of these courses vary slightly each year. Previous courses have focused on medieval art and architecture; Italian art of the 15th and 16th centuries in the National Gallery and Victoria & Albert Museum;  the architecture of Inigo Jones and Christopher Wren in the seventeenth century; on British art of the 18th century, studying artists such as Hogarth, Reynolds, Joseph Wright of Derby, Blake and Turner and their work in the National Gallery and Tate Britain ; as well as modern and contemporary art and artists from Europe, Africa and the US represented at Tate Modern. Please find below the full list and details of courses offered in 2020/21.

Autumn Term
Because of the ongoing health situation we will not be offering any of these courses in the autumn term.

Spring Term

HART0010 Art in London before 1600 

Wednesdays, 14:00-16:00

This course will investigate works made in western Europe in the period 1350-1600, with particular attention on the Italian peninsula. We will address works by famous artists such as Titian, Michelangelo and Leonardo – often understood as embodying the Renaissance ideals – as well as less-known, but equally revealing, objects. By focusing on a variety of media and materials, we will explore how artefacts, ideas and people moved across Europe and sometimes even beyond. Even though nowadays the works that constitute the object of our discussion are displayed in famous London museums and galleries, hanging on neutral walls or kept away from our touch, we will attempt to understand how such artefacts were intended to be seen, experienced and used in their original context. At the same time the module aims to offer at least an insight as to how some of the works that are deemed to be amongst the most representative of the period considered, and especially of the so-called Italian Renaissance, have entered museum collections in London.

HART0021 Modern & Contemporary Art in London

Mondays, 14:000-16:00

How have outdoor spaces in London such as the street, river, square or park captured the imagination of artists, and how do artworks that seek to address themes of democratic access and civic utility interact with urban audiences and communities? This ten-part module will focus on examples of modern and contemporary art to introduce some of the ways in which artists and artworks have engaged with urban power relations, industrialisation, regeneration and sustainability in London since the nineteenth century. Weekly thematic seminars will consider how the notion of a unified public sphere has been productively challenged by art forms and outdoor commissions including public sculpture, performance, installation, billboards, speculative fiction and audio walks. Central to this module is an investigation of how alternative settings for the presentation and reception of art record and reflect changes to shifting ideas of public space, as well as make possible new inhabitations in the urban environment.  

Due to national restrictions, there will be no guided class visits to outdoor art or the settings that have hosted these artworks. However, students are encouraged to continue independent learning of topics covered using the further reading as a guide. 

Each course lasts one term (10 weeks of teaching) with a value of 15 credits (4 US credits), with the assessments for each course completed by the end of the respective term. Assessment is by two pieces of coursework, each given equal weighting. All courses must be taken for credit, auditing is not permitted.

How to register for one of these courses:

All students must first email the History of Art Affiliate Tutor/Course Director to secure a place on one of these courses as each course has a maximum of 18 places and are allocated on a first come, first served basis. Once your place has been approved by the Affiliate Tutor/Course Director, then you may add this course to your Portico registrations.

Programme Contact

The History of Art Affiliate Tutor and Course Director for Art/Architecture in London courses is Diana Dethloff