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You can prepare for this free course, Making sense of art history, by looking around you. It's likely that wherever you are you'll be able to see some images. It's also likely that many of these will be intended to have some sort of effect on you. In the course itself you will be exploring the power of images via a study of contemporary art from the 1980s onwards. Taking the time to look beyond the immediate appearance of an art work to consider what the artist might be trying to say can be immensely rewarding.
Studying this unit will:
- enable you to develop your ability to identify the effects of art works;
- introduce you to a range of artistic techniques, such as the use of colour, composition and medium;
- enable you to explore the relationship between effects and techniques in a range of art works;
- enable you to explore some of the factors involved in interpreting meaning;
- enable you to explore the significance of context in informing the interpretation of art works;
- enable you to further develop your study skills.
- Current section: Learning outcomes
- Learning Outcomes
- 1 What is art?
- 2 The Turner Prize: an annual farce or a celebration of creativity?
- 3 Art works and their effects
- 4 The relationship between effects and techniques
- 5 Colour
- 5.1 Introduction
- 5.2 Question 1: Has a wide or narrow palette of colours been used?
- 5.3 Question 2: Have contrasting colours been placed next to each other?
- 5.4 Question 3: Are there more warm colours than cool colours or vice versa?
- 5.5 Question 4: Are the colours largely bright or dull?
- 5.6 Question 5: In what way is dark and light colour used?
- 5.7 Comparing art works
- 6 Medium
- 7 Composition
- 8 Meaning and interpretation
- 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!
Making sense of art history
Studying this unit will:
enable you to develop your ability to identify the effects of art works;
introduce you to a range of artistic techniques, such as the use of colour, composition and medium;
enable you to explore the relationship between effects and techniques in a range of art works;
enable you to explore some of the factors involved in interpreting meaning;
enable you to explore the significance of context in informing the interpretation of art works;
enable you to further develop your study skills.
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free History & The Arts courses or view the range of currently available OU History & The Arts courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Friday, 6th January 2012
Last updated on: Monday, 17th March 2014
- 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.
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