Courses & Requirements

With an art history major or minor, you will trace the role that art plays across different eras and cultures.

Requirements for Art History Majors

The foundation of the major is a semester-long introduction to art history that serves as a springboard to upper-level courses on various themes and chronological periods. A minimum of 10 courses are required for the major.

Required Courses

ART-150, ART-144 or ART-160, and ART-420

ART-150: Art History (4.00)

Introduction to the major paintings, sculptures and architectural monuments from the pyramids to postmodernism. Discussion of stylistic movements, the importance of viewing works in context and the broadening of the canon in the dialogue of non-Western and Western art. This one-semester course is a prerequisite for all upper-level courses in art history.

ART-144: Visual Thinking/Digital (4.00)

This course will use digital technology to study and explore design and drawing form and technique through examining line, color and texture in relation to problems in composition, color theory, subject matter and space. Emphasis is on the design process and conceptual development. Media will span a range of materials and technology but will be primarily based on the use of digital tools to see and express through mediating traditional art materials.

ART-160: Visual Thinking I (4.00)

Introduction to drawing and design. Students will explore issues of composition, color theory and creative development. Experiments with a variety of drawing and design media will develop students' visual skills and individual style.

ART-420: Art History Senior Seminar (4.00)

Research-intensive seminar discusses topics relevant to the study of art in all periods. The focus will be determined by the individual instructor. Open to senior majors and minors or by permission of the instructor.

Elective Courses

Seven additional art history courses at the 200 level or above.

Art History/Studio Art Combined Courses

ART-260: Image and Word: Methods in Art and Art History (4.00)

This course examines methods and methodologies in studio art and art history. Students practice skills such as analyzing works of art for their visual, iconographic and socio-historical components, summarizing and critiquing scholarly texts and considering their methodological approaches, and giving public presentations. Students will have the opportunity to interact with all members of the department of Art and Art History and the Director of the Dalton Gallery, thus gaining a breadth and depth in their understanding of intersecting and complementary practices in areas of art and art history.

Course requisites: ART-144 or ART-150 or ART-160

ART-297: Topics in Art & Art History (4.00)

TOPICS IN ART AND ART HISTORY: This course introduces students to a special topic that combines art and art history. While topics will vary according to the professor's interest and expertise, they will ask students to consider the intersections and complementarity of art and art art history and to translate concepts across these fields. Description for "DIFFERENCE AND DOCUMENTARY MEDIA IN AMERICAN VISUAL CULTURE"--This course gives an overview of major debates in documentary media at the intersections of sexuality, race, and dis/ability in American visual culture. Photography and film serve as primary sources and the course culminates in a practice-based final project.

Course requisites: ART-144, 150 or 160

ART-360: Thinking Through Art & Art History (4.00)

This process seminar develops skills in methods and methodology, research, and visual and contextual analysis to prepare students to more meaningfully engage the rigor of projects in the capstone courses in art and art history.

Course requisites: ART-144, 150, or 160; +one 200-level ART course

ART-397: Topics in Art & Art History (4.00)

TOPICS IN ART AND ART HISTORY: This course introduces students to a special topic that combines art and art history. While topics will vary according to the professor's interest and expertise, they will ask students to consider the intersections and complementarity of art and art art history and to translate concepts across these fields.

Course requisites: ART-144, 150, or 160

Art History

ART-105: Contemporary Art (4.00)

This course examines contemporary art from 1970 to the present, with a focus on the expansion of artistic practices into new media and global contexts.

ART-175: Arts of China, Korea and Japan (4.00)

This course will provide an introduction to the arts of China, Korea, and Japan. We will focus on monuments in the history of art for each culture, as well as the historical moments when these cultures interacted through objects: commodities, religious images, and works of art. Emphasis will be placed on artist techniques, materials, and formats as well as viewing art in the complex context of each culture. We will also explore how the history of East Asian art has been written and approached in the West, questioning Western assumptions through approaching the objects in context.

ART-201: Art of Ancient Greece and Rome (4.00)

Examination of the art and architecture of the classical world from the Bronze Age to the Fall of Rome. Focus on the evolution of Greek temples, the quest for naturalism in sculpture and the refinement of Black and Red figure pottery. In Rome, we will consider the changes in scale, function and use of building materials, the political landscape and the emphasis on portraiture and illusionistic wall painting. Cross-listed with CLA-242.

Course requisites: 150

ART-203: The Art of the Renaissance (4.00)

This course will concentrate on the apogee of painting, sculpture and architecture of Italy. The art of the Trecento, Quattrocento and Cinquecento (c. 1300-1550) traces a visual arc between the rediscovery of nature by Giotto to the visual exploration of artists like Masaccio, Piero della Francesca and Paolo Uccello to the grace of Botticelli, and culminates in the dominant personalities of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael. The period also embraces the reaction generated by these creative "titans"--that is, Mannerism. What were the points of intersection between these periods of innovation and experimentation in the north and the south? Venice will provide a wonderfully spirited resistance to the High Renaissance in Rome and the careers of Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese will be contrasted to those of Michelangelo and Raphael. Although the course by definition focuses on the great masters, we will also consider issues of gender (where are the "great mistresses"?) and the role of patronage as it evolved during the Renaissance. Matters of technique as well as social, economic, and political changes will be discussed in relation to the birth of this golden age of Renaissance art. Finally, we shall consider the unique position that art occupied in the Renaissance. The primary focus of these artists is religious works of art as they painted (carved and built) the altars, altarpieces, murals, and churches in which the Christian liturgy was performed. How did these artists reflect the period of transformation from the Renaissance to the Reformation? Similarly, how did art respond to the Catholic counter-Reformation? We will see how humanism and Neoplatonism tempered the urgency of these religious movements over the course of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Cross-listed as REL-203.

Course requisites: 150

ART-204: African Art (4.00)

This course serves as an introduction to the art and architecture of Africa. It will explore historical trends across the continent and their impact on art and culture. Themes considered include religion, performance and masquerade, warriorhood, blacksmitin, trade, colonialism, beads, body, dress, and tapestry. Cross-listed with AS-204.

ART-208: Modern Art (4.00)

Exploration of the major artistic movements in painting and sculpture from the mid-19th century to mid-20th century.

Course requisites: ART-150;

ART-215: Modern Architecture (4.00)

Consideration of the key developments in architecture and urban design from the mid-19th century through postmodernism. Cross-listed with WS-215.

Course requisites: ART-150

ART-220: Monuments: Making Meaning and Memory in Visual Culture (4.00)

Explores the variety of public art projects through a close examination of monuments and memorials from Western and non-Western art. This course ranges widely among time periods and geographies to determine the ways that different cultures and artists have given visual form to the rituals of and opportunities for memory and mourning.

Course requisites: 150

ART-225: History of Photography (4.00)

This course focuses on photography from the mid-nineteenth century (c. 1839) to the present. It examines the invention of photography and photography's evolution in both aesthetic and technical/technological terms.

ART-230: Contemp Art, Architect Form, Urban Space (4.00)

Over the past decades, artists have engaged spatial practices to change existing definitions of art objects and to enact institutional, cultural, and political critiques. This course examines artistic practices in a variety of media, which create dialogues with architectural form and urban space.

ART-275: History of Chinese Painting (4.00)

This course introduces Chinese painting from the earliest traces of ink on silk to the present. Looking at figure, Buddhist, and landscape painting, we will trace the different purposes paintings have served; from spiritual tools to escapes for the mind to political protests. We will pay special attention to the materials, techniques, and formats used by Chinese painters. While studying the canonical works of Chinese painting, we will also include works by often-ignored groups such as women painters and craftsmen who reproduced painting in media such as woodblock print, textiles, and even porcelain.

ART-296: Topics in Art History (4.00)

TOPICS IN ART HISTORY--This course introduces students to a special topic in art history. Such topics may be focused on a specific historical period or theoretical issue; topics are variable according to the professor's interest and expertise. Description for "POSTCOLONIAL AFRICAN ART: AFRICAN ART AND THE MUSEUM"--This course serves as an introduction to the museum and the way in which it shapes our understanding of art and culture. It will explore historical trends in museum display and policy and their impact on the field of African art. The semester will be divided into three sections: the history of museums; museum development in Africa; and the display of African art in Europe and the United States.

Description for "ART/ARCHITECTURE/PROPAGANDA IN ROMAN EMPIRE"--This course examines how religion, mythology, and public opinion were altered, manipulated, and employed in art and architecture during the Roman Empire not only to keep the emperors in power but also to express and underpin their political ideals and goals. Rather than tackling the issue chronologically, we will instead begin with an overview of the core Roman pantheon, proceed to broad topics such as the creation of new gods for the imperial families, the exchange of religion in the Romanization of the provinces, and the imperial cult, and end with a discussion of modern America's use of the classical world in its own propaganda. Cross-listed with CLA-295.

Description for "MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN ART"--This course will examine artistic modernisms in various historical contexts across Africa by studying the content, production, patronage, and display of modern and contemporary art. We will consider African artists' engagement with modernity, globalization, and contemporary issues, as well as interrogate influential myths and assumptions regarding African artists and the work they produce.

Description for "STONE, FLESH, SPIRIT: LATE MEDIEVAL ART AND PATTERNS OF DEVOTION"--The later Middle Ages were characterized by a surplus of bloodshed. Historical events such as the Hundred Years' War, the battle of Agincourt, famine, and successive outbursts of the plague engendered a deep familiarity with death. At the same time, the religious orders such as the Franciscans, Dominicans, Hospitalers, and others encouraged the faithful to imitate Christ in order to partake in the salvation his suffering and death offered. The Imitatio Christi emphasized the pain and agony that surrounded Christ's death as a prologue to the resurrection and eternal life that succeeded it. The worshiper was admonished to "dwell in the wounds of Christ" in order to reap the rewards promised to the faithful. This experiential nature of worship inspired works of art that were overly expressive, exaggerated in emotional tenor, and often melodramatic in gesture and composition. The audience reception of such works was visceral in nature--nuns weeping at the feet of Crucifixes and lay people swooning before Pietas. This course will examine the art of this period, focusing on late medieval sculpture as Andachsbilder (devotional objects). Cross-listed with REL-296.

Course requisites: ART-150 or permission of instructor

ART-304: Woman As Muse and Maker (cont) From Antiquity to Present (4.00)

WOMAN AS MUSE AND MAKER FROM ANTIQUITY TO THE PRESENT--Introduction to the role of women as both creators and sponsors of works of art. Not only were women the ambivalent object of portrayal from Eve to the Virgin, but they were also a force behind pen and parchment. From Hildegard of Bingen to Maria Robusti to Judy Chicago to Shirin Neshat, we trace the role of women as objects, as artists, and as patrons in the history of art. We emphasize issues of agency, the gaze, and Feminist theory. Cross-listed with WS-304.

Course requisites: 150 and a 200-level art course

ART-330: The Art of Portraiture (4.00)

Survey of the variety of approaches to portraiture from Antiquity to the present; we examine and interrogate the motivations behind particular approaches (for example, group portraiture) and styles while also contextualizing artists within the art of their eras.

Course requisites: 150 and a 200-level course

ART-380: Contemporary Art and Theory (4.00)

Examination of key artists and theories in the art of the last three decades. Issues include: postmodernism, feminism and multiculturalism. Visits to museums and/or area galleries will be integrated into the course. Cross-listed with WS-380.

Course requisites: ART-150

ART-396: Topics in Art History (4.00)

TOPICS IN ART HISTORY: This course introduces students to a special topic in art history. Such topics may be focused on a specific historical period or theoretical issue; topics are variable according to the professor's interest and expertise.

Course requisites: ART-150 or permission of instructor

ART-410: Directed Reading (1.00)

Individual research project supervised by instructor. Open to majors, or by permission of instructor.

ART-490: Senior Thesis (4.00)

A senior thesis in the student's major gives superior students the opportunity to write a thesis about a project related to a particular field of intellectual or artistic interest. Interested students should obtain thesis guidelines (available in the Office of Academic Advising) and apply in writing to the appropriate department chair or program chair. A 490 course carries 4 semester hours of credit.

Requirements for Art History Minors

A minimum of 5 courses are required for the Art History minor.

ART-150 is required with four additional art history courses at the 200 level or above.

Required Course

ART-150: Art History (4.00)

Introduction to the major paintings, sculptures and architectural monuments from the pyramids to postmodernism. Discussion of stylistic movements, the importance of viewing works in context and the broadening of the canon in the dialogue of non-Western and Western art. This one-semester course is a prerequisite for all upper-level courses in art history.

Elective Courses

Art History/Studio Art Combined Courses

ART-260: Image and Word: Methods in Art and Art History (4.00)

This course examines methods and methodologies in studio art and art history. Students practice skills such as analyzing works of art for their visual, iconographic and socio-historical components, summarizing and critiquing scholarly texts and considering their methodological approaches, and giving public presentations. Students will have the opportunity to interact with all members of the department of Art and Art History and the Director of the Dalton Gallery, thus gaining a breadth and depth in their understanding of intersecting and complementary practices in areas of art and art history.

Course requisites: ART-144 or ART-150 or ART-160

ART-297: Topics in Art & Art History (4.00)

TOPICS IN ART AND ART HISTORY: This course introduces students to a special topic that combines art and art history. While topics will vary according to the professor's interest and expertise, they will ask students to consider the intersections and complementarity of art and art art history and to translate concepts across these fields. Description for "DIFFERENCE AND DOCUMENTARY MEDIA IN AMERICAN VISUAL CULTURE"--This course gives an overview of major debates in documentary media at the intersections of sexuality, race, and dis/ability in American visual culture. Photography and film serve as primary sources and the course culminates in a practice-based final project.

Course requisites: ART-144, 150 or 160

ART-360: Thinking Through Art & Art History (4.00)

This process seminar develops skills in methods and methodology, research, and visual and contextual analysis to prepare students to more meaningfully engage the rigor of projects in the capstone courses in art and art history.

Course requisites: ART-144, 150, or 160; +one 200-level ART course

ART-397: Topics in Art & Art History (4.00)

TOPICS IN ART AND ART HISTORY: This course introduces students to a special topic that combines art and art history. While topics will vary according to the professor's interest and expertise, they will ask students to consider the intersections and complementarity of art and art art history and to translate concepts across these fields.

Course requisites: ART-144, 150, or 160

Art History

ART-201: Art of Ancient Greece and Rome (4.00)

Examination of the art and architecture of the classical world from the Bronze Age to the Fall of Rome. Focus on the evolution of Greek temples, the quest for naturalism in sculpture and the refinement of Black and Red figure pottery. In Rome, we will consider the changes in scale, function and use of building materials, the political landscape and the emphasis on portraiture and illusionistic wall painting. Cross-listed with CLA-242.

Course requisites: 150

ART-203: The Art of the Renaissance (4.00)

This course will concentrate on the apogee of painting, sculpture and architecture of Italy. The art of the Trecento, Quattrocento and Cinquecento (c. 1300-1550) traces a visual arc between the rediscovery of nature by Giotto to the visual exploration of artists like Masaccio, Piero della Francesca and Paolo Uccello to the grace of Botticelli, and culminates in the dominant personalities of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael. The period also embraces the reaction generated by these creative "titans"--that is, Mannerism. What were the points of intersection between these periods of innovation and experimentation in the north and the south? Venice will provide a wonderfully spirited resistance to the High Renaissance in Rome and the careers of Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese will be contrasted to those of Michelangelo and Raphael. Although the course by definition focuses on the great masters, we will also consider issues of gender (where are the "great mistresses"?) and the role of patronage as it evolved during the Renaissance. Matters of technique as well as social, economic, and political changes will be discussed in relation to the birth of this golden age of Renaissance art. Finally, we shall consider the unique position that art occupied in the Renaissance. The primary focus of these artists is religious works of art as they painted (carved and built) the altars, altarpieces, murals, and churches in which the Christian liturgy was performed. How did these artists reflect the period of transformation from the Renaissance to the Reformation? Similarly, how did art respond to the Catholic counter-Reformation? We will see how humanism and Neoplatonism tempered the urgency of these religious movements over the course of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Cross-listed as REL-203.

Course requisites: 150

ART-204: African Art (4.00)

This course serves as an introduction to the art and architecture of Africa. It will explore historical trends across the continent and their impact on art and culture. Themes considered include religion, performance and masquerade, warriorhood, blacksmitin, trade, colonialism, beads, body, dress, and tapestry. Cross-listed with AS-204.

ART-208: Modern Art (4.00)

Exploration of the major artistic movements in painting and sculpture from the mid-19th century to mid-20th century.

Course requisites: ART-150;

ART-215: Modern Architecture (4.00)

Consideration of the key developments in architecture and urban design from the mid-19th century through postmodernism. Cross-listed with WS-215.

Course requisites: ART-150

ART-220: Monuments: Making Meaning and Memory in Visual Culture (4.00)

Explores the variety of public art projects through a close examination of monuments and memorials from Western and non-Western art. This course ranges widely among time periods and geographies to determine the ways that different cultures and artists have given visual form to the rituals of and opportunities for memory and mourning.

Course requisites: 150

ART-225: History of Photography (4.00)

This course focuses on photography from the mid-nineteenth century (c. 1839) to the present. It examines the invention of photography and photography's evolution in both aesthetic and technical/technological terms.

ART-230: Contemp Art, Architect Form, Urban Space (4.00)

Over the past decades, artists have engaged spatial practices to change existing definitions of art objects and to enact institutional, cultural, and political critiques. This course examines artistic practices in a variety of media, which create dialogues with architectural form and urban space.

ART-275: History of Chinese Painting (4.00)

This course introduces Chinese painting from the earliest traces of ink on silk to the present. Looking at figure, Buddhist, and landscape painting, we will trace the different purposes paintings have served; from spiritual tools to escapes for the mind to political protests. We will pay special attention to the materials, techniques, and formats used by Chinese painters. While studying the canonical works of Chinese painting, we will also include works by often-ignored groups such as women painters and craftsmen who reproduced painting in media such as woodblock print, textiles, and even porcelain.

ART-296: Topics in Art History (4.00)

TOPICS IN ART HISTORY--This course introduces students to a special topic in art history. Such topics may be focused on a specific historical period or theoretical issue; topics are variable according to the professor's interest and expertise. Description for "POSTCOLONIAL AFRICAN ART: AFRICAN ART AND THE MUSEUM"--This course serves as an introduction to the museum and the way in which it shapes our understanding of art and culture. It will explore historical trends in museum display and policy and their impact on the field of African art. The semester will be divided into three sections: the history of museums; museum development in Africa; and the display of African art in Europe and the United States.

Description for "ART/ARCHITECTURE/PROPAGANDA IN ROMAN EMPIRE"--This course examines how religion, mythology, and public opinion were altered, manipulated, and employed in art and architecture during the Roman Empire not only to keep the emperors in power but also to express and underpin their political ideals and goals. Rather than tackling the issue chronologically, we will instead begin with an overview of the core Roman pantheon, proceed to broad topics such as the creation of new gods for the imperial families, the exchange of religion in the Romanization of the provinces, and the imperial cult, and end with a discussion of modern America's use of the classical world in its own propaganda. Cross-listed with CLA-295.

Description for "MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN ART"--This course will examine artistic modernisms in various historical contexts across Africa by studying the content, production, patronage, and display of modern and contemporary art. We will consider African artists' engagement with modernity, globalization, and contemporary issues, as well as interrogate influential myths and assumptions regarding African artists and the work they produce.

Description for "STONE, FLESH, SPIRIT: LATE MEDIEVAL ART AND PATTERNS OF DEVOTION"--The later Middle Ages were characterized by a surplus of bloodshed. Historical events such as the Hundred Years' War, the battle of Agincourt, famine, and successive outbursts of the plague engendered a deep familiarity with death. At the same time, the religious orders such as the Franciscans, Dominicans, Hospitalers, and others encouraged the faithful to imitate Christ in order to partake in the salvation his suffering and death offered. The Imitatio Christi emphasized the pain and agony that surrounded Christ's death as a prologue to the resurrection and eternal life that succeeded it. The worshiper was admonished to "dwell in the wounds of Christ" in order to reap the rewards promised to the faithful. This experiential nature of worship inspired works of art that were overly expressive, exaggerated in emotional tenor, and often melodramatic in gesture and composition. The audience reception of such works was visceral in nature--nuns weeping at the feet of Crucifixes and lay people swooning before Pietas. This course will examine the art of this period, focusing on late medieval sculpture as Andachsbilder (devotional objects). Cross-listed with REL-296.

Course requisites: ART-150 or permission of instructor

ART-304: Woman As Muse and Maker (cont) From Antiquity to Present (4.00)

WOMAN AS MUSE AND MAKER FROM ANTIQUITY TO THE PRESENT--Introduction to the role of women as both creators and sponsors of works of art. Not only were women the ambivalent object of portrayal from Eve to the Virgin, but they were also a force behind pen and parchment. From Hildegard of Bingen to Maria Robusti to Judy Chicago to Shirin Neshat, we trace the role of women as objects, as artists, and as patrons in the history of art. We emphasize issues of agency, the gaze, and Feminist theory. Cross-listed with WS-304.

Course requisites: 150 and a 200-level art course

ART-330: The Art of Portraiture (4.00)

Survey of the variety of approaches to portraiture from Antiquity to the present; we examine and interrogate the motivations behind particular approaches (for example, group portraiture) and styles while also contextualizing artists within the art of their eras.

Course requisites: 150 and a 200-level course

ART-380: Contemporary Art and Theory (4.00)

Examination of key artists and theories in the art of the last three decades. Issues include: postmodernism, feminism and multiculturalism. Visits to museums and/or area galleries will be integrated into the course. Cross-listed with WS-380.

Course requisites: ART-150

ART-396: Topics in Art History (4.00)

TOPICS IN ART HISTORY: This course introduces students to a special topic in art history. Such topics may be focused on a specific historical period or theoretical issue; topics are variable according to the professor's interest and expertise.

Course requisites: ART-150 or permission of instructor

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