Art History Program Course Descriptions

Unless otherwise indicated all course are 3-credit courses 

50:082:101 Introduction to Art History: Prehistory to 1400 

Introduction to Art History from Prehistoric times to ca. 1400. This introduction to art history surveys painting, sculpture, architecture and other arts from the earliest artistic creations of humans throughout the world to the rise of civilizations in antiquity. Centers including Sumeria, Egypt, Greece, and Rome are examined. With the the dawn of Christianity, Medieval art and architecture to ca. 1400 is discussed.

50:082:102 Introduction to Art History, Early Modern to NOW

Introduction to Art History: Early Modern to NOW is an introduction to painting, sculpture, architecture, and other arts from ca. 1400 to the present. Traditional periods such as the Renaissance and Baroque will be followed by the revolutions in society and the arts that led to Impressionism and the beginnings of Modernism. Movements such as Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, to Performance Art and Bio-Art may be discussed.

50:082:100 Art Appreciation  
Introduces the principles, techniques, and approaches to the creation and analysis of works of art and presents an overview of the great landmarks of art from classical Greece through the twentieth century. 

50:082:104 Introduction to the Arts of Asia (GCM) 
Introduces the arts of South, Southeast, and East Asia from prehistory to the present. May discuss painting, sculpture, architecture, calligraphy, printmaking, ceramics, metalwork, textiles, gardens, comics, and film.  

50:082:105 Cross-Cultural Art History (HAC)  
Traces the art and architecture of cultures throughout the world in social, historic, and perceptual contexts. Following a multicultural approach, topics may include the arts of North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, Central America, indigenous peoples of the Americas, Australia, and New Zealand, among others.

50:082:200 Gender and the Arts (AAI)(DIV) 
Cross-listed with Gender Studies 

Examines the ways our views of the arts are shaped by issues of gender, and how the arts and visual culture shape our views of gender. 

50:082:201 LGTBQ/Race and Popular Culture (AAI) (DIV) 
Cross-listed with Gender Studies 

Examines the intersection of lgbtq communities, race and popular culture in recent decades, focusing on the mainstreaming of lgbtq identities produced for television, film, photography, music, and art. 

50:082:202 History of Design (HAC) 
Explores material culture across the globe, examining the forces that have shaped function, design, and production. Focuses on the decorative arts, fashion, crafts, interiors, textiles, landscapes, industrial design, and product design, examining them in the context of their relationship to design theory, fine art, and popular culture.

50:082:203 Medieval Art & Culture (HAC) 
Examines visual culture from the 4th to the 14th centuries, highlighting the exchange and adaptation of ideas, materials, motifs, and objects across the medieval world.  Presents Early Christian art from Rome, Ethiopia, Ireland, and Germany; the art and architecture of Byzantium and Islam; and the Romanesque and Gothic periods.

50:082:204 Renaissance Art (HAC) 
Surveys the art of the Early Modern Period (ca. 1300-1600) throughout Europe. Examines the impact of the changing status of artists, artistic theory, patrons, world exploration, trade, and religious upheaval through the art of Giotto, Alberti, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Holbein, Dürer, and Bruegel, among others.

50:082:206 Art of the Ancient Near East 
Examines ancient art from the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea to present-day Afghanistan, including Anatolia (modern Turkey), Mesopotamia (Iraq), and Persia (Iran). Focuses on the ground-breaking contributions to urban development, art, religion, and writing made by the Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians, Assyrians, and Persians.

50:082:207 Art of Egypt 
Traces the art of ancient Egypt from the Pre-Dynastic through the Old, Middle and New Kingdoms into the Ptolemaic age of Cleopatra. Highlights the impact of recent archaeological discoveries, and studies key figures such as Ramses the Great, Akhenaten, Tutankhamen, and the woman pharaoh Hatshepsut.  

50:082:208 Greek Art and Archaeology (HAC) 
Examines the history, culture, mythology, art, and material culture of Greek civilization. Explores the assimilation and exchanges of Greek culture with those of the other major civilizations  and from areas as far away as India. Discusses topics from burial customs and city planning to pottery, coinage, votives, sculpture, temples, and wall painting.

50:082:209 Art of Ancient Rome (HAC) 
Examines the Roman Republic and Empire from their Etruscan predecessors through the reign of Constantine, considering topics such as urban planning, architecture, sculpture, painting, mosaic, and coinage. Emphasizes the global dimension of empire, assimilation, and cultural exchange throughout the Roman world. 

50:082:210 Arts of Power: Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Europe (HAC) 
Surveys the Baroque, Rococo, and Enlightenment periods throughout Europe. Explores the patronage of royal and papal courts, the rise of academies, and the changing character of the art world through artists such as Caravaggio, Bernini, Rubens, Velásquez, Watteau, Fragonard, and Hogarth, among others. 

50:082:212 Japanese Art (GCM) 
Traces Japanese art from prehistory to present. Presents art-forms and media such as ceramics, architecture, sculpture, painting, gardens, printmaking, textiles, manga, and anime, within their artistic, historical, religious, social, and intercultural contexts. 

50:082:213 Chinese Art (GCM) 
Examines Chinese art from prehistory to present. Presents art-forms and media such as ceramics, metalwork, monuments, architecture, sculpture, paintings, calligraphy, and gardens, within their artistic, historical, religious, social, and intercultural contexts. 

50:082:214 Global Modern Art (GCM) 
Explores the modern and contemporary era in a global context, studying painting, photography, installation, applied arts, ceramics, multimedia, video, manga, animation, and film. Examines the impact of westernization and globalization, local iterations of traditional arts, and related curatorial, economic, and gender issues.  

50:082:229 Art of the Americas (HAC) (DIV) 
Examines the art and architecture of the ancient Americas through a transcultural lens. Surveys civilizations including the Olmec, Maya, Aztec, Inca, the Mound Builders in North America, and the Taíno in Florida and the Caribbean, focusing on their cultural legacy, including the living traditions practiced by their descendants today. 

50:082:237 Nineteenth-Century Art 
Presents artistic movements from Napoleon to World War I in their historical, cultural, political, and other key contexts. Examines topics such as Academic art and the Salon, Neoclassicism, Plein-airism, Pre-Raphaelitism, Impressionism, and Post-Impressionism, among others.  

50:082:238 Twentieth-Century Art (AAI) (DIV) 
Surveys modern and post-modern art in painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, film, performance, and other media through the lenses of gender, race, class, identity, and geography.  

50:082:251 Modern Architecture 
Treats the history of international modern architecture from the late 18th century to the present, with an emphasis on American and European architecture and planning, technological advances, and the philosophical, sociological, political, and cultural forces that had an impact on the design of modern buildings.  

50:082:266 African American Art (DIV) 
Explores past and present African American art, while examining individual artists and movements and locating them within their respective contexts. From slavery through Jim Crow, the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Arts Movement as well as modern and postmodern Black artists.  

50:082:267 American Art 
Surveys American painting, sculpture, and architecture from colonial times to about 1900, in the context of the importation of European styles and the development of an American art. Studies artists such as John Singleton Copley, Thomas Cole, Winslow Homer, and Thomas Eakins, among others. 

50:082:280 Art in an Age of Mechanized and Electronic Media 
Examines the history of 20th-century art integrating mechanical or electronic technology including kinetic, digital, video, and animation, from Marcel Duchamp’s rotoreliefs to Jean Tinguely’s self-destructing machines to Ryan Trecartin’s videos.   

50:082:285 Art of Africa 
Explores sculpture, architecture, pictorial arts, and material culture of the ancient and modern peoples of sub-Saharan Africa. Analyzes and interprets art and craft in relation to its ceremonial and cultural significance and the impact of African forms on Western art.

50:082:286 Latin American Art and Culture  
Surveys Native-American, colonial, and modern art and architecture of Latin America in their cultural contexts. Traces material culture either thematically or chronologically. Topics may vary. 

50:082:303 Art of the Silk Road 
Traces artistic and cultural exchanges along the Silk Road from ancient to medieval times, from the Mediterranean through the Middle East, Central Asia, the Himalayas, and South, Southeast, and East Asia. Considers religious icons and motifs, decorative and practical arts, concepts and philosophies of Buddhist and Islamic Art, metalwork, textiles, ceramics, painting, sculpture, and architecture in transnational contexts. 

50:082:305 Women and Art  
May be repeated for credit with permission of instructor. 

Provides a thematic and chronological survey of women as artists, as images in works of art, and an examination of gender issues in art. Historical periods vary each term.  

50:082:316 Art of Film  
Examines historical aspects of filmmaking that pertain to fine art and production art techniques, exploring topics such as cinematography, set design, editing, and art production. Considers the relationship of art production to overall cinematic results. 

50:082:320 Art of the Middle Ages 
Examines the art and architecture of the Gothic period in Europe (c. 1140-1400), from manuscripts to cathedrals. Presents Gothic art within the social and cultural contexts of its creation. Explores the different ways in which Gothic art and architecture has been collected and interpreted from the 12th to 19th centuries.

50:082:329 Pre-Columbian and Meso-American Art 
Surveys the art and archaeology of pre-Columbian cultures throughout the American continent. Focuses on the contributions of the Olmec, Maya, and Aztec cultures of Meso-America, the achievements of Andean cultures such as the Incas, and other indigenous groups throughout South America, the Caribbean Basin, and North America.  

50:082:313 Renaissance Art of Northern Europe 
Examines the history of painting, sculpture, and architecture in Northern Europe from around 1350 to 1560. Focuses on the courtly arts, manuscript painting, sculpture, and architecture and artists such the Limbourg Brothers, Jan van Eyck, Schongauer, Pacher Bert Notke, Riemenschneider, Dürer, Holbein, and Clouet. 

50:082:333 Italian Renaissance Art (HAC) 
Traces the Italian Renaissance from the 1200s to c. 1600, focusing on major centers such as Florence, Venice, and Rome and examines the ideas that had an impact on the arts. Focuses on artists and patrons including the Medici family, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Bronzino, among others. Special topics may be emphasized. 

50:082:340 Art in the Age of Discovery (HAC) 
Examines art during the “Age of Discovery” from the 15th to the 18th century. Topics include visual and cultural exchanges between Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas, focusing on the trade of objects, stylistic and thematic integration of cultures, the spread of decorative and practical arts, and the influence of religious and philosophical concepts on art.   

50:082:349 Golden Age of Dutch Art  
Examines the visual culture of the Netherlands during the 17th century as its trade made it one of the major powers of the world and a central force in the globalization of ideas and art. Examines the work of artists including Hals, Vermeer, van Ruisdael, and Rembrandt, among others.

50:082:351 European Art: 1780 to 1880  
Considers the development of European art from neoclassicism through Post-impressionism in France, England, Germany, and other countries. 

50:082:352 European Modern Art: 1880 to 1940 
Analyzes a wide range of avant-garde movements from Post-impressionism to surrealism. Treats significant trends in art in France, Italy, Holland, and Russia. 
50:082:353 Modern Art 
Surveys art in America and Europe from 1940 to 1980. Discusses movements and topics such as Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, Pop-, Op-, and Conceptual Art, Happenings, and site-specific and direct metal sculpture.

50:082:354 Contemporary Art (AAI) 
Examines art in a global and transnational context from 1980 to the present. Topics vary to focus on regional contexts, institutional platforms, relationship of the market to artist recognition, and movements seeking social justice and equity.  

50:082:360 Japanese Modern Art
This course explores Japanese Art from the late 19th century to the present. By examining the historical development and contemporary production of Japanese art, this class introduces the techniques, styles, and aesthetics of Japanese modern art and their social, cultural, and political aspects. Topics include painting, ceramics, graphic design, photography, fashion, pop art, multi-media art, video art, action art, installations, manga and comics, animation, and digital art.

50:082:368 20th Century American Art  (AAI) (DIV) (W)  
Provides a study of major art movements in the United States, from academic classicism to contemporary styles and theories. Topics may vary. 

50:082:380 History of Animation (AAI) 
Presents the history of animation from premodern to contemporary times. Reviews the techniques, styles, and socio-historical background of animation production. Covers early cinema, the animation industry, animation studios, stop-motion, television, advertising, video games, international animation, digital films, and the web.

50:082:381 Japanese Animation
Presents the historical development and contemporary production of Japanese animation. Introduces the techniques, styles, and aesthetics of Japanese animation. Examines the social, gender, cultural, and political aspects of Japanese animation within the broader context of Japanese art, literature, and history. 

50:082:382 History of Graphic Design  
Presents the history of European and American design of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries including Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Bauhaus, and International styles. Reviews the history of graphic design, typography, and functional objects, and explores influences of previous movements on contemporary design.

50:082:383 History of Photography (GCM) 
Surveys the history of European and American photography, its techniques, styles, and content, from inception through the twentieth century.

50:082:394 Learning Abroad 
Consult the Department for offerings. 

50:082:395 Sculpture of the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries 
Examines the significant developments in twentieth-century sculpture, including primitivism, Cubism, Constructivism, kinetic sculpture, primary structures, performance, and environmental works.

50:082:487 – 488 Special Topics in Art History 
Focuses on specific themes, movements, styles, major artists, or other topics. Topic changes each time the course is offered. Check the Schedule of Classes to determine area of study.

50:082:490 Art History: Theory and Method  
What is Art History? Taught as an interactive seminar this course examines the concepts that influence how we study art. Topics may include historiography, iconography, connoisseurship, formalism, Marxism, semiotics, feminism, queer studies, revisionism, post-modernism, critical race theory, and post-colonial studies.

50:082:491 Individual Study in Art History (BA) 
Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing, written permission of instructor and student’s adviser. May be repeated for credit. 
A course for advanced students in which a program of research is conducted by the student under the direction of the instructor. A significant list of readings in art history methods and a substantial paper required.  

50:082:497 & 498 Honors in Art History I & II  
This is a two-semester independent research project on a specific topic, leading to an honors thesis written under the supervision of a member of the art history faculty. 

Prerequisites: Candidates for honors in art history must, at the end of their junior year, have a cumulative grade-point average of 3.2 or better, and an average of 3.5 or better in the major. Both semesters’ courses must be completed to receive credit in honors. 

Syllabi for courses available here.