Critical Perspectives on Art History

Demonstrating that art history has significant connections to real life, this active and engaging survey introduces students to the complexity of issues and approaches that characterize the study of Western art history today. With readings from a diverse panel of informed and passionate writers, the anthology offers a unique multi-perspective approach—covering everything from the power of images to shape the way we know things, to the political and policy debates about the place of the arts in our society. Critical Perspectives helps students become active participants in a lively analysis of ideas and in the actual process of scholarship—engaging them in directed discussions and critical analysis—and clearly demonstrates that art history is a dynamic field of study, not a static set of facts or a universally agreed upon set of interpretations.

For an undergraduate introductory-level course covering the History of Western Art or Visual Studies.

Table of Contents

1. Democracy and the Greek Ideal.
Introduction to The Greek Miracle: Classical Sculpture from the Dawn of Democracy, Nicholas Gage. The Masterpiece Road Show, Robert Hughes. Introduction to The Reign of the Phallus, Eva C. Keuls.

2. The Parthenon and Patrimony.
Keeping Our Marbles, Gavin Stamp. 1986 Speech to Oxford Union, Melina Mercouri.

3. The Classical Tradition.
What Is Classicism?, Michael Greenhalgh. Classicism as Power, Henri Zerner.

4. Portraits and Politics.
How to Read a Roman Portrait, Sheldon Nodleman. Political Images: Public Relations, Advertising, and Propaganda, Ann Marie Seward Barry.


5. The Gothic Cathedral.
The Meaning of Gothic, James Snyder. In the Margins of the Cathedral, Michael Camille.

6. Iconoclasm, Vandalism and Fear of Images.
Idolatry and Iconoclasm, David Freedberg. Disputed Madonna Painting in Brooklyn Is Defaced, Robert D. McFadden.

7. Iconography.
Jan van Eyck, Erwin Panofsky. Introduction: Iconography, Texts, and Audiences, Brendan Cassidy. Prologue to Worldly Goods, Lisa Jardine.

8. Anti-Semitism and Stereotypes.
Anti-Semitism in Medieval Art, Henry Kraus. Introduction to White on Black: Images of Africa and Blacks in Western Popular Culture, Jan Nederveen Pieterse.


9. The Renaissance Portrait.
Women in Frames: The Gaze, the Eye, the Profile in Renaissance Portraiture, Patricia Simons. Renaissance Images and Ideals, Bruce Cole.

10. The Female Nude.
The Naked and the Nude, Kenneth Clark. Ways of Seeing, John Berger.

11. Viewing Michelangelo's David.
The Male Nude: Identity and Denial, Richard Leppert. Florence: The Renewed Republic and the Return of the Medici, John T. Paoletti and Gary M. Radke.

12. Women Artists.
Women and Art during the Renaissance, Paola Tinagli. Sexist Texts Boycotted: Interview with H.W. Janson, Eleanor Dickinson. My Case for the New Sexism, Camille Paglia.

13. Northern Art vs. Italian Art.
The Mean and Measure of All Things, Martin Kemp. Art History and Its Exclusions: The Example of Dutch Art, Svetlana Alpers.


14. Gender and Representation.
Virility and Domination in Early Twentieth Century Vanguard Painting, Carol Duncan. How Do Women Look? The Female Nude in the Work of Suzanne Valadon, Rosemary Betterton.

15. Modernist Architecture.
Social Imagination, Sigfried Giedion. Trouble in Utopia, Robert Hughes.

16. Art and Popular Culture.
The Varnedoe Debacle: MOMA's New “Low,” Hilton Kramer. Art and Culture Today, Mary Anne Staniszewski.

17. Postmodernist Art.
Introduction to Art of the Postmodern Era, Irving Sandler. Excellence and Postexcellence, Darby Bannard. Questions for Jeff Koons; Puppy Love, Deborah Solomon.


18. Censorship.
Against the Male Flood: Censorship, Pornography, and Equality, Andrea Dworkin. The Sex Panic and the Feminist Split, Nadine Strossen. The Female Nude: Pornography, Art, and Sexuality, Lynda Nead.

19. Public Funding for the Arts.
To Earn Subsidies, Must Art Be Useful? Must It Be Sweet?, Paul Goldberger. What to Do about the Arts, Joseph Epstein.

20. The Museum.
Art Museum as Ritual, Carol Duncan. The Assault on the Museums, Hilton Kramer. The Divided House of the American Art Museum, Neil Harris.

21. Culture Wars and the Canon.
The Multicultural Challenge, Dinesh D'Sousa. What Is the Canon?, Gill Perry. Mapping, Lucy Lippard.

22. The Art History Course.
What Are They Doing to Art History?, Scott Heller. Introduction to Tenured Radicals, Roger Kimball.


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