July OER of the Month – Helen Langdon’s Caravaggio

Our OER of the month for July is Helen Langdon’s Caravaggio.

Hosted by the Open University as a free course created by Dr Carol Richardson, a Senior Lecturer in History of Art at the University of Edinburgh’s College of Art, this course focuses on a core element of art history writing – the biographical monograph.

This purpose of this course is to assess the extent to which knowing more about the life and experiences of Caravaggio assists the interpretation of his art. Accounts of Caravaggio’s life are dubbed in dark mystery, with suggestions of murder and intrigue, but does this cloud the true meaning of his art – or enlighten it?

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • analyse the pros and cons of the biographical monograph in art history
  • examine the strengths and weaknesses of the biographical monograph in relation to other kinds of art history writing.

As a History student, this course particularly appeals to me as it is interesting to see how other disciplines – especially one not so dissimilar from my own – incorporate different types of resources into analysis.

Go to Helen Langdon’s ‘Caravaggio’


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This course created by Dr Carol Richardson has been licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA) Licence



This article was written by Cecily Plascott, Open Content Curator Intern, 2018.


Header Image: ‘The Calling of Saint Matthew’ by Caravaggio (1599-1600; Oil on canvas, 10′ 7 1/2″ X 11′ 2″; Contarelli Chapel, Church of San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome), Public Domain