Dr Ian Holgate

Programme Lead and Subject Coordinator, Foundation in Humanities

School of Education, Humanities and Languages

Ian Holgate


My teaching and research interests concern the physical qualities of art objects (technologies and processes of making; choice, sourcing and treatment of materials; manufacturing of colours, for example) as well as with the artists themselves (for example, issues of artistic identity; the nature of the careers of artists; strategies for negotiating the art market). These two strands of investigation form the basis for my most recent teaching, most notably in the advanced seminar, Tradition and Innovation in Renaissance Venetian Painting, 1440-1590. The module includes the opportunity to view the paintings themselves (taking advantage of the National Gallery’s collection) and my teaching emphasises the value of this engagement with the physical objects.

Teaching and supervision


Modules taught


  • Modern British Art (Module Leader)
  •  Advanced Seminar in Art History 1: Tradition and Innovation in Venetian Renaissance Paiting: 1450-1590 (Module Leader)
  • Field Work in History of Art
  • History of Art Double Dissertation (Module Leader)


I received my BA from the University of East Anglia, followed by an MLitt and PhD from the University of St Andrews. My doctoral research sought to map the patrons and locations of altarpieces made by the Venetian workshop of Antonio Vivarini at the height of its success in the 1440s. My research sought to frame the altarpieces within the context of the sacred fabric of Venice and to consider them as a hub of physical, social and ritual relationships. Subsequent publications explore the role of visual display in the creation of various identities which were built on notions of Venetian sanctity and social status: for example, the physical and visual dimensions of episcopal charisma and of the identity of parish priests, the role of the physical in the propagation of the cult of saints, pilgrimage and the display of the sacred in the tombs of saints.

Alongside this engagement with Venetian culture of the 15th and 16th centuries my more recent research focuses on the careers of British artists in the first half of the 20th century. I am particularly interested in new opportunities for making a living as an artist in this period and the strategies adopted by them to negotiate a range of patrons, institutions, media, ways of making and of forming identities, in order to succeed.



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Further details

Other experience

I have taught at a variety of institutions including the University of St Andrews, Edinburgh College of Art, UEA, the Open University and Oxford University Department of Continuing Education.