• Offered by School of Art and Design
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Art History
  • Areas of interest Art History
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr David Hansen
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in Second Semester 2017
    See Future Offerings

This course examines the history of art collecting and collections from their origins in temple treasuries, through the private collections of the mediaeval worlds of Europe and Asia, to the role of patrons and princes, past and present in the establishment of art collections and policies.  The impact of world exploration and empire on the development of collections and the evolution of public collections are major themes. In addition, contemporary issues regarding collection development will be addressed. The impact of social, political and ethical environments on museum collecting, display and documentation will be explored with particular reference to Australian collections.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:


On completion of the course students should be able to

1. Outline and present orally and in written form major themes of collecting history

2. Use electronic resources to find and share information regarding international laws relating to cultural heritage, and discuss their impact on collecting

3. Interpret commentary, written and oral, related to art collecting internationally

4. Develop hypotheses regarding potential subtexts within the material itself

5. Describe contemporary factors affecting art collection development

Indicative Assessment

The course is divided loosely into two parts.  The first section focusses on the history of collecting and collecting institutions.  The second part of the course addresses issues which affect public and private collection in the 20th and 21st centuries.  While the two parts are by no means mutually exclusive, this division provides a framework for student research and the presentation of assignments. 

Students are expected to present a tutorial-essay on a topic from each section of the course, thus becoming very familiar with both historical collections and contemporary concerns. 

Assessment details

There are 5 assessment items for this course:

  • 1. 2000 word essay based on a topic from Weeks 2-7: 35% (outcomes 1,3,4)
  • 2. Tutorial presentation 15 mins: 10% (outcomes 1,3,4)
  • 3. 2000 word essay based on a topic from Weeks 8-13: 35% (outcomes 1,2,3,4,5)
  • 4. Tutorial presentation 15 mins: 10% (outcomes 2,3,4,5)
  • 5. Participation - tutorials and blog/ on-line forum: 10% (outcomes 2,3,4)

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from: a) 30 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 18 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorials; and b) 100 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 36 units of ANU courses towards a degree, or with the permission of the convenor. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed ARTH6057

Preliminary Reading

Jonathon Brown. "Kings and Connoisseurs. Collecting art in seventeenth century Europe", Princeton: University Press, 1994.

Sarah Thornton. “Seven Days in the Art World”, W.W.Norton and Co: New York, 2008

Journal of the History of Collections (available as electronic full-text journal through the ANU library).




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $2856
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $4080
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
9910 24 Jul 2017 31 Jul 2017 31 Aug 2017 27 Oct 2017 In Person N/A

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