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  • Term Mode
  • Offshore Trimester 3Attendance (Rome)


10 cp from 100-level units in Art History, History, Theological Studies, Studies of Religion or Philosophy

Unit rationale, description and aim

The ''Rome of the Popes'' was one of the key centres of the High Renaissance and the birthplace of Baroque. By focusing on these periods in a three-week intensive field trip, students will engage with the works in situ, looking at how art practice was influenced by the beliefs and politics of the Reformation and Counter-reformation and the way in which classical iconography was transformed by Renaissance and Baroque artists. This unit illustrates a bridge between the classical and modern periods, demonstrating the influence of the past but also examining the emerging importance of the ‘individual’, ‘truth’ and relationships of power that have become key to our understanding of western culture. Exploring these narratives whilst critiquing the works will provide students with a new way of imagining the socio-political and aesthetic fabric of the period and the ways in which they connect to the history of western humanity and the arts as a whole.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Demonstrate an understanding of the symbiotic relationship between visual culture and religion within the contexts of the social, politics and religious history of RomeGC1, GC2, GC3
LO2Analyse and evaluate the cultural artifacts (art and architecture) within the context of relevant primary and secondary material for the time period studiedGC1, GC2, GC3, GC4
LO3Analyse the influence of Rome as a preeminent centre of cultural production on the imagery of Europe and the ‘New Worlds’GC1, GC2, GC3
LO4Research and critique visual and/or historical evidence within the context of the periodGC1, GC2, GC3, GC4


Topics may include:

  • The way in which the art of Renaissance and Baroque Rome draws on the iconographies of a Classical past whilst demonstrating the concerns of an age interested in faith, truth and the growing importance of the power of the individual
  • The importance of Rome and its Catholic history in shaping part of the fundamental socio-political discourses of the early modern period: those of commerce and statehood
  • The effect of patronage and the influence of the Vatican in the development of arts and artists in Rome
  • An examination of the significance of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation on the type of art and why it was produced across the period
  • The relationship between the cultural centre of Rome and that of Florence and Venice in the same time frame
  • The significance of ‘New World’ cultures appropriating the Classical, Renaissance and Baroque imagery of Rome to demonstrate and reinforce Enlightenment values
  • The meaning and significance of ‘Rome’ in pre- and post-unification Italy (19th and 20th centuries)
  • Showcasing the most outstanding examples of Renaissance, Mannerist and Baroque art through direct experiences with the masterpieces of the day

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is taught intensively in Rome across 10 days in a 3-week period Students also have the opportunity to attend a range of other cultural events such as theatre, music and dance shows if they wish. The learning and teaching strategy used within this unit is to introduce students to a broad range of visual art and culture creating an immersive learning experience in which students are actively involved in building on their previously acquired knowledge of art history and theory in the context of live, in-situ, experience of art objects and cultural diversity. The main aim in doing this is for students to develop multi-layered critical responses to the analysis and research of art history and theory, to develop greater awareness of global issues and to foster empathy and worldliness.

Assessment strategy and rationale

Assessment types for this unit include a range of textual analyses to contextualise and develop some awareness of the Renaissance and Baroque periods and a research essay. One purpose of these assessments is to extend students' essay writing skills as well as critical, visual analysis and research skills. Another is to scaffold learning to give students a chance to acclimatise to the immersive environment, to research and discuss works whilst we are in Rome and then to complete a research essay upon return which also requires students to reflect on cultural production in the wider global context.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1: Textual Analysis

This assignment will focus on 3D visual analysis: buildings and built structures.


LO1, LO2, LO3

Assessment Task 2: Textual Analysis

This assignment will focus on 2D visual analysis: paintings and drawings 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Assessment Task 3: Research Essay

To allow students to bring together critical research, writing and visual analysis.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Representative texts and references

Bailey, G. A. (2015). Between Renaissance and Baroque: Jesuit art in Rome, 1565-1610. University of Toronto Press.

Bosworth, R. J. B. (2011). Whispering city: Modern Rome and its histories. Yale University Press.

Caldwell, D. S., & Caldwell, L. (2011). Rome: Continuing encounters between past and present. Ashgate.

Hollingsworth, M., & Richardson, C. M. (2010). The possessions of a Cardinal: Politics, piety, and art, 1450-1700. The Pennsylvania State University Press.

Martin, J. R. (2018). Baroque. Routledge.

Morello, G. (1993). Vatican treasures: 2000 years of art and culture in the Vatican and Italy. Electa.

Murray, P., & Murray, L. (1963). The art of the Renaissance. Thames and Hudson.

Murray, L. (1977). The high Renaissance and Mannerism: Italy, the North and Spain, 1500-1600. Thames and Hudson.

Ostrow, S. (1996). Arts and spirituality in counter-reformation Rome: The Sistine and Pauline chapels in S. Maria Maggiore. Cambridge University Press.

Sanger, A. E., & Walker, S. T. K. (2012). Sense and the senses in early modern art and cultural practice. Ashgate.

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