Art and Art History Courses
Art History Courses
116. Survey of Art History, Part I.
A survey of the historical development of art forms from Paleolithic times to the late Middle Ages. Emphasis is placed upon the relationship between the formal aspects of art and the political and social history of a culture.
117. Survey of Art History, Part II.
A survey of the historical development of art forms from the Renaissance to the present. Emphasis is placed upon the relationship between the formal aspects of art and the political and social history of a culture. Also offered through European Studies.
202. Art of the Italian Renaissance.
An exploration of painting, sculpture and architecture in Italy from the late Gothic period through the High Renaissance and Mannerism. The course surveys the changing forms, themes and imagery of Renaissance art, within the larger cultural and political worlds of Florence, Siena, Rome, Urbino, Mantua and Venice. The course also introduces various ways of interpreting Renaissance imagery, through the study of religious iconography, humanism and academically based artistic theory; and through approaches ranging from the social history of art to gender-based interpretations. Prerequisite: AAH 116 or 117 or permission of the instructor. Offered on rotation. Also offered through European Studies.
203. Art of the Northern Renaissance.
A study of painting and sculpture in northern and central Europe from the late 13th to the late 16th centuries. This course focuses on such artists as Jan van Eyck and Albrecht Dürer, as well as such themes as the evolving representation of nature, witchcraft and other gendered imagery in art, and the early history of printmaking. Prerequisite: AAH 116 or 117 or permission of the instructor. Offered on rotation. Also offered through European Studies.
204. Baroque and Rococo Art.
A study of painting, sculpture and architecture in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries. This course explores such artists as Velázquez, Bernini, Artemisia Gentileschi and Rembrandt, evocative images of nature and mystical experience, and major architectural and decorative programs. Prerequisite: AAH 116 or 117 or permission of the instructor. Offered on rotation. Also offered through European Studies.
206. Art of the Middle Ages.
A study of European art history from the collapse of the Roman Empire to the 14th century. Individual sessions explore the history of symbols, saints’ cults, pilgrimages and popular piety, monasticism, medieval music, and the work of medieval stone masons, manuscript illuminators, metalworkers and sculptors. Prerequisite: AAH 116 or 117 or permission of the instructor. Offered on rotation. Also offered through European Studies.
207. Nineteenth Century European Art.
This course deals with art in the context of the tumultuous political and social history of 19th century Europe. Beginning with the French Revolution in the late 18th century, we will examine the ways in which art participated in the revolutionary, colonial, technological, economic, and gendered discourses of the era, covering well-known and often controversial works by such artists as David, Blake, Goya, Courbet, Manet, Cassatt, Degas, Rodin, Van Gogh, and Munch. Prerequisite: AAH 116 or 117.
210. American Art.
A survey of American art from the 17th century to the eve of World War I. The emphasis is on painting, although other media are included. Prerequisite: AAH 117 or permission of the instructor. Offered on rotation.
211. African-American Art and Visual Culture.
This course will examine the history of artworks produced by and about African Americans, while at the same time analyzing issues of the construction and contestation of racial and cultural identities through visual discourse. How do images create (or help to create) identities, and to what extent can they be used to combat as well as reinforce stereotypes? We will cover a wide variety of works by such artists as Edmonia Lewis, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Aaron Douglas, Archibald Motley, Jr., Palmer Hayden, Jacob Lawrence, Horace Pippin, Norman Lewis, Romare Bearden, Betye Saar, Adrian Piper, Kara Walker, Lorna Simpson, Glenn Ligon, and Carrie Mae Weems. Prerequisite: AAH 116 or 117. Offered on rotation. Also offered through African-American Studies.
212. Icons of Islamic Architecture.
An introduction to Islamic architecture through a focused study of a global tourist attraction: the Taj Mahal. Built as a lavish tomb for an empress in seventeenth century India, the Taj Mahal was a sign of immense privilege and social exclusion from its very inception. Over time, it became the object of fantasy for modern European travelers and a model for both British colonial architecture as well as opulent private homes in America. In what ways did elite men and women in medieval Islam shape and control architecture? Why are religious and political groups, archaeologists, and conservationists fighting for ownership of this building today? To appreciate the historical and contemporary significance of the Taj, students will also study comparative examples from other parts of Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and North America. By taking this course, students will: a) learn to recognize pluralism in Islamic architecture; b) critically examine how diverse social groups interact with Islamic architecture; and c) develop a capacity for critical self-reflection on how issues of power and justice play out in their own societies. Diversity (DIV13). No prerequisite. Offered every spring. Also offered through Asian Studies.
217. Buddhist Art and Ritual.
This course explores the historical and contemporary practices of Buddhist art and ritual in multiple geographical, social and cultural contexts. Examples of monuments, sculptures, paintings and ritual objects made for use by practicing Buddhists across Asia are studied to address questions of patronage and identity in various time periods. A large part of the course focuses on analyzing the contemporary reception and reshaping of traditional Buddhist ideas and art forms by diverse audiences around the world. The course also considers the changing context for Buddhist art and practice in Asia in an era of globalization. Diversity (DIV13). No Prerequisite. Offered every Spring. Also offered through Asian Studies and Peace Studies.
218. Arts of South Asia.
By examining sculpture, architecture, painting and film from South Asia, this course introduces students to the multiple cultural strands that contribute to the histories of countries such as Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan. We also study art made by and for communities of South Asian origin in North America today. Issues of cross-cultural contacts, ethnicity and gender are emphasized and we look critically at current debates surrounding methods of studying, collecting and displaying South Asian art. Diversity (DIV 13). No Prerequisite. Offered every Fall. Also offered through Asian Studies.
252. History of Modern European Art.
A critical historical investigation of art production in Europe from 1900 to 1945. Special emphasis is given to the strategy and tactics of the avant-garde, the revolutionary potential of art, the public reception of modernist art, the politics of the art market, the problem of abstraction and issues of gender. Movements covered include Fauvism, Cubism, Expressionism, Constructivism, Dada, and Surrealism. Prerequisite: AAH 116 or 117. Also offered through European Studies.
254. A History of Contemporary Art.
The aim of this course is to provide a historical basis for an understanding of the most important developments in post-WWII art of the U.S. and Europe. Beginning with the emergence of an avant-garde in New York in the 1940s, the course investigates how artists and their publics attempted to redefine the role of art in the West. Movements studied include Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Minimalism, Earth Art, Conceptual Art, Feminist Art, and Postmodernism. Prerequisite: AAH 117.
256. Art and Nature.
An overview of nature as a subject of artistic representation, in ancient Mediterranean and Mesopotamian cultures, and in the West from the Renaissance to the present. This course explores the ways in which depictions of nature have both reflected and shaped constructs of the natural world, by reference to religions, philosophies and moral values. Works of art to be examined include obvious examples of nature in art, such as landscape painting, and less obvious ones, such as villas and portraits, as well as earthworks and other environmental art created by contemporary artists. No Prerequisite. Also offered through Outdoor Studies.
319. Gender Issues in Asian Art.
This seminar-style course explores the following themes: the representation of gender relations in art, architecture, and film; the influence of gender constructs on the making and viewing of art; changing roles of women in society; and the relationship of gender, art and religion. A central learning tool is in-class student discussion and debate about art historical literature that takes a feminist approach to the interpretation of historical and contemporary examples of Asian art or makes gender roles their central research question. No prerequisite. Offered every Spring. Diversity (DIV13). Also offered through Asian Studies.
337. Architecture: Symbol and Ideology.
A socio-historical and symbolic exploration of architecture, gardens, and other aspects of built environments in Europe and the United States. Themes include architecture and mysticism; buildings and gardens as metaphors of power, and as microcosms and sacred realms; the technological revolution; utopian worlds in modern architecture; and topics in current architectural theory.
355. Art Today.
Organized thematically rather than chronologically, this course engages with global contemporary art of the past two decades from a wide array of critical perspectives. Issues addressed include the interrelationships of contemporary art practices with developing technologies or “new media,” globalization and postcolonialism, identity politics and the body, and debates about “postmodernism” and consumer culture. Prerequisite: AAH 116 or 117.
389, 390. Special Projects in Art History, I and II.
Individual study for fine arts majors or especially qualified students. Prerequisite: consent of the supervising professor and department chair. Hours to be arranged.
4000-4999. Special Topics in Art.
Topics relate to the history, practice or theory of art. Open to all students, but depending on the topic prerequisites may be required. The content of each course or section of these 300-level or 400-level special topics courses varies and will be announced each semester.
430. SYE: Critical Theory and the Visual Arts
Designed for senior Art and Art History majors who are interested in graduate school or careers in the arts, this seminar explores the ways in which contemporary critical and theoretical discourses have challenged and in some cases transformed the practice of art history and criticism. Students will practice incorporating (or challenging) within their written work theoretical perspectives including those of structuralism and semiotics, post-structuralism and deconstruction, and feminist, queer, and postcolonial theory. Restricted to senior Art and Art History majors only.
437. SYE Museums Seminar
A senior seminar focusing on art museums and the issues they currently face, as well as on the profession of museum curating and on curatorial discourse. Readings and class discussions cover such topics as the history of collecting and the origins of major museums; the roles of museums in constructing and communicating cultural difference; and the new museum, as redefined by post-colonial and post-modern thought.
489, 490. SYE: Independent Study.
An independent study for senior majors that builds upon the student’s prior work in art history and is directed toward developing superior skills in research and writing. A public presentation of one’s research project is required. Written proposals are required and are due one week prior to course registration. Prerequisites: permission of the instructor and department chair (must be obtained the semester preceding the course).
495, 496. Senior Project: Honors in Art and Art History.
Details of the program are available from the department chair. An honors project involves yearlong independent research, culminating in a public presentation of the student’s thesis. Prerequisite: a minimum GPA of 3.5 in all courses in the major. Proposals must be submitted spring semester of the junior year, one week prior to registration. Permission of the department is needed.
All studio courses are one-unit courses and meet five hours per week. Students interested in an Art and Art History major should plan to take AAH131 Drawing I, the pre-requisite for upper-level studio art courses, as soon as possible.
131. Drawing I.
This course is the prerequisite for all upper level studio art courses. Potential majors and minors should take Drawing I as early as possible in their academic careers. The emphasis is on the development of perceptual, compositional, and critical drawing skills. Direct observation of still-life and figurative subjects lead to more abstract modes of expression. Various media are used. Offered every semester. Registration limited.
232. Drawing II.
This course continues to emphasize developing observational skills but focuses more on conceptual issues and ideas of expression. Various media are used. Prerequisite: AAH 131. Registration limited.
This course explores the interaction of color through the classic exercises of Josef Albers. Using color aid paper and paint, students will work through versions of Albers projects that explore the highly relative nature of color. A wide range of the unpredictable and elusive properties of color will be examined and manipulated. Students will develop a keen understanding of the function of color in art and design and sharpen their ability to perceive color relationships. The course will also examine ideas about color through artists’ writings and by studying color-related exhibitions. Students will look at contemporary approaches to using color alongside of Albers’ established ideas. Prerequisites: AAH 131. Registration limited.
229. Painting I.
The emphasis is on developing an understanding of pictorial space in painting and use of basic elements such as color, value, form, composition and surface. Through structured projects, students learn fundamental painting techniques, make the transition from drawing into painting, and understand the process of visual perception. Presentations of historical and contemporary artists complement the studio practice. Students are expected to invest significant work time outside of class, attend exhibitions, actively participate in discussions and critiques, and devise and execute their own final project. Prerequisite: AAH 131. Registration limited.
230. Painting II.
Students continue to develop their understanding of the elements of painting while engaging a more complex set of problems and concepts. Studio practice is contextualized through discussions on issues in aesthetics, art historical antecedents and contemporary approaches to art. Requirements include a presentation on an artist, reading scholarly essays and artists’ writings, response papers, exhibitions reviews, participation in discussions and critiques, and a visual journal. Students are expected to invest significant work outside the class. Prerequisites: AAH 131 and 229. Registration limited.
238. Figure Sculpture.
Figure Sculpture progressively builds on the students’ abilities to observe, model and render the human figure in three dimensions with accuracy, inventiveness and expression. Using ceramic clay and working from a live model, students will quickly learn and then practice the skills, tools and processes needed to accurately render figurative works. Prerequisite: AAH 131.
239. Sculpture and Extended Media I.
This is a course for expressing one’s ideas in three dimensions and through a variety of media. Students receive an introduction to the basic techniques, materials and terminology of 3D design, sculpture and contemporary art in general. Prerequisite: AAH131. Registration limited.
240. Sculpture and Extended Media II.
A continuation of AAH 239. Students are expected to expand their ideas into more fully resolved and conceptually challenging works. Collaboration, fabrication/building techniques using wood and metal, investigation of tactical media approaches and other materials as determined by the student’s interest and conceptual direction. Prerequisites: AAH 131 and 239. Registration limited
241. Printmaking I.
An introduction to relief and intaglio processes, this course involves drawing, processing, proofing, and editioning prints. Students are also exposed to historical and contemporary ideas and images related to making prints. Prerequisite: AAH 131. Registration limited.
249. Ceramics I.
A course for expressing one’s ideas through the most basic and malleable material – clay. Processes covered include traditional hand-building techniques such as pinch, slab, coil, solid and hollow modeling; as well as wheel throwing and other processes. While a wide range of processes is introduced, the emphasis of this course will remain on the ideas communicated through the forms that students create. Prerequisite: AAH 131. Registration limited
250. Ceramics II.
A continuation of Ceramics I. Students are expected to expand their ideas into more fully resolved and conceptually challenging works. Fabrication/building techniques such as press molding, slip casting, installation work and mixing media are discussed. More advanced surfacing techniques such as ceramic decals, printing on clay, experimental finishes and glaze chemistry are explored. Prerequisites: AAH 131 and 249. Registration limited.
259. Photography I.
Photo I is an introduction to the theory, techniques and process of black and white film photography. This course will emphasize photography’s potential for creative problem solving and self-expression in an art context. This class will consist of slide lectures, presentations, and screenings featuring contemporary artists, camera demonstrations, in-class exercises, discussions and most importantly, critiques of your work. Students are expected to provide their own SLR camera. Prerequisite: AAH 131. Registration limited.
260. Photography II.
Photo II delves into the theory, techniques and processes of digital photography. This class will consist of readings, presentations, and screenings featuring contemporary artists, technical demonstrations, in-class exercises, discussions and most importantly, critiques of your work. Students are expected to provide their own Digital SLR camera. Prerequisites: AAH 131 and 259. Registration limited.
262. Video Art.
In this course, students will gain foundational skills of four-dimensional (moving) imaging software and to create animated and video based art works. Students will study a range of artists who use video, animation, installation and interactivity in their work, and experiment with the creation of these types of work. By the end of the semester students should have knowledge of industrial standards in editing and effect software, as well as having the ability create art with advanced video functionality. Prerequisite: AAH 131.
269. Digital Media and Culture I.
A combination studio/seminar course that explores the major theoretical issues surrounding the continually evolving culture of digital technology and the effects on various aspects of contemporary life including: aesthetics and perception, creative production, morality, contemporary art discourse, visual culture, entertainment, identity and other forms of social effects/affects. Studio projects will investigate the creative potentials of digital photography, illustration, video and other formats. Projects will respond conceptually to theoretical issues that are being discussed in class. Prerequisites: AAH 131. Also offered as FILM 269. Registration limited.
270. Collaboration Across the Arts.
The direction of this course is determined largely by the unique combination of students who participate. Students form groups of two or three to work on a collaborative project of their own design reflecting their collective interests. For example, a pair of students may create a multimedia work that draws connections between image and sound. Students critique works in progress, study exemplary works, discuss relevant aesthetic issues, trace connections across media and consider strategies for collaborative work. Offered every year. Prerequisite: AAH 131 and permission of the instructor. Also offered as MUS 270 and PCA 270.
284. Book Art.
Artist's books are works of art that are made real in the form of a book. This course will examine the interplay between words and images as well as the sequential movement from page to page that this form offers. Students will explore how both original and appropriated texts and images are juxtaposed to create meaning. A variety of binding techniques and formats will be presented. Creative writing and image development will be emphasized in the course with revision and multiple drafts required for projects. Prerequisite: AAH 131. Registration limited.
329. Painting III/IV.
The primary aim is to examine painting in the 21st century through both theory and practice. The course investigates painting’s historical antecedents as well as contemporary trends and currents. Students develop a coherent body of paintings that explores an individual direction and demonstrates knowledge of contemporary influences and historical precedents. Lectures, discussions, critiques and occasional visits to museums/galleries complement studio production. Students are required to do weekly readings and exhibition reviews, maintain a research journal and give an artist lecture at the end of the term. Prerequisites: AAH 131, 229 and 230. Registration limited.
341. Printmaking II.
A continuation of Printmaking I, with the introduction of lithography, screenprinting, and other processes. Further emphasis is given to thematic development in one’s work. Study of contemporary printmakers and more specialized print techniques are pursued. Prerequisite: AAH 131 and 241. Registration limited.
360. Photography III.
Prerequisites: AAH 131, 259 and 260. Registration limited.
369. Digital Media and Culture II.
A continuation of Digital Media and Culture I. Students will be expected to spend time developing innovative and complex ideas and forms and advancing their vision(s) via digital media processes. This is a combination studio/seminar course and includes videos, readings and reflections, and written analyses. Prerequisites: AAH 131 and 269.
389, 390. Special Projects in Art I and II.
Individual study for studio majors or especially qualified students. Prerequisite: consent of the supervising professor and department chair. Written proposals are required the semester before intended project. Hours to be arranged.
460. Senior Seminar in Visual Arts.
This course is required of all Art and Art History majors pursuing a concentration in studio art. This course is designed to provide a basis for continuing one’s creativity in a professional and effective manner following graduation. Additionally, it is intended to give students a greater understanding of exhibition/gallery practices and to enlighten the student in the areas of independent art production: specifically the professional and personal challenges/rewards that lie therein. This course is comprised of readings, written assignments, studio work, and an exhibition. Offered every spring semester.
489, 490. SYE: Independent Study.
An independent study for senior studio majors that builds upon the student’s prior work in studio art and is directed toward developing superior skills in research and studio work. A public presentation of the semester’s work is required. Prerequisites: permission of the overseeing instructor and the department. Written proposals are required and are due the semester before intended project, one week prior to registration.
495, 496. Senior Project: Honors in Art and Art History.
Details of the program are available from the department chair. Honors Projects are yearlong projects that emphasize independent work and superior achievement. Students interested in pursuing an honors project should consult with their advisor and with the chair of the department early in their junior year to begin to formulate a proposal. A public exhibition of the year’s work, as well as a defense of the work before departmental faculty, is required. Prerequisite: a minimum GPA of 3.5 in all courses in the major. Proposals must be submitted spring semester of the junior year, one week prior to registration. Permission of the department is needed.