Psychology of Art and Creative Processes (2018/2019)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Claudia Annechini
Claudia Annechini
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. 1A, Sem. 1B

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

1. To gain knowledge and an understanding of the theoretical foundations for psychology of art, focusing on concepts concerning the inner workings of sight and perception. To be able to internalize such concepts by developing observation skills and a critical eye for art analysis.
2. To learn about the general principles and theories of psychology in the context of art consumption and art making. More specifically, to know ‘when’ and ‘how’ to apply them for the examination of the interaction between art and the individual, on a social, environmental, cognitive, subjective and objective level.
3. To become familiar with the literature regarding art education aimed at different groups of visitors such as children, teenagers, families, adults, elderly, etc. etc. More specifically, to understand the strenghts and weaknesses of the theories concerning the accessibility to art consumption for people with special needs such as physical and learning disabilities, as well as social, cultural and linguistic disadvantages.
4. To gain the basic communication and interpretative expertise to be able to clarify the dynamics involved in the viewing and, more broadly, the perception of art. To facilitate the relationship between art and the public by designing, planning and organising creative workshops, thus taking the role of the co-ordinator. To be able to appropriately appreciate the artist, the art movement, the art piece and to highlight the creative process and techniques involved, through the lens of psychology of art.
5. To show the ability, knowledge and personal skills in creating the appropriate context for both art consumption and art making in a work or a training environment. To arrange an art experience taking into consideration the various aspects involved: cognitive (i.e. information, concepts, content), subjective (i.e. emotional, contemplative and memory related engagement), objective (i.e. real or virtual artistic items), social (i.e. interaction with others or lack of thereof) and environmental (i.e. arrangement of the spaces for art consumption or art making, architecture and design of the spaces).
6. To inspire the development of the required expertise independently and responsibly in an interdisciplinary manner, and to devise art education workshops aimed specifically at children, teenagers, families, adults, elderly and people with special needs. To experiment on the various ways to facilitate an art experience within the different restrictions dictated by accessibility.


This course motivates students to reflect on experimental ideas and practices that promote educational activities in the field of art experience. The aim is to liaise between the public and the art piece, by using diverse, tailor-made, inclusive techniques that are at the core of museum psychology and pedagogy. This course explores the ways with which museums and art galleries can engage the public by encouraging an open dialogue in the matter of art perception. This course consists of three modules:

1. the first module deals with the literature regarding the theories behind psychology of art and perception
2. the second module delves into the methods and theories of Educational Psychology, Social Psychology and Environmental Psychology that apply to art experience
3. the third module focuses on the inclusive pedagogic approach aimed at engaging different categories of people in the art experience.

Each module presents case studies of art experience with different groups, namely schools, families and teenagers. Lectures will be delivered in a traditional manner and are regarded as a perfect tool for the delivery of concepts, information and interpretative diagrams. Depending on the content and the different stages of the course, lessons can become more interactive and encourage peer-to-peer discussions. Some lessons will include practice sessions inspired by Design Thinking.

The text books readings in reference to this course are as follows.

• Arnheim, R., & Dorfles, G. (2002). Arte e percezione visiva. Nuova versione (Vol. 23). Feltrinelli Editore. (Chapters I, II, III, IV, X)

• Mastandrea S. (2015). Psicologia dell’Arte. Carocci, Roma.
• Mastandrea S. (2017). Psicologia della percezione. Carocci, Roma.
• Argenton, A. (1996). Arte e cognizione. Introduzione alla psicologia dell’arte. Edizioni Raffaello Cortina.

Along with the text books, the course will be supplemented with specific topic related articles that students are expected to study. Each student will choose, among these, three articles which they will discuss during the exam.

Assessment methods and criteria

Students are expected to submit a written assignment (essay), the topic of which is to be agreed with the teacher. The essay must comply with the guidelines given. The guidelines are available on the Ateneo e-Learning platform (Moodle) on the teaching webpage. The exam consists of a presentation and discussion of the essay. Further details in regards to the evaluation system will be provided during the course.

In relation to the situation deriving from the Coronavirus emergency, the above examination modality is modified for the autumn 2020 session, in accordance with the indications of the university, in oral exam with telematic modality (ZOOM). Students are asked to contact the teacher to agree on the exam modalities.