00951 - History of Contemporary Art

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course students will:

- develop the critical and historical tools of contemporary art;

- know how to analyse and contextualize the main artistic currents;

- be able to critically evaluate the works of art of the 19th and 20th centuries;

- develop the basic skills for carrying out independent research.

Course contents

This course aims to treat the major currents and the most representative artists that changed significantly the Arts from the second half of the nineteenth century to the present day.

More specifically, the following topics will be discussed:

1) Courbet and realism around the mid-nineteenth century

2) Manet and Impressionism

3) The artistic scene at the end of the nineteenth century

4) Historical avant-gardes

5) The artistic situation between the two World Wars

6) The artistic situation at the end of World War II

7) The Second Artistic avant-garde of the Sixties

8) The Seventies and Eighties of the Twentieth Century

9) The current situation


Recommended reading (both for attending and non-attending students)

About the nineteenth century: R. Rosenblum - H. W. Janson, Art of the nineteenth century, Palombi, 1986 (part III and IV)

About the Twentieth Century: H. Foster - R. Krauss - Y.A. Bois - B. Buchloh, D. Josels, Art from 1900, Modernism, Antimodernism and Postmodernism, Zanichelli, 2017 (previous editions are also permitted).

At the beginning of the lectures, the PDFs will be available online with the images projected during the lectures, the alternative bibliographic paths, and the suggestions for the in-depth study.

Although for a better understanding of the historical period it would be appropriate to deal with the entire book Art from 1900, it is advisable to read carefully the methodological texts that introduce the volume and, in particular, to study the chapters marked by the years:

1900 b, 1903, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916 a; from p. 69 to 153
1917 a; pp.160-165.
1918, 1919, 1920; pp. 172-191.
1921b, 1922, 1923, 1924; pp. 198-219.
1926, 1927a, 1927b; pp. 244-255.
1930b, 1931 a, 1931 b; pp. 287-302.
1935, pp. 319-323.
1937 a; pp. 329-333.
1937 c; pp. 338-345.
1942 a, 1942 b; pp. 348-357.
1945, 1946, 1947 a, 1947 b, 1949 a; pp. 338-415.
1951, 1953, 1955; pp. 424-440.
1956, 1957 a, 1957 b, 1958, 1959 a; pp. 447-476.
1959 c; pp. 483-486.
1959 e; pp. 494-501;
1960 a, 1960 b, 1960 c, 1961, 1962 a, 1962 b, 1962 c; pp. 504-544.
1964 a, 1964 b, 1965, 1966 a, 1966 b, 1967 a, 1967 b; pp. 556-590.
1968 b, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972 a, 1972 b; pp. 603-635.
1973, 1974, 1975 a; pp. 644-659.
1977 a; pp. 672-675.
1984 b, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989; pp. 698-723.
1993b, 1993 c, 1994 a, 1994 b; pp. 737-755.

The chapters are common to the three different editions of the book while the page numbers refer to the third edition published in Italy in 2017.

Teaching methods

Lectures with projection of reproductions, iconographic interpretation of images, analysis of posters and written works by artists or contemporary art experts.

Assessment methods

The final examination consists of a first written part and a second oral part, which can be taken only if students pass the written part (the interview will be held on the same day as the written part).

The written part is based on the recognition of some of the images (usually 15) projected during the course (or extracted from the recommended bibliography), with questions related to the works. The images projected during the course are available on the site (http://campus.cib.unibo.it). The first PDF shows a fac-simile of the exam written part. The time available is 45/60 minutes. Students who have passed the written part are expected to take a second oral part, which usually takes place on the same day of the written part. During the interview, they shall demonstrate their analysis capabilities of works and artistic movements.

It will be assessed as excellent the performance of those students achieving an organic vision of the course contents, the use of a proper specific language, originality of reflection and familiarity with the analysis tools of contemporary art. It will be assessed as discrete the performance of those students showing mostly mechanical or mnemonic knowledge of the subject, disarticulated synthesis and analysis capabilities, or a correct but not always appropriate language, as well as a scholastic study of contemporary art. It will be assessed as barely sufficient the performance of those students showing learning gaps, inappropriate language, lack of knowledge of the instruments of contemporary art. It will be assessed as insufficient the performance of those students showing learning gaps, inappropriate language, no orientation within the recommended bibliography and inability to analyze the contemporary art.

Teaching tools

As already reported in the bibliography, the PDFs will be available online with the images projected during the lectures. In addition, further relevant materials relating to the course contents may be added.


Office hours

Please consult the webpage of the teacher, Pinto Roberto

Office hours

See the website of Roberto Pinto