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3.29 Art in Germany from the Middle Ages to the 20th Century

Instructor: Dr. Matthias Vollmer
Language of instruction:
Course type:
Subject course, D-Track
Contact hours (total):
Course days
: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday
ECTS credits
: 4
Course fee: € 1,632 (incl. program fee and housing)

The course is part of a Multi-City Program in cooperation with Utrecht Summer School and the Dutch University Institute for Art History in Florence.

  • Syllabus (printable PDF incl. day-to-day schedule)

Course Description

The course will introduce Berlin’s outstanding art collections, with their wide range of masterpieces from late medieval times to the present day. We shall focus throughout on the particular circumstances that shaped the production and reception of German art, especially during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. During this long period, the formation of a German nation state and the problematic notion of a German national identity became intimately connected to the question of a German style and artistic ‘expression’. A special focus will be given to the "Art of the two Germanys" between 1945 and 1989. We shall explore Germany’s vibrant art history by focusing on works by artists like Martin Schongauer and Albrecht Dürer, Caspar David Friedrich, Karl Friedrich Schinkel and Adolph Menzel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Otto Dix, Joseph Beuys and Anselm Kiefer.

Field trips include the following museums and galleries in Berlin: Deutsches Historisches Museum, the Gemäldegalerie, the Museum of Photography, the Brücke Museum, the Nationalgalleries, and the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum.

Student Profile

In principle, the course is open to all students regardless of their field of study, but primarily it addresses art history students. An elementary knowledge of art and art history is advantageous, but not obligatory.



Required language skills

The language of instruction is English. Language proficiency on an advanced Intermediate level (Mittelstufe II) is a prerequisite for participation. For orientation purposes, you can assess your language skills here (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Course Requirements

Regular attendance & active participation, mid-term and final exam


  • 50% Attendance & Participation
  • 20% Mid-term Exam
  • 30% Final Exam


A course reader will be provided.