Aesthetics and Theories of Art


To recognize there are both differences and points of contact between art history, history, aesthetics, art criticism. To recognize art history´s writing limitations. To identify main aesthetic and art theories in the writing of art history. To interpret fundamental texts of art theory and to relate artistic practices and art theories. To acquire the flexibility to critically analyze theories and practices in art history and to apply acquired knowledge in the study of art subjects of different times and places, and in other learning contexts. To relate theory from other disciplines or contexts with art theory and art history.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Sílvia Rosado Correia Patrício


Weekly - 4

Total - 168

Teaching language



Non Applicable


ELKINS, James, 2006. Art History versus Aesthetics, Routledge, Taylor and Francis
FERNIE, Eric (ed.), 1995. Art History and its methods, London: Phaidon
FOSTER, Hal (ed.), 1983. The Anti-Aesthetic Essays on Postmodern Culture, Seattle: Bay Press
GAUT, Berys, and LOPES, Dominic M., 2001. The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics, Routledge, Francis and Taylor
GREENBERG, Clement, 1961. Art and Culture, Boston: Beacon Press
HARRISON, Charles, WOOD, Paul, GAIGER, Jason (ed.), 1992-2003. Art in Theory 1648-1815; 1815-1900; 1900-1990, Oxford: Blackwell
RANCIÈRE, Jacques, 2010 [2000], A Partilha do Sensível (trad. V. Brito), Porto: Dafne Editores
SAID, Edward, 2004 [1978], Orientalismo, Lisboa: Cotovia
VICENTE, Filipa Lowndes, 2012. A Arte sem História. Mulheres e Cultura artística. Lisboa: Athena
SMITH, Paul, and WILDE, Caroline, 2002. A Companion to Art Theory, Oxford: Blackwell
(a bibliografia específica será dada em aula)
(further specific readings to be provided)


Teaching method

The teaching methodology consists in 3 hours per week of lecture lessons and 1 hour per week of discussion of previously read texts. The readings will be provided by the teacher in due time. There will be two visits to exhibitions.

Evaluation method

Final exam, open book (40%), One written report (2 pp max, Times, 12, leading 1.5) on one of the visited exhibitions – 15%; Writing assignment (5 pp max, Times 12, leading 1.5) on one of the class readings, authors or art works discussed in class, relating it with acquired knowledge + presentation in class – 20%(35%), Participation in class debate. Students are expected to come to class prepared and ready to discuss the assigned readings(25%)

Subject matter

Introduction: art history, history, aesthetics, art theory, art criticism
1. Plato, platonism, neo-platonism.
2. The origin of aesthetics and the Enlightment. Concepts of Beauty, Sublime, Genius. Kant and the history of art.
3. Hegel and the consolidation of art history as a discipline.
4. Nietzsche, the apolinean and the dionisyac.
5. Aesthetics and Politics. Aesthetics and marxism. Form and content: debates on realism.
6. Theories of modernism and modernisms.
7. Structuralism and post-structuralism: impact on art theory.
8. Post-colonial theory: critic of eurocentric knowledge. Edward Said´s Orientalism. Subaltern stories.
9. The anti-aesthetic.
10. Gender studies and art theory.
11. The dominance of the image: theory of modern perception.
12. The aesthetic regime of the arts of Jacques Rancière


Programs where the course is taught: