72179 - Forms and Functions of Contemporary Art

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Gian Luca Tusini

  • Credits 6

  • SSD L-ART/03

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Ravenna

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in History, preservation and enhancement of artistic and archaeological heritage and landscape (cod. 9218)

  • Teaching resources on Virtuale


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Good health and well-being Quality education Gender equality Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course aims to provide knowledge of the main themes of the history of modern art of the sixteenth - eighteenth centuries through the deepening of episodes and moments of particular significance. At the end of the course the student is able to proceed with the historical and philological research on works of art, the investigation of the personalities and artistic paths of those who worked in the period under examination, phenomena and institutions of the time in Western Europe.

Course contents

During the lectures you will be familiar with the concepts of "Artistic" and "Aesthetic" with their changing boundaries on the broader horizon of "Practical" ie of common life, thus verifying that artistic research is in a totally immanent horizon. During the course of the course, a rational analysis of materials and techniques will be carried out in the knowledge that art is a "symbolic form" not only of economic, political and social instances but also, above all, of the advancing technologies and scientific progress. In particular, we will briefly discuss how non-traditional materials have come from (ready made to junk) in the aesthetic world.

They will then be subjected to the evaluation of formal stylistic categories particularly relevant to the contemporary artistic landscape, such as "tecnomorphism", "biomorphism" and "electromorphism", also symbolic forms relative to the material layers of culture.

During the lectures texts that are not present in the program will be suggested in order to stimulate the student's curiosity and interest in various topics. The program will be different for non-attendants, however, frequency and especially active participation (with questions, comments) on frontal lessons is highly recommended. It is especially advisable to retrace the lessons taken with the power point slides that will be networked at the end of the course.


The program provides a compulsory book, and one (for attendants) or two (for non attendants)  of your choice in the list below as you like:

[Those who consider that they have insufficient background in History of Contemporary Art are invited to supplement the preparation with any manual of History of Art used in high schools (at least for the period from mid-19th century to the present day) or with the  text:. R. Barilli, Arte contemporanea. Da Cézanne alle ultime tendenze, Feltrinelli, Milano 2005)].

The teacher is always available for any clarification.


Compulsory book is: 

G. L. Tusini, Per una raccolta (estetica) differenziata, in G. Garzia, E. Marchetti, G.L.Tusini, Rifiuti e società contemporanea. Arte, storia e regole giuridiche, Aracne, Roma 2012, pp. 43-92 [only the essay: Per una raccolta (estetica) differenziata]


One (for attendants) or two (for non attendants) of your choiche between:

  • Barilli R., Scienza della cultura e fenomenologia degli stili, Bononia University Press, Bologna 2007
  • Barilli R., Tutto sul postmoderno, Guaraldi, Rimini 2013
  • Careri F., Walkscapes. Camminare come pratica estetica, Einaudi, Torino 2006
  • Crispolti E., Come studiare l'arte contemporanea, Donzelli, Roma 2010
  • Dewey J., Arte come esperienza, Aesthetica edizioni, Palermo 2007
  • Del Puppo A., L'arte contemporanea. Il secondo Novecento, Einaudi, Torino 2013

  • Eco U., Opera aperta, Bompiani, Milano 2000

  • Fameli P., Esperienza come forma. Le poetiche de comportamento in Italia negli anni Settanta, Bononia University Press, 2019

  • Kubler G., La forma del tempo, Einaudi, Torino 2002

  • Mukarovsky J., La funzione, la norma e il valore estetico come fatti sociali, Einaudi, Torino 1971

  • Nancy J-L., et alii, Del contemporaneo. Saggi su arte e tempo, Bruno Mondadori, Milano 2007

  • Woelfflin H., Psicologia dell'architettura, Et al. edizioni, Milano 2010

  • Worringer W., Astrazione ed empatia, Einaudi, Torino 2008

Teaching methods


The method used involves the active partecipation of the students who are invited to speak during the lessons with observations. All this makes the lessons a chance to exchange views and debate.

Assessment methods

The test will consist of an oral examination in which the candidate will demonstrate that they have assimilated the content of the lesson, both in terms of fundamentals and in terms of references. Will be evaluated, as well as the degree of preparation, properties of language, knowledge of the authors which reference is made, the ability to build a speech critically aware. Training gaps, imprecise language, only rote learning will be evaluated negatively.

1. Those students who show developed analytical skills of selected readings and their correct contextualization within a complete vision of the issues discussed during lectures will be given a mark of excellence. Mastering of field-specific language and good expression during the examination will also be required (A =28-30 con lode).

2. Those students who show mnemonic knowledge of the subject and a superficial analysis of selected readings, as well as a correct but not always appropriate mastering of the field-specific language will be given a satisfactory mark (B = 25-27 and C = 23-24).

3. Those students who will show vague knowledge and superficial understanding of selected readings, limited analytical skills and a not always appropriate expression will be given a ‘pass’ mark roughly (D = 18-22).

4. Those students who show gaps in their knowledge and lack of familiarity with selected readings will not be given a ‘pass’ mark (E).

Teaching tools

The lectures will be supported by modern digital projection of images and the use of multimedia tools.

Visits to exhibitions and institutions are not excluded.

Office hours

See the website of Gian Luca Tusini