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Unit Overview


Michelangelo had a long and prolific career as a painter, sculptor, architect, draftsman and poet. Already during his lifetime, Michelangelo was celebrated as a divine genius and by the time of his death in 1564 it was hard to separate the man from the myth. In this seminar-style unit students attempt to reconstruct the artist's mind by studying how Michelangelo, through his artistic practice, reflected on the nature of art. The master's major works are subjected to a close visual and historiographical analysis, and placed within a broader theoretical and artistic fifteenth- and sixteenth-century framework.

6 points
Not available in 2024UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 option in the History of Art major sequence
  • Level 3 elective

Students are able to (1) understand the historical and cultural contexts of Michelangelo's life and work; (2) apply key theoretical approaches to the discourses around Michelangelo's art; (3) actively participate in discussions and provoke debate; (4) understand the history of Michelangelo's art and its relationship to the Italian Renaissance and other areas of art history; (5) integrate visual and aesthetic analyses of artworks into historical and theoretical arguments; and (6) make clear and logical argument with theoretical underpinning and critical evaluation of the literature.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) research proposal; (2) research paper; 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
at least one Level 2 unit from the History of Art major sequence
Advisable prior study
VISA2275 Italian Renaissance Art and Architecture
or HART2275 Italian Renaissance Art and Architecture
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week
seminars: 2 hours 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.