A concentration in art history consists of nine art history courses and at least one course in studio art. The nine art history courses must include 245, 248, 254 or 258; 282; 285; 292 or 293; 330 (beginning with the Class of 2016); three electives; and 401, 406, 490 or 491 to be taken during the senior year. A second course in studio art or a second 300-level course may be counted as one of the electives.
The Senior Project in art history includes an extensive research paper prepared in connection with the senior-year seminar and its oral presentation before the Department.
Honors in art history will be awarded on the basis of a cumulative average of 3.3 (88) or above in coursework toward the concentration and distinguished achievement on the Senior Project.
Students planning to apply for graduate studies in the history of art are advised to acquire or consolidate a fluency in two foreign languages. Students interested in preparing for a professional school of architecture should consult with Professor Rand Carter as early as possible.
A minor in art history consists of five courses in art history, including at least one pre-modern or Asian course.
120F Introduction to the History and Theory of Film.
A general introduction to the wide world of cinema and cinema studies, focusing on crucial films from many cinematic traditions. Topics include the evolution of film from earlier forms of motion picture, the articulation and exploitation of a narrative language for cinema, the development of typical commercial genres, and the appearance of a variety of forms of critical cinema. Focuses on basic film terminology, with the cinematic apparatus and ongoing theoretical conversation about cinema and its audience. (Same as Literature and Creative Writing 120 and Cinema and Media Studies 120.) MacDonald.
145F,S Differencing the Visible: Perspectives on African-American Art and the Black Historical Experience.
Traces the cultural achievements and struggles of African-American artists, both men and women, to make a people and a world they had known visible, and to be true to those who were misrepresented or erased entirely from the visibility of American history. The goals of the course are to foster an historical memory, intuitive empathy, and responsive understanding of the works of African-American artists, in the context of the societal and historical circumstances in which they were produced. (Proseminar.) Maximum enrollment, 16. Goldberg.
Architecture in History.
A critical examination of the development of the designed and built environment from the Paleolithic Period to the Industrial Revolution, with consideration given to urban, social and landscape issues. (Writing-intensive.) Maximum enrollment, 20.
151F Architecture and the Environment.
A critical and historical introduction to the study of human intervention in the environment, considering such issues as the alleviation of biological and psychological stress through architectural design, social purpose and formal significance. Individual buildings examined in relation to their urban and natural contexts. (Oral Presentations.) (Proseminar.) Maximum enrollment, 16. R Carter.
152F,S Proseminar in Art History.
A writing intensive course designed to introduce students to ways of critically evaluating differing viewpoints on the meaning and social significance of art. Writing assignments provide opportunities to engage students in a critical examination of the power of images to promote certain social values and to shape viewers' understanding of themselves, their relations to others, and to the world around them. (Writing-intensive.) (Proseminar.) Open to first- and second-year students only. Maximum enrollment, 16. McEnroe and Pokinski.
Arts and Cultures of Asia.
An introduction to the traditional arts of India, China and Japan. Discussion focusing on the cultural and aesthetic values, religio-philosophical beliefs and historical conditions informing the practice of art and its reception within these cultures.
African Americans and Cinema.
Exploration of the history of cinema produced by African Americans and the representation of African Americans in cinema. Topics include early cinema, D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation; Oscar Micheaux and the “race films” of the 1920s-1940s; early jazz films; Richard Wright’s Native Son as novel and film; Hollywood “problem pictures” of the 1940s-1950s; radical 1960s-1970s experiments by William Greaves, Melvin Van Peebles, and the “LA Rebellion”; Daughters of the Dust; Spike Lee, and Marlon Riggs. Course hosts visits by accomplished filmmakers and scholars. (Same as Literature and Creative Writing 202 and Africana Studies 202.)
Outrageous Acts: Avant-Garde Theatre and Performance Art.
An examination of experimental art’s capacity to shock and to force us to recognize ourselves from new and unexpected perspectives. The historical, cultural and philosophical origins and influences, as well as exemplary works from the early avant-garde movements (1890-1940) and more contemporary avant-garde theatre and performance art (1950-1990). Discussion of the art, music, literature, theatre and film of Surrealism, Symbolism, Expressionism, Dada, Futurism, Constructivism, Epic, The Living Theatre, Grotowski, Monk, Wilson, Foreman, The Wooster Group, Hughes, Finley. (Oral Presentations.) (Same as Theatre 236.)
Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic Arts of India.
An introduction to Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic traditions of art and architecture in India, as well as the art and architecture of the colonial and post-colonial periods. (Same as Religious Studies 245.)
Paths to Enlightenment: The Art and Architecture of Buddhism.
An examination of the history and meaning of the art and architecture of Buddhism within its various cultural locations: beginning in 2nd-century BCE India, through its transmission and translation across Asia to Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Central Asia, China, Korea, Japan, Tibet, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia. Exploration of this multifaceted tradition as a profound expression of artistic and religious values. (Writing-intensive.) Maximum enrollment, 20.
254S Courtier, Samurai, Priest and Chonin: The Arts of Japan.
A historical examination of the social and aesthetic values and sensibilities expressed in the indigenous arts associated with the court aristocracy, samurai warrior, Zen priest and chonin or townsman. Japanese material culture, including painting, calligraphy, sculpture, architecture, gardens, kimono, ceramics and the tea ceremony. Goldberg.
257S The World of Spanish Art: From the Alhambra to Guernica.
Intensive study of the artistic production of Spain, as reflected in the most significant expressions of architecture, painting and sculpture, along with the cultural and historical context in which these works were created. To be included, among others: Moorish, Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassic and Modernist styles (in architecture); El Greco, Velázquez, Zurbarán, Ribera, Murillo, Goya, Sorolla, Picasso and Dalí (in painting); and Vasco de la Zarza, Bigarny, Diego de Siloé, Juni, Montanás, Cano, Mena, Berruguete (in sculpture). Prerequisite, 200, 201 or consent of instructor. Taught in English (Spring 2015). (Same as Hispanic Studies 257.) Medina, J.
258F Political Power and Cultural Authority: The Arts of China.
Historical examination of the ethico-aesthetic, religio-philosophical and socio-political values expressed in the indigenous arts associated with the imperial court, the scholar's studio, the marketplace and the subtle art of dissent. Chinese material culture, including painting, calligraphy, sculpture, ceramics, jade, ritual bronzes, architecture and silk robes. Goldberg.
Defining American Art.
The role of art and its development in the United States between 1800 and 1950. Topics include the effects of the colonial experience, the search for a national identity, expressions of race, class and gender, the sense of inferiority in relation to European art, popular and vernacular art forms, and debates over public support of the arts. Prerequisite, one course in art history, American history, American literature or American studies.
261S Art of Ancient Greece and Rome.
An examination of Mediterranean art from the Bronze Age through the Roman Empire. Special emphasis on the archaeological discovery and reshaping of ancient art by later scholars and the concept of the "classical." (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one course in art history or classics. (Same as Classics 261.) Maximum enrollment, 20. McEnroe.
Art of the Islamic World.
The Near and Middle Eastern origins, the classical inheritance, and the Eastern and Western diffusion of Islamic civilization. Prerequisite, Art History 150 or one 200-level art history course.
282S Renaissance Art History.
An examination and reevaluation of Renaissance art. Topics include the relations between art and craft, the social functions of art, gender and ethnic stereotypes. McEnroe.
285F Seventeenth-Century Art.
The internationalization of Italian Renaissance classicism in the Age of Expansion, beginning with its origins in Rome and continuing with its development in the new artistic capitals of southern, western and northern Europe. Emphasis on major figures such as Caravaggio, Rubens, Bernini, Velasquez, Poussin, Vermeer and Jones. R Carter.
Art in the Age of the Enlightenment.
The 18th century in Europe and its overseas dominions seen as a watershed between a rational and an empirical attitude to nature and reality. The rococo, sentimental and picturesque/sublime traditions and their assimilation into neoclassicism. Attention given to the landscape garden and the decorative arts as well as architecture, painting and sculpture.
288F Show and Tell: Comics and Graphic Narratives.
In Reading Comics, Douglas Wolk states “The cheap way of referring to them is “comics” or “comic books”; the fancy way is “graphic novels”. Erasing these common prejudices, this class reinforces that comics is a sophisticated and complex medium that bears close affinities with art, film, and literature. This is an introductory study of comics across cultures and within global contexts—Tintin, Astro Boy, Wonder Woman, Watchmen and others—one that emphasizes visual narrative storytelling as well as the socio-political and visual trends that have shaped the powerful creative industry of comics. (Theory or Intermedia) (Same as Literature and Creative Writing 288.) N Serrano.
Facing Reality: A History of Documentary Cinema.
The history of cinema as representation and interpretation of "reality," focusing on nonfiction film and video from a variety of periods and geographic locales. Emphasis on the ways in which nonfiction films can subvert viewers' conventional expectations and their personal security. Forms to be discussed include the city symphony, ethnographic documentary, propaganda, nature film, direct cinema, cinéma vérité, the compilation film and personal documentary. (Same as Literature and Creative Writing 290 and Cinema and Media Studies 290.)
Modern Architecture: 1750 to the Present.
The origins of an essentially modern attitude toward architecture during the late 18th century and its development in the 19th and 20th centuries.
293F Modernism into Contemporary Art.
Developments in European and American art from the beginnings of Modernism through the emergence of Contemporary Art. Topics include the effects of shifting social and gender roles on subject matter and audience, the hegemony of formalist aesthetics and avant-gardism, the relationship between art and popular culture, the role of the audience, and the role of art institutions. Considine.
296F What is "Contemporary Art"?.
Globalization and digital technology have changed the way art is made, distributed, and exhibited since 1989. Biennials, art fairs, museums of Contemporary art, and the Internet have expanded access, while threatening local diversity and art’s independence from entertainment. Narratives of modernism and post-modernism no longer predominate, yet comparable critical and historical frameworks have yet to emerge in their stead. We will examine recent attempts by scholars, critics and artists to define and historicize Contemporary art and students will develop their own analyses. (Writing-intensive.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Considine.
301F Cinema as Theory and Critique.
A history of alternatives to commercial movies, focusing on surrealist and dadaist film, visual music, psychodrama, direct cinema, the film society movement, personal cinema, the New American Cinema, structuralism, Queer cinema, feminist cinema, minor cinema, recycled cinema and devotional cinema. While conventional entertainment films use the novel, the short story and the stage drama as their primary instigations, experimental and avant-garde films are analogous to music, poetry, painting, sculpture and collage. Not open to first-year students. (Same as Cinema and Media Studies 301 and Literature and Creative Writing 301.) MacDonald.
Seminar Religion and Modern Art.
Investigates the ways religious traditions have continued to influence the visual arts into the modern and postmodern periods. Topics range from the theosophical inclinations of Kandinsky and Mondrian to the mystical inclinations of abstract expressionism, from the "blasphemous" images of Ernst and Dix to the meditational video work of Gary Hill and Bill Viola. Media covered include painting, sculpture, video, architecture, and film. Recent exhibitions such as "Negotiating Rapture," "Traces du Sacre" and "The Third Mind" will be discussed. Prerequisite, one course in religious studies or art history. Includes mandatory two-day trip to NYC. (Same as Religious Studies 313.) Maximum enrollment, 12.
Text/Image in Cinema.
Focus on the ways in which the histories of film and literature have intersected. Discussion of implications of adapting narrative and dramatic fiction to the screen. Also evokes the history of the use of visual text in film — in titles, intertitles, subtitles, credits — as a background for exploration of the wide range of creative uses of visual text evident in the work of independent filmmakers. Filmmaker guests will be invited to talk about their work. Prerequisite, one course in literature or film. (Same as Literature and Creative Writing 319.)
Artists' Books and Sacred Texts.
This course looks at the ways books have been used in creative ways in the western religious traditions. This includes artistic books, illustrated manuscripts, and varieties of Bibles, Qurans, Torahs, and other sacred scriptures. We examine a history of "The Book," including technological developments in printing and bookbinding, and how these artistic aspects influence beliefs and practices. Course will include projects in which students will create their own books. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, One course in religious studies or art history, or consent of the instructor. (Same as Religious Studies 328.) Maximum enrollment, 12.
330F Theory and Methods in Art History.
Changing interpretations of art from the Renaissance to the present: biography, connoisseurship, formalism, iconology, feminist and postmodern theory. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level course in art history. Maximum enrollment, 20. McEnroe.
The Arts of Zen Buddhism.
An in-depth investigation of the rich and diverse forms of artistic practice associated with Zen Buddhism, a tradition introduced from India to China in the sixth century and transmitted to Japan at the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th centuries. Topics include Zen history, doctrine and practice, aesthetics and theory of art, symbols and metaphors, themes and genres of painting, art of writing, architecture and gardens of Zen monasteries. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, 154, 254, 258 or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 20.
Gender Issues in Art History.
Examination of the role of gender in the production and content of art in the Western tradition. Special attention to the challenges facing women artists, the role of images in constructing and reinforcing gendered identities, the impact of feminist and gender-based scholarship. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one course in art history. Maximum enrollment, 20.
352S Contemporary Chinese Art in the Global Cultural Economy.
Examines the radical transformations in Chinese visual culture in the post-Mao era (1976-present): painting and calligraphy, sculpture and photography, installation and performance art. Topics include the impact of transnational forces of cultural and economic globalization, artistic expressions of cultural identity, historical memory, personal subjectivity and voice independent of the official government line, the rise of a Chinese avant-garde movement, art after Tiananmen, and the place of contemporary Chinese art within a global perspective . (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, 154, 293 or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 20. Goldberg.
North American Architecture before the Civil War and the British North America Act.
A brief outline of architecture, planning and design in the Americas before Columbus, followed by a fuller discussion of the period of European colonization and the era of political independence. The Canadian experience will be included. Field trips to accessible sites. Prerequisite, 150, 151 or consent of instructor.
365S Major Figures in Cinema.
Focus on crucial contributors to the wide world of cinema. The work of one, two, or three particular filmmakers, each from a different sector of the geography of cinema, will be examined in detail. Possible filmmakers include Alfred Hitchcock, James Benning, Ross McElwee, Stan Brakhage, Fritz Lang, the Coen brothers. Prerequisite, ARTH/CNMS/CPLIT 120; or ARTH/CNMS/CPLIT 290; or ARTH/CNMS/CPLIT 301; or permission of the instructor. (Same as Literature and Creative Writing 365 and Cinema and Media Studies 365.) MacDonald.
370F New Realisms: Art and Politics of the Everyday, 1957-68.
Realism in Europe and the Americas during the 1950s and 1960s in the context of decolonization, the Cold War, and the international spread of mass media and consumer culture. A focus on the changing relationship of art and “the real” was challenged by politics and the rise of mass media. Topics include new approaches to the readymade, the international spread of Pop art, Nouveau Réalisme and Capitalist Realism, the anti-art of the Situationist International, and the politicization of realism in the 1960s. Students will build an interactive website charting the geography of realism. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, One 200-level Art History course. Maximum enrollment, 20. Considine.
Seminar: Religion, Art and Visual Culture.
What do the visual arts tell us about religions in ways that written texts alone cannot? How do religious practices actually train religious people to see? Such questions will begin our examination of various media (including painting, calligraphy, architecture, film, and comics) in conjunction with various religious traditions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism). Prerequisite, One course in either art history or religious studies. Required weekend field trip to New York City. (Same as Religious Studies 375.) Maximum enrollment, 12.
Seminar in East Asian Art.
Selected topics in Chinese and Japanese art. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one course in Asian art history or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 12.
Seminar in Modern and Contemporary Art.
Topics in modern and contemporary art and historiography. (Oral Presentations.) Prerequisite, 293. Maximum enrollment, 12.
Seminar: History of Design and the Decorative Arts.
Study of style and social function in the arts of design, with special emphasis on furniture and interior design. Student presentations may include such media as ceramics, glass, metalware and textiles. Visits to public and private collections. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, 285 or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 12.
Seminar in Neo-Classicism.
Art around 1800 seen as a watershed between Renaissance humanism and modernism. Topics include the reinvesting of old forms with new meanings, the reevaluation of myth and symbol, the aesthetic dilemma of industrialization, and archaeology and the romanticization of the past and future. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, 285. Maximum enrollment, 12.
500S Senior Project.
For senior concentrators. Exploration and discussion of art history topics; presentations by department faculty; museum field trip; review of research, bibliographic and writing methods, culminating in a senior project supervised by a member of the department. Maximum enrollment, 20. Pokinski.
(from the Hamilton Course Catalogue)