Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


In Italian art of the seventeenth century, things are never quite as they seem. Caravaggio's highly naturalistic paintings merge biblical figures with local prostitutes and beggars; the sculptor Bernini turns hard marble into soft flesh and stillness into motion; Borromini's buildings appear to pulsate and envelope their visitors; and heaven and earth converge in vast ceiling paintings of palaces and churches. Besides such illusions, the Baroque revels in drama. Art no longer needs to be aesthetically pleasing - it can be ugly or horrific in its quest to provoke strong emotions. It is a period of innovation, producing the first feminist artist and the first global style. Yet it also is the first period fully aware of the history of art, bringing about changes in collecting and theorising art that reverberate into the nineteenth century. This unit examines Baroque art and architecture in the context of major historical developments, such as the Catholic Counter-Reformation and early colonialism. It also studies contemporary art theory through the prism of its arguable most iconic artist, the Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.

6 points
Not available in 2024UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 option in the History of Art major sequence
  • Level 2 elective

Students are able to (1) demonstrate oral communication and interpersonal skills; (2) analyse formal and technical qualities of Mannerist and Baroque artworks; (3) place artworks in cultural and historical contexts of central and southern Europe in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and demonstrate an understanding of how artworks can mediate social or cultural meaning; (4) apply principles of argument in art historical discourse; and (5) apply research techniques in art historiography.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) short essay; (2) long essay; and (3) oral assessment. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Arvi Wattel
Unit rules
HART1000 Great Moments in Art (formerly VISA1000)
or HART1003 Ways of Seeing: Themes and Theories in Art
VISA2207 Art of the Counter-Reformation
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week
tutorials: 1 hour per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.