The course provides a brief but global overview of art, in a broad chronological framework, from antiquity to the 19th century. It focuses on western art while making references to the Asian, African and American artistic production. It aims to introduce students to key moments and central issues in art history and encourage their critical understanding and approach. It covers a range of topics, artists, art forms and ways to examine them. Special emphasis is given on the way in which the contemporary artistic creation borrows and exploits resources from the past.
Among the main issues that will emerge throughout the course are: the relationships between art and history and its wider social, cultural, economic contexts, the shaping of the contemporary concept of art, the social position of the artist, the role of the viewer, the interpretation of art in museums and galleries, different ways of approaching art history.
The lectures follow a broad chronological organization, while thematic seminars focus on specific issues in the field.