Academic year
2019/2020 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
FT0092 (AF:312770 AR:169234)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Bachelor's Degree Programme
Educational sector code
4th Term
Course year
Go to Moodle page
The course is part of the related or integrative courses in Art History of the Bachelor’s Degree in Conservation of the Cultural Heritage and Management of Cultural Activities. It therefore intends to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of the history of photography, from its origins to today, in a constant and indispensable comparison with the contemporary visual arts and image theory.
Excellent knowledge and understanding of the history of photography and its theoretical, aesthetic, technical, and social developments between the 19th and 21st century. Ability to apply the knowledge and understanding of the texts and topics (authors, pictures, artworks, ideas, themes) examined during the course by elaborating, with the appropriate language and the subject-specific terminology, an autonomous, articulate and coherent discourse, especially in written form. Ability to formulate a personal critical judgment, also thanks to the methodological example and the tools provided during classes, by establishing an open and enriching exchange with the professor and fellow students.
Good knowledge of the major historical events and the main movements of thought between the 19th and the 21st century, as a general framework in which the history of photography and of the visual arts is included.
The course will examine some of the major thinkers – among which also important artists-photographers whose theoretical effort is an integral part of their work – that with their writings have investigated fundamental questions of the history and status of images between the 20th and 21st century. The topics covered during lessons will illustrate and integrate the study of the manual (Lemagny-Rouillé 1987) and the two books (Gunthert 2015 and Marra 2017) which are required for the exam – non-attending students will add a book chosen from the suggested bibliography. Particular attention will be paid to the problem of the identity of photography, which suspended between its scientific and artistic origin, social and cultural history, commercial and media use, public and private memory, documentary and fictional value, analogue and digital language, is in constant evolution. The complete programme will be presented and made available at the beginning of the course.
To acquire the necessary theoretical knowledge:

1. Jean-Claude Lemagny e André Rouillé (eds.), "A History of Photography", Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1987 (1st ed. 1986).
[NB: The book is no longer available to buy. It is available in the BAUM library].
2. Claudio Marra, "Che cos’è la fotografia", Carocci, Rome 2017.
3. André Gunthert, "L’image partagée: La photographie numérique", Textuel, Paris 2015.
[NB: Foreign students who are not fluent in either Italian or French are kindly requested to contact the teacher to arrange the replacement of the books by Marra and Gunthert].

Non-attending students will bring, in addition to the programme indicated above, one of the following texts of their choice:

- Roland Barthes, "Camera Lucida: Notes on Photography", Hill and Wang, New York 1981 (First ed. in French, "La chambre claire. Note sur la photographie", 1980).
- Walter Benjamin, "The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technical Reproducibility, and Other Writings on Media", ed. by M. Jennings, B. Doherty, T.Y. Levin, Harvard University Press, Cambridge (MA) 2008.
[Only the following sections: 'The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility' (pp.19-55); 'Little History of Photography' (pp. 274-298)].
- Clément Chéroux, "Fautographie. Petite histoire de l’erreur photographique", Yellow Now, Crisnée 2003.
- Rosalind Krauss, "Le photographique. Pour une théorie des écarts", Macula, Paris 1990.
- Susan Sontag, "On Photography", Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York 1977.

NB: Non-attending students should contact the teacher to confirm the exam programme, particularly if there are special requests or interests that are not part of the bibliography but are consistent with their curricula and the preparation of their thesis.

The exam will consist -- for both attending and non-attending students -- only of a written test with five questions, including the attribution and critical reading of a photograph, based on the study of the reference books. For non-attending students the question related to the topics covered in the course will be replaced by a question on the additional chosen book. The test is passed if the student reaches sufficiency by responding exhaustively to three of the five questions. Grades are given on the basis of the correctness and completeness of the answers and on the accuracy of the language used.
During classes the interpretative reading of critical texts and of images will be carried out as methodological exercise to facilitate learning. The bibliography of the critical texts discussed by the professor, as well as the selection of images that will be projected during classes, will be available for students in the form of slides on the online platform Moodle (for copyright reasons both the images and the texts can not be made available in any other way). Any visits to exhibitions and lectures by guest professors and experts in the field will be an integral part of the course – more information will be provided during classes.
Class attendance is recommended to all students and is required to those who wish to apply for a thesis in History of Photography, especially in relation to contemporary art and to visual production and culture. Those who skip more than 30% of the lessons will be considered non-attending students and therefore will prepare -- in addition to the programme for attending students (see the books of Lemagny-Rouillé, Marra, and Gunthert) -- one of the books of one's choice in the previously mentioned bibliography.

This subject deals with topics related to the macro-area "Poverty and inequalities" and contributes to the achievement of one or more goals of U. N. Agenda for Sustainable Development

Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 27/08/2019