Course Details

Course Information Package

Course Unit CodeMFA502
Course Unit DetailsMA Fine Art: Contemporary Art Practices (Required Courses) -
Number of ECTS credits allocated4
Learning Outcomes of the course unitBy the end of the course, the students should be able to:
  1. Identify key philosophical and aesthetic concepts from ancient to modern times.
  2. Use analysis and synthesis to develop advanced critical thinking.
  3. Acquire skills in specialised scientific research and methodology.
  4. Generate critical arguments using comparative analysis.
  5. Explore ideas and opinions to constructively engage in a comprehensive critique of Western thought.
  6. Investigate theoretical and philosophical concepts through seminal philosophical texts on art.
  7. Develop a personal style of critical approach to philosophical ideas on art and implement it in a written thesis.
Mode of DeliveryFace-to-face
Recommended optional program componentsNONE
Course Contents

Thecourse introduces students to key concepts in aesthetics and art theory fromantiquity to the beginning of the 20th century. Based on the declaration ofImmanuel Kant that art is not an object of knowledge and the effects thisdeclaration had on philosophy and critical theory, the course proposes a historicaland conceptual overview of the relationship between philosophy and art. Throughseminal texts on aesthetics and art theory by major Western philosophers, whosethinking challenged and was shaped by the incommensurability of art toestablished orders of knowledge, the course examines the evolution ofphilosophical thought based on the nature of aesthetic experience. Startingfrom Plato’s Republic and Aristotle’s Poetics the course examines issuesof representation, expression, form and context. The course examines some ofthe most influential texts about art and aesthetics. It focuses for example on,Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Judgment, oneof the founding texts of aesthetics, which represents a crosscurrent of ideasspringing from the metaphysical tradition of philosophy and the growth ofRomantic thought in the eighteenth century. It also delves into the Hegelianthought by analysing the IntroductoryLectures on Aesthetics by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, who developed ateleological account of the history of humankind’s awakening consciousness andrealization of Spirit (Geist).

Friedrich Nietzsche Twilight of the Idols and TheWill to Power as Art are also two of the seminalreferences of this course portraying Nietzsche’s idea that a philosophicalconsideration of art’s status is the key not only to reappraisal of Westernvalues, as underpinned by metaphysics, but also to a new philosophy oflife.  The course also proposes ananalysis of Sigmund Freud’s Beyond thePleasure Principle-Leonardo da Vinci and a Memory of His Childhood, inwhich we trace Freud’s art related theories: that art is a vehicle forpsychical conflicts and that creativity is a form of sublimation. Seminal textsby Georges Bataille, Walter Benjamin, Martin Heidegger, Jacques Lacan, MichelFoucault, Theodor Adorno and Roland Barthes thinkers and philosophers of thefirst half of the 20th century are also examined. Through theirinfluential writings on art, the course demonstrates how philosophy adopted anew orientation toward aesthetic experience and subjectivity.
Recommended and/or required reading:
    No specific textbook required
  • Noel Carrol, Philosophy of Art: A Contemporary Introduction, London: Routledge, 2010
  • Robert Williams, Art Theory: An Historical Introduction, Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009
  • Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgement, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008
  • Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Introductory Lectures on Aesthetics, London: Penguin, 1993
  • Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power, New York: Vintage Books, 1968
  • Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power, New York: Vintage Books, 1968
  • Christopher Kul-Want (Ed.), Philosophers on Art from Kant to the Postmodernists, A Critical Reader, Columbia University Press, 2010.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods ·  Lectures and illustrated presentations
·  Group discussions and critical debates
·  Work analysis
·  Historical and philosophical research
·  Critical essay and oral presentations

Assessment methods and criteria
Research & Methodology20%
Experimentation & Analysis15%
Class Participation15%
Oral presentation & Analysis20%
Final Written Essay30%
Language of instructionEnglish
Work placement(s)NO

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