History of Art and Architecture is about the study of images, objects and buildings. It is unique in developing high levels of visual literacy applicable to a range of career pathways. It explores why works of art look the way they do and seeks to discover what they say about the societies that created them. It develops skills in visual analysis, critical assessment, and communication.
History of Art and Architecture will appeal to those interested in museums, galleries, architectural heritage, and visual culture. It provides students with essential knowledge and skills for documenting and analysing works of art and architecture. It hones an ability to describe and critically analyse images, builds a rich visual memory, and develops skills in research and its presentation. Students do not need any previous knowledge of art history or any practical skill in art to take this course.
Trinity boasts a wide range of expertise in Irish and European art from medieval manuscripts to contemporary art. Direct experience of objects, artworks, and buildings is fundamental to the discipline and Dublin’s impressive collections of paintings and sculpture, together with its rich architectural heritage provide an ideal basis for study. The proximity of the University to the city’s many museums and galleries renders site visits a central and distinctive feature of the undergraduate programme, and particular emphasis is placed on student engagement with the national collections. The Douglas Hyde Gallery, one of Ireland’s leading contemporary art galleries, is situated at Trinity. The University also has a major collection of manuscripts, paintings and sculpture, and a student committee assists the curator in managing this collection.
The pathways available are Single Honors, Major with Minor and Joint Honors. Click here for further information.
In recent years graduates have been employed as lecturers, curators, editors, and writers in universities, galleries, museums, publishing houses and art salesrooms in Ireland and abroad. These include the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Dulwich Picture Gallery, the Universities of Princeton, Oxford, Cambridge, and Saint Andrews, the National Gallery of Ireland, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Irish Architectural Archive, and University College Dublin. Graduates have also worked in a broad range of administrative, commercial, and media-based employment and have commented on the usefulness of visual literacy in marketing, public relations, and journalism.
This course teaches you how to analyse works of art and how to understand and explain their historical significance. You will take a broad range of modules covering the history of painting, sculpture, and architecture from antiquity to modern times. Topics available include early medieval art and architecture, the art of the Italian Renaissance, the art of nineteenth-century France, and the artistic and architectural achievements of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
In first year, students take modules that provide an introduction to various aspects of art and architecture, and to the practice of art history. These examine the critical analysis of artworks and structures in various mediums, the importance of iconography, and the different technical methods used by artists and architects from ancient Greece to the present day. In the first year the concentration is principally on Western art, while in second year students can take more focused modules in areas such as the Arts of Japan and Irish art.
In first year, single honors students also take modules exploring individual works of art, and how past scholarship and interpretation of art and architecture impacts on our understanding and approaches to art and architecture today. This is developed in the second year, when all students have the opportunity to take modules on the methodologies of art history and the display of art. Students may also participate in a work placements and study trips for credit.
In third and fourth years students have the opportunity to specialise in areas that are particular interest to them. In third year they can chose from a range of options that may include for example:
These courses comprise a mixture of lectures and small group seminars.
In their final year students select up to two topics dealing with the art-historical issues at a more specialised level. Where possible, these include the opportunity of studying primary sources and particular emphasis is placed on personal observation and interpretation of original works of art and architecture.
Examples of special subject topics include Art and Architecture in Late Medieval Ireland, Studies in Architecture and Ornament, Early Modern Portraiture, Gender, Art and Identity, Painting in Ireland and Britain c1800-1900, and Irish Modern and Contemporary Art.
Assessment is by coursework, examinations and a Capstone research project.
Students studying History of Art and Architecture may apply to spend a year abroad, using the exchange networks of the School of Histories and Humanities. These include Erasmus programme links with universities in Berlin, Istanbul, Madrid, Paris and Pisa. In addition, the programme facilitates exchanges with non-European institutions in Australia, Canada, China, Singapore and the USA.