2023-2024 / LROM0151-1

Visual semiotics


30h Th

Number of credits

 Bachelor in history of art and archaeology : general5 crédits 
 Master in ancient and modern languages and literatures (120 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Master in modern languages and literatures : German, Dutch and English (120 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Master in linguistics (120 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Master in modern languages and literatures : general (120 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Master in French and Romance languages and literatures : general (120 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Master in French and Romance languages and literatures : general (60 ECTS)5 crédits 


Maria Giulia Dondero

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

  • Theories of Semiotics of the Image: Structural and post-structural semiotics of the Paris School (Algirdas Julien Greimas, Jacques Fontanille, Maria Giulia Dondero).
  • Methodologies for the Analysis of Visual grammar. Plastic categories for the analysis of the image (Painting, Photography, Digital Image): topology, form, colour, texture. Rhetoric categories: mereology (relation between the whole and the parts. Discursive categories: enunciation and uttered enunciation.
  • Relations between the enunciation and the meta-visual. 
  • Autography and Allography by N. Goodman: the problem of substrate and marks inscriptions in Painting, Photography and Digital Images
  • Analysis of artistic, advertising, documentary and scientific images.
  • Visual Genres: The Portrait and the Still Life

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

  • Initiating students into theoretical and methodological issues of visual semiotics.
  • Giving students the tools to analyse and interpret visual languages in different fields of use (artistic, scientific, advertising).

Prerequisite knowledge and skills


Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Face-to-face course

Additional information:

Duration and period: 30 hours teaching in the 1st term.

Location and times of teaching: Salle Wittert, Mondays from 4pm to 7.00pm. 

Recommended or required readings

Required readings:
Maria Giulia Dondero, Les Langages de l'image. De la peinture aux Big Visual Data, Paris, Editions Hermann, 2020. 
On Enunciation in Visual Language :  Hamid Reza Shairi & Jacques Fontanille,  « Approche sémiotique du regard photographique : deux empreintes de l'Iran contemporain », Actes sémiotiques, 73-74-75, 2001, URL : http://www.unilim.fr/pages_perso/jacques.fontanille/articles_pdf/visuel/semiotiqueregarddanslesphotosorientales.pdf, 2001.
On the relation between support and inscription: Jacques Fontanille, "Du support matériel au support formel" , in Arabyan & Klock-Fontanille (eds). L'Écriture entre support et surface, Paris : L'Harmattan, pp. 183-200. URL : http://www.unilim.fr/pages_perso/jacques.fontanille/articles_pdf/visuel/Ecritssupportsconclusion.pdf.
On the plastic-figurative analysis of image: Algirdas Julien Greimas, "Sémiotique figurative et sémiotique plastique", Actes sémiotiques, Documents, VI, 60, 1984. https://www.unilim.fr/actes-semiotiques/5507&file=1
On the statutes of images: Maria Giulia Dondero, « Les aventures du corps et de l'identité dans la photographie de mode », Actes sémiotiques, 117, 2014. URL: http://epublications.unilim.fr/revues/as/4979 et http://hdl.handle.net/2268/153052 

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

written exam

Additional information:

Assessment consists of a written exam. The exam includes seven open questions and the analysis of a visual discourse (photographic, pictorial). The focus is on the understanding and application of theories and methodologies. Corrected copies can be consulted by students in the lecturer's office.

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

Some authors of articles will be invited to give presentations.


Maria Giulia Dondero, Department for Roman Languages and Literature
3-5 Place Cockerill, 4000 Liège, tel. 04.366.5946.

Secretariat: Tel. 04 366 56 50

Association of one or more MOOCs