Great Introductory Course Offerings

2017 – 2018 Course Offerings

Art History 250: Introduction to European Art, Early Modern

Claudia Swan

Winter 2018

This course studies major works of European art produced in what are conventionally called the “Renaissance” and “Baroque” eras (and/or the “early modern era). Our geographic focus is Italy and the north—Germany and the Netherlands—with some side trips to France and Spain, as time allows. This course is intended as an introduction. In order to maximize its relevance for those of you who may not (in spite of everything I do to convince you otherwise…) major or minor in Art History but who will continue to encounter, analyze, or even produce images and works of art throughout your lives, we will focus as much on the historical data relevant to European art and artists active between 1400-1700 as on themes relevant to art history and the practice of art making more generally. Our themes include: Naturalism; Materials and Media; Perspective; The Period Eye; Iconography; Religion; Popular Culture; The Representation of Women; Art and Science; The Cult of the Artist; Global Encounters.

Some of the central questions we will address include: What did it take and what did it mean to produce a painting--or to work in such other media as fresco, engraving, drawing, sculpture, and architecture in Europe during the early modern period? What and how do such works convey meaning and in what ways have they remained significant over the course of the intervening centuries? What is the relationship between art and society? Students may expect to become familiar with works by artists such as Giotto, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarotti; Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio and Gianlorenzo Bernini and Diego Velázquez; Martin Schongauer, Albrecht Dürer; Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Bruegel, Rembrandt van Rijn, and Johannes Vermeer—among others.

No prior art history coursework is required.


ART_HIST 240: Introduction to Asian Art

Jun Hu

Winter 2018

This course is a selective introduction to the artistic heritage of Asia, here broadly defined to include both the Indian subcontinent and East Asia (China, Korea, and Japan). We are primarily interested in how artists in each culture respond to the tasks of representing the other-/underworld—realms of gods, ghosts and “goblins”—on the one hand, the world of nature through painting and landscape design. Some of the questions we will address include: What are the conventions and limits of representing deities in art? How do artifacts and buildings that were fashioned from stone, timber, or paint solicit such devotion that their audiences could treat them as if they were immaterial? How do we understand different notions of naturalism in painting? Is faithfulness to what the eye can see the only measure of pictorial truth? Throughout this course, we will also consider the relationship between collecting and art history, how it gave rise to the practice of connoisseurship first as an avocation and later as a profession, how art collecting shaped and was shaped by changing notions of “Asia,” and the challenges of studying artifacts that have been removed from their original contexts.