History of Art and Architecture Courses

Undergraduate Courses | Graduate Courses

Below is a listing of historically offered courses in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture.

For a list of course offerings for the current term, please see the UO Class Schedule. Descriptions of courses currently offered in specific terms are available on the current student blog.

Undergraduate art history courses are open to all UO students. In addition to specialized upper-division courses, the department offers a wide range of 100-, 200-, and 300-level courses that fulfill general-education requirements.


Undergraduate Courses

ARH 101 Global Masterpieces: Monuments in Context

4 Credits

This course is an introduction to art and architectural history through examination of thirteen key sites from around the world. Themes include religion, politics, domesticity, and modernity.


ARH 204 History of Western Art I

4 Credits

Format: Lecture/Discussion Sections

Painted portrait of a young boyHistorical survey of the visual arts. Selected works of painting, sculpture, architecture, and other arts studied in relation to the cultures producing them.

The course surveys the history of art and architecture in the ancient Mediterranean and Near East from the origins of art in the Old Stone (Paleolithic) Age, through its expressions in the cultures of Egypt and Mesopotamia, to the art and architecture of Greece and Rome. Emphasis is placed on the ways in which ancient cultures represented the human form, on the social and religious meanings and contexts of ancient art, and the political uses to which ancient art was put.


ARH 205 History of Western Art II

4 Credits

Format: Lecture/Discussion Sections

Illustration of Adam and EveHistorical survey of the visual arts. Selected works of painting, sculpture, architecture, and other arts studied in relation to the cultures producing them.

This course focuses on the major monuments, artists and artistic developments in Western Europe during the medieval and renaissance periods. Spanning the years from 400 AD to 1550 AD, the course begins with Rome’s fall, and goes on to consider Rome’s legacy, the rise of the Byzantine Empire, and the spread of Christianity and Islam. It continues with the flowering of Carolingian, Ottonian, Romanesque and Gothic cultures in Western Europe. The term finishes with a treatment of the Renaissance, culminating in the works of Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, Holbein and Dürer.

Covering painting, sculpture, architecture, manuscript illumination and the decorative arts, the course aims to define elements of artistic style and to track the evolution of individual, regional and period styles. Students will, furthermore, examine artworks and artistic movements in the context of political, economic, religious, intellectual and social history, in an attempt to better understand the creation, function and reception of art. Assignments will bring students into direct contact with some of the treasures of the University Art Museum and Knight Library Special Collections.


ARH 206 History of Western Art III

4 Credits

Format: Lecture/Discussion Sections

Illustration of a sad person with animals behind themHistorical survey of the visual arts. Selected works of painting, sculpture, architecture, and other arts studied in relation to the cultures producing them.

This class will focus primarily on major artists and developments in western European painting, sculpture, and architecture from the Renaissance to the twentieth century. In addition to the nature and development of individual, regional and period styles, we will consider shifting relationships between the arts and political, religious, social, and economic developments.


ARH 207 History of Indian Art

4 Credits

Format: Lecture/Discussion Sections

Indian sculpturesHistorical survey of the visual arts of India. Selected works of painting, sculpture, architecture, and other arts studied in relation to the culture in which they were produced.

The Indian Art survey course has been designed to develop a critical appreciation of the major art traditions of South Asia from their inception up to the modern period. The course surveys the visual arts of India and presents the various styles developed in the Indian subcontinent together with their historical, religious and socio-cultural contexts. This course has been designed to develop a critical appreciation of the major Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic artistic traditions of India, and will also consider colonial and modern art and architecture. The student is expected to recognize the various trends and learn to explain their development and changes.


ARH 208 History of Chinese Art

4 Credits

Format: Lecture/Discussion Sections

Asian paintingHistorical survey of the visual arts of China. Selected works of painting, sculpture, architecture, and other arts studied in relation to the culture in which they were produced.

This course is intended as a general (a selective) introduction to the history of Chinese art, and will offer a survey of major artistic developments from neolithic times to the modern period. Among the topics to be considered: ritual bronzes of the Shang and Zhou periods; funerary remains of the Qin and Han; Buddhist sculpture; figure painting and narrative; the evolution of landscape painting from the Han to Qing dynasties; contemporary art. In addition to the analysis of stylistic features, this course will emphasize the philosophical, literary, historical, and cultural contexts within which various artistic traditions developed.


ARH 209 History of Japanese Art

4 Credits

Format: Lecture/Discussion Sections

Watercolor of birdsHistorical survey of the visual arts of Japan. Selected works of painting, sculpture, architecture, and other arts studied in relation to the culture in which they were produced.

ARH 209 offers a survey of the history of Japanese art from neolithic times to the present, covering a wide range of media and styles. Early pottery traditions, Buddhist art and its ritual context, the aristocratic arts of the Heian court, arms and armors, Zen gardens and architecture, the tea ceremony, the prints and paintings of the Floating World, post-war photography, and the contemporary art of Murakami Takashi and Kaikai Kiki, are among the topics this survey will address. As an archipelago, changes often came to Japan from across the sea, from kingdoms and dynasties in China and on the Korean Peninsula, European nations, and the United States. ARH 209 will focus on some of the ways in which Japan adopted and adapted to foreign cultural traditions. In addition to viewing digital images in class, students will also have the opportunity to see a variety of examples of Japanese art firsthand at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum on the UO campus.


ARH 210 Contemporary Asian Art and Architecture

4 Credits

Format: Lecture/Discussion Sections

Stills from Asian filmsHistorical survey of modern and contemporary Asian art, architecture, and film. Sequence with ARH 207, 208, 209.

This course introduces a variety of projects spanning the diverse cultures of East, South, and Southeast Asia, while considering outsider representations of the “Asian imaginary.” Students learn to analyze key artworks, exhibitions, cutting edge buildings, urban developments, and experimental and popular films from across Asia. Discussions are linked to hotbed social and theoretical issues, such as modernity vs. tradition, Orientalism, nationalism, local vs. cosmopolitan identities, post-colonialism, urbanization, globalization, and the worlding of Asian cities. Students engage materials through a series of multi-media presentations, film screenings, interdisciplinary readings, guest lectures by artists and curators, museum and gallery visits, and creative projects. Transform your world – take a transcultural adventure right here on campus!
Note: Satisfies Arts and Letters and Multicultural requirements for UO undergraduate students.


ARH 211 Survey of Latin American Arts

4 Credits

Format: Lecture/Discussion Sections

Jaar This is Not AmericaThis course examines the rich tradition of visual arts within Latin America, including examples from the Pre-Columbian period to the present. We will address several themes central to Latin American history, including: the rise of the Aztec and Inca empires, the role of art in the conquest and colonization of the Americas, modernism in the global South, political art and activism in the face of dictatorship, and Latin America’s place within the contemporary art world and an increasingly interconnected globe.
Note: Satisfies Arts and Letters and Multicultural requirements for UO undergraduate students.


ARH 300 Critical Approaches to Art-Historical Study

4 credits

Format: Seminar/Lecture

Painting of a woman paintingThis course is designed to introduce Art History majors to key research tools and scholarly methods in our field. Students will hone their visual and analytical skills through readings, discussions, written work, and oral presentations. They will learn to navigate libraries and digital resources with ease, to read with a critical eye, to formulate a strong argument, and to write persuasive prose. Students will also be exposed to a variety of professions that demonstrate how the art historical skills they acquire in college can serve them in future careers.


ARH 314 History of World Architecture I

4 credits

Format: Lecture/Discussion Sections

Gothic cathedral This course is a survey of buildings and of architectural thought across the globe from antiquity to Gothic times (i.e. from "caves to cathedrals"). Naturally, any course covering over 5,000 years of architectural history in ten weeks will be cursory. We will focus on major periods of architectural history by examining building types, patrons, materials, building traditions, structural innovations and several other critical aspects inherent to architecture. A number of paradigmatic monuments will be presented in detail and discussed throughout their existence in order to gain a sense of the long life of buildings, their powerful impact on people, and the diverse manners in which cultures have shaped space around them.


ARH 315 History of World Architecture II

4 credits

Format: Lecture/Discussion Sections

Print of a buildingThis course, the second in a two-part sequence, will explore the history of global architecture from the Renaissance until the turn of the twenty-first century. From basilicas to blobs, key projects will be discussed in depth from the perspective of materials, technologies, site, and relationships to wider political, religious, and historical contexts. Analyses of individual buildings and architects will be woven into overarching themes such as the development of cities, the relationship between architecture and landscape, the effects of technological innovation on design, and the interplay between architecture and history. In addition to providing students with an understanding of key architectural concepts and an experience of the broad sweep of architectural history to the present, the course is intended as a launching point into further study in the history of architecture, urban planning, and design. Course requirements include a mid-term, final exam, and smaller writing and sketching assignments. Students will be expected to participate in discussion sections aimed at exploring architectural texts, debates, and individual works in greater depth.


ARH 322 The Art of Ancient Greece

4 credits

Format: Lecture

Greek vaseThe course surveys the history of art in Greece and the Aegean from the Bronze Age, through the Archaic and Classical periods, to the end of the Hellenistic period. Although the course provides an introduction to the chronological development of the major genres of Greek art (such as free-standing sculpture and vase-painting), it is also concerned with such broader issues and special topics as the representation of nature in Minoan and Mycenaean frescoes, the varieties of narration in Archaic art, and the ideologies of the sculptural programs of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia and the Acropolis of Athens.


ARH 323 The Art of Ancient Rome

4 credits

Format: Lecture

Stone bust of a romanAn introduction to the major traditions, messages, and styles of the art of ancient Italy, from the era of the Etruscans through the Roman Republic and Empire to the reign of Constantine the Great. Emphasis will be placed upon such topics as the emergence and function of portraiture and the ideology and art of the Augustan period.


ARH 324 Art and Politics in the Ancient World

4 credits

Format: Lecture

Marble bust of a romanThe course examines the political and ideological uses of art and architecture in the ancient world. We will begin at the end, with the historical reliefs and portraits of the Roman Empire, in order to establish a clear model for the analysis of “propaganda” in ancient society. We will then return to the beginning, to the art of Egypt and Near East, to see how these earliest of ancient cultures utilized art to establish and reinforce ideology. We will then conclude with ancient Greece, where the political nature and role of art is more problematic and subtle.


ARH 326 The Acropolis of Athens

4 credits

Format: Lecture

Athenian AcropolisThe course surveys the art, history, and mythology of the Athenian Acropolis from the Neolithic and Bronze Ages to the Roman period, with special emphasis on the monuments of the Periclean “Golden Age.” While the focus is upon the sculpture and architecture of the sanctuary, the course also explores such issues as the nature of Athena (the principal goddess of the rock), the role of the Acropolis in everyday Athenian life, and the modern history of excavation and restoration on the citadel.


ARH 341 Italian Renaissance Art

4 credits

Format: Lecture

Renaissance painting of a woman and a manThis course covers the painting, sculpture and art theory of the Renaissance and Mannerist periods. The years under consideration, spanning from roughly 1300 to 1580, encompass the activity of artists like Giotto, the Lorenzetti, Masaccio, Mantegna, Donatello, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian and Tintoretto and architects like Brunelleschi, Bramante and Palladio. Issues of style, iconography, patronage, liturgical function, social context and the revival of classical antiquity will unite our consideration of the diverse artistic production of the great art centers of Florence, Siena, Lombardy, Venice and Rome. Particular attention will be given to the political function of art, deployed by such canny manipulators as the Medici, the Doges of Venice and the Popes of the Counterreformation. The course also examines the concept of “Renaissance” and the historiography of the Renaissance, from Giorgio Vasari’s 1550 Lives of the Artists to the postmodern era. More broadly, the course aims to hone the visual literacy of students, and will also be an excellent preparation for any student considering the Summer Art History/Architecture program in Rome.


ARH 342 Southern Baroque Art

4 credits

Format: Lecture

Painting of musiciansThe course covers the art of seventeenth century Italy and France. Focus will be primarily on painting and sculpture, though architecture, urbanism, the decorative arts and printmaking will also enter consideration. We will begin with the “reform of mannerism” and with the stylistic revolutions of Caravaggio and the Carracci family. They and others in central Italy (including Domenichino, Guido Reni, Guercino, Artemisia Gentileschi, Pietro da Cortona and GianLorenzo Bernini) established a style that spread across Italy and Europe. France will be represented by the classicist Nicolas Poussin, the pastoral landscapist Claude Lorrain, and the team of artists who served the propagandistic purposes of King Louis XIV at the Château of Versailles.

Artworks will be examined in the context of the political, economic and social history of the time. This is a century in which art and propaganda were often inseparable, so we will ask how the agendas of the patrons affect the form and content of artworks. Likewise, counterreformation theology and religious mysticism also influenced many church commissions. Finally, art theory and the theoretical debates of the time will be examined, as will the relationship of the baroque artist to the examples of nature, to the art of the High Renaissance, and to Classical Antiquity.


ARH 343 Northern Renaissance Art

4 credits

Format: Lecture

Painting of Mary and JesusThe course covers the painting, printmaking, and art theory of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in the Netherlands and Germany. This period of exciting developments encompasses the meticulous naturalism of Jan van Eyck, the dynamically moving compositions of Rogier van der Weyden, the dark fantasies of Hieronymus Bosch, the emotive spiritualism of Matthias Grünewald, the virtuoso engraving of Albrecht Dürer, and the peasant genre scenes of Pieter Bruegel. Avenues of examination will include style, technique, iconography, patronage, liturgical function, and the social context of the artwork. Major themes include the status of the artist in society, humanism and renaissance philosophy, the effects of the Protestant Reformation, and the role of imagery in campaigns of religious and political propaganda.


ARH 344 Northern European Baroque Art

4 credits

Format: Lecture

Painting of a musician reading sheet musicEnding a long period of war and religious strife, the Peace of 1609 recognized the division of the Netherlands into a predominantly Protestant north (corresponding roughly to modern-day Holland) and a predominantly Catholic south (corresponding roughly to modern Belgium). Peace brought prosperity, and the arts flourished as an ascendant middle class asserted itself through the patronage of art. It is no wonder that many regard the seventeenth century as “The Golden Age” of Dutch and Flemish painting.

This course focuses on the Netherlands from c.1590 to c.1700, with particular attention to artists like Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer, Jan Steen, Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck. Issues the course engages include the relation of Dutch and Flemish styles to international baroque trends, connections between art and social history, and the use of art as political or religious propaganda. The central question of naturalism will be explored, especially in the context of the emergence of still life, landscape and genre painting. Portraiture and self portraiture will be considered as means of social and personal “self-fashioning”. The economy of art, as seen in studio organization and the art markets, will also be a central theme.


ARH 348 Rome in the Age of Bernini

4 credits

Format: Lecture

Bronze roman fountainThis course examines the city of Rome in the seventeenth century, a period of energetic activity and important development in the visual arts, architecture and urbanism. The central figure of the course (and of the era) is Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1597-1681), a sculptor, painter, architect who possessed a combination of artistic genius and extraordinary organizational skills. He served seven popes in succession, winning the confidence of each with his ability to translate their ambitions into visual form. The city of Rome as we know it today is conditioned by his monumental vision and the collaborations that he carried out with his patrons and his workshop.

The course will begin with a survey of the artist’s career and major works. We will then examine a set of themes, which fall into four main segments. The segment on planning & urbanism includes consideration of ancient and renaissance precedents, and looks at how the baroque planners dealt with the existing fabric of the city in both a practical and symbolic fashion. The second segment examines issues of architectural style, comparing Bernini to his rival Borromini and investigating the unity of the visual arts attained in Bernini’s most successful projects. The third thematic segment looks at the ways in which artists served the propagandistic needs of the great Roman families. The Roman palace meets consideration as architecture, but also as a representational whole that includes painted ceilings, displayed collections, and the decorative arts. This segment also includes portraiture and tomb design. Finally, the last segment deals with the ephemeral life of the baroque city, comprised of religious ritual, civic ceremony, and theatrical performances, many of which involved the work of major artists like Bernini. Through the specific examples of seventeenth century Rome, students will gain a more broadly applicable awareness of the interaction of art, politics and the built environment.


ARH 350 History of Manga

4 credits

Format: Lecture

Manga (Japanese comic) drawingSurvey of the history of Manga (Japanese comics) from the 19th Century to the present.


ARH 351 19th Century Art

4 credits

Format: Lecture

Manet's Un bar aux Folies Bergère, or A bar in Folies Bergère, paintingBeginning with Francisco Goya (1746-1828) and Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825) in the final quarter of the eighteenth century, and ending with the paintings exhibited by Henri Matisse (1869-1954) and his fellow Fauves at the Salon d’Automne of 1905, this course offers a broad survey of art made during the “long nineteenth century” in Europe, the United States, and Latin America. Although we will focus on painting and sculpture, we also will touch on architecture, photography, printmaking, and the decorative arts. Particular attention will be paid to the close study of original sources and documents, and to evaluating new approaches to the study of nineteenth-century art and culture.


ARH 353 Modern Art, 1880-1950

4 credits

Format: Lecture

Painting of a garden sceneModern art emerged in an age of social, political and moral crisis in the modern west. The age of Post-Impressionism, Symbolism, Expressionism, Futurism, Cubism, Constructivism, Dada and Surrealism was also the age of European colonial expansion, collapse of empires on the European continent; World War I and II; fascism and communism. What is the link between artistic innovations and socio-political crisis? To what extent did modern art serve as the means to question, attack, negotiate, and affect modern socio-political realities?

This survey course will introduce students to major works and movements in modern art, with emphasis on how they responded to socio-political modernity in the period between 1880 and 1950. We will look at the emergence of new artistic techniques such as anti-illusionism, collage, ready-made and the montage. We will also look at how these techniques were used in avant-garde movements, which assaulted the institution of art through alternative practices: manifesto, performance, independent exhibition, and political engagement.


ARH 354 Contemporary Art

4 credits

Format: Lecture

The true artist helps the world by revealing mystic truths, by Bruce NaumanThis course is an introductory survey of art in the West since World War II. It will address the ambitions and contexts of Abstract Expressionism, Post-War European painting, Happenings, Fluxus, Situationism, Pop Art, Minimalism, Conceptual Art, Performance Art, Video Art, New Media Art, and more. Special attention will be paid to artists’ writings and to theories of modernism and post-modernism. This course will also introduce students to various critical approaches and historical models applied to the analysis of visual culture since 1945. Students will develop skills in viewing and writing about art and will be introduced to critical frameworks for relating art to larger social, cultural, and political concerns.


ARH 358 History of Design

4 credits

Format: Lecture

DresserThis course aims to introduce students to the history of industrial design that spans from the royal manufactories of 17th-century Europe to the age of mass production. Emphasis will be placed on the changing modes of production under industrial capitalism and the major design movements that arose in response to them. Topics include but are not limited the following: emergence of modern manufacture system; design and construction of social myths; aestheticist design of the 19th- and early 20th- centuries; avant-garde design movements (Bauhaus, De Stijl); fashion; typography; as well as architecture.


ARH 359 History of Photography

4 credits

Format: Lecture

Sepia photograph of a man and a woman This course surveys the history of photography from its origins as a new medium in the early 19th century through the introduction of digital today. There is a basic introduction to technical innovations over time, but the emphasis is on understanding the various roles played by photography and key photographers throughout the modern era. Topics include the social function of photography versus its purely aesthetic concerns; the separate genres of photography—for example portraiture or War photography; the careers of selected photographers who have made a particular contribution to the medium.


ARH 384 The Art of Death in China

4 credits

Format: Lecture

Ancient Chinese stone tablet depicting daily lifeThis course examines Chinese mortuary art and architecture, especially from the neolithic period through the Han dynasty, which ended in 220 CE; some later examples of funerary practices, as exemplified by such sites as the Ming imperial tombs and the mausoleum of Chairman Mao, will also be introduced. The class begins with neolithic jade and pottery cultures, and considers the question of the extent to which we can properly refer to this cultural phase as “Chinese.” Subsequently, we will examine burial practices in the bronze age and their further evolution and development in the Han period; we will conclude with a look at later mortuary practices, both among Buddhists and at the imperial courts.


ARH 386 Later Imperial China

4 credits

Format: Lecture

ARH 386 is a survey of selected aspects of Chinese visual culture from the establishment of the Ming dynasty in 1368 to the start of the Republic in 1912. The course will examine a wide variety of media (painting, calligraphy, ceramics, textiles, jades, glass, and architecture) as employed at the imperial court, in Buddhist and Daoist temples, and among both the merchant class and the educated élite. In particular, the class will consider some of the many and varied ways in which objects were deployed to make claims about religious, political, and cultural authority.


ARH 387 Chinese Buddhist Art

4 credits

Format: Lecture

Yamantaka-Vajrabhairava with Imperial Portraits, Yuan dynasty, ca. 1330-32, silk and metallic thread tapestry. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift.Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.This course is intended as an introduction to the history of Chinese Buddhist art. Topics to be covered include: sculpture and painting at important cave site; sutra illustration and the evolution of printing; Buddhist architecture; representations of paradise and hell; Chan painting; and later Buddhist art. In addition to the analysis of stylistic features, this course will focus on Buddhism as a cultural force in China, and will look closely at the interactions between “Buddhist” art and “Chinese” art.


ARH 397 Japanese Buddhist Art

4 credits

Format: Lecture

Japanese paintingBuddhism has been at the heart of Japanese culture for fifteen centuries. From still-thriving temples in and around Tokyo to statues and paintings housed in museums the world over, from a bodhisattva-shaped cell-phone strap to comic books about the life of Siddhartha, Buddhist motifs are present in all types of Japanese art and visual culture. To fail to understand Japanese Buddhist art is to miss out on an understanding of Japanese culture.

This course will examine Japanese Buddhist art in both its classical forms and its popular manifestations. The course is divided into two parts. The first half of the course will provide a chronological overview of Japanese Buddhist art, to acquaint students with its general characteristics and development. The second half will focus on close examinations of objects to show how Buddhist iconography has been appropriated into secular culture.


ARH 399 Special Studies

5 credits

Offerings vary and reflect the interests of faculty members.
Format: Lecture
Courses recently taught under this heading include:

  • Christianity & Japanese Art
    Ceramic cup with a cross on it The course will trace Japanese art from the 16th century to the present that was inspired by Christianity in some way. Christianity has always been a minority religion in Japan, but it had (and still has) a significant cultural impact. It is argued that some of the ceremonial aspects of Japanese tea were incorporation of Catholic mass. Catholicism was the only belief banned and persecuted in Japan, giving birth to the “Hidden Christians,” who reinterpreted the bible and produced their own icons. Many artists after Japan's defeat in the Pacific War converted to Christianity and produced Christian-inspired works. Some of the most highly acclaimed works by the internationally renowned Japanese architects are churches. And today, although only 1 % of Japanese call themselves Christian, its image of heaven and hell is the most prevalent in the popular imagination. By focusing on Christianity-inspired art, we will explore issues such as Japan's position in Asia as well as the world, ethnic and cultural identity, colonialism and post-colonialism, trauma, etc.
     
  • Cities in the Western Imagination
    An introduction to some of the forms, functions, and meanings of cities—mainly European and American—from ancient to modern times.
  • Gothic Architecture
    Examines both religious and secular architecture from soaring cathedrals to civic palaces looking at Gothic building through structural, constructional, religious, social, artistic, and economic lenses.


ARH 401 Research [Topic] *

1–5 credits

* Specialized course. Please speak to an Art History faculty member if you are interested in taking this course.


ARH 403 Thesis *

1–5 credits

Prerequisite: ARH 401. Open only to department majors.

* Specialized course. Please speak to an Art History faculty member if you are interested in taking this course.


ARH 405 Reading and Conference *

1–5 credits

* Specialized course. Please speak to an Art History faculty member if you are interested in taking this course.


ARH 406 Field Studies *

1–5 credits

* Specialized course. Please speak to an Art History faculty member if you are interested in taking this course.


ARH 407 Seminars

1–5 credits

Offerings vary and reflect the interests of faculty members.

Format: Seminar Class Size: Varies, an example is 14 (7 undergraduate & 7 graduate)
Prerequisites: In general, the permission of instructor required and relevant upper division or graduate course work in Art History may also be required.

Courses recently taught under this heading include:

  • Medieval Rome
    ARH 407-507The course explores the art, architecture, urbanism, and topography of the city of Rome during the Middle Ages. We examine the radical transitions that Roman artists, architects, and patrons confronted during the course of a revolutionary millennium spanning from 300 to 1,300 CE. During the seminar, students will be asked to evaluate primary and secondary sources, to posit hypotheses and elaborate theories based upon observations drawn from the physical evidence of medieval Rome.
  • Art “After” Feminism
    FlowersThe title of this seminar—Art “After” Feminism—is a deliberate provocation in an era that has been described as post- feminist. Far from dismissing the paradigmatic importance of feminism in relationship to cultural production however, this course will evaluate the place of feminism “after” the feminist art and activism of the 1960s and 1970s. In recent years, a series of exhibitions and events in New York, Los Angeles, and elsewhere have reconsidered the feminist legacy in contemporary art in ways that are not necessarily limited to women, and outside of what have conventionally been considered “feminist” issues. This course will begin by considering the revisionist feminist critiques of the 1980s and 1990s which re-evaluated art and aesthetics in relationship to what lies outside the frame of representation. We will examine the ways in which gender is currently addressed by artists, museums, and the academy and explore the interconnectedness of practice and theory through case studies of specific artists, artworks, and exhibitions. Students from all disciplines are welcome.

  • The Parthenon Frieze
    SculptureThe course examines perhaps the most controversial work of ancient Greek sculpture: the long frieze that decorated the top of the inner room (or cella) of the Parthenon. In addition to scrutinizing the iconography and possible subjects of the frieze, the course will set the imagery into the historical, social, and religious contexts of Athens during the age of Perikles.

  • Portraiture
    Painted portraitThis seminar investigates portraiture as a genre. Seemingly the most straightforward category of art, portraits have increasingly been considered as complex in representation. The course will cover both the theory and practice or portraiture from the Renaissance to the present, but with particular emphasis on works and artists from the 18th Century to present. Topics include the problem of "likeness"; the social role of the portrait; portraiture's stylistic conventions and iconographic devices; the portrait studio. For the final paper and presentation students may work on examples from any period or culture in any medium; sculpture, photography, or painting.


ARH 410 Experimental Courses

1–5 credits

Offerings vary and reflect the interests of faculty members.

Format: Varies. Some are Seminar, others are Lecture or Lecture with Discussion

Courses recently taught under this heading include:

  • Contemporary Art in the 1960s-1970s
    Art of the 50's and 60'sThis course is an introductory survey of major artistic developments in North America and Western Europe during the 1960s-1970s. It will address the ambitions and contexts of pop art, minimalism, conceptual art, feminist art, performance art, video art, land art, and more. Special attention will be paid to the role of the mass media as well as the use of media technologies in artistic production. This course will also introduce students to critical and methodological issues in art history. Students will develop skills in viewing and writing about art and will be introduced to critical frameworks for relating art to social, cultural, and political concerns.

  • Ancient Sculpture and the Italian Renaissance
    Italian sculptureIt is often taken for granted that the rediscovery of the thought, literature, and art of Greek and Roman antiquity was one of the forces that drove European art and culture from the Medieval "Dark Ages" into the Renaissance. This formulation, popular in handbooks until fairly recently, is in fact very crude. Still, there is no question that the study of the art of antiquity occupied Renaissance artists to a particularly high degree, and that many used ancient works as models and exemplars. The course begins with a broad survey of the nature of ancient Greek and Roman art and will then explore the extent to which ancient art survived the end of antiquity and was known in Medieval Italy. It will conclude with a series of "case studies," presented by the students, that explore in detail the impact ancient Greek and Roman art, mythology, and iconography had specifically upon the sculptors of Proto‐Renaissance and Renaissance Italy.

  • Art of the Eccentrics
    Asian sculptureWondrous, crazy, drunken, one-of-a-kind, awakened, hermit, river folk, playful, creative, geeky; traditional Japanese discourses on art include many ways of describing what one might loosely define as the eccentric. What or who were “eccentrics?” This course will explore the concept of the “strange” in Japanese art. Each session will focus on one keyword traditionally used to express “eccentricity” of one form or another. We will examine works (or artists) that were closely associated with these terms, including: Buddhist sculpture, calligraphy and painting of Zen monks, doodles and doodle-like satirical painting, performing art of nô and kabuki, mad verses and pictures of literati, “creative” prints, female artists of the early 20th century, and manga- and anime-inspired contemporary works. We will explore the positive and negative connotations of the concept of eccentricity. By understanding what made these works or artists eccentric, we can conversely define the “norm” or “mainstream” at a given moment in the history of Japanese art, flashing out the fundamental issues of expected social and gender roles, economic vs. cultural hierarchy, and heterodoxy vs. orthodoxy.

  • Symbolism & Decadence
    Asian ink drawingSymbolism and Decadence, the elusive yet pervasive tendency in turn‐of‐the­‐century European painting, sculpture, decorative arts and literature, will be the main subject of this course. Student can expect to read French, German and Russian Symbolist poetry (in translation) while studying manifestations of Symbolism in painting and sculpture (Rodin, the Nabis group, Munch, Klimt, Schiele). Some parallel developments in the decorative arts (Art Nouveau and Jugenstil) and performing arts (Loie Fuller) will also be considered. Central questions include the link between Symbolist iconographies and new formal techniques in art and literature; inter­‐mediality and the notion of Gesammtkunstwerk; the link between art forms and debates in contemporary psychology and culture; and the extent to which turn­‐of‐the­‐century aestheticism contributed to the rise of modernism and the formation of the historical avant‐garde.


ARH 424 Classical Greek Art

4 credits

Format: Lecture

Classic Greek vaseThe course examines in detail Greek sculpture and vase-painting in the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. Emphasis is placed upon the major artistic programs undertaken at Olympia in the Early Classical period and on the Athenian Acropolis during the Periklean era, as well as on the careers and oeuvres of such artists as the Polygnotos, Polykleitos, Pheidias, Praxiteles, and Lysippos. While placing the art of the period in its social, political and philosophical context, the course also focusses on such issues as the representation of the human form, the theological and ideological functions of architectural sculpture, and the transition to Hellenistic art at the end of the fourth century.


ARH 457 Topics in Contemporary Art

4 credits

Changing topics in art and critical theory in Europe and the United States from 1940 to the present.

Format: Lecture or Seminar

Black and white images of mouthsThis course is an exploratory survey of the major debates and discussions that have framed contemporary art since 1985. Because the historicization of the time period and its artistic production is still in flux, the artists and artworks discussed throughout the course are organized by theme, rather than by artistic genre or movement. The course themes reflect key theoretical questions that have emerged in art since 1985, so that this course will also serve as an introduction to postmodern critical theory. Students will develop skills in viewing and writing about contemporary art and will be introduced to critical frameworks for relating art to social, cultural, and political concerns.


ARH 464 American Architecture I

4 credits

Format: Lecture

Colonial style homeThis course examines the development of American architecture during the colonial period up to about 1815 and the development of a consciously American architectural expression. It touches on vernacular architectural traditions in Spanish, French, Dutch, and English settlements, as well as vernacular forms introduced by other later immigrant groups. Also covered is the history of American urban development.


ARH 465 American Architecture II

4 credits

Format: Lecture

American churchThis course examines the development of the architecture of the United States from roughly 1790 to 1910, including such subtopics as stylistic evolution, the search for a recognizable "American" Architecture, the development of new building materials, construction methods, and building economics, the impact of architectural publication, and the rise of the architectural profession.


ARH 466 American Architecture III

4 credits

Format: Lecture

American home in a forestThis course covers the development of architecture, building technology, and urban planning in the United States from 1890 to the present, examining the work of selected architects, and dealing with the recurrent use of historic imagery by American architects.


ARH 488 Japanese Prints

4 credits

Format: Lecture

Japanese woodblock printThis course provides a through introduction to the history of Japanese woodblock prints, also commonly referred to as ukiyo-e (“pictures of the floating world”) prints, from their emergence in the mid seventeenth century to the present, based upon first- hand study of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art’s Japanese print collection. After two introductory sessions, each week will examine the works of major print designers coupled with relevant social and art historical themes. Technical developments, major genres, and master designers are explored within the context of the print’s relationship to the urban culture of early modern and modern Japan. Themes to be covered include salon culture, censorship, theatricality, travel culture, the construction of social roles, Western influence, and representations of modernity and war.

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Graduate Courses

ARH 503 Thesis *

1–5 credits

* Specialized course. Please speak to an Art History faculty member if you are interested in taking this course.


ARH 507 Seminars

1–5 credits

Offerings vary and reflect the interests of faculty members.

Format: Seminar Class Size: Varies, an example is 14 (7 undergraduate & 7 graduate)
Prerequisites: In general, the permission of instructor required and relevant upper division or graduate course work in Art History may also be required.

Courses recently taught under this heading include:

  • Medieval Rome
    ARH 407-507The course explores the art, architecture, urbanism, and topography of the city of Rome during the Middle Ages. We examine the radical transitions that Roman artists, architects, and patrons confronted during the course of a revolutionary millennium spanning from 300 to 1,300 CE. During the seminar, students will be asked to evaluate primary and secondary sources, to posit hypotheses and elaborate theories based upon observations drawn from the physical evidence of medieval Rome.
  • Art “After” Feminism
    FlowersThe title of this seminar—Art “After” Feminism—is a deliberate provocation in an era that has been described as post- feminist. Far from dismissing the paradigmatic importance of feminism in relationship to cultural production however, this course will evaluate the place of feminism “after” the feminist art and activism of the 1960s and 1970s. In recent years, a series of exhibitions and events in New York, Los Angeles, and elsewhere have reconsidered the feminist legacy in contemporary art in ways that are not necessarily limited to women, and outside of what have conventionally been considered “feminist” issues. This course will begin by considering the revisionist feminist critiques of the 1980s and 1990s which re-evaluated art and aesthetics in relationship to what lies outside the frame of representation. We will examine the ways in which gender is currently addressed by artists, museums, and the academy and explore the interconnectedness of practice and theory through case studies of specific artists, artworks, and exhibitions. Students from all disciplines are welcome.

  • The Parthenon Frieze
    SculptureThe course examines perhaps the most controversial work of ancient Greek sculpture: the long frieze that decorated the top of the inner room (or cella) of the Parthenon. In addition to scrutinizing the iconography and possible subjects of the frieze, the course will set the imagery into the historical, social, and religious contexts of Athens during the age of Perikles.

  • Portraiture
    Painted portraitThis seminar investigates portraiture as a genre. Seemingly the most straightforward category of art, portraits have increasingly been considered as complex in representation. The course will cover both the theory and practice or portraiture from the Renaissance to the present, but with particular emphasis on works and artists from the 18th Century to present. Topics include the problem of "likeness"; the social role of the portrait; portraiture's stylistic conventions and iconographic devices; the portrait studio. For the final paper and presentation students may work on examples from any period or culture in any medium; sculpture, photography, or painting.


ARH 510 Experimental Courses

1–5 credits

Offerings vary and reflect the interests of faculty members.

Format: Varies. Some are Seminar, others are Lecture or Lecture with Discussion

Courses recently taught under this heading include:

  • Contemporary Art in the 1960s-1970s
    Art of the 50's and 60'sThis course is an introductory survey of major artistic developments in North America and Western Europe during the 1960s-1970s. It will address the ambitions and contexts of pop art, minimalism, conceptual art, feminist art, performance art, video art, land art, and more. Special attention will be paid to the role of the mass media as well as the use of media technologies in artistic production. This course will also introduce students to critical and methodological issues in art history. Students will develop skills in viewing and writing about art and will be introduced to critical frameworks for relating art to social, cultural, and political concerns.

  • Ancient Sculpture and the Italian Renaissance
    Italian sculptureIt is often taken for granted that the rediscovery of the thought, literature, and art of Greek and Roman antiquity was one of the forces that drove European art and culture from the Medieval "Dark Ages" into the Renaissance. This formulation, popular in handbooks until fairly recently, is in fact very crude. Still, there is no question that the study of the art of antiquity occupied Renaissance artists to a particularly high degree, and that many used ancient works as models and exemplars. The course begins with a broad survey of the nature of ancient Greek and Roman art and will then explore the extent to which ancient art survived the end of antiquity and was known in Medieval Italy. It will conclude with a series of "case studies," presented by the students, that explore in detail the impact ancient Greek and Roman art, mythology, and iconography had specifically upon the sculptors of Proto‐Renaissance and Renaissance Italy.

  • Art of the Eccentrics
    Asian sculptureWondrous, crazy, drunken, one-of-a-kind, awakened, hermit, river folk, playful, creative, geeky; traditional Japanese discourses on art include many ways of describing what one might loosely define as the eccentric. What or who were “eccentrics?” This course will explore the concept of the “strange” in Japanese art. Each session will focus on one keyword traditionally used to express “eccentricity” of one form or another. We will examine works (or artists) that were closely associated with these terms, including: Buddhist sculpture, calligraphy and painting of Zen monks, doodles and doodle-like satirical painting, performing art of nô and kabuki, mad verses and pictures of literati, “creative” prints, female artists of the early 20th century, and manga- and anime-inspired contemporary works. We will explore the positive and negative connotations of the concept of eccentricity. By understanding what made these works or artists eccentric, we can conversely define the “norm” or “mainstream” at a given moment in the history of Japanese art, flashing out the fundamental issues of expected social and gender roles, economic vs. cultural hierarchy, and heterodoxy vs. orthodoxy.

  • Symbolism & Decadence
    Asian ink drawingSymbolism and Decadence, the elusive yet pervasive tendency in turn‐of‐the­‐century European painting, sculpture, decorative arts and literature, will be the main subject of this course. Student can expect to read French, German and Russian Symbolist poetry (in translation) while studying manifestations of Symbolism in painting and sculpture (Rodin, the Nabis group, Munch, Klimt, Schiele). Some parallel developments in the decorative arts (Art Nouveau and Jugenstil) and performing arts (Loie Fuller) will also be considered. Central questions include the link between Symbolist iconographies and new formal techniques in art and literature; inter­‐mediality and the notion of Gesammtkunstwerk; the link between art forms and debates in contemporary psychology and culture; and the extent to which turn­‐of‐the­‐century aestheticism contributed to the rise of modernism and the formation of the historical avant‐garde.


ARH 524 Classical Greek Art

4 Credits

Format: Lecture

Classic Greek vaseThe course examines in detail Greek sculpture and vase-painting in the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. Emphasis is placed upon the major artistic programs undertaken at Olympia in the Early Classical period and on the Athenian Acropolis during the Periklean era, as well as on the careers and oeuvres of such artists as the Polygnotos, Polykleitos, Pheidias, Praxiteles, and Lysippos. While placing the art of the period in its social, political and philosophical context, the course also focusses on such issues as the representation of the human form, the theological and ideological functions of architectural sculpture, and the transition to Hellenistic art at the end of the fourth century.


ARH 541 Topics in Renaissance & Baroque

4 credits

Format: Seminar

Illustration of a buildingThis upper-division seminar-style course focuses on a particular theme within Renaissance and/or Baroque Art and gives it sustained treatment. Students develop their own independent research projects on related subjects. Course topics differ from year to year, and sometimes are selected to coordinate with major campus events like museum exhibitions. Recent topics have included “The Art and Life of Caravaggio,” “The Cross-Cultural Encounter in Renaissance and Baroque Art,” and “Giuseppe Vasi and Eighteenth Century Rome.”


ARH 557 Topics in Contemporary Art

4 credits

Changing topics in art and critical theory in Europe and the United States from 1940 to the present.

Format: Lecture or Seminar

Black and white images of mouthsThis course is an exploratory survey of the major debates and discussions that have framed contemporary art since 1985. Because the historicization of the time period and its artistic production is still in flux, the artists and artworks discussed throughout the course are organized by theme, rather than by artistic genre or movement. The course themes reflect key theoretical questions that have emerged in art since 1985, so that this course will also serve as an introduction to postmodern critical theory. Students will develop skills in viewing and writing about contemporary art and will be introduced to critical frameworks for relating art to social, cultural, and political concerns.


ARH 564 American Architecture I

4 credits

Format: Lecture

Colonial style homeThis course examines the development of American architecture during the colonial period up to about 1815 and the development of a consciously American architectural expression. It touches on vernacular architectural traditions in Spanish, French, Dutch, and English settlements, as well as vernacular forms introduced by other later immigrant groups. Also covered is the history of American urban development.


ARH 565 American Architecture II

4 credits

Format: Lecture

American churchThis course examines the development of the architecture of the United States from roughly 1790 to 1910, including such subtopics as stylistic evolution, the search for a recognizable "American" Architecture, the development of new building materials, construction methods, and building economics, the impact of architectural publication, and the rise of the architectural profession.


ARH 566 American Architecture III

4 credits

Format: Lecture

American home in a forestThis course covers the development of architecture, building technology, and urban planning in the United States from 1890 to the present, examining the work of selected architects, and dealing with the recurrent use of historic imagery by American architects.


ARH 588 Japanese Prints

4 credits

Format: Lecture

Japanese woodblock printThis course provides a through introduction to the history of Japanese woodblock prints, also commonly referred to as ukiyo-e (“pictures of the floating world”) prints, from their emergence in the mid seventeenth century to the present, based upon first- hand study of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art’s Japanese print collection. After two introductory sessions, each week will examine the works of major print designers coupled with relevant social and art historical themes. Technical developments, major genres, and master designers are explored within the context of the print’s relationship to the urban culture of early modern and modern Japan. Themes to be covered include salon culture, censorship, theatricality, travel culture, the construction of social roles, Western influence, and representations of modernity and war.


ARH 601 Research [Topic] *

1–5 credits

* Specialized course. Please speak to an Art History faculty member if you are interested in taking this course.


ARH 605 Reading and Conference *

1–5 credits

* Specialized course. Please speak to an Art History faculty member if you are interested in taking this course.


ARH 606 Field Studies *

1–5 credits

* Specialized course. Please speak to an Art History faculty member if you are interested in taking this course.


ARH 607 Seminar: [Topic]

1–5 credits

Repeatable. Departmental offerings vary from year to year and reflect the specialized interests of faculty members. See individual faculty research profiles for sample courses.


ARH 610 Experimental Courses

1–5 credits

Format: Varies. Some are Seminar, others are Lecture or Lecture with Discussion. Offerings vary and reflect the interests of faculty members.


ARH 611 Graduate Studies in Art History

4 credits

This graduate seminar is an introduction to the historiography, criticism, and theory of art history. Interdisciplinary in scope, it will examine approaches to the history, criticism, and theory of visual culture in relation to literary and psychoanalytical criticism, intellectual, cultural, and social history, cultural anthropology, etc. Students will become familiar with the principal tools and approaches of art history while also questioning them. Close readings of historical texts from Riegl to Baxandall will be accompanied by contemporary critical reassessments from political, postcolonial, and feminist viewpoints. Although the majority of texts under discussion will be from the post-­‐Renaissance western tradition, the course is designed to provide critical tools relevant to the study of both Western and non-­‐Western art and architecture. This reading-­‐intensive seminar will center around detailed discussion of themes and methods appropriate to historical and critical research in art history. The ultimate goal of the course is for students to begin to cultivate their own approach.

 

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