UMass Amherst Art History Program

Classes and Class Descriptions

317B Bartlett Hall, 545-3595

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Master List of Art History Courses

100 Survey of Art: Ancient to Renaissance (ATD) (1st sem)

First half of a survey of art history from prehistoric times to the 20th century. Chronological and systematic approach; either a basis for more detailed study of individual periods in upper-level art history courses, or a solid general foundation for a heightened appreciation of the heritage of art. More professionally oriented than ARTHIS 115. Background for upper-level art history courses; required of majors. May register for Honors.


110 Survey of Art: Renaissance to Modern (AT) (2nd sem)

Historical survey of art, architecture, and urban development from the Renaissance to the present; the social context in which style has developed. Discussion of the same material from a critical and topical point of view. Background for upper-level art history courses; required of majors. May register for Honors.


115 Introduction to the Visual Arts (ATD) (both sem)

The discipline of art history and the tools of visual analysis it employs. Focus on issues such as Classicism, “primitive” art, realism, and modernity, presented in roughly chronological order. Discussion of these issues in relation to contemporary visual culture.


191A Introduction to Architecture and the Built Environment

This is an introductory lecture course that is a foundation both for those who have a general interest in architecture and for those who will pursue architecture, design, preservation and planning as a career. It is organized in a fashion that is both thematic and chronological covering the period from antiquity to the present. Lectures and discussions compare the history of buildings, complexes and cities from the Western tradition in Europe, the Near East and America with selected non-Western cultures (China, Japan, India). In addition to an awareness of the built environment, students will develop research skills, learn to read architectural plans and develop a working vocabulary of architectural terms.


302 Evaluating Greek Art: Ancient Culture, Scientific Technology and Modern Politics (1st sem)

The visual arts against the cultural history of Greece. The origins, unfolding, and flowering of Greek painting, architecture and sculpture from roughly 900 to 100 B.C. Possible museum field trip. Prerequisite: ARTHIS 100, 115 or consent of instructor. May register for Honors.


303 Roman Art: Power, Politics and Society (2nd sem)

The origins and unfolding of Roman art from the Etruscans through the late Empire, roughly 600 B.C. to 300 A.D. Concentration on the flowering of Roman architecture and sculpture, especially portraiture, in the Late Republic and High Empire, 100 B.C. - 200 A.D., and the development of a large-scale, influential, and lasting imperial iconography. Prerequisite: ARTHIS 100, 115 or consent of instructor. May register for Honors.


305 Early Medieval Art (1st sem)

The development of Christian art in Western Europe from the early Middle Ages to the beginning of the Romanesque period. Focus on Early Christian, Byzantine, Hiberno-Saxon, Carolingian and Ottonian periods and the related political, intellectual, and cultural developments. Prerequisite: ARTHIS 100 or consent of instructor.


307 Romanesque and Gothic Art (2nd sem)

The development of architecture, sculpture, painting and the minor arts from 1050 to 1400 in France, England, and Italy. The society in which these art forms developed; the relationship of the monuments to contemporary political, social, intellectual and literary trends. Prerequisite: ARTHIS 100 or permission of instructor.


310 Art and the City-State in Early Renaissance Italy (1st sem)

Chronological survey organized by city, rather than artist to provide a stronger sense of the social context in which works of art were produced. How city-states develop distinctive artistic styles, and how different governmental systems favored various forms of patronage. Cities include: Naples, Rome, Siena, Florence, Milan, Mantua, Ferrara, Padua, Urbino, and Venice. Central themes: the revival of interest in classical antiquity and the development of the mathematical system of one-point perspective.


313 High Renaissance Art and Mannerism in Italy

Sixteenth-century visual arts produced in the major artistic centers of Italy, including Florence, Rome and Venice. The lives and works of specific artists, such as Leonardo, Raphael, Titian and Michelangelo. Focus on the relationship between art and society. Themes include: the rise in social status of the artist and the notion of artistic genius; the influence of patronage and collecting; women as subjects, patrons, and practitioners of art; classicism and “anti-classicism” (Mannerism); art and religious reform; government and city planning; and the role of art in the creation of political identities.


314 Sexuality, Drama and Invention: The Baroque Artist in Italy (1st sem alt yrs)

This course examines the lives, works, and careers of five Baroque artists and architects: Michelangelo da Caravaggio, Artemisia Gentileschi, Guido Reni, Gianlorenzo Bernini, and Francesco Borromini. We will focus on the role of sexuality in the artists' lives and works as well as in Baroque culture more broadly, and consider the concepts of drama and invention in relation to the theory and practice of Baroque art and architecture.


318 The Play of Realism in the Northern Renaissance (1st sem)

Topical survey of the art of the Renaissance in Northern Europe: van Eyck and disguised symbolism, late Gothic spiritualism; Bosch and the fantastic; Durer and the Reformation; the rise of landscape and the art of Pieter Bruegel. Primary attention to painting the expressive value of the works in a cultural context. Prerequisite: some college-level art history, preferably introductory, e.g., ARTHIS 100, 110 or 115. May register for Honors.


319 Court, Church and Community in Northern Baroque Art (2nd sem)

Survey of 17th century painting outside Italy. Emphasis on Velazquez, Poussin, Rubens, Rembrandt, Vermer. Meaning and function of the art in historical and cultural context. Prerequisite: some college-level art history, preferably introductory, e.g., ARTHIS 100, 110, 115, May register for Honors.


320 Aspects of the Baroque

Selected aspects of art and architecture in England, France, Flanders, Holland, Germany, and Austria from 1600 to 1750. Prerequisite: ARTHIS 319 or consent of instructor.


323 European Art 1780-1880 (1st sem)

Surveys major artists and developments from David through Impressionism; emphasis on historical context and related cultural and intellectual developments. Prerequisites: ARTHIS 110, 115 or consent of instructor. May register for Honors.


324 Modern Art, 1880-1980 (2ndsem)

Introduction to directions and major issues in 20th century art. Focus on movements from Post-Impressionism, Symbolism, Expressionism, Cubism, Dada, Surrealism, to post-World-War II and contemporary directions from Abstract Expressionism to Post-Modernism. Prerequisite: ARTHIS 110 or 115 or consent of instructor.


326 Criticism of Modern Art

Practical exercises and studies in the evaluation of modern painting, including supporting theory and/or relationships to the other arts. Prerequisite: ARTHIS 324 or consent of instructor.


328 American Art to 1860 (1st sem)

Painting, architecture, and sculpture in the English North American colonies and the United States to 1860. Emphasis on painting. Prerequisite: ARTHIS 110 or 115. May register for Honors.


329 American Art 1860-1940 (2nd sem)

Painting, architecture, and sculpture in the United States from 1860 to 1940. Emphasis on painting. Prerequisite: ARTHIS 110 or 115. May register for Honors.


334 History of the Decorative Arts

Historical survey of the decorative arts from the middle ages into the present century; emphasis on the European and American period styles of the 18th century onward. Various media of the decorative arts, including furniture, glass, textiles. Prerequisite: ARTHIS 100, 110 or 115.


335 History of Photography

Introduction to the history of the medium from 1839 to the present. Lectures focus on the social and cultural factors underlying each type or form of photography, relation of the medium to other arts and visual analysis of the images themselves. Prerequisite: ARTHIS 110 or 115 or consent of instructor; ARTHIS 324 helpful.


342 19th- Century Architecture: Reform, History and Technology (1st sem)

This lecture class surveys the practice of architecture in Europe and America from 1750 to 1914. It looks at the economic, social and political forces that led to the creation of new building types, institutions and technologies peculiar to the nineteenth-century by focusing on figures and movements such as Schinkel, Ruskin, Viollet-le-Duc, Frank Lloyd Wright, Haussmann’s Paris, Olmsted’s Central Park, the Gothic Revival, Arts and Crafts, and Art Nouveau. A particular emphasis will be placed upon the architect’s role as a critic seeking social reform. Valuable for anyone concerned with design.


343 20th-Century Architecture: Modernism, Capitalism and Globalism (2nd sem)

This lecture course examines the architecture, design and theory of the 20th century from 1914 to the present with a primary focus on the Modern movement. It places canonical buildings in the context of ideas and historical forces by focusing on the positions staked out by critics, historians and founding figures such as Wright, Mies, and Le Corbusier. Students will develop a working vocabulary of terms, a familiarity with the building technologies of the century and skill at reading architectural images and plans. Essential for anyone concerned with design. An art history survey course and Art Hist. 342 are helpful.


344 Vernacular Architecture

Seminar. Concentrates on American Colonial architecture of New England and a variety of vernacular structures in later periods; e.g., barns, windmills, factories. For students of architectural preservation and renovation, as well as art history.


347 History of Islamic Art and Architecture I (1st sem alt yrs)

History of Islamic art from its origins in the Byzantine and Sasanian traditions of the Near East, to it’s development under the Arab Empire and under subsequent Turkish and Persian dynastic patrons through the 13th century. The Islamic world from Spain to India; emphasis on the central Islamic lands of the Near East. Media include architecture, painting, textiles, ivories, ceramics, glass and crystal, and others seldom encountered in the study of Western art. Background in either art history or Near Eastern history useful. Alternates with ARTHIS 348.


348 History of Islamic Art and Architecture II (1st sem alt yrs)

Continuation of ARTHIS 347. The artistic expression of the various Islamic peoples from the 14th through 18th centuries through important art works and related historical material. Any one of three 100-level art history courses, or ARTHIS 347 or a course in Islamic history desirable. Alternates with ARTHIS 347.


370 Junior Year Writing Course (1st sem)

Course projects which give practice in different types of art historical writing (catalogue entry, book or exhibition review, interpretive essay, technical report) combined with in-class exercises in the writing of analytical and explanatory prose. Topic focuses from semester to semester on a period, culture, and/or individual artist. Required of all art history majors in their junior year.


381-389 and 671-675 Great Themes in Art History (both sem)

Changing treatment of central themes, issues, and problems in art history. Topics change; offerings usually available in Modern and Islamic. List of current offerings available in Art History Office: 317B Bartlett. Prerequisite: upper-level survey course on theme to be examined, or consent of instructor. See below for some of the great themes the program has offered in recent years.

Great Themes: The Body in Modern and Contemporary Art
For the first part of the course, each session will consider one body part: hands, eyes, skin, etc. Concentrating on American and European twentieth-century art, the approach will also include cross-cultural and interdisciplinary elements. Examples of possible juxtapositions include legs by Robert Gober and Hans Bellmer, the electrified hair paintings of surrealist Leonora Carrington with Senufo (Ivory Coast) coiffures, or Yayoi Kusama’s phallic sculptures with works by Brancusi and Louise Bourgeois. Key questions will be: what are the implications of parceling out the body? What symbolic investment is made in particular parts of the body? How is the hierarchy of the body viewed differently in specific cultures and historical moments? What relationships do the various parts of the body have to identity, gender, politics, the senses, etc.? In the final few weeks of the course, the body will be “reintegrated” by drawing on the thematic threads that have emerged:  the hybrid body, the body in pain, body and machine, the body in performance, and so on.

Great Themes: Contemporary Women Artists
In this lecture course, women artists and women’s “place” in the art world from 1945 to the present is the primary focus. The formative role of the feminist movement in contemporary art as well as the recent interplay of postmodern theory and identity politics will inform thematic considerations of contemporary art made by women. The representation of women artists in contemporary popular culture and the reception and historicization of women’s art work will also be considered. Prerequisite: ARTHIS 100, 110 or 115. 

Great Themes: Survey of African Art
This survey will be organized geographically with a concentration on West and Central sub-Saharan Africa. The scope will be limited enough to enable an in-depth consideration of the role of art and its relation to the contexts and world views of particular cultural groups, but broad enough to give a sense of the rich diversity of both traditional and contemporary African art practices. Special attention will be paid to the performative aspects of masking; to the role art plays in shaping gender roles and in healing and divination; to the contrast of  hierarchical, royal vs. less formally structured village traditions; to the impact of colonization and post-colonial independence on African art; and to contemporary legacies of traditional art forms.

Great Themes: Contemporary Women’s Art and Criticism
Seminar. Directions and definitions of women artists’ work from the 1970’s to the present in the social and critical context in which it developed. Feminist theory and art criticism central to each phase examined. Prerequisite: ARTHIS 324 or 327 or consent of instructor.

Great Themes: History of Prints
Seminar. History of printmaking as fine art; emphasis on major printmakers, Durer, Lucas van Leyden, Rembrandt, Goya. Issues of collecting and prints as vehicle of popular and propagandistic communication. Required field trips. Prerequisite: previous courses in art history.

Great Themes: Landscape and Contemporary Art     
How does the genre of landscape relate to concerns of contemporary artists? This seminar proposed many theoretical approaches to postmodern concepts of land and nature in earthworks, performance, environmental art, landscape painting, contemporary photography and installation. Traditional approaches to landscape such as the pastoral and sublime will be put into dialogue with contemporary practices. Artists to include Smithson, Holt, de Maria, Mendieta, Christo, Beuys, Goldsworthy, Ukeles-Laderman, the Bechers, Crewdson, Wall, Gursky, and Hamilton. Students will read from and discuss a range of interdisciplinary texts to work out new methodologies for this artwork and will present seminar papers.


397A Impressionism and Post-impressionism

Introduction to modern art of the later 19th century through the major figures of these two movements. Analysis of their techniques, subjects and the shape or their careers. ARTHIS 110 or 115 recommended as background.


495B – American Art of 1920s & 30s

This seminar for undergraduates will investigate painting and photography in the United States between the world wars, from about 1920 to 1940. Attention will also be devoted to sculpture, architecture, decorative arts, film, and literature during the period. Individual painters under discussion will include: Georgia O’Keefe, Charles, Sheeler, Charles Demuth, Aaron Douglas, Jacob Lawrence, Edward Hopper, Reginald Marsh, Isabel Bishop, Thomas Hart Benton, Grant Wood, Ben Shahn, and Stuart Davis. Among photographers whose work we will discuss are Alfred Stieglitz, Walker Evans, Edward Weston, and Dorothea Lange. We will consider realism in contrast to modernism and abstraction, Precisionism and the machine aesthetic, Art Deco, the Jazz Age and the Harlem Renaissance, Regionalism, the WPA and other responses to the Great Depression, and responses to nature in an age of urbanism. Enrollment is limited; no particular knowledge of American art is required; survey knowledge of the visual arts is a prerequisite


602 Evaluating Greek Art: Ancient Culture, Scientific Technology and Modern Politics (1st sem)

The visual arts against the cultural history of Greece. The origins, unfolding, and flowering of Greek painting, architecture and sculpture from roughly 900 to 100 B.C. Possible museum field trip.


603 Roman Art: Power, Politics and Society (2nd sem)

The origins and unfolding of Roman art from the Etruscans through the late Empire, roughly 600 B.C. to 300 A.D. Concentration on the flowering of Roman architecture and sculpture, especially portraiture, in the Late Republic and High Empire, 100 B.C. - 200 A.D., and the development of a large-scale, influential, and lasting imperial iconography.


605 Early Medieval Art (1st sem)

The development of Christian art in Western Europe from the early Middle Ages to the beginning of the Romanesque period. Focus on Early Christian, Byzantine, Hiberno-Saxon, Carolingian and Ottonian periods and the related political, intellectual, and cultural developments.


607 Romanesque and Gothic Art (2nd sem)

The development of architecture, sculpture, painting and the minor arts from 1050 to 1400 in France, England, and Italy. The society in which these art forms developed; the relationship of the monuments to contemporary political, social, intellectual and literary trends.


608 Medieval Painting

The history of the illustrated book from early Christian period through the high Middle Ages. Problems in materials and technique; stylistic and iconographic questions. Prerequisite: ARTHIS 605 or 607.


610 Art and the City-State in Early Renaissance Italy (1st sem)

Chronological survey organized by city, rather than artist to provide a stronger sense of the social context in which works of art were produced. How city-states develop distinctive artistic styles, and how different governmental systems favored various forms of patronage. Cities include: Naples, Rome, Siena, Florence, Milan, Mantua, Ferrara, Padua, Urbino, and Venice. Central themes: the revival of interest in classical antiquity and the development of the mathematical system of one-point perspective.


613 High Renaissance Art and Mannerism in Italy

Sixteenth-century visual arts produced in the major artistic centers of Italy, including Florence, Rome and Venice. The lives and works of specific artists, such as Leonardo, Raphael, Titian and Michelangelo. Focus on the relationship between art and society. Themes include: the rise in social status of the artist and the notion of artistic genius; the influence of patronage and collecting; women as subjects, patrons, and practitioners of art; classicism and “anti-classicism” (Mannerism); art and religious reform; government and city planning; and the role of art in the creation of political identities.


614 Sexuality, Drama and Invention: The Baroque Artist in Italy (1st sem alt yrs)

Architecture, sculpture, and painting from 1600-1750, especially in Rome, and in painting, in the Bolognese school. The spread of the Baroque style. Emphasis on Carravaggio, Annibale Carracci, Bernini, Borromini, and Pietro da Cortona. Prerequisite: ARTHIS 610 or 613.


618 The Play of Realism in the Northern Renaissance (1st sem)

Lecture types are the same as those in AH318. In addition, graduate students meet every two weeks to discuss a series of up to date specialized readings in the field; and they keep a critical journal of these readings.


619 Court, Church and Community in Northern Baroque Art (2nd sem)

Lecture types are the same as those in AH318. In addition, graduate students meet every two weeks to discuss a series of up to date specialized readings in the field; and they keep a critical journal of these readings.


620 Aspects of the Baroque

Selected aspects of art and architecture in England, France, Flanders, Holland, Germany, and Austria from 1600 to 1750. Prerequisite: ARTHIS 619 or consent of instructor.


623 European Art 1780-1880 (1st sem)

Surveys major artists and developments from David through Impressionism; emphasis on historical context and related cultural and intellectual developments.


624 Modern Art, 1880 to Present (2nd sem)

Introduction to directions and major issues in 20th century art. Focus on movements from Post-Impressionism, Symbolism, Expressionism, Cubism, Dada, Surrealism, to post-World-War II and contemporary directions from Abstract Expressionism to Post-Modernism.


626 Criticism of Modern Art

Practical exercises and studies in the evaluation of modern painting, including supporting theory and/or relationships to the other arts. Prerequisite: ARTHIS 624 or consent of instructor.


627 Contemporary Art (2nd sem)

Issues and developments in American art after 1940 from the present perspective. Cultural and art historical context of the postwar work of American artists from Abstract Expressionism through the most recent options raised in the works themselves, artists’ writings, critics’ interpretations, public reception, and support. Prerequisite: ARTHIS 624. Enrollment limited to about 20.


628 American Art to 1860 (1st sem)

Painting, architecture, and sculpture in the English North American colonies and the United States to 1860. Emphasis on painting.


629 American Art 1860-1940 (2nd sem)

Painting, architecture, and sculpture in the United States from 1860 to 1940. Emphasis on painting.


634 History of the Decorative Arts

Historical survey of the decorative arts from the middle ages into the present century; emphasis on the European and American period styles of the 18th century onward. Various media of the decorative arts, including furniture, glass, textiles.


635 History of Photography

Introduction to the history of the medium from 1839 to the present. Lectures focus on the social and cultural factors underlying each type or form of photography, relation of the medium to other arts and visual analysis of the images themselves.


642 19th-Century Architecture: Reform, History and Technology (1st sem)

This lecture class surveys the practice of architecture in Europe and America from the mid-eighteenth-century to 1914. It looks at the economic, social and political forces that led to the creation of new building types, institutions and technologies peculiar to the nineteenth-century by focusing on figures and movements such as Schinkel, Ruskin, Viollet-le-Duc, Frank Lloyd Wright, Haussmann’s Paris, Olmsted’s Central Park, the Gothic Revival, Arts and Crafts, and Art Nouveau. A particular emphasis will be placed upon the architect’s role as a critic seeking social reform. Valuable for anyone concerned with design.


643 20th-Century Architecture: Modernism, Capitalism and Globalism (2nd sem)

This lecture course examines the architecture, design and theory of the 20th century from 1914 to the present with a primary focus on the Modern movement. It places canonical buildings in the context of ideas and historical forces by focusing on the positions staked out by critics, historians and founding figures such as Wright, Mies, and Le Corbusier. Students will develop a working vocabulary of terms, a familiarity with the building technologies of the century and skill at reading architectural images and plans. Essential for anyone concerned with design. An art history survey course and Art Hist. 342 are helpful.


644 Vernacular Architecture

Seminar. Concentrates on American Colonial architecture of New England and a variety of vernacular structures in later periods; e.g., barns, windmills, factories. For students of architectural preservation and renovation, as well as art history.


647 History of Islamic Art and Architecture I (1st sem alt yrs)

History of Islamic art from its origins in the Byzantine and Sasanian traditions of the Near East, to its development under the Arab Empire and under subsequent Turkish and Persian dynastic patrons through the 13th century. The Islamic world from Spain to India; emphasis on the central Islamic lands of the Near East. Media include architecture, painting, textiles, ivories, ceramics, glass and crystal, and others seldom encountered in the study of Western art. Background in either art history or Near Eastern history useful. Alternates with ARTHIS 648.


648 History of Islamic Art and Architecture II (1st sem alt yrs)

Continuation of ARTHIS 647. The artistic expression of the various Islamic peoples from the 14th through 18th centuries through important art works and related historical material. Alternates with ARTHIS 647.


671-675 Great Themes in Art History (both sem)

Changing treatment of central themes, issues, and problems in art history. Topics change; offerings usually available in Modern and Islamic. List of current offerings available in Art History Office: 317B Bartlett. Prerequisite: upper-level survey course on theme to be examined, or consent of instructor. See below for some of the great themes the program has offered in recent years.

Great Themes: Contemporary Women Artists
In this lecture course, women artists and women’s “place” in the art world from 1945 to the present is the primary focus. The formative role of the feminist movement in contemporary art as well as the recent interplay of postmodern theory and identity politics will inform thematic considerations of contemporary art made by women. The representation of women artists in contemporary popular culture and the reception and historicization of women’s art work will also be considered.  

Great Themes: Contemporary Women’s Art and Criticism
Seminar. Directions and definitions of women artists’ work from the 1970’s to the present in the social and critical context in which it developed. Feminist theory and art criticism central to each phase examined. Prerequisite: ARTHIS 324 or 327 or consent of instructor

Great Themes: History of Prints
Seminar. History of printmaking as fine art; emphasis on major printmakers, Durer, Lucas van Leyden, Rembrandt, Goya. Issues of collecting and prints as vehicle of popular and propagandistic communication. Required field trips. Prerequisite: previous courses in art history.

Great Themes: Landscape and Contemporary Art     
How does the genre of landscape relate to concerns of contemporary artists? This seminar proposed many theoretical approaches to postmodern concepts of land and nature in earthworks, performance, environmental art, landscape painting, contemporary photography and installation. Traditional approaches to landscape such as the pastoral and sublime will be put into dialogue with contemporary practices. Artists to include Smithson, Holt, de Maria, Mendieta, Christo, Beuys, Goldsworthy, Ukeles-Laderman, the Bechers, Crewdson, Wall, Gursky, and Hamilton. Students will read from and discuss a range of interdisciplinary texts to work out new methodologies for this artwork and will present seminar papers.

Great Themes: Orientalism
Orientalism, deals with the imagery of the Islamic world in the art, literature, music and thought of Europe from the high Middle Ages through the twentieth century. In addition to examining the views of the late Edward Said, the course incorporates other points of view, but the concentration is on works of visual art in many different media. This is primarily a course about attitudes reflected in art, and not about theory. This course meets twice weekly; there will be two short papers, a longer paper, a mid-term and a final examination. It is helpful but not formally required to have had basic courses in art history and/or Middle East studies; in case of doubt, talk it over with Professor Denny.


692A Winslow Homer and American Culture of the Gilded Age

The course is an interdisciplinary seminar that considers the paintings, watercolors, and graphic work of Winslow Homer within the framework of American culture from about 1860 to 1910. Emphasis is given to understanding the aims and achievements of Homer relative to contemporaneous artists and selected writers in the historical context. Participants will complete a midterm take-home essay, make an in-seminar presentation, and submit an article-length paper based on original research.


694B S-Thomas Eakins and His Contemporaries

This seminar will focus on Thomas Eakins and his art within the context of American culture from the Civil War to the turn of the century. Secondary emphasis will be on such contemporaries as Winslow Homer, Eastman Johnson, William Merritt Chase, Thomas Anshutz, and August Saint-Gaudens. At issue will be, for example: the nature of American realism; the relationship between painting and photography; responses to the Civil War and Reconstruction; the Colonial Revival; the Centennial and Columbian exhibitions and definitions of a national art; modern constructions of labor, science, technology, leisure, history, learning, masculinity, athleticism, and spirituality. Participants will be expected to contribute to discussions, complete a midterm take-home exam, make an in-class presentation, and prepare an article-length paper based on original research. Texts will include Elizabeth Johns, Thomas Eakins: The Heroism of Modern Life and a packet of photocopied materials ranging from Whitman’s poetry to historical and methodological studies.


697A Impressionism and Post-impressionism

Introduction to modern art of the later 19th century through the major figures of these two movements. Analysis of their techniques, subjects and the shape or their careers.


705 Studies in Medieval Iconography

This seminar will have a dual focus. Three sessions will cover methodological approaches to art history in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The other sessions will be devoted to the cult of the saints throughout the Middle Ages. Attention will be paid not only to the usual tradition in the figural arts and architecture, but also to political, religious and social setting within which the cult evolved. Modern methodological approaches will be examined in this context. This course will count as the methods seminar for first year graduate students in the fall.


711 Problems in Italian Art: The Enigma of Giorgione

Few renowned artists are as profoundly enigmatic as Giorgione. Scanty documentation, problems of attribution and dating, ambiguous iconography, and a very short life of legendary fame conspire to make Giorgione one of the most discussed and controversial figures in the history of art. Although from very early on he was credited with revolutionizing Venetian painting, the exact nature of his innovations and influence are still debated. This course examines Giorgione’s oeuvre as the site of a number of methodological and theoretical problems in the discipline of art history. We will begin with the most basic issues of documentation, attribution, and dating. From there we move on to considering social-historical context, iconography, and other methods of interpretation. Particular attention is given to the new genres Giorgione is believed to have established—the pastoral landscape, the reclining nude, and the half-length portrait-like image—and to the contention that Giorgione invented a new kind of painting specifically intended for private collectors. Finally we will consider the impact of these innovations on the next generation of artists and patrons. The seminar is open to all graduate students. Seminar members are expected to participate in weekly discussions, to make an oral presentation of work-in-progress and to write a term paper. Some background in Italian art is advisable, but not absolutely essential. Reading assignments will be in English, but reading knowledge of French, German, and/or Italian is very helpful for research.


718 Selected Topics in Northern Renaissance Art (2nd sem./alt. years)

All students complete a series of critical readings and write a research paper on a topic of their choice (also presented orally to class.). Recent topics include: critical problems in early 15th century Flemish painting; critical problems in early 16th century German art.


719 Selected Topics in Northern Baroque Painting (2nd sem./alt. years)

All students complete a series of critical readings and write a research paper on a topic of their choice (also presented orally to class.). Recent topics include: Rembrandt and Dutch art.


725 Problems in Contemporary Art

The seminar will explore the emergence of Postmodernism in the visual arts and the critical and theoretical issues that have defined it. We will coordinate discussion of artists and postmodern theories and practice from the 1960s to the present, focusing on concepts such as deconstruction, text, pastiche, simulacra, spectacle, difference, fragmentation, multiculturalism, schizophrenia, abjection and hyperspace. We will debate the relevance of these concepts in current artistic practice. Readings will include essays by critics and historians who have defined or interpreted these and related themes (e.g. Barthes to Krauss, Jameson to Foster). Artists considered include Antoni, Gober, Haacke, Hatoum, Hirst, Halley, Salle, Sherman, Kruger, Holzer, Levine, Simpson, Durham, Kelly, Kelley, Koons, Polke, Richter, Wodiczko and Whiteread.


743 20th Century Architecture

This graduate level seminar interprets important modernist buildings and projects through a selection of texts from the “high modern” postwar years in Western Europe, America and Japan drawn mostly from Joan Ockman and Edward Eigen’s anthology, Architecture Culture. Each week is a “capsule” for a particular movement, geographical area, or typology. The class examines tendencies (Brutalism, Neo-Liberte etc), theorists and historians (Giedion and Banham), seminal figures (Wright, Le Corbusier, Mies), bellwethers (Kahn, the Smithsons) and concludes with the rise of a postmodernist critique (Venturi). The goal is to achieve a familiarity with modernist themes of the postwar period. Graduates students only. No pre-requisite, but familiarity with modernism helpful. Auditing Art 343 20th C. Architecture is highly recommended.


781 – Methods of Art History

Intended for M.A. Candidates in Art History, this seminar deals with major developments in the discipline of art history in the 20th century: connoisseurship, stylistic analysis, iconography, etc. There are readings in classic methodology (Berenson, Wolfflin, Panofsky) plus a number of other more recent works, many taken from the text ArtHistory and its Methods, Ed. by Eric Fernie. Students will keep a critical journal of these readings, write a comparative analysis of two catalog entries, and a longer 20-page state of research paper in a particular field, problem, artist. The state of research paper will also be presented to the class.


791A – American Landscape & Genre Painting Before 1860

This seminar will address the ideological dimensions of landscape and genre painting in the United States in, principally, the Jacksonian and antebellum periods. Emphasis will be given the to the art of Thomas Cole and the development of the Hudson River School, as well as to the art of William Sidney Mount within the cultural context. Readings are drawn from methodologically diverse historical studies and a few key literary texts. Issues for discussion include: American reinterpretations of European art; the city and the wilderness; the agrarian ideal; the rise of tourism and industrialization; the moral, social, and spiritual dimensions of American nature; the concept and reality of the frontier; patronage; natural history and science as artists concerns; immigration and modes of enculturation; reformism; race and gender in genre art; the degree to which landscape and genre artists expressed a shared ideology.


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