Art History

  • Sara James, coordinator
    Marlena Hobson, Kerry Mills, Edmund Potter, Margaret Richardson

    The art history curriculum introduces students to historical inquiry, an understanding of the various styles and movements in art, theory of art, and the interpretation of art in the context of time, place, and purpose. Students learn terminology, research methods, develop skills in organization, critical and logical thinking, and writing, and learn that art of the past is relevant today.

  • Civic Engagement Opportunities

    • Annual visual arts trips to Washington D.C. and New York City, open to the community
    • Regular public lectures by prominent artists, art historians, and art critics
    • Five professional exhibitions a year in the college’s art gallery, open to the public
    • Required or recommended internships through our academic majors
    • Study abroad programs, including Renaissance Studies in Italy (Sara Nair James); Drawing in Prague, Czech Republic (Paul Ryan); and others
    • The 11@250 Project, an ongoing series of studio-based workshops and exhibitions that explore issues of community, communication, and collaboration
    • Varied collaborative projects that involve other organizations and institutions, including student exchange exhibitions with other colleges
    • Art and art history faculty lectures and service at community organizations
    • Exploring civic engagement through class projects and assignments

  • Requirements for the Major in Art History
    37 semester hours

    ARTH 101
    ARTH 102
    ARTH 103
    ARTH 302 or ARTH 303
    INT 103 or equivalent
    One of the following: ARTH 202, ARTH 203, or ARTH 216/316
    Six additional ARTH courses, with at least two at the 200- or 300-level. Up to six semester hours in ART may count toward the major in art history.
    ARTH 400

    Requirements for the Minor in Art History
    19 semester hours

    Two of the following: ARTH 101, ARTH 102, or ARTH 103
    One of the following: ARTH 202, ARTH 203, ARTH 216/316, ARTH 302, or ARTH 303
    One additional course at the 200- or 300-level
    Two additional ARTH courses
    INT 103 or equivalent

  • 101 Survey of Western Art: The Ancient World (3 s.h.) (A)
    Introductory slide-lecture survey course orients students to the principles of art, modes of expression and thematic content. The arts of the ancient world, prehistory through Byzantium, are considered in an historical context. Major monuments illustrate the influence of culture, social and religious organizations, and the events of history. ARTH 101, ARTH 102, and ARTH 103 may be taken in any sequence or in part.

    102 Survey of Western Art: Medieval and Renaissance Worlds (3 s.h.) (A)
    Introductory slide-lecture survey course orients the student to the principles of art, modes of expression and thematic content. Medieval and Renaissance art are considered in a historical context. Major monuments illustrate the influence of culture, social and religious organizations, and the events of history. ARTH 101, ARTH 102, and ARTH 103 may be taken in any sequence or in part.

    103 Survey of Western Art: The Modern World (3 s.h.) (A)
    Introductory slide-lecture survey course orients the student to the principles of art, modes of expression and thematic content. Baroque through Modern art (17th through 20th century) is considered in a historical context. Major monuments illustrate the influence of culture, social and religious organizations, and the events of history. ARTH 101, ARTH 102, and ARTH 103 may be taken in any sequence or in part.

    202 Early Renaissance Art in Italy (3 s.h.) (R)
    Art in the thirteenth through fifteenth centuries in Italy developed from a rapidly evolving civilization that would lay the foundations for modern Western civilization: the rebirth of classicism and humanistic studies, and a greater interest in naturalism, scientific precision, and the dignity of mankind, apparent in the works of artists such as Giotto, Masaccio, Donatello, Piero della Francesca, Botticelli, and Brunelleschi. Art and civic, private, and religious projects are addressed in the context of patronage, religion, culture, politics, and shifts in artistic practices. Students develop critical skills through analysis and research. Alternates in spring semester with ARTH 203. Either course is a prerequisite for ARTH 343 (Renaissance Studies in Italy). Strongly recommended background: ARTH 102.

    203 High Renaissance Art in Italy (3 s.h.) (R)
    The quest for greater naturalism, classicism, and science in fifteenth and sixteenth century Italy culminated in the harmonious balance evident in the art and architecture of Leonardo, Raphael, Alberti Bramante, Michelangelo, Titian, and Palladio, and would influence all of Western civilization. Art and civic, private, and religious projects are addressed in the context of noble and papal patronage, humanistic studies, culture, politics, and the changing religious climate. Students develop critical skills through analysis and research. Alternates in spring semester with ARTH 202. Either course is a prerequisite for ARTH 343 (Renaissance Studies in Italy). Strongly recommended background: ARTH 102.

    204 Latin-American Art After Cortez (3 s.h.) (I)
    A survey of contemporary Latin-American art, its relationship to pre-Columbian aesthetics, and the encounter of indigenous art with European traditions from the Colonial through the Modern period.

    205 19th-Century Art (3 s.h.)
    A study of important movements in the visual arts, from Neo-Classicism to Post-Impressionism and Modernism. Recommended background: ARTH 103.

    206 History of Photography (3 s.h.) (A)
    A survey of the history and evolution of still photography and the consideration of photography as an art form.

    207 Art History Studies Abroad: Seminar (1 s.h.)
    This course prepares the students for abroad programs. Students meet weekly at a mutually convenient time to help plan activities for the trip, settle on oral presentation topics, discuss assigned readings, contemporary culture, and issues of art and culture. The class is limited to, and required for, students who have been accepted into Renaissance Studies in Italy (ARTH 343) or Studies on Site (ARTH 210). Recommended background: ARTH 102. *Co-requisite: ARTH 202, ARTH 203, or another preparatory class.

    208 History of Furniture (3 s.h.)
    An introductory survey of the history of world furniture from ancient to modern times. The student will be introduced to the historical development and stylistic evolution of furniture styles, forms, and characteristics within the context of Western Europe and the United States.

    209 Pre-Columbian Art and Architecture: From the Olmec to the Aztec (3 s.h.)
    A survey of the art and architecture of the ancient civilizations of Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, from the period of the Olmec through the Aztec empire. Students will study the ideology, artistic characteristics, and chronology of Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica.

    210 Studies on Site (3 s.h.)
    Students with strong background, love of art and/or history may apply for Studies on Site. A small group travels to study art in locations that vary from year to year. Group discussions, oral presentations, writing, flexibility and congeniality are important. Extra charge covers room, board, transportation, museum entrance fees, most meals. Applications due with deposit by November 1; notification of acceptance by November 10. *Prerequisites: Two relevant ARTH courses. ARTH 207 may be required to be taken simultaneously.

    211, 311 Baroque Art: The 17th Century in Europe (3 s.h.) (R: 311 only)
    An in-depth study of painting, sculpture, architecture, and urban planning of 17th-century Europe and the culture in which it thrived. The art will be studied in the context of political and religious movements, including the Counter Reformation and the rise of Protestantism, global exploration, scientific discoveries, and commercial trade. Students develop critical skills through analysis, both verbal and written, and through in-depth research projects. ARTH 311 requires a larger research project.*Prerequisite: ARTH 102 or ARTH 103.

    216, 316 Northern Renaissance Art (3 s.h.)
    A study of painting, manuscript illumination, iconography, decorative arts, and architecture in the Netherlands, Flanders, France, Burgundy, Germany, and England in the 14th through the 16th centuries. Art is studied in the context of patronage, culture, humanism, events in Italy, and the onset of the Protestant Reformation. Students develop critical skills through analysis and through research projects. ARTH 316 requires a larger research project. *Prerequisite: ARTH 102.

    221 Women in the Visual Arts (3 s.h.) (G)
    Study of the role of selected women in the history and evolution of art from the medieval era to the present. Emphasis on art of the 19th and 20th centuries. Traditional and feminist perspectives will be examined. Recommended background: ARTH 103.

    222 History of American Art and Architecture (3 s.h.) (R)
    A survey of the arts in America, including architecture, sculpture, and painting, from the Colonial period to the present. Cross listed as HIST 222.

    226 Historic Preservation (3 s.h.) (C, R)
    For course description, see HISP 226 in the Historic Preservation listing.

    232, 332 Classical Art: Greece and Rome in Antiquity (3 s.h.) (R: 332 only)
    An introduction to the painting, sculpture, decorative arts and crafts, architecture, and urban planning of Greece and Rome. Differences between civilizations, even cities, will be addressed, as well as the important continuities which tie the art together. The art will be studied in terms of its social, political, and religious context. ARTH 332 requires a larger research project. Recommended background: ARTH 101 or INT 213.

    234 Philosophy and the Arts (3 s.h.) (A)
    For course description, see PHIL 234 in the Philosophy listing.

    238 The Age of Cathedrals East and West (3 s.h.) (T, R)
    This course traces medieval buildings and related arts in Western and Eastern Europe from the Age of Constantine through the Gothic period (300–1400 A.D.) Students learn the visual characteristics of medieval art, as well as an understanding of how works of art, especially ones for public use, reflect the aesthetic and social values of the societies that produced them. Recommended background: ARTH 102.

    254 Film Analysis (3 s.h.) (A)
    For course description, see FILM 254 in the Film listing.

    277 Topics in Art History (1–3 s.h.)
    Topics courses focus on specialized methods or topics in art, such as theory, art criticism, media, intensive analysis of a specialized period of art history, or areas of interest beyond the usual scope of departmental course offerings.

    302 Modern Art before 1945: From Cézanne to Gorky (3 s.h.) (W)
    This course examines the successive movements in the visual arts during the first half of the twentieth century. *Prerequisite: ARTH 103.

    303 Modern Art after 1945: From Abstract Expressionism to Postmodernism (3 s.h.) (W)
    This course examines the history of western artists and movements from 1945 to 1970. Topics include the New York School, Postwar Europe, Pop Art, and Minimalism. *Prerequisite: ARTH 103.

    314 Art in England (3 s.h.) (R)
    This course is a chronological, stylistic analysis of art, architecture, and book illumination, focusing especially on the art and architecture that Shakespeare and his contemporaries would have known. This course, taken for undergraduate credit, cross-lists with REN 607, for which there are additional requirements. *Prerequisite: ENG 208, HIST 241, or ARTH 102.

    343 Renaissance Studies in Italy (3 s.h.) (I)
    Must enroll simultaneously in ARTH 207 in the spring semester. Students with strong background and love of art and/or history may apply. They travel with a specialist to study art on site in Italy; itineraries vary. Group discussions, oral presentation skills, writing, flexibility, and congeniality are important. An extra charge covers room, board, transportation, museum entrance fees, most meals. Applications due with a deposit by November 1; notification of acceptance by November 10. *Prerequisites: 6 hours in ARTH including either ARTH 202 or ARTH 203, and either ART 102 or a course approved by the instructor.

    400 Senior Project in Art History (3 s.h.) (M)
    A yearlong course, earning 1.5 semester hours per semester. In preparation for this course, art history and arts management students select a research project during the junior year that must be appropriate to the major and background of the individual student. The project must be approved by the art history faculty, and is carried out in fall and spring semesters of the senior year.