The Open University since 2006
Alternatively you can skip the navigation by pressing 'Enter'.
Full Steam Ahead: Episode oneSaturday, 23rd July 2016 16:30 - BBC TwoThe first episode of Full Steam Ahead looks at the way Britain changed in the 19th century due to the railways Read more: Full Steam Ahead: Episode one
Thinking Allowed July 2016: Food bank Britain, Food poverty in EuropeMonday, 25th July 2016 00:15 - BBC Radio 4
Exodus: Our Journey To Europe: EPISODE 1Wednesday, 27th July 2016 02:45 - BBC Two
Exodus: Our Journey To Europe: EPISODE 2Thursday, 28th July 2016 00:45 - BBC Two (except Scotland and Northern Ireland)
Full Steam Ahead: Episode oneAvailable until Monday, 22nd August 2016 17:30The first episode of Full Steam Ahead looks at the way Britain changed in the 19th century due to the railways Read more: Full Steam Ahead: Episode one
Thinking Allowed July 2016: Food bank Britain, Food poverty in EuropeAvailable for over a year
Exodus: Our Journey To Europe: EPISODE 3Available until Friday, 19th August 2016 01:15
Exodus: Our Journey To Europe: EPISODE 2Available until Friday, 19th August 2016 00:15
OpenLearn Live: 22nd July 2016A biochemist with a fearsome reputation; how drones are helping ferrets and keeping your workers... Read more: OpenLearn Live: 22nd July 2016
Full Steam AheadIt’s Full Steam Ahead for historians Ruth Goodman, Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn as they bring... Read more: Full Steam Ahead
Employment relations and employee engagementThis free course, Employment relations and employee engagement, looks at raising levels of... Try: Employment relations and employee engagement now
Introduction to bookkeeping and accountingLearn about the essential numerical skills required for accounting and bookkeeping. This free... Try: Introduction to bookkeeping and accounting now
What is art? What is visual culture? How have they changed through history? This free course, Art and visual culture: Medieval to modern, explores the fundamental issues raised by the study of western art and visual culture over the last millennium. It moves from discussing the role of the artist and the functions of art during the medieval and Renaissance periods to considering the concept and practice of art in the era of the academies, before finally addressing the question of modern art and the impact of globalisation.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- understand the changing perceptions and definitions of art across history
- understand the relationship between ‘art’ and visual culture
- understand the global dimension of art and how it has changed over time
- understand the significance of notions of ‘function’ and ‘autonomy’ for art history
- understand the role of patronage, institutions and the wider historical context in shaping art.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Medieval to Renaissance
- 1.1 Art, visual culture and skill
- 1.2 Artists, patrons and workshops
- 2 Academy to avant-garde
- 2.1 From function to autonomy
- 2.2 From the Baroque to Romanticism
- 2.3 From patronage to the public sphere
- 3 Modernity to globalisation
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
Art and visual culture: Medieval to modern
This introduction to the history of art and visual culture provides a broad overview of the major developments in western art between c.1100 and the present day. It is divided into three parts, each of which explores the concept and practice of art in a distinct historical period. The first part, ‘Medieval to Renaissance’, explores the diverse forms of art and the varied functions it fulfilled before 1600. The second part, ‘Academy to avant-garde’, explores a period in which the theory and practice of art was dominated by painting, sculpture and architecture. The final part, ‘Modernity to globalisation’, explores the period since 1850, showing how art has diversified into a wide range of forms and media.
This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Wednesday, 6th January 2016
Last updated on: Wednesday, 6th January 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
If you enjoyed this, why not follow a feed to find out when we have new things like it? Choose an RSS feed from the list below. (Don't know what to do with RSS feeds?)
Remember, you can also make your own, personal feed by combining tags from around OpenLearn.
- Latest OpenLearn pages
- Latest pages from OpenLearn - History & The Arts
- Latest pages from OpenLearn - Visual Art
- Latest pages tagged - art
- Latest pages tagged - art history
- Latest pages tagged - painting
- Latest pages tagged - architecture
- Latest pages tagged - sculpture
- Latest pages tagged - art criticism
- Latest pages tagged - Art Deco
- Latest pages tagged - renaissance
- Latest pages tagged - enlightenment
- Latest pages tagged - installation art
- Latest pages tagged - exhibition
- Latest pages tagged - A226_1
- Latest comments on this page
All our alternative formats are free for you to download, for more information about the different formats we offer please see our FAQs. The most frequently used are Word (for accessibility), PDF (for print) and ePub and Kindle to download to eReaders*.
- Word (3.8 MB)
- PDF (5.2 MB)
- ePub 3.0 (3.3 MB)
- ePub 2.0 (3.3 MB)
- Kindle (1.8 MB)
- RSS (330 KB)
- HTML (3.1 MB)
- SCORM (3.1 MB)
- OUXML Package (52 KB)
- OUXML File (149 KB)
- IMS Common cartridge
- Moodle backup (3.3 MB)
*Please note you will need an ePub and Mobi reader for these formats.