Einführung in die Werkbetrachtung
Fall Term 2019, BA Art History, Univerity of Basel
(c) Roman Seifert

Fall Term 2019, BA Art History, University of Basel

The precise analysis and description of works of art is one of the most important prerequisites of art historical work and forms the basis for every scientific, professional and critical examination of visual art. Our analysis initially focuses on the "mode of operation" of individual works of art, for example by precisely identifying their formal, material and semantic properties.
How does a work produce its respective effect? What means are used to achieve this? How does it convey which information? What relationship does it maintain with the viewers, the context and the world? To address these questions, one's own perceptual experience must be translated into language as precisely as possible. This creates the indispensable basis for interpretation, theory formation and criticism of art.
We usually receive art in museums, art halls or churches; we take monuments or historical architectural decoration in public space or, last but not least, through reproductions. For this reason, the course will also open up fundamental exhibition-theoretical questions in order to discuss the interactions between the display conditions of art and its reception.

The course will teach, practice and apply the basic methods and instruments for precise analysis. For this purpose, exemplary works will be studied, described and discussed in detail. Students will also write their own texts on selected works. The course will partly take place in front of originals.