The Titles of 20th Century Works of Art. An introduction to the problem and some case studies

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The course has no pre-requisite knowledge other than a basic background of 19th and 20th century international art history


When did artists start giving a title to their works? What types of titles are known in the 19th and 20th century? What function do titles fulfil, especially if the subject of the work is not easily recognisable? What kind of knowledge (literary, scientific, philosophical) do artists refer to when naming works? Can the titles of works change, and why, over time? These are some of the questions that will be answered in this part of the course

Educational aims

The main educational objective is to lead students and PhD candidates to question the meaning of modern works of art through the suggestions given by their titles

Bibliographical references

Just to begin:

John C. Welchman, Invisible Colors. A Visual History of Titles, New Haven and London, Yale University Press 1997

La fabrique du titre, a cura di P.-.De Biasi, M.Jakobi, S.Le Men, Paris, CNRS Editions 2012

Ruth Bernard Yeazell, Picture Titles. How and Why Western Paintings Acquired Their Names, Princeton and Oxford, Princeton University Press 2015