History of Spanish Art (in English)

Universidad Pablo de Olavide

Course Description

  • Course Name

    History of Spanish Art (in English)

  • Host University

    Universidad Pablo de Olavide

  • Location

    Seville, Spain

  • Area of Study

    Art History

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Course Description
    In this course the student will come to understand, distinguish, and enjoy the different artistic styles & periods found in Spain. The purpose of this course is to give the student an introduction to the History of Spanish Art, beginning with cave painting and ending with the 21st century; this will be accomplished by looking at painting, sculpture, and architecture. Students will learn about the influences of the different cultures that once called the Iberian Peninsula home, and that have shaped Spanish history and art. These influences are obvious within the city of Seville and its surroundings; therefore, special attention will be paid to those sites of historical and artistic influence around the city.
    Although this course is not an art appreciation course, the student will learn how to appreciate art; therefore, you will not be graded on whether or not you understand, for example, Freudian thinking when applied to Surrealist artist. On the other hand, you will be expected to know that Dalí was a Surrealist painter.

    Course Goals and Methodology

    This course will begin with a series of lectures on architectonical elements and nomenclature, followed by painting, and at times sculpture.   Students will also learn the vocabulary relevant to the architectural and artistic styles that will enable him/her to not only identify but compare in detail two different works of art.  Some of the artistic styles that will be covered in this course are the following:  native cultures & their art (pre-Roman), Roman, Gothic, Mudéjar, Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassical, etc., up to the Modern period.  Seville, with its monuments and museums, offers a wonderful setting to learn about these artistic styles firsthand.    

    Each unit begins with a presentation of the period’s historical outline and the general artistic context of Spain, followed by contact with the different works divided into architecture, sculpture, and painting.  Although each class period relies heavily on PowerPoint presentations, field trips are also encouraged.  Albeit not required, participating in these field trips will give students the opportunity to see firsthand some of the works of art, such as buildings and painting, as well as the topics discussed in class. 

    Learning Objectives
    Students should be able to identify, analyze and critically evaluate the most important artistic manifestations in Spain, and specifically to Seville. By doing so, the student can interpret and compare the function of basic architectural components such as arches and buttresses; be able to develop the basic vocabulary of architectural terminology and typology necessary to understand and describe architecture. Furthermore, the student should be able to describe the decisive periods for the formation of Seville?s identity: Islamic art and its legacy of eight centuries, and the artistic production in the Golden centuries with its contradictions and excesses (such as the Baroque); to be able to place the works of art studied in the course and assess their time and place in history, taking into account the influence of different peoples and civilizations. And finally to be able to summarize each artistic period (or author), providing the general background for the analysis of the most representative works of art included in the syllabus.

    Required Texts

    Serradilla Avery, Dan M., A History of Spanish Art.  (UPO, 2009). (This text should be purchased by the student after the first day of class; purchasing locations will be announced in class). 

    Additional bibliography
    Gombrich, E.H., The Story of Art. London, 2006).
    Moffitt, J., The Arts in Spain. (London, 1999).
    Harris, J., Art History: The Key Concepts. (London, 2006).
    Sánchez Mantero, R., A Short History of Seville. (Seville, 1992).

    Course Requirements and Grading
    Oral participation is very important, and each student is expected to contribute enthusiastically and to be courteous while in class. The participation grade will take into account the initiative and creativity during the different activities scheduled during the course, but also any outside activity that the student may participate in.

    Students must come prepared to class, which means that each chapter must be read prior to class (excluding the first two days of classes), and students are expected to arrive on time. Furthermore, after every chapter, students will be given a series of questions regarding the readings. These questions, which will be posted online from day one, must be submitted via email (on the body of the email, no attachments please), and are due by 10am on the following session/class time. Failure to adhere to these rules will result on an automatic zero for each assignment. These questions can also serve as a study guide, since some of the questions may appear in the examination.
    There are two exams and a final examination. Students will also work on a Museum Assignment based upon to Seville?s Fine Arts Museum. Specific information on this assignment and the visit will be given in due course.

    The final grade is broken down as follows:

    Class Participation     10%

    Chapter Assignment (3)    10%

    Quizzes (2)      20%

    Exams (3)       60% 

    All assignments will be graded using the Spanish grade scale, please see the UPO student handbook for further detail.

    Course Schedule

    Unit 1 – Introduction & pre-Roman art in Iberia:

    Session 1 – Introduction & overview of syllabus

    Session 2 – From the Stone Age to the Mental Ages

    Session 3 – Ancient Art prior to Rome in the IP

    Reading: chapter 1 (prehistory) & chapter 2 (ancient history)  

    Unit 2 – Roman art:

    Session 4 – Greco-Roman Art

    Session 5 – Hispanic-Roman Art

    Reading: chapter 3 (hispania romana)  

    Unit 3 – Muslim art:

    Session 6 – Arabia & Islam

    Session 7 – Hispanic-Muslim Art

    Reading: chapter 4 (muslim al-andalus) 

    Unit 4 – Pre-Romanesque & Romanesque Art:

    Session 8 – Visigothic, Asturian, & Mozarab Art

    Session 9 – Romanesque Art

    Reading: chapter 5 (pre-romansque) & chapter 6 (romanesque)  

    Unit 5 – Gothic Art:

    Session 10 – Gothic Architecture

    Session 11 – Gothic Painting

    Reading: chapter 7 (gothic)  

    Session 12 - EXAM 1 (Chapter 1-7) – Mar. 7th  

    Unit 6 – Renaissance Art:

    Session 13 – Renaissance Architecture

    Session 14 – Renaissance Painting & Sculpture

    Reading: chapter 8 (renaissance)  

    Unit 7 – Baroque Art:

    Session 15 – Architecture

    Session 16 – Painting I

    Session 17 – Painting II & Sculpture

    Reading: chapter 9 (baroque)  

    Unit 8 – Neoclassical Art:

    Session 18 – Architecture

    Session 19 – Painting & Goya I

    Session 20 – Goya II

    Reading: chapter 10 (neoclassical)  

    Session 21 – EXAM 2 (Chapter 8-10) – Apr. 13th  

    Unit 9 – Art since 1850:

    Session 22 – Architecture

    Session 23 & 24 – Sculpture

    Session 25 & 26 – Painting since 1850

    Reading: chapter 11 (architecture), chapter 12 (painting), chapter 13 (sculpture)  

    Session 27 – EXAM 3 (Chapter 11-13) (date/time TBA) 

    Visits (optional):
    -Italica (free)
    -Museum of Fine Arts of Seville (free)

    This syllabus is subject to change.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations


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