Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Materials and Methods
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 9 x 1 Hour Lectures
Workshop 9 x 3 Hour Workshops


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Coursework  Workshop Journal documenting the practical sessions (2,500 words) with a portfolio of artworks  100%
Supplementary Assessment Coursework for resit.  As above  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

distinguish between, describe and analyse artists’ use of materials and techniques;

evidence a critical understanding of the technical and art historical contexts of artists and their works;

demonstrate a practical understanding and sure handling of the terminology of artists’ methods and materials;

engage in informed discussion about an artist’s achievements;

apply powers of observation and interpretative skills to appraise works of art.

Brief description

This module, designed exclusively for single honours art history students, will provide insights into how art objects are made. It offers a practical introduction to the techniques, materials and tools of the artist’s trade, considering their historical development as well as current usage. Through lectures, demonstrations, practical workshops and analysis of original artworks from the School of Art Museum collection, students will learn to identify and analyse a wide range of artists’ materials and techniques.

Technical and scientific advances – such as research in medicine, optics, chemistry and geometry – led to innovations in the production of art. Artists recognized and exploited the creative possibilities of developments in areas completely independent of art practice: the opening of trade routes with the Far East brought papers for printmaking in Europe; Michelangelo engaged with progresses in the study of anatomy, Leonardo in geometry and optics; high levels of humidity in Venice resulted in artists working on canvas; collapsible metal tubes for oil paint allowed artists to paint outdoors; bright synthetic colours offered new possibilities for the Impressionists; the invention of photography led artists to seek alternative ways of seeing and representing the world; by-products of the petrochemical industry gave us plastic paints like PVA and acrylics; and the onset of the digital age changed the way that art – no longer necessarily a physical object – was made, seen and distributed.

Since the materials used and techniques employed contribute significantly to the appearance of an art object, artists have conceived ideas especially for a process and chosen specific materials to help them realise an artwork. Practical experience and an understanding of the characteristics peculiar to each medium, its limitations and creative potential, offer a certain understanding and insight that is only possible through hands-on experience. This module not only helps the student of art history to appreciate, interpret and engage in informed discussion about an artist’s achievements, it also extends students’ vocabulary and ways of looking at art.

Compared to most UK university art history departments, the School of Art is well placed to offer practice-led workshops in the training of art historians. Our art history students have access to painting studios, print workshops, life drawing classes, darkrooms and the resources of an accredited museum and gallery. Mindful of the career prospects of our graduates, this module offers valuable practical insights and vocational skills for those who seek employment in museums, auction houses, galleries and in arts administration.


1. Introduction [Lecture, 1 hour]
2. Intaglio Printmaking [Lecture, 1 hour]
Preparing and Making an Etching [Workshop, 3 hours]
3. Relief Printmaking [Lecture, 1 hour]
Printing an Etching [Workshop, 3 hours]
4. Ways of Drawing [Lecture, 1 hour]
Making a Woodcut [Workshop, 3 hours]
5. Digital Imaging [Lecture, 1 hour]
Printing a Woodcut [Workshop, 3 hours]
6. The Life Class [Lecture, 1 hour]
Digital Imaging [Workshop, 3 hours]
7. Oil Painting Techniques [Lecture, 1 hour]
Life Drawing [Workshop, 3 hours]
8. Analogue Photography [Lecture, 1 hour]
Painting a Still Life [Workshop, 3 hours]
9. Alternative Ways of Seeing and Making [Lecture, 1 hour]
Printing Photographs [Workshop, 3 hours]
10. Alternative Ways of Seeing and Making [Workshop, 3 hours]

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Articulating ideas through workshop discussions as well as writing skills in the Workshop Journal.
Improving own Learning and Performance Independent study through class assignment research and preparation. Management of time.
Information Technology Information retrieval from academic research portals and online museum collection databases.
Personal Development and Career planning Practical insights and vocational skills for art historians. Emphasis on the professional presentation of research and coursework.
Problem solving In class discussion as well as Workshop Journal research and writing. Using powers of observation and deduction to identify, analyse and interpret works of art and evaluate an achievements of artists.
Research skills Workshop Journal research and writing. Image sourcing.
Subject Specific Skills Grounding in the materials used and techniques used in making artworks. Handling rare artworks from School of Art Museum collection.
Team work The module will help students build confidence to make observations and come to conclusions about artworks, individually and as part of a team.


This module is at CQFW Level 5