97485 - History of Modern and Contemporary Art (1)

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Alessandra Anselmi

  • Credits 6

  • SSD L-ART/02

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme First cycle degree programme (L) in Anthropology, Religions, Oriental Civilizations (cod. 8493)

  • 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 Reduced inequalities Sustainable cities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will possess a specific knowledge of the most important historiographic problems linked to History of Modern and Contemporary Art and he will have critical tools to understand relationships between art, environment, history and sustainability of forms and practices of  associated life.

Course contents

Examination and discussion of the periodization and definitions (Renaissance, Mannerism, Baroque, Neoclassicism, Eclecticism, Art Deco, Modern Movement, International Style, Postmodernism) utilized by historiography in the field of History of Modern and Contemporary Art. The course will analyze some of the most representative works form each period in terms of their style, significance and context.

After clarifying the principal questions and lines of research in art during the centuries in question, specific attention will be focused on modern and contemporary architecture. In particular, the course will look at Art Deco, the Modern Movement, the International Style and Postmodernism, together with building abuse, non-places and themes of exclusion, alienation and environmental stress.

Course objectives include the promotion of a reflection on the importance of art in relation to the possibilities for sustainable human development. Similarly, the course will seek to favor the development of a critical awareness of the space that surrounds us, which we occupy on a daily basis, and thus of the historical city. Lessons will also look at the countless monster buildings produced by real estate speculation and poor political administration, which proliferated during the post-war era. Some represent true examples of “junkspace” and “fuck the context”, to use the famous expressions coined by Rem Koolhaas to describe phenomena toward which we cannot remain indifferent. This program is reserved exclusively for students who attend lessons because notes taken in the classroom and educational material provided case-by-case by the professor will constitute, beyond the bibliography provided below, a fundamental part of the course that will be evaluated during the final exam. Students who do not plan to attend lessons should refer to the dedicated bibliography below.


Bibliography for students who attend lessons

M. Augé, Nonluoghi. Introduzione a una antropologia della surmodernità, Milano, Elèuthera, 2009 (original edition, Non-lieux, Editions du Seuil, 1992; English edition Non Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity, Verso Books, 1995)


S. Settis, Architettura e democrazia. Paesaggio, città, diritti civili, Turin, Giulio Einaudi editore, 2017.


and a choice among one of the following texts:


R. Koolhaas, Junkspace, Macerata, Quodlibet, 2006.


G. Clément, Manifesto del Terzo paesaggio, Macerata, Quodlibet, 2016 (second Italian edition, revised and extended; original edition Manifeste du Tiers Paysage, Paris, Sujet/Objet, 2004).


A. Cegna, Cosa succede in città? Lo spazio urbano e l'interesse economico, Novate Milanese (Mi), Prospero Editore, 2021.


Bibliography for students who do not attend the course

A. Pinelli, La Storia dell’Arte. Istruzioni per l’uso, Bari, Giuseppe Laterza & figli, 2009.


and a choice among one of the following texts:


G. C. Argan, Walter Gropius e la Bauhaus, Turin, Giulio Einaudi editore, 1988 and successive editions (original edition, Turin, Giulio Einaudi editore, 1951).


R. McCarter, Frank Lloyd Wright, Torino, Bollati Boringhieri, 2008 (ed. or. Frank Lloyd Wright, Londra, Reaktion books, 2006).


L. Sklair, The Icon Project: Architecture, Cities, and Capitalist Globalization, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2017.


C. Ginzburg, Paura reverenza terrore. Cinque saggi di iconografia politica, Milan, Adelphi, 2015 (English edition, Fear, Reverence, Terror: Five Essays in Political Iconography, Seagull Books, 2016).

Teaching methods

Lessons with projections and analyses of images.

Assessment methods

Written and oral examination. Grades are assigned in relation to a total of thirty points, with a laude for outstanding performance. The minimum passing grade is 18/30. Examinations will serve to verify the student’s level of preparation and critical skills in relation to the classroom lessons and assigned readings.

Teaching tools


Office hours

See the website of Alessandra Anselmi