Introduction to the History of Art


1. To introduce students to the theoretical, methodological, analytical and descriptive tools of Art History (specific bibliography, artists’dictionaries, online repositories of images, how to put together a bibliography, how to prepare a critical review, etc.)
2. To explain the main foundations of the Art History as a discipline that studies and interprets the artistic phenomenon over time, and its main methodological guidelines;
3. To explain how to use the basic tools of the discipline to approach the study of works of art, taking into account their multiple components (formal, physical, aesthetic, ideological, sociological, symbolic, iconological);
4. To develop a critical thinking about the discipline of Art History and increase the written and oral abilities, using an appropriate historical-artistic lexicon.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Joana Margarida Gregório Baião


Weekly - 4

Total - 168

Teaching language





BAZIN, Germain, História da História da Arte. De Vasari a nossos dias, São Paulo: Martins Fontes, 1989.
BERGER, John, Ways of Seeing. London: Penguin, 2008.
CALABRESE, Omar, Como ler uma obra de arte. Lisboa: Edições 70, 1999.
CALADO, Margarida, PAIS DA SILVA, Jorge Henrique, Dicionário de Termos da Arte e Arquitectura, Lisboa: Editorial Presença, 2005.
ELKINS, James, Is Art History Global? New York: Routledge, 2006.
FERNIE, Eric, Art History and its methods: a critical anthology. London: Phaidon, 1995.
HERRERA, Antonio Urzicar, Historiografía del Arte. Madrid: Editorial Universitaria Ramón Areces, 2017.
MANSFIELD, Elizabeth, ed., Art History and its Institutions. Foundations of a Discipline. London and New York: Routledge, 2002.
MITCHELL, W.J.T., Picture Theory. Essays on Verbal and Visual Representation. Chicago; London: The University of Chicago Press, 1994.
PREZIOSI, Donald, ed., The Art of Art History: A Critical Anthology. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Teaching method

Lectures are supported by images and films´ excerpts and are complemented
by visits to libraries and museums in Lisbon.

Evaluation method

Método de avaliação - a work. Late papers will be penalized and may not be accepted.(40%), a written exam(50%), class participation(10%)

Subject matter

The course will proceed thematically, in an effort to avoid a linear history of art. Subjects covered will include: What is art history; the artist’s biography; the concept of style and the problems that arise from it; subject matter analysis (iconography/iconology); periodization of art history and the problems of time; geography of art history (regions, centers, peripheries, provinces etc.); narratives in museology and exhibitions; etc. All of these will be illustrated through concrete case studies, and the emphasis will be on specific problems surrounding specific objects.
The students, at the end of the course, should be able to distinguish between periods, styles, geographical areas and the general concepts traditionally employed in the discipline of Art History.



Programs where the course is taught: