85186 - History of Artistic Literature

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Lucia Corrain

  • Credits 6

  • SSD L-ART/04

  • 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)

  • Course Timetable from Feb 06, 2023 to Mar 07, 2023


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

No poverty Zero hunger Quality education Gender equality

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

The course covers the history of art histories, i.e. it enables students to deepen their knowledge of what was discussed and disseminated through written form in the cultural and social milieu to which the artist belonged, in the different eras, bearing in mind that each example of artistic literature is the result of a complex process of reflection and is filtered through the dominant currents of thought. By the end of the course the student will achieve a good level of knowledge of the fundamental texts produced by artists, men of letters, scholars and philosophers; they acquire the key tools for the framing of artistic production over time and in different places.

Course contents

In today's age, the image is at the centre of attention: our lives are surrounded by a myriad of images that lead the eye to a kind of addiction. Careful observation is certainly a good viaticum for a better understanding of the paintings and other images that art history has delivered and continues to deliver to us; understanding will be even more effective if corroborated by appropriate readings.

Ekphrasis is a term of Greek derivation that indicates the description of a work of art, a descriptive discourse that effectively places the object before one’s 'eyes'. The starting point for this will be the ekphrasis of Philostratus Major (a 2nd century Greek writer), leading to the writings of authors closer to the present day, in order to compare different ways of describing the image.


All students are required to study the following texts:

Tutti gli studenti sono tenuti allo studio dei seguenti testi:

Filostrato Maggiore, Immagini, introduzione, traduzione e commento a cura di Letizia Abbondanza, Aragno 2008 (o altre edizioni).

Barthes, R., (1982), L’ovvio e l’ottuso, Einaudi, Torino 2001.

Calvino, I., 1995, Saggi 1945-1985, Mario Barenghi, a cura, Milano, Mondadori, tomo I e II (la scelta dei saggi da studiare verrà indicata successivamente).

Perec, G., Specie di spazi, Bollati Boringhieri, Torino 1989 (o altre edizioni).

Perec, G., Storia di un quadro, Skira, Milano, 2011 (o altre edizioni).

Corrain L., “Paesaggi di parole: l’esperienza visiva di Calvino”, E/C, 2008, pp. 1-20 (scaricabile http://www.ec-aiss.it/archivio/tematico/visualita/visualita.php).

For attending students, there is a workshop part involving the active participation of the students who will have to present a literary text (other than the ones they have to study) in the classroom in which an artistic 'object' is described.

Teaching methods

The frontal lectures will be supplemented by seminar sessions for the attending students, who will have to present a museum case in the classroom describing the main transformations it has undergone.

Assessment methods

Oral examination aimed to assess the critical skills acquired during the course by the students, who are expected to deal with the texts in the syllabus according to the teacher’s analysis methods during the lectures. Students shall demonstrate an appropriate knowledge of the recommended readings.

1. It will be graded as excellent the performance of those students demonstrating to be able to thoroughly analyze the texts and know how to put them into an organic view of the topics of the course. A proper use of the specific language during the interview will be also essential.

2. It will be graded as discrete the performance of those students with a mostly mnemonic knowledge, no in-depth analysis capabilities, and a correct, but not always appropriate, language of the recommended texts.

3. It will be graded as barely sufficient the performance of those students with an approximate knowledge, superficial understanding, poor analytical capabilities and an inappropriate language.

4. It will be graded as non-sufficient the performance of those students with learning gaps, inappropriate language, no orientation within the recommended bibliography

Teaching tools

Handouts and further reading will be available on the UNIBO platform https://virtuale.unibo.it.

Office hours

See the website of Lucia Corrain