ARTH211-21S1 (C) Semester One 2021

Theory of Criticism

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 22 February 2021
End Date: Sunday, 27 June 2021
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 7 March 2021
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 14 May 2021


This course examines the history, theory and practice of writing about visual art.

This course provides a historical and theoretical framework within which to understand the nature and purpose of writing about art and art criticism. To this purpose, the course is presented in two parts. The first part follows the history of writing about art from the Italian Renaissance to Modernist critics and beyond. We examine the nature of their work, and clarify what they themselves understood as the kind of activity they were engaged in. The second half focuses on particular issues and problems related to writing about art and art criticism.

Learning Outcomes

1. Understanding of the history of writing about art, from the Renaissance to the present day.
2. Ability to identify and explain key characteristics of art writing in general, and the character of individual writers about art, including in Aotearoa New Zealand.  
3. Awareness and understanding of the nature of critical and historical art writing, and aesthetic issues related to writing about art.
4. Understanding of – and ability to describe – the relationship between the art object and critical writing about it.

University Graduate Attributes

This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

Employable, innovative and enterprising

Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.


Any 15 points at 100 level from ARTH, or
60 points at 100 level from the Schedule V of the BA.



Course Coordinator

Richard Bullen


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Online Tests 30%
Essay 30%
Final Exam 40%

Please check the course LEARN page for further details and updates.

Textbooks / Resources

There is no textbook for this course. All readings are available through the course’s LEARN site.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $785.00

International fee $3,500.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Humanities and Creative Arts .

All ARTH211 Occurrences

  • ARTH211-21S1 (C) Semester One 2021