Regularly Offered Courses

Students look around a mosque. See ARTH-396, Washington, DC Architecture.

ARTH-396: Washington DC Architecture.

For current class offerings, times, and additional information, visit the Office of the Registrar.

ARTH-105 Art: The Historical Experience/Artists/Audiences & Afterlives (3)

An introduction to Western art and architecture from ancient times to the 20th century, with some discussion of non-Western cultures. Case studies of major works and artists such as the Great Pyramids, the Parthenon, Chartres Cathedral, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, and Picasso provide a foundation for understanding art in its aesthetic, historical, social, and political contexts. Also covers materials, techniques, and practices of art-making; introduces key stylistic innovations. Usually offered every term.

ARTH-205 Art of the Renaissance/Renaissance Perspectives (3)

Architecture, sculpture, painting, and prints of renaissance Italy and Northern Europe. Considers the interplay of art with philosophy, theology, and social change, and examines the artistic legacy and rich creative achievements of a culture inspired by classical antiquity. AU Core Habits of Mind: Socio-Historical Inquiry. Usually Offered: spring.

ARTH-210 How Art Became Modern/Modern Art: Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (3)

Introduction to the art of the modern period, primarily in Europe. Presents major artists in aesthetic, cultural, historical, and political contexts and addresses issues of avant-garde change, critical imagination, and gender difference in relation to expanding conceptions of creative self-expression. AU Core Habits of Mind: Creative-Aesthetic Inquiry. Usually Offered: fall and spring.

ARTH-225 Buddhist Arts of Asia (3)

An introductory survey of Asian art that emphasizes Buddhist painting, architecture, calligraphy, and sculpture of India, China, Korea, and Japan from ancient to contemporary. Explores religious meaning, spiritual aesthetics, and the reinvention of religious tradition. AU Core Habits of Mind: Cultural Inquiry.

ARTH-255 Art History of World Regions (3)

Topics vary by section. Rotating topics offered through various AU Abroad programs, including analysis of major artists, groups, and stylistic developments of a specific region and time period. Topics explore the historical, cultural, and social contexts of the artists and works discussed and may focus on several forms of visual art/culture, including architecture, sculpture, painting, prints, and installations, and include on-site visits to museums and galleries, as well as architectural and archeological locations.

ARTH-303 Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic (3)

Surveys painting, sculpture, architecture, the book arts, and stained glass across Europe from the tenth to the fourteenth centuries. Examines relationships between the visual arts and the social, political, and religious fabric of specific historical moments. Demonstrates the material and stylistic complexities of art-making, as they relate to interpretation, within specific historical settings. Explores transnational interactions and influences. Usually offered alternate spring semesters. Prerequisite: ARTH-105.

ARTH-307 International Baroque Art (3)

Explores developments in seventeenth-century northern and southern European (Italy, France, England, Spain, and the Netherlands) art, including works by Bernini, Artemisia Gentileschi, Rubens, Rembrandt, Velazquez, and Poussin. Evaluates rise of Baroque art through intersecting cultural and social ideologies, including religion, politics, economics, race, gender, and art theory. Prerequisite: ARTH 105 or ARTH 205.

ARTH-320 Intro to the Arts of Japan (3)

A survey of the arts in Japan from ancient to contemporary that covers a wide range of materials, including sculpture, calligraphy, ink, paintings, architecture, photography, and woodblock prints. Emphasizes historical and social contexts and the relations of power involved in the viewing and collection of Japanese art.

ARTH-335 20th Century Women Artists (3)

This course focuses on women artists' contributions to twentieth century art in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Latin America. It examines women's struggles and successes, their iconographic and stylistic interests, and the analysis of their works in relation to theories of gender, feminism, postmodernism, and postcolonialism. Usually Offered: alternate springs. Prerequisite: ARTH-105 and ARTH-210 or permission of instructor.

ARTH-350 Regional Studies in Art History (3)

Rotating topics offered through various AU Abroad programs, including analysis of major artists, groups, and stylistic developments of a specific region and time period. Topics explore the historical, cultural, and social contexts of the artists and works discussed and may focus on several forms of visual art/culture, including architecture, sculpture, painting, prints, and installations, and include on-site visits to museums and galleries, as well as architectural and archeological locations. Repeatable for credit with different topic.

ARTH 396: African-American Art: Slavery to Social Justice (3)

Professor Nika Elder

W.E.B. DuBois urged his fellow African-Americans to be a "co-worker in the kingdom of culture." According to DuBois, artistic activity was as critical to racial equality as was institutional change. Throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, many artists have heeded the call, but many artists working in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries anticipated it. This course examines how and why black artists have used painting, sculpture, photography, print, and mixed media to assert and question personal, racial, and national identity. Spanning the eighteenth century through the present, topics addressed include quilts by Harriet Powers and Faith Ringgold, portraits commissioned by Frederick Douglass and photographs executed by Lorna Simpson, the sculptures of Edmonia Lewis and David Hammons, the collage aesthetic deployed by Jacob Lawrence and Romare Bearden, and installations by Kara Walker and Fred Wilson. In addition to lectures and discussions, the course includes guest speakers and site visits.

Note: 400-level courses generally meet with 600-level courses. Registration at the 600 level implies graduate-level assignments and higher expectations regarding performance.

ARTH-400 Approaches to Art History (3)

Reading, discussion, and written work based on subjects such as style, iconography, semiotics, the art museum, and social, psychological, and feminist approaches. Attention to critical interpretation and writing research papers. Usually offered once each year. Prerequisite: four art history courses.

ARTH-401 Italian Art: Early Renaissance (3)

Professor Kim Butler Wingfield

Developments in Florence, Siena, and Venice in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, including the classical revival, narrative, linear perspective, and the role of social and theoretical factors in the practice of art. Emphasis on major figures such as Giotto, Duccio, Masaccio, Piero della Francesca, Botticelli, and Giovanni Bellini. Meets with ARTH-601. Usually offered every third semester. Prerequisite: two art history courses including ARTH-105 and ARTH-205 or equivalent.

ARTH-402 Italian Art: High Renaissance (3)

Professor Kim Butler Wingfield

Development of high Renaissance and early Mannerist styles in Rome, Venice, and Florence in the first half of the sixteenth century. Major artists emphasized include Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Giorgione, and Titian. Includes consideration of issues such as the elevation of artists' social status and the emergent concept of artistic genius. Meets with ARTH-602. Usually offered every third semester. Prerequisite: two art history courses including ARTH-105 and ARTH 205 or equivalent.

ARTH-403 Italian Art: Late Renaissance and Early Baroque (3)

Professor Kim Butler Wingfield

Examines Italian art from the mid-sixteenth through early seventeenth centuries, considering the flourishing of art theory, late Mannerist and early Baroque style, and the significant emergence of female artists. Artists include Bronzino, Vasari, late Titian and Michelangelo (sculpture and painting), Tintoretto, Veronese, Sofonisba Anguissola, the Carracci, Caravaggio, and Artemisia Gentileschi. Crosslist: ARTH 603. Prerequisite: ARTH-105 and ARTH-205.

ARTH-411 Modern European Art: Rococo to Realism (3)

Professor Juliet Bellow

A survey of European art from 1760 to 1848, with attention to the social role of art in the age of revolutions. Includes the creation of art academies and public art exhibitions; the Industrial Revolution and landscape painting; and the effects of nationalism and colonialism on European identity. Usually Offered: alternate years. Prerequisite: ARTH-105 and ARTH-210.

ARTH-412 Modern European Art: Impressionism and Post-impressionism (3)

Professor Juliet Bellow

A survey of European art from 1848 to 1900, with emphasis on stylistic innovations in art and contexts in which works were produced, exhibited, and debated. Includes changing concepts of modernity and its relationship to modernism; shifting experiences of city and country life; and new roles for men and women in public and private. Usually Offered: alternate years. Prerequisite: ARTH-105 and ARTH-210.

ARTH-413 Modern European Art: Expressionism to Surrealism (3)

Professor Juliet Bellow

A survey of European art from 1900 to 1945, tracing radical changes in conception of art as well as social and political contexts that shaped it. Includes the rise of abstraction; antimodernism and the "primitive"; and the notion of an artistic avant-garde. Meets with ARTH-613. Usually offered alternate years. Prerequisite: two art history courses including ARTH-105 and ARTH-210 or equivalent.

ARTH-414 Women and the Avant-Garde (3)

Professor Juliet Bellow

The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries witnessed increasing professional opportunities for women artists, yet the status of women in Impressionism, Expressionism, Constructivism, and Surrealism remained ambivalent. This class explores the complex experiences of such avant-garde artists as Berthe Morisot, Camille Claudel, Sonia Delaunay, and Frida Kahlo. Meets with ARTH-614. Prerequisite: two art history courses including ARTH-105 and ARTH-210 or equivalent.

ARTH-415 Museums and Society (3)

Professor Juliet Bellow

Explores the intersection of the museum and its public from the late eighteenth century to the present. Topics include the formation of collections and organization of exhibitions; changing modes of display; architecture and wall text; the economics of the art world; politics and cultural property; and race, gender, and national identity.Usually Offered: alternate springs. Prerequisite: ARTH-105 and ARTH-210.

ARTH-423 East West Photography (3)

Professor Ying-Chen Peng

Examines the emergence of photography and the medium's pivotal role in shaping relations between Asia and the West. Examines early portraiture, architectural sites, colonial tourism, photojournalism, family photographs, and contemporary photography. Meets with ARTH 623. Usually offered alternate years. Prerequisite: two art history courses including either ARTH-220 or ARTH 320.

ARTH-424 Envisioning the Nation. Modern and Contemporary Art in Asia (3)

Professor Ying-Chen Peng

Explores how nationhood, nationalism, and the body politic have been addressed in art and visual culture in Asia. Focuses on modern and contemporary art in China, Japan, India, and other parts of Asia, including film, prints, painting, photography, architecture, performance art, and propaganda. Meets with ARTH-624. Usually offered alternate years. Prerequisite: two art history courses including either ARTH-220 or ARTH-320.

ARTH-431 Visual Arts in the United States to 1890 (3)

Professor Nika Elder

Covers portraiture, landscape, and genre painting from early Colonial period to Gilded Age. Examines Colonial portraiture (Copley, Peale), Hudson River School and Luminist landscape (Cole, Church), sculpture, photography, and late 19th century artists (Eakins, Homer, Sargent, Cassatt). Emphasizes cultural politics of colonialism, slavery, Native Americans, gender issues, and transnational art. Meets with ARTH-631. Usually offered alternate falls. Prerequisite: Two art history courses including ARTH-105 and ARTH-210 or permission of instructor.

ARTH-432 Visual Arts in the United States: 1890 to 1935 (3)

Professor Nika Elder

Covers art from Gilded Age through mid-1930s. Examines American Impressionism, Ashcan School, American modernist abstraction, Harlem Renaissance, Mexican muralists, Regionalism, WPA art and photography. Focuses on relation to European modernisms and U.S. cultural politics, including gender and racial issues and the rise of major museums, dealers, and collectors. Meets with ARTH-632. Usually offered alternate springs. Prerequisite: Two art history courses including ARTH-105 and ARTH-210 or permission of instructor.

ARTH-433 Visual Arts in the United States: 1935 to 1970 (3)

Professor Nika Elder

Covers dramatic changes in realism and modernism in the mid-twentieth century including WPA art and leftist politics, the Great Depression and federal support, geometric modernisms, Abstract Expressionism, New Realism, Pop Art, and photography. Emphasizes major artists and cultural politics including the New Deal, Cold War, gender and racial difference, and contributions of art critic and dealers. Prerequisite: Two art history courses including ARTH-105 and ARTH-210 or permission of instructor.

ARTH-434 Contemporary Visual Art and Postmodernism (3)

Professor Nika Elder

Covers contemporary art since 1970 created in United States by American and international artists. Examines movements including Minimalism, Earth Art, Photorealism, Neo-Expressionism, feminism, new abstraction, identity politics, installation and performance art. Emphasizes critical understanding of postmodernist theory related to multiculturalism, racial/ gender difference, queer theory, censorship, ecology, and social/political critique. Meets with ARTH-634. Usually offered alternate springs. Prerequisite: Two art history courses including ARTH-105 and ARTH-210 or permission of instructor.

ARTH-477 Museum Management (3)

This course explores major issues in museum management, including current thinking on museology, technological issues affecting visual arts management, the balance between curating, education, and public programs, and the changing role of museum directors. The course also addresses ethical issues concerning looting and repatriation and earned income activities in museums. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

ARTH-490 Independent Study Project in Art History (1-3)

Prerequisite: permission of instructor and department chair.

ARTH-491 Internship (1-3)

Prerequisite: Four art history courses and permission of Art History Internship Coordinator.

ARTH-496 Modern and Contemporary Chinese Art (3)

Professor Ying-Chen Peng

This course introduces students to the visual art of works of modern and contemporary China in broad social, political, and economic contexts. Discussion on modern art in China is organized chronologically, focusing on a critical period of evolvement to make clear that the pursuit of modernity in Chinese art in the twentieth century was a continuous movement with fractions due to numerous tumultuous socio-political events. Contemporary art in China is introduced by topics including gender, urbanization, globalization, and dialogues with the past, as well as contemporary Chinese art beyond China.

ARTH-516 Northern Renaissance Art: Texts/Contexts (3)

Professor Andrea Pearson

Explores key approaches in the scholarship on northern European art, c. 1375-1550, by investigating patronage in court, urban, and monastic contexts; workshop practices; church contexts and devotional images; the rise of portraiture; the development of printmaking; and the relationship of the arts to gender, sexuality, and race. Usually Offered: alternate springs. Prerequisite: five art history courses.

ARTH-517 Northern Renaissance Art: Sex and Gender (3)

Professor Andrea Pearson

Investigates sex and gender in northern European art of the later Middle Ages and Renaissance, c. 1300-1550. Topics include femininity and masculinity across court, urban, and monastic contexts and sexual practices and prohibitions, including possibilities of same-sex desire. Identity, agency, compliance, and transgression are interrogated across the artistic media. Usually Offered: alternate springs. Prerequisite: five art history courses.

ARTH-520 Seminar in Art History (3)

Topics vary by section and rotate among art historical fields (Renaissance/Baroque Art, 19th-20th European Art, America/Contemporary Art, and Asian Art). May be repeated for credit with different topic. Critical discussion of assigned weekly readings followed by student reports and research papers. Usually offered in spring semester. Prerequisite: five art history courses or permission of instructor.

ARTH-590 Independent Reading Course in Art History (1-3)

Prerequisite: permission of instructor and department chair.

Note: 400-level courses generally meet with 600-level courses. Registration at the 600 level implies graduate-level assignments and higher expectations regarding performance.

ARTH-600 Approaches to Art History (3)

Reading, discussion, and written work based on subjects such as style, iconography, semiotics, the art museum, and social, psychological, and feminist approaches. Attention to critical interpretation and writing research papers. Usually offered once each year. 

ARTH-601 Italian Art: Early Renaissance (3)

Professor Kim Butler Wingfield

Developments in Florence, Siena, and Venice in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, including the classical revival, narrative, linear perspective, and the role of social and theoretical factors in the practice of art. Emphasis on major figures such as Giotto, Duccio, Masaccio, Piero della Francesca, Botticelli, and Giovanni Bellini. 

ARTH-602 Italian Art: High Renaissance (3)

Professor Kim Butler Wingfield

Development of high Renaissance and early Mannerist styles in Rome, Venice, and Florence in the first half of the sixteenth century. Major artists emphasized include Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Giorgione, and Titian. Includes consideration of issues such as the elevation of artists' social status and the emergent concept of artistic genius. 

ARTH-603 Italian Art: Late Renaissance and Early Baroque (3)

Professor Kim Butler Wingfield

Examines Italian art from the mid-sixteenth through early seventeenth centuries, considering the flourishing of art theory, late Mannerist and early Baroque style, and the significant emergence of female artists. Artists include Bronzino, Vasari, late Titian and Michelangelo (sculpture and painting), Tintoretto, Veronese, Sofonisba Anguissola, the Carracci, Caravaggio, and Artemisia Gentileschi. 

ARTH-611 Modern European Art: Rococo to Realism (3)

Professor Juliet Bellow

Modern European Art: Rococo to Realism (3) A survey of European art from 1760 to 1848, with attention to the social role of art in the age of revolutions. Includes the creation of art academies and public art exhibitions; the Industrial Revolution and landscape painting; and the effects of nationalism and colonialism on European identity. Usually Offered: alternate years.

ARTH-612 Modern European Art: Impressionism and Post-Impressionism (3)

Professor Juliet Bellow

A survey of European art from 1848 to 1900, with emphasis on stylistic innovations in art and contexts in which works were produced, exhibited, and debated. Includes changing concepts of modernity and its relationship to modernism; shifting experiences of city and country life; and new roles for men and women in public and private. Usually Offered: alternate years.

ARTH-613 Modern European Art: Expressionism to Surrealism (3)

Professor Juliet Bellow

A survey of European art from 1900 to 1945, tracing radical changes in conception of art as well as social and political contexts that shaped it. Includes the rise of abstraction; antimodernism and the "primitive"; and the notion of an artistic avant-garde. Usually offered alternate years.

ARTH-614 Women and the Avant-Garde (3)

Professor Juliet Bellow

The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries witnessed increasing professional opportunities for women artists, yet the status of women in Impressionism, Expressionism, Constructivism, and Surrealism remained ambivalent. This class explores the complex experiences of such avant-garde artists as Berthe Morisot, Camille Claudel, Sonia Delaunay, and Frida Kahlo. 

ARTH-615 Museums and Society (3)

Professor Juliet BellowExplores the intersection of the museum and its public from the late eighteenth century to the present. Topics include the formation of collections and organization of exhibitions; changing modes of display; architecture and wall text; the economics of the art world; politics and cultural property; and race, gender, and national identity.

ARTH-623 East West Photography (3)

Professor Ying-Chen Peng

Examines the emergence of photography and the medium's pivotal role in shaping relations between Asia and the West. Examines early portraiture, architectural sites, colonial tourism, photojournalism, family photographs, and contemporary photography. Usually offered alternate years. 

ARTH-624 Envisioning the Nation: Modern and Contemporary Art in Asia (3)

Professor Ying-Chen Peng

Explores how nationhood, nationalism, and the body politic have been addressed in art and visual culture in Asia. Focuses on modern and contemporary art in China, Japan, India, and other parts of Asia, including film, prints, painting, photography, architecture, performance art, and propaganda. Usually offered alternate years.

ARTH-631 Visual Arts in the United States to 1890 (3)

Professor Nika Elder 

Covers portraiture, landscape, and genre painting from the early Colonial period to the late nineteenth century. Examines major artists and movements including Colonial portraiture (Copley, Peale), Hudson River School and Luminist landscape (Cole, Church), sculpture, photography, and late 19th century artists including Eakins, Homer, and Cassatt. Emphasizes cultural politics of colonialism, slavery, Native Americans, gender issues, and relationships between American and European art. Usually offered alternate falls.

ARTH-632 Visual Arts in the United States: 1890 to 1935 (3)

Professor Nika Elder 

Covers art from the Gilded Age through mid-1930s. Examines major artists and movements, including American Impressionism, Ashcan School, American modernist abstraction, Harlem Renaissance, Mexican muralists, Regionalism, WPA art and photography. Focuses on relation to European modernisms and U.S. cultural politics, including gender and racial issues and the rise of major museums, dealers, and collectors. Usually offered alternate springs.

ARTH-633 Visual Arts in the United States: 1935 to 1970 (3)

Professor Nika Elder 

Covers dramatic changes in realism and modernism in the mid-twentieth century including WPA art and leftist politics, the Great Depression and federal support, geometric modernisms, Abstract Expressionism, New Realism, Pop Art, and photography. Emphasizes major artists and cultural politics including the New Deal, Cold War, gender and racial difference, and contributions of art critic and dealers. Usually offered alternate falls.

ARTH-634 Contemporary Visual Art and Postmodernism (3) 

Professor Nika Elder 

Covers contemporary art since 1970 created in the United States by American and international artists. It examines movements including Minimalism, Earth Art, Photorealism, Neo-Expressionism, feminism, new abstraction, identity politics, installation and performance art. Emphasizes critical understanding of postmodernist theory related to multiculturalism, racial/ gender difference, queer theory, censorship, ecology, and social/political critique. Usually offered alternate springs. 

ARTH-677 Museum Management (3)

This course explores major issues in museum management, including current thinking on museology, technological issues affecting visual arts management, the balance between curating, education, and public programs, and the changing role of museum directors. The course also addresses ethical issues concerning looting and repatriation and earned income activities in museums. Permission: instructor. 

ARTH-691 Internship (1-3)

Prerequisite: permission of Art History Internship Coordinator. 

ARTH-696 Modern and Contemporary Chinese Art (3)

Professor Ying-Chen Peng

This course introduces students to the visual art of works of modern and contemporary China in broad social, political, and economic contexts. Discussion on modern art in China is organized chronologically, focusing on a critical period of evolvement to make clear that the pursuit of modernity in Chinese art in the twentieth century was a continuous movement with fractions due to numerous tumultuous socio-political events. Contemporary art in China is introduced by topics including gender, urbanization, globalization, and dialogues with the past, as well as contemporary Chinese art beyond China.

ARTH-792 Thesis Research Seminar (3)

Required for all second year MA students. Research seminar to develop thesis topic proposal (to be approved by thesis committee), do literature review for proposed topic, and begin thesis development with goal of completion by following spring semester. Participants will develop ability to do serious research and share project critiques. Offered every fall. 

ARTH-797 Master's Thesis Research (3)

Independent thesis research to develop and complete full MA thesis on approved topic. Work under direction of thesis adviser and second reader. Prerequisite: ARTH-792. Thesis Research Seminar or permission of Thesis adviser and Art History Program Director.

Listed below are a sampling of seminars that have been offered by current professors. Usually two seminars in different fields are offered in any academic year.

Joanne Allen

Gothic Architecture: Structure, Space and Spectacle

This course will explore the creation, function and meaning of European medieval architecture. Emphasis will be placed on Gothic cathedrals — the largest and most innovative structures built for centuries — as well as civic and domestic architecture from across Europe. Beyond discussion of the fundamental relationship between form and function, we will investigate wide-ranging issues concerning artistic imitation and influence; engineering and numerology; philosophical and theological interpretation; and patronage and societal control.
 

Juliet Bellow

Revolutionary Aesthetics: Art and Politics in Nineteenth-Century France

The 19th century has been called "the age of revolutions." This course examines four revolutionary moments during the "long nineteenth century" — 1789, 1830, 1848, and 1871 — focusing on the ways in which, in these turbulent times, actions inspired images and images inspired actions. We will discuss such themes as the centrality of the live body to revolutionary art and its role in shaping a body politic; the concept of "the masses" and its relationship to artistic elites; and the gendering of such abstract ideas as "liberty" and "the nation."

Kim Butler

Renaissance Bodies

This seminar explores representations of the body in Italian Early Modern Art. The issue of corporeality in art will be examined in a range of signifying categories, including gender, sexuality, sanctity, criminality, classicism, and exoticism, as well as from multiple interdisciplinary perspectives, including literary, scientific, theological, and artistic.

Andrea Pearson

Northern Renaissance Art: Sex and Gender

This seminar investigates the contours of gender and sexuality in northern European art of the later Middle Ages and Renaissance (c. 1300-1550). Topics include images of women and men across court, urban, and monastic contexts; pictorial constructions of femininity and masculinity; relationships between the sexes; sexual practices and prohibitions; and gendered artistic expressions and formats. Various possibilities for understanding images via feminist and same-sex perspectives are raised; identity, agency, compliance, and transgression are interrogated across the artistic media.

Jacob Lawrence's work

ARTH 396: African-American Art: Colonial to Contemporary.