Warning! This unit contains mature content and may not be suitable for some students. Any student under the age of 16 who would like to enrol in this unit must first complete a Parental Consent Form.

Subject details

At the completion of this subject students will be able to:

  1. research the major developments in Western art and design history and explain how they were related to the cultural context in which they occurred.
  2. demonstrate and present clear articulation of research-based analysis using appropriate technologies.
  3. demonstrate the ability to synthesise new knowledge in the analysis of any art and design work.
  4. demonstrate the ability to research for the analysis of an art and design work.
    • Western Philosophical Thought
    • Indian art
    • Chinese and Japanese art
    • Islamic art
    • Gothic art
    • The Renaissance
    • The Reformation and Counter Reformation
    • Neo-classicism
    • Romanticism
    • Realism to Impressionism
    • Expressionism
    • Modernism
  • Study resources

    • Instructional methods

      • Discussion forum/Discussion Board
      • Online assignment submission
      • Standard Media
      • Web links
    • Online materials

      • Resources and Links


You must have a high level of proficiency in the English language and competent essay writing skills.

Special requirements

No special requirements

This subject was previously known as VIS18 Historical Issues in Art and Design.

This subject provides students will an introduction to some of the key ideas and events in the history of art and design from 1900 to the present. It is intended as a basic introduction to the history of ideas and the effects such ideas have had on the recent evolution of art and design. While this subject has a Euro-centric bias, ideas from other cultural histories are introduced. Students are taught the visual literacy and analysis needed to be able to understand historical and contemporary design and art.

Please Note: If it’s your first time studying a Curtin University subject you’ll need to complete their compulsory ‘Academic Integrity Program’. It only takes two hours to complete online, and provides you with vital information about studying with Curtin University. The Academic Integrity Program is compulsory, so if it’s not completed your subject grades will be withheld.

Find out more about the Academic Integrity module.

  • Draft Essay (10%)
  • Final Essay (35%)
  • Analysis Test (30%)
  • Investigation (25%)

Textbooks are subject to change within the academic year. Students are advised to purchase their books no earlier than one to two months before the start of a subject.

View textbooks

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