Spring 2011 Undergraduate Courses
(AHIS BC1001) Introduction to the History of Art II
Either term may be taken separately. Brief examination of the techniques of visual analysis, followed by a chronological survey of the major period styles of Western European art. Emphasis on the introduction of form and content in the works studied and on the correlation of the visual arts with their cultural environments. BC1001: Greek and Roman art; medieval art. BC1002: Renaissance to modern art.
(AHIS W3110) The Athenian Acropolis in the 5th & 6th Centuries BCE
The course places the architecture and the sculptural decoration of the Parthenon in the centre of the scheduled class sessions. The course also aims at a contextualisation of the Parthenon within the broader architectural, artistic, and topographical context of the Athenian Acropolis during the sixth and fifth centuries BCE. The chosen chronological frame focuses on the period of the most intensive activity on the Acropolis. Two class sessions will, nevertheless, give a brief overview of the Acropolis after the end of the Peloponnesian war and concentrate on the transformation of the Acropolis into "Greece's museum of the past", an Arcadian topos of human imagination.
(AHIS W3170) Rock-Cut Architecture of India
For a period of over a thousand years, a favored mode of architecture across India was to create monuments by excavating into the rock of the mountainside. This course examines the rock-cut mode of architecture, adopted by Buddhists, Hindus, and Jains, that remained popular right up to the tenth century when it yielded precedence to structures built by piling stone upon stone.
(AHIS V3250) Roman Art & Architecture
F. de Angelis
The architecture, sculpture, and painting of ancient Rome from the 2nd century B.C. to the end of the Empire in the West.
(AHUM V3340) Art in China, Japan, & Korea
Introduces distinctive aesthetic traditions of China, Japan, and Korea—their similarities and differences—through an examination of the visual significance of selected works of painting, sculpture, architecture, and other arts in relation to the history, culture, and religions of East Asia.
(AHIS W3464) Later Italian Art
This course offers an overview of painting, sculpture, and architecture in Italy from about 1475 to about 1600. It concentrates on artists in four geographical areas and periods: (1) Florence in the late-15th and early-16th centuries (Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo); (2) Rome from 1502 to about 1534 (Bramante, Michelangelo, Raphael); (3) Florence from 1520 to 1565 (Andrea del Sarto, Pontormo, Bronzino, Cellini); and (4) Venice from about 1500 to 1588 (Bellini, Giorgione, Titian, Veronese, Tintoretto, Jacopo Sansovino).
(AHIS W3607) Latin American Artists: Independence to Present
The course looks at works produced in the more than 20 countries that make up Latin America. Our investigations will take us from the Southern Cone nations of South America, up through Central American and the Caribbean, to Mexico in the north. We will cover styles from the colonial influences present in post-independence art of the early 19th century, to installation art from the beginning of the 21st century. Along the way we will consider such topics as the relationship of colonial style and academic training to forging an independent artistic identity; the emergence and establishment of a modern canon; experimentations in surrealism, neo-concretism, conceptual art, and performance. We will end the course with a consideration of Latino artists working in the U.S.
(AHIS W3650) 20th Century Art
The course will examine a variety of figures, movements, and practices within the entire range of 20th-century art—from Expressionism to Abstract Expressionism, Constructivism to Pop Art, Surrealism to Minimalism, and beyond—situating them within the social, political, economic, and historical contexts in which they arose. The history of these artistic developments will be traced through the development and mutual interaction of two predominant strains of artistic culture: the modernist and the avant-garde, examining in particular their confrontation with and development of the particular vicissitudes of the century's ongoing modernization. Discussion section complement class lectures. Course is a prerequisite for certain upper-level art history courses.
(AHIS V3673) Histories of Photography
Few media have shaped the course of modernity more powerfully than photography. Law, science, journalism, criminology, urban planning, and entertainment are but a handful of the fields remade by the introduction of photography. More ambivalent has been photography’s relationship to art. Once relegated to the margins, photographic practices now occupy the center of much artistic production. This course will not attempt a comprehensive survey of the medium. Rather, we will trace central developments through a series of case studies from photography’s nineteenth century birth to its current, digital afterlife. We will cover seminal movements and figures as well as more obscure practices and discourses. Particular attention will be paid to the theoretical and methodological questions concerning the medium.
(AHIS G4072) Contemporary African Art
As philosopher Anthony Appiah asks: Is the "post" of "postcolonial" the same "post" found in "postmodern"? This course will investigate some of the major pressures shaping visual culture in Africa, 1950-2010. These include: emergence of new popular cultural forms (such as photography or comic books), development of parallel modernities and class divides, commodification of culture, experiments in Pan-Africanism , diasporic consciousness, the creation of "national" cultures, exhibitionism, and the emergence of international culture-brokers. The class will also consider the ideological import of battles over definitions of "Africa," "contemporary African art," and "contemporary African artist."
(AHIS G4085) Andean Art & Architecture
Open to undergraduates. Survey of the art of the Andes from earliest times until the Spanish conquest. Emphasis on the nature of Andean tradition and the relationship between art and society.
(AHIS W4089) Native American Art
This introduction to Native North American art surveys traditions of painting, sculpture, ceramics, textiles, photography and architecture and traces the careers of contemporary Indian modernists and postmodernists. It emphasizes artistic developments as a means of preserving culture and resisting domination in response to intertribal contact, European colonization and American expansion.
(AHIS W4354) Mapping Gothic France
The story of Gothic is traditionally recounted diachronically as architectural development. With our new interactive website, www.mappinggothicfrance.org, we challenge the user to entertain multiple stories and explore the synchronicity of architectural production, considering the space and time when France became France.
(AHIS G4480) Art and the Reformation
Artistic production in Germany and the Netherlands in the 16th century and the transformation of the social function of art as a consequence of the development of reformed theories of art and the introduction of humanist culture: Albrecht Dürer, Hans Baldung Grien, Hans Holbein the Younger, Albrecht Altdorfer, Quentin Massys, Lucas van Leyden, Jan Gossaert, Jan van Hemessen, and Pieter Aertsen.
(AHIS G4703) Japanese Architecture from the mid-19th Century to the Present
This class will examine the history of Japanese architecture and urban planning from the mid-19th century to the present.
Seminars and Colloquia
(AHIS W3824) India and Europe, 1600-1900
This course examines cross-cultural artistic exchanges between India and various European powers from c. 1600-1900. We will consider the reception of European prints, drawings, and paintings in India; the commissions of members of the Dutch, French, and English East India Companies; the growth of European collecting communities in India; the export of Indian art objects to European markets and imperial collections; the circulation of European artists and architects in India; and the spread of "India style" architecture in Europe, such as the Royal Pavilion at Brighton. Readings include primary sources by European and Indian travelers.
(AHIS W3838) Research Seminar: Trends in 18th- and 19th-Century European Art
This research seminar will focus on recent trends in the art historical scholarship on 18th- and 19th-century European art. We will begin with several weeks of common readings focused on ‘case studies.’ Possible topics might include: the ‘new formalism’ in 18th-century studies, academicism and genre hierarchy, religion as theoretical category, or the role of reproduction in 19th-century culture. Students will be free to select a research topic, and the rest of the semester will be devoted to independent research and writing of an original work of historical scholarship. Throughout the semester, meetings will be scheduled to allow students opportunities to present their research at various stages of development. The goal of the seminar is to give students an intensive research experience, an experience that lies at the heart of the historian's craft. Students should have some background in 19th-century European art history.
(AHIS W3850) The Artist as Educator
This seminar explores relationships between pedagogy, creative practice, and artistic understanding in the twentieth- and twenty-first century. It will include discussion of the academy, laboratory, and expanded studio as educational structures and focus upon the practices of key artist-educators including Paul Klee, Josef Albers, and Joseph Beuys. AHIS W3650 (Twentieth-century Art) is recommended, but not a required prerequisite.
(AHIS W3895) Major's Colloquium: Literature and Methods of Art History
Prerequisites: the department's permission. Students must sign up in 826 Schermerhorn. Introduction to different methodological approaches to the study of art and visual culture. Majors are encouraged to take the colloquium during their junior year.
(AHIS W3904) Aztec Art & Sacrifice
This seminar explores the issues of art and sacrifice in the Aztec empire from the points of view of the sixteenth century and modern times.
(AHIS W3909) The Gothic Cathedral
In this seminar the narrative structure of Otto von Simson's great book, The Gothic Cathedral will lead us to explore the forms of Gothic, with emphasis upon the tension between appearance and reality; measure and proportion; material and light. This book, now a classic, will be set in the context of more recent work, especially our new encyclopedic website, Mapping Gothic France.
(AHIS W3914) Precious Bones and Holy Bodies: Saints, Relics, and the Power of Art in Medieval Europe
The physical remains of holy men and women and objects associated with them embody aspects of the divine and therefore play a central role in a number of religions and cultures. This undergraduate seminar explores the Christian devotion to relics from Late Antiquity through the early Renaissance. Given their importance as manifestations of the presence of Christ and his saints on earth, relics—literally remains such as bones, mummified flesh, teeth or pieces of clothes—were treasured by the Christian faithful, who kept them in precious containers known as reliquaries. This course will investigate the strategies taken to the preservation, display, and veneration of sacred relics and their artistic presentation in the Late Roman and Byzantine Empire as well as in the kingdoms and principalities of Western Medieval Europe. The seminar will include a field trip to the exhibition Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics and Devotion in Medieval Europe at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore.
(AHIS BC3961) Winslow Homer/American Realism
Winslow Homer is in many ways the quintessential American Realist. One need only glance at his sunny pictures of women playing croquet or his stunning snapshots of surf breaking on the Maine Coast to recognize the bold graphic energy of his work and its seemingly national subject matter. Homer was promoted as an untrained and naïve observer of his time, but in fact he was a sophisticated artists with extensive engagement in the evolving aesthetic and cultural dialogues of the late nineteenth century in America and abroad. In this course, we will get beyond the surface of Homer’s art, interrogating how these qualities have come to signal what they do while examining the course of his career in its art historical and historical contexts. Rather than seeing Homer as a realist simply documenting his time, students will come to understand the ways in which his work raises and attempts to address key questions posed in the United States as it recovered from the Civil War and experienced the rapid urbanization and industrialization of the Post-War era. Through the close examination of Homer's output in a variety of mediums, including illustration, painting, watercolor and etchings, we will explore Homer's deep engagement with the international aesthetic developments of Impressionism, Aestheticism and Realism. Class meetings will be augmented by two field trips, one to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the other to the Century Club.
(AHIS BC3968) Art Criticism
Contemporary art and its criticism written by artists ( rather than by art historians or journalistic reviewers). Texts by Dan Graham, (Art and Language), Robert Smithson, Brian O'Dougherty, Martha Rosler, Barbara Kruger and others. Also, considers the art and writing of each artist together.
(AHIS BC3971) The Rococo and Its Revival
This seminar studies the sumptuous decorative arts of the French eighteenth-century Rococo. Thanks to a grant from the Mellon Foundation, participants will be able to study actual examples of this art in the world-class collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Frick Collection. New scholarship on these collections by museum curators, as well as a new wave of academic scholarship on rococo interiors, makes this an exceptional moment to re-think the rococo, especially as it has been collected and displayed in New York City. Several of the most important scholars of the Rococo will be participating in events at Columbia University and at the 2011 meeting of the College Art Association during the spring semester, making it possible for seminar participants to learn about the latest work on Rococo from a variety of authorities.
(AHIS BC3976) Japanese Photography
This course will examine the history of Japanese photography from the middle of the 19th century to the present. The class will be organized both chronologically and thematically. Throughout its history, photography has been an especially powerful medium for addressing the most challenging issues facing Japanese society. Among the topics under discussion will be: tourist photography and the representation of women within that genre in the late 19th century, the politics of propaganda photography, the construction of Japanese cultural identity through the representation of tradition in photography, and the interest in marginalized urban subcultures in the photography of the 1960s and 1970s. Although the course will be focused on Japan, the class will read from the literature on photography elsewhere in order to situate Japanese work within a broader context.