Department of Art History and Studio Art

Art History and Studio Art Course Descriptions

Courses in Art History and Studio Art

AH 141 World Art I: Visual Culture of the Ancient World

This survey course focuses on the art, archaeology and architecture of the Mediterranean world, roughly between 2500 BC – AD 300. The course investigates the material culture of the diverse cultural groups that shaped this cosmopolitan world: Sumerians, Assyrians, Minoans/Mycenaeans, Egyptians, Greeks, Etruscans, Persians, Italics and Romans. Special attention will be given to the interconnectivity and dynamic relationship of inspiration between these cultures. The aim is for a firm contextual understanding of the works examined, and of the cultural, political and historical aspects that shaped these. The course will also assist students in cultivating basic art-historical skills, in particular description, stylistic analysis, and iconographic and iconological analysis.

AH 142 World Art II: Visual Culture of the Medieval World

This survey course focuses on the art and architecture of Europe, the Mediterranean, and Western Asia from c. AD 400 to c. AD 1300. The course investigates the arts of the Byzantine Empire, the Islamic areas of western Asia, North Africa, and Europe, with brief considerations of the arts of sub-Saharan Africa, the Indian subcontinent, East Asia, and pre-Columbian America. Special attention will be given to religious traditions and to the languages of art (i.e. the symbolic codes) developed to serve, express, and enrich those traditions. The chief objective of the course is to equip students with a mental map of artistic developments of the period in their broader cultural-historical contexts. The course will also assist students in cultivating basic art-historical skills, in particular description, stylistic analysis, and iconographic and iconological analysis.

AH 143 World Art III: Visual Culture of the Early Modern World

This survey course focuses on the art and architecture of Europe, South and Southeast Asia, China, Japan, and the Americas from the late 1200s to c. AD 1750. The course investigates a range of media including painting, woodcuts, sculpture, and architecture, while considering materials and methods of production. Special attention will be given to the socio-economic and political contexts in which these artifacts were commissioned and produced. The course will also assist students in cultivating basic art-historical skills, in particular description, stylistic analysis, and iconographic and iconological analysis.

AH 144 World Art IV: Visual Culture of the Modern and Contemporary World

This survey course focuses on the art of Europe, Africa, the Americas, and Oceania from the 1700s to the present. The course investigates all media, including photography, and considers the impact of globalization and new technologies on contemporary art and evidence of cross-cultural influences. Special attention will be given to the new aesthetic languages, traditional cultural sources, and philosophical background of contemporary art, as well as to the broader cultural-historical contexts of their creation. The course will also assist students in cultivating basic art-historical skills, in particular description, stylistic analysis, and iconographic and iconological analysis.

AH 181 Politics and Power in Roman Architecture - Augustus to Mussolini

This on-site survey investigates the history of Rome primarily through its monuments—its architecture and urban form. This course will provide the student with a clear grasp of how the city of Rome has changed over the course of two thousand years from a modest Iron Age settlement on the Palatine Hill to a thriving modern metropolis of the twentieth century. The student will become intimately acquainted with the topography, urban makeup and history of the city and its monuments and will acquire the theoretical tools needed to examine, evaluate and critically assess city form, design and architecture.

AH 190 Cities, Towns & Villas: Rome, Ostia, Pompeii

Rome, Ostia and Pompeii are three of the best- preserved archaeological sites in the world. Through their study, we are able to comprehend the physical and social nature of Roman cities and how they transformed over the course of centuries. We explore the subjects of urban development, public and private buildings, economic and social history, and art incorporated into urban features (houses, triumphal monuments, etc.). In Rome, we focus primarily upon public buildings commissioned by Senators and Emperors: temples, law courts, theaters, triumphal monuments, baths. In Ostia, the port-city of Rome, we are able to experience many aspects of daily life: commerce, housing, religion, entertainment. Pompeii represents a well-to-do Republican and early Imperial period city that was influenced by the Greeks and Romans and preserves some of the most magnificent frescoes in the world.

AH 196 Introduction to Italian Renaissance Art

A survey of art and architecture in Italy from the 14th to the early 16th century, this course gives primary emphasis to Florence as an artistic center while including exploration of the contributions of Siena, Rome, and Venice. The course is intended for students with little or no background in art history and will cover the principal artists and trends of the Italian Renaissance, from Giotto to Michelangelo. Lectures and on-site visits, including a trip to Florence, will help build a visual vocabulary of monuments in a general historical overview. Mandatory field trip may require a fee.

AH 199 Introduction to Art and Architecture: Rome, A Case Study

No city in the world can boast the wealth of art and architecture that Rome possesses, and the city provides an ideal framework for understanding international trends and changes between the 1st century BC and the present day. The course will consider the historical, political and international contexts that shapes the form and display of art and architecture, as well as provide a foundation for understanding major artistic works and directions.

AH 220 Ancient Greek Art and Archaeology

This upper level survey of Greek art and archaeology focuses on the visual culture of Ancient Greece in the Aegean and Western Mediterranean during the first millennium BCE. Students are introduced to a broad range of the extant evidence: architecture, sculpture, painted pottery, and objects of daily life. Emphasis is placed on the interrelationships between visual culture and religion, mythology, politics. The course begins with an introduction to the history of the discipline of Classical Archaeology and an overview of pre-historic Greece. Mandatory field trip may require a fee.

AH 221 The Etruscans and their Neighbors: the Art and Archaeology of Pre-Roman Italy

This is a survey of the cultures that inhabited Italy between the Copper Age and the Social Wars, with a focus on the Etruscans. This course begins with Otzi the Iceman and his contemporaries and continues through the 80s BC, indicating developments of Italic populations and their contact with both Aegean and European cultures. The core of the course concentrates on the Etruscans: students will be introduced to their tomb paintings, statuary, bronze and ceramic production, religious rites and language.

AH 223 The Art and Architecture of Imperial Rome

The course focuses on the vibrant period between the 2nd century BC and the 4th century AD, which constituted the height of Roman power within a sprawling and culturally diverse Empire. It follows an overarching chronological format complemented by thematic investigations focused on particular media, locations, or traditions. In this way, portraiture and statues; mosaics; relief works; and wall painting will all be discussed for their intrinsic artistic value, for their stylistic development over time, and as shaped by the particular outlook of their patrons and their intended viewership. The course addresses themes like the impact of Greek art, elite and non-elite art, and what it meant to be 'Roman' in a multicultural empire.

AH 240 Introduction to Art Historical Thinking

What questions do art historians ask, and how do they justify their answers? This introductory course introduces basic components of the discipline of art history: its diversity and art-historical language, its technical terminology, and basic research skills. The course discusses different types of approaches and methodologies to analyze and think about visual evidence. It does so by addressing both the history of the study of art and the emergence of the specific discipline of art history, and by considering recent developments.

AH 243 Keeping the Dead Alive: Roman Funerary Art and Architecture in Context

Throughout human history, the concept of death has been inseparable from that of life, and the commemoration of the dead has traditionally been an important point of convergence and locus of expression for a wide range of cultural, political, religious, and social values, fears and beliefs. This was especially true in ancient Roman society, which placed a high value on honoring the dead, on ancestry, and remembrance, not least because perpetuating the memory of the deceased was a means to assert the identity and status of the survivors. Roman funerary art was, therefore, a primary vehicle for the self-representation of the living. Moreover, the patrons of commemorative art range from the imperial family to the middle classes to freedmen and slaves, so that extant funerary monuments provide unparalleled insights into the values of ancient Roman men and women across the social spectrum. The course examines Roman funerary art and architecture from the first century B.C. to the fourth century AD.

AH 251 Nineteenth Century Art and Architecture

A survey of art and architecture from the later 18th to the 19th centuries, this course will investigate the major movements of the age: Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. The emphasis differs depending on the thematic structure of the given semester (see current course syllabi for details). However, students will study the canonical works of such artists as Canova, Turner, Delacroix, Manet, Degas and Van Gogh and they will also examine how the function and reception of art are transformed over the course of a century. Some semesters the course emphasizes French painting with a secondary focus on art and architecture in England, Germany, Spain, Italy and North America. Other semesters American art comprises half the focus, with transatlantic comparisons that highlight the relationship between the cultures of the old world and the new. Selected writings by 19th century critics and the artists themselves, in addition to readings by recent scholars in the field, will also inform understanding of the development of art in a period marked by social and political upheaval and from which an increasingly “modern” culture emerged.

AH 265 Islamic Art and Architecture: AD 650-1250

This course surveys the art and architecture of the Islamic world from the 7th to the 13th centuries. The phenomenal rise and establishment of Islamic civilization in three continents- Asia, Africa and Europe- in this period is studied through monumental religious and secular architecture and its applied decoration from mosaics to stucco and wall paintings and through painted ceramics, carved wood and ivories, metalwork, illuminated manuscripts, and embroidered and woven textiles. The form and function of buildings and artifacts, their changing patterns of use and their evolving meanings are examined in their original social, political, religious, and cultural contexts. One of the primary aims is to become familiar with the regional diversity of medieval Islamic visual culture and so also to consider what issues are involved in studying a tradition that flourished in several geographical areas, encompassing a variety of cultures and national and ethnic identities. Two special areas of focus are the urban design and architecture of Islamic medieval centers such as Cairo and Islamic court culture which, often centered around royal palaces such as Madinat al-Zahra in Spain, produced some of the most outstanding luxury arts of the Middle Ages.

AH 267 Special Topics in Medieval Art

Specialized courses offered periodically on specific aspects of the art of the medieval world. Courses are normally research-led topics on an area of current academic concern.
May be taken more than once for credit with different topics.

AH 271 Curating Museums and Galleries

The course is designed to introduce students to the history of museums and to curating practices. Classes will discuss the cultural position of the museum, the evolution of its function, the different forms of display, the historical developments of the act of collecting, the position of the visitor and the role of the curator. The primary purpose of the course is to provide students with a critical vocabulary for understanding how museums produce knowledge and structure the ways in which history, geography, cultural difference, and social hierarchies are mapped. Through a series of richly detailed case studies related to ancient and contemporary Rome museums, collections and institutions, classes will investigate the differences between the roles, the missions, the objectives, and the policies of conservation and exhibition-making in spaces, relating to modalities of thought. The course also intends to introduce the figure of the curator and its development from conservator and classifier to creative, critical protagonist of contemporary art culture. The course concludes with an overview of current debates around the contemporary need for museums, and large scale exhibition (such as Biennials and Triennials) and their perceived social functions

AH 272 Special Topics in Early Modern Art

Specialized courses offered periodically on specific aspects of the art of the early modern world. Courses are normally research-led topics on an area of current academic concern.
May be taken more than once for credit with different topics.

AH 273 Introduction to the History of Photography

The course is an introduction to photography as both a historical and contemporary form of art and communication. It investigates historical and contemporary photographic and related practices, and considers the key theoretical and historical frameworks used to situate them. Informed discussion about photography and its cultural context is central to the course, which covers the invention and early reception of photography, its function as an independent art form, its uses in other practices, scientific investigation, reportage and its relationships to major art movements.

AH 278 Twentieth Century Art

Twentieth century art consists of well-known Modernist and Postmodernist styles and movements such as Cubism, Futurism, Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, installations and earthworks, to name a few. It also encompasses lesser-known movements such as the American urban realists, the Regionalists, Soviet Socialist Realism. But what does Modernism mean and how does it relate to the century’s dramatic modernization of daily life, social organization, commercial development, political and cultural nationalism, and two World Wars? Through an analysis of the art, artists, and critical discourses in question, the course will consider the fundamental questions: what is art’s relationship to the larger culture? What is the artist’s role in society? What do aesthetic concerns have to do with life? While these questions are always pertinent, they demand particular attention in the century largely defined by the ideology of art’s autonomy, pure creativity, and individual expression. Extensive visual analysis will be accompanied by attention to the critical discourses with which the aesthetics were defined, giving students the chance to develop an understanding of key 20th century styles but also to learn how these styles communicated historically.

AH 280 Northern Renaissance Art

This course focuses on the major artistic centers in Flanders, France, Germany and Holland in the 15th and 16th centuries. Special emphasis is given to the works of Van Eyck, Van der Weyden, and Campin in the 15th century, and to those of Dürer, Bosch, Grünewald, and Bruegel in the 16th. Particular attention is paid to the impact of the growing exchange of artistic ideas between Northern Europe and Italy.

AH 281/381 Independent Study

AH 283 Special Topics in Modern and Contemporary Art

Specialized courses offered periodically on specific aspects of the art of the modern and contemporary world. Courses are normally research-led topics on an area of current academic concern.
May be taken more than once for credit with different topics.

AH 290 Ancient Rome and Its Monuments

Rome City Series - This on-site course considers the art and architecture of ancient Rome through visits to museums and archaeological sites. The course covers the visual culture and architecture of Rome beginning with the Iron Age and ending with the time of Constantine. A broad variety of issues are raised, including patronage, style and iconography, artistic and architectural techniques, Roman religion, business and entertainment.

AH 291 Medieval Rome and Its Monuments

Rome City Series - An upper-level survey of Roman urbanism, as well as developments in figural media and architecture, from the 4th to the 14th century. While the course will naturally emphasize the abundant religious art remaining in the city, it will also examine such secular achievements as towers, housing, defenses, and roads.

AH 293 Modern Rome and Its Monuments

Rome City Series - This on-site course focuses on the vast transformations in the architecture and urban development of Rome 1870-1945, when the status of the city changed from papal capital to capital of Italy as a nation-state. The course offers a view of the city that includes both grand public buildings – like the huge Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II at Piazza Venezia, and the Fascist-era buildings of the EUR district – and investigation of particular urban characteristics. It will consider aspects like Rome’s experiments in social housing, the development of elite residential districts, the revelation of ancient monuments along wide new avenues of the Fascist era, as well as contemporary architectural additions to the city’s monuments.

AH 294 Renaissance Rome and Its Monuments

Rome City Series - This on-site course will study the monuments of Renaissance Rome: painting, sculpture and architecture produced by such masters as Bramante, Raphael, and Michelangelo, all attracted to the lucrative service of popes, cardinals and nobles of the Roman court. On-site classes will investigate examples of palace and villa architecture, chapel decoration that encompasses altarpieces and funerary sculpture, as well as urbanistic projects where the city itself was considered as a work of art. In-class lectures will introduce historical context and theory allowing the student to understand artworks studied conceptually and place commissions of painting and sculpture within a socio-historic framework.

AH 295 Early Italian Renaissance Art

The first half of a two-part study of art and architecture in central Italy (Rome, Florence, and Siena) covering the period from the 14th to the mid-15th century. While attention is given to the ambience from which Giotto developed in the Trecento, and to the International Gothic style at the turn of the Quattrocento, major consideration is given to the momentous changes brought about in the first half of the Quattrocento by Brunelleschi, Alberti, Donatello, Ghiberti, Masaccio, and others. Numerous on-site visits in Rome and a trip to Florence are an essential part of the course. Mandatory  field trip may require fees.

AH 296 Italian High Renaissance Art

An extension of the study of Italian art and architecture in the Renaissance through the second half of the 15th century into the first three decades of the 16th. The works of Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Pollaiuolo, and others will be studied, along with works by those whose innovations initiated the High Renaissance style: Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Bramante, and Raphael. Site visits are an essential part of the course and may require a fee.

AH 297 Baroque Art and Architecture

An investigation of the major artistic trends in Western Europe during the 17th century. In Italy (excluding Rome, which is covered in a separate course), southern centers such as Sicily, Naples and Lecce will be examined, along with such major northern centers as Turin and Venice, and specific artists such as Guarini, Juvarra and Tiepolo. Major “national” schools of painting will be analyzed: the Dutch and Flemish, as embodied by Rembrandt and Rubens; the Spanish, with Velazquez; the French, with Poussin and Claude. Attention is also paid to architectural and sculptural monuments in each country.

AH 298 Baroque Rome and Its Monuments

Rome City Series - Rome is the city where the baroque style originated and flourished, and this on-site course focuses on some of the most significant works of art, architecture, and urban planning of the 17th-18th centuries. The course will discuss the works of artists and architects like Caravaggio, Artemisia Gentileschi, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Francesco Borromini, and Pietro da Cortona. From Villa Borghese to the Trevi Fountain the artworks and urban spaces will provide an opportunity to discuss aspects like Baroque illusionism, artistic techniques, influential art theories, and the religious and political contexts of art production and collection in this dynamic and vibrant period.

AH 299 Special Topics in Art History

Specialized courses offered periodically on specific aspects of concern in the field of Art History. Courses are normally research-led topics on an area of current academic concern.
May be taken more than once for credit with different topics.

AH 339 Venetian Art

Venice is set apart from Italy and from Europe not only by its watery setting, but also by its history, traditions, and sense of cultural identity. Unique for its birth from the sea, distinguished by its Byzantine past, splendid for its civic ritual, glorious for its colorful palaces and churches, "La Serenissima" produced a distinct type of Renaissance painting. From the middle of the 15th century to the late 16th century, Venetian painters created a "school" of art that became celebrated for color and brushwork, for attention to light and landscape, and for new poetic and sensual themes. The political, religious and social structure in which these painters worked was essentially conservative, and the state, confraternities, and religious orders demanded that artists heed time-honored traditions. Other factors - such as independent-minded patrician connoisseurs, the influence of humanist thought and literature, the atmosphere of religious tolerance, and contact with Northern Europe - fostered innovation. The tensions between tradition and innovation, Venice and the world, the state and the individual, provided Renaissance art in Venice an especially lively and sometimes conflicted environment. While we will concentrate on Venetian painting, reference will also be made to relevant works of sculpture and architecture. The course will be an investigation of major themes, issues, controversies and problems concerning the understanding of Venetian art by means of analysis of selected key works, rather than an inclusive chronological survey of the period. The mandatory field trip may require a fee.

AH 340 Theories and Methods of Art History

It is not possible to look at art in an entirely direct, “pure,” way: our understanding is always mediated by a conceptual structure, hence the necessity to be conscious of the methods and theories employed when studying art. This course is an introduction to various historical approaches to the description, analysis, interpretation and evaluation of art from Plato to the present. The biographical approach (Pliny, Vasari) leads to the beginnings of the history of art per se (Winckelmann, Buckhardt, etc.), and the analysis of form (Wölfflin, Riegl, etc.) and style. Panofsky’s iconographic method is fundamental. This course is not limited to writings that are explicitly part of the literature of art history, but proposes a broad outlook on the history of ideas, theories and evaluations of the visual arts by poets, thinkers, philosophers and art historians.

AH 354 Ancient Roman Portraiture

Portraiture in Greece and Rome was a vital currency of social interaction and public engagement - across gender, class, location and context. As new archaeological data and research methodologies are transforming our understanding of its form and impact, the field is one of the most vibrant of ancient art. The course will discuss all aspects of what made a portrait: facial characteristics, hairstyles, body types, and clothing, as well as the inscribed base and placement. It will do so with a keen awareness of the developments and experimentations of the medium over time. The course will investigate themes like the uses of male and female portraits in public, the use of type-associations and role models, and the choices of statue types and status indicators. It will ask questions about who commissioned works, about workshop practices and distribution, and about the visual impact of techniques and form for the viewer, as well as why some portraits were destroyed or reworked.

AH 362 Age of Giotto

This course will address the development of painting, sculpture and architecture in the churches, civic halls, palaces and homes of the great republics and courts of 14th century Italy. The rise of the city states, the new mendicant orders, the visions of Dante and Petrarch, and the brief flourishing of papal Rome encouraged a new interest in nature and human experience which was explored in the beginning of the century by Giotto, Duccio, and others. Around the time of the “Black Death” (1348), painting and sculpture takes on different and often harsher formal qualities and content. Through examination of key monuments and consideration of the social and religious context in which they were created, students will investigate this art-historical moment sometimes called the “proto-Renaissance.” Mandatory field trip may have a fee.

AH 363 Barbarians, Monks and Kings: Early Medieval Art and Architecture

The gradual decline of Roman Imperial power in Late Antiquity eventually gave way to the unimaginable. In the 400s, Rome itself was sacked by Germanic tribesmen—by Visigoths and Vandals—and afterward many formerly Roman territories gradually fell to them and to related "barbaric" peoples, the Ostrogoths, Franks, Longobards, and others. Soon a new and seemingly unstoppable religious phenomenon, Islam, began to expand westward and would eventually swallow up much of the territory taken by these Germanic tribes. This course examines the amazingly rich and varied visual culture that emerged from this period of intense conflict and cultural innovation in Italy, Spain, North Africa, and the Near East, with emphasis on metalwork and gems, illuminated manuscripts, stone and ivory carving, textiles, paintings, mosaics, and architecture. The course includes classroom lectures and discussions, 1-3 site visits, and a possible one-day class field trip, which may require a fee.

AH 364 Pagans, Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity

In the 3rd- and 4th-century Rome continued to be a stronghold of traditional paganism, but it was also a hub of "exotic" pagan cults imported from the East, home to one of the largest Jewish communities in the Diaspora and to one of the fastest-growing Christian communities in the Empire. This diversity was matched by an increase in religious feeling that affected Roman society as a whole. Much of the art produced in Rome at this time may be understood in the context of this new religious ferment. It is a highly creative art, in which tradition, innovation, syntheses, and even contradiction often coexist and give expression to the complex and constantly evolving religious, cultural and social framework of the times. The goal of the course is to allow students to become familiar with the iconography and meaning of the art of Late Antique Rome in the context of this new age of spirituality. In-class lectures will be complemented by site and museum visits to take advantage of the many monuments and artworks still extant in Rome and its environs.

AH 367 Special Topics in Medieval Art

Specialized courses offered periodically on specific aspects of the art of the medieval world. Courses are normally research-led topics on an area of current academic concern.
May be taken more than once for credit with different topics.

AH 372 Special Topics in Early Modern Art

Specialized courses offered periodically on specific aspects of the art of the early modern world. Courses are normally research-led topics on an area of current academic concern.
May be taken more than once for credit with different topics.

AH 373 Caravaggio

Caravaggio (1571-1610) provides a noteworthy case study of how an artist’s fame changes over time when the works of art do not. Best known for his striking representation of light and use of naturalism, his anecdote-filled biographies led to a negative assessment of the artist and his works. The course looks at the artist’s output from an array of historical, thematic, and methodological points of view. The aim is to arrive at an understanding of Caravaggio’s works within their historical context from the 17th century to the present day. The mandatory trip may require a fee.

AH 374 Donatello

Donatello (1386-1466) was one of the most important artists of the early Renaissance. Working primarily in Florence, Donatello was a tremendous innovator, particularly in the medium of sculpture. His work would influence many of the most famous artists of the Italian Renaissance. The course will have a global monographic approach, meaning that the artist’s entire output will be discussed and analyzed from an array of historical, thematic and methodological points of view. The aim is to arrive at an understanding of Donatello’s visual thinking and communicative processes and their development and influence. The mandatory trip may require a fee.

AH 376 Michelangelo

Michelangelo (1475-1564) was one of the most famous and influential artists in his own time and has continued to be ever since. This seems reason enough to examine his work in detail as it forms an essential facet for understanding not only Italian Renaissance art but art in general, as many of the issues involved in trying to comprehend his imagery are applicable throughout art history. The course will have a global monographic approach, meaning that the artist’s entire output will be discussed and analyzed from an array of historical, thematic and methodological points of view. The aim is to arrive at an understanding of Michelangelo’s visual thinking and communicative processes and their development and influence. The mandatory trip may require a fee.

AH 377 Raphael

Raphael (1483-1520) was the youngest member of the famed artistic “trinity” that later art historians have credited with creating the High Renaissance style in central Italy around the turn of the 16th century. While the reputations of other two, Leonardo and Michelangelo, have continuously remained strong over the centuries, Raphael’s, on the other hand, has weakened in recent years, although his contribution to the formation of the new Renaissance imagery and its divulgation is unquestionable. This course has a global monographic approach, thus, the artist’s entire output will be discussed and analyzed from an array of historical, thematic and methodological points of view. The aim is to arrive at an understanding of his visual thinking and communicative processes and their development and influence. The mandatory trip may require a fee.

AH 379 Issues and Trends in Contemporary Art

This course focuses on the major artistic movements since 1960, in Italy and internationally. It provides direct experience of contemporary art through lectures and field trips, and may include guest lectures by critics and other art professionals. It is taught with a firm emphasis on professional curatorial and editing work, and on practical learning opportunities.

AH 383 Special Topics in Modern and Contemporary Art

Specialized courses offered periodically on specific aspects of the art of the modern and contemporary world. Courses are normally research-
led topics on an area of current academic concern.
May be taken more than once for credit with different topics.

AH 384 The Moving Image in Art

The course focuses on visual art practices experimenting with video from the mid 20th century to the present. Adopting an overarching chronological format, the course will examine the gradual transformation and development of the filmic medium into an independent creative, formal and conceptual medium. The course will examine the unique qualities artists found in the mutability of the moving image and in its inherent technological, political and cultural power, and consider how works dialogue with existing museum spaces. All classes will be grounded in current visual art debates, expanding on issues dealing with the production of images, and the representation and interpretation of the contemporary world through the means of video art.    

AH 385 American Art and Identity

For decades the question "What is American about American art?" stood at the center of American art history. American painting consequently has been studied and interpreted for its putative relationship to American identity or to aspects of national self-image. Though this paradigm is now questioned, it remains deeply embedded in the study of American art. By studying the paintings along with key essays, the course will examine the historiography of American art as well as the artworks. It will analyze the paintings and the debates about their relationship to socio-political contexts that are thought to be particularly American. It will also consider the significant influence on American art by Italian artistic traditions and American ex-patriot artists.

AH 391 Collection Building and Museum Studies

The course explores what we do with “culturally significant” objects and why. It examines the histories and meanings of ownership, collecting and display in private and especially public venues. Thematically chosen case-studies from a variety of periods and places investigate how knowledge, values and power are constructed through classification and display. The course considers antecedents and alternatives to the modern museum. It examines current debates
about the functions, practices and ethics of cultural institutions by drawing on the disciplines of art history, art and design, communications, artistic and literary criticism, cultural criticism, anthropology, sociology, cultural and intellectual history, politics, international affairs, economics and, especially, “museum studies.”

AH 398 Internship: Art History Field

The For Credit Internship course combines academic learning with a short-term employment opportunity.
May be taken only once for academic credit.

AH 399 Special Topics in Art History

Specialized courses offered periodically on specific aspects of concern in the field of Art History. Courses are normally research-led topics on an area of current academic concern.
May be taken more than once for credit with different topics.

AH 460 Research Practicum

This upper level seminar/practicum provides rigorous, practical preparation for the writing of professional art-historical research papers, including the Senior Thesis, through four discrete units: an individual portfolio review; a research tools and methods seminar; intensive, directed bibliographic research; and the formulation of a presentation to the class on the thesis topic, together with a new 'foundation' portfolio demonstrating mastery of the research skills, competencies, and bibliography necessary for advanced art-historical research writing. The course is intended for JCU Degree Seeking students, but advanced visiting students studying Art History are welcome.

AH 480 Senior Thesis

Thesis supervision for Art History majors in their final year. Students select their research topics in consultation with their thesis advisor.

AH 481 Independent Research in Art History

AH 600 Practicum in Art-Historical Research and Problem Solving

Required of all MA students, this course provides a full immersion in research from the primary record: paintings, buildings, maps, prints, documents, ground plans, photographs, historical guide books, archaeological excavations, and more. The course also offers instruction and practice in archive and library navigation, documentation and record-keeping, object handling, and bibliographic, digital, and technical resources for the professional art historian. The Fall 2017 Practicum will focus on reconstructing the material and human history of John Cabot University’s Guarini Campus and its immediate environs through time, culminating in an exhibition of the findings.

AH 601 Case Studies in Art-Historical Practice

In this team-taught course students read and analyze exemplary works of art-historical scholarship. Readings are selected to illustrate the diverse methods developed for studying the arts of different eras, with their distinct problems and bodies of evidence, and to bring out possibilities for useful methodological borrowings across traditional chronological boundaries.

AH 611 Ancient Roman and Mediterranean Mural Painting

This course examines mural painting in the Greek and Roman world, from the Aegean Bronze Age to Late Antiquity. The range of subjects depicted within these paintings is vast and includes mythological themes, portraits, scenes of ritual, historical moments, religious scenes, landscapes, seascapes and cityscapes, garden views, the still life, and scenes of everyday life. Together we will study the cultures that created and enjoyed these works, in an effort to understand the paintings' social and cultural contexts, as well as their roles in society, the ideals and values that they represented, and the manner in which they were received. The course also investigates the relationship between the cultures represented, in order to recognize and comprehend practices of continuity and emulation. We will apply formal analysis to aspects such as iconography, technique, and representation of space and style for each painting studied, and, in each case, we will also consider architectural context and the intended experience of the viewer. To augment our understanding of this ancient artistic medium, we will study, as well, the pertinent ancient sources, whose written passages offer information about everything from technical processes to criteria for choosing certain colors or images. The course will also provide a history of the rediscovery of the important examples studied, as well as a review of scholarly research, to date. The course is taught with a combination of class lectures and visits to the relevant museums and archaeological sites.

AH 612 Roman Portraiture

The course will discuss Roman portraiture as a medium enriched by its possibilities of contextual significance. Rather than focus solely on individualized faces or singular identities, the course will consider all the aspects that contributed to the articulation of a portrait depiction and, hence, to its participation in discourses between honorees, patrons, viewers, locations and traditions – across the Roman world. Aspects that will be addressed include honorific portrait traditions in the Greek world; the approaches to portrait individualization and choices of statue forms for male and female dedications; the form and ‘materiality’ of portraits; as well as the impact of changed or deliberately damaged portraits.

AH 631 Illuminated Manuscripts: Codicology for Art Historians

Books written and decorated by hand are, one could credibly argue, the densest self-contained repositories of cultural information of any objects created by humans during the pre- and early modern eras. As subjects of art-historical study, however, illustrated and decorated manuscripts conceal an untold peril for the image-loving researcher: the danger of treating painted elements in isolation from the immensely rich stories embedded in any manuscript’s non-pictorial elements—materials, physical construction, scripts, scribal hands, textual contents, and even DNA (literally!). This course introduces graduate students to the study of manuscripts as whole objects, with first-hand analysis of medieval and early Renaissance books in historic Roman libraries.

AH 651 The Erotic Renaissance

An overview of all human artistic production could be explored through two essential themes, eros and thanatos, love and death. A study of the former must historically include a moment when love and its representation – in literature, music, and art – is unabashedly a focus of cultural interest: the Cinquecento. The songs of the troubadours, easily blurred in hymns to the Virgin, are sung in a clear, intimate and formal language in the Trecento by Petrarch, but rise to a full chorus of visual imagery in the 16C, when artists in the Italian peninsula give them full figural form.
This course will investigate amorous imagery, given both spiritual and secular/sexual form, by artists such as Raphael, Giulio Romano, Bronzino, Correggio, Parmigianino, Titian, Veronese and many others. Contrasts and complexities abound, as artists, in the period from about 1490-1540, explore new topics and genres. Within the church, the erotic language of the Song of Songs continues from its roots in the Middle Ages to find more innovative and sensual expression. From a new savvy intellectual audience, erotic subject matter is encouraged, in imitation of the freer aspects of antique literature, and in the service of a society of sophisticated diversion. With the invention of print-making, the discourse concerning human sexuality finds media that can be disseminated.

AH 652 The Architectural Culture of Baroque Rome

From 1580 to the 1740s, Rome was a massive, continuous construction site, with the building of new piazze, fountains, churches and palaces in every part of the city. The opportunities offered to architects by these ambitious building programs changed the course of the profession. This course examines the development of the architectural profession in the Baroque period, starting with the family dynasties of stonecutters who came to Rome in the late sixteenth century, passing through the rise of individual architects such as Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Francesco Borromini, and Pietro da Cortona, and concluding with an exploration of the increasing power of the Academy of St. Luke as a means of organizing architects and disseminating architectural knowledge. The course meets often on site to examine specific projects, including St. Peter’s Basilica, the Church of S. Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, Palazzo Barberini, and the Spanish Steps.

AH 671 Visual Culture: Concept to Valorization

This course studies valorization in and through visual culture. The example of Rome is the fulcrum for discussions of the larger evolving visual culture field. The structuring of visual dimensions will be analyzed according to historical, philosophical, economic, and communication principles, concluding with critical reception. The course is tailored to each student’s individual professional interests. All fields are welcome. Case studies will be drawn from museum, publishing/editorial, advertising, urban requalification, artisanal/maker culture, art market, gallery, the auction house, as well as interaction with living visual artists. We will establish partnership with other universities, both in Italy and beyond. Rome will be used as a case study and model for global practices. In the final four weeks, each student will prepare a presentation of his/her unique practicum or research project.

AH 703a Constructing the Baroque, 17th-21st c: Objects, Systems and Uses of a Historical "Style"

This research seminar probes the ways in which the varied conceptions and uses of the term Baroque, from the 18th to the 20th centuries, relate alternately to corpus, methods and aims. On-site lectures will provide us with case studies of the variegated interpretations that selected paintings, sculptures and structures have generated, from neoclassicism to the historical avant-gardes. In-class lectures will focus on transhistorical uses of the term, frequently shorthand for formal qualities or aesthetic and cultural values. The ways in which “the Baroque” is alternately perceived as antithetical to or interchangeable with other historiographical categories will be of particular use to us in exploring the emergence and diffusion of the term, and its critical fortune in different chronological and geographical contexts. These discussions will problematize not only our ability to work on art and architecture from the late 16th century onwards but, more generally, the problems involved in distinguishing a historical category from its contexts of emergence and use.

AH 710a The Syntax of Public and Private Space in Ancient Rome

The course draws on two aspects with a keen impact on the current debate in Ancient Art/Classical Archaeology: space and viewing. That is, the configuration and engagement with the diverse types of space that constituted the ancient world, as well as the role of the viewers that formed the audience and users of these spaces. The focus on public and private will provide a prism through which to examine urban and domestic topographies, as well as the associated activities, patronage, and adornments, which may have shaped the experience of these spaces.

AH 710c Ancient Portraiture: Persuasive Presence and Reflexive Agency

The seminar will discuss the contexts for honorific portraiture in the ancient world – as visually striking objects, as gifts in honorific exchange networks, and as participants in social viewing processes. The field of portrait studies is vibrant and has regained a centrality in the studies of the ancient world: Long gone is the focus on identification of singular persons and the propaganda message of public works. Instead, portraiture is recognized as an essential element in an international ‘currency of honors’ and as participant in ‘performative’ social engagement. Focusing on late Republican and Imperial portraiture, the seminar will consider all aspects of portrait depictions. It will discuss the making and visual impact of portraits; it will discuss dedicatory and viewing practices; and it will discuss the reflexive relationship between the object, the patrons, the display, and the viewer.

AH 730a Constructing Identities: Christian Funerary Art in Late-Antique Rome

The seminar examines self-representation during a seminal period in the history of Christianity through a first-hand examination of the rich corpus of catacomb paintings and sarcophagi in third- and fourth-century Rome and still extant in the city. The most significant corpus of biblical imagery to have survived is first attested in these monuments and formed a basis for Christian pictorial narrative for centuries. Its original function, however, was arguably, at least in part, to signal a Christian identity in a predominantly non-Christian society. At the same time, patrons of funerary art in Rome who had converted to Christianity also undoubtedly sought to visualize and so commemorate their Roman identity. Although the latter was not necessarily at odds with their religious allegiance, through a careful examination of the imagery and contemporary written sources, the seminar will explore the complex and often challenging visual, religious, cultural and social negotiation that was involved in constructing a composite self-image that was at once revolutionary and entirely traditional, a pattern of mediation that has affected Christian self-representation to this day.

AH 750a Vice and Virtue in Post-Tridentine Rome

Recent studies have connected artistic practice in Baroque Rome to issues of decorum, social deviance and even criminality (in the works of Caravaggio, Artemisia Gentileschi, and Guido Reni, for example). There has also been increasing scholarly attention to the influential architecture of the city’s social institutions, such as hospitals, hospices and prisons, as well as the charitable organizations that oversaw them. When these avenues of research are united, an alternative image of Rome emerges, one that challenges prevailing ideas of the Baroque city and the function of its spectacular illusionism. This seminar explores the relationship between social control and Rome’s visual and spatial environment in the post-Tridentine era, particularly the ways in which the papacy, secular governing bodies and religious organizations sought to impose discipline and order. The objects of study will include canonical works, such as paintings by the best-known practitioners of the time, as well as prints, ephemeral liturgical instruments and displays, and often neglected buildings in the city.

AH 770a Modernity and Loss: Nineteenth Century Art and Rome

Seemingly left behind by modernity, art in Rome in the nineteenth century is distant from conventional art-historical narratives of Modernist development. Rome was relatively untouched by modern industrialism, urbanization, and the consequent upheavals to social organization. Instead the city retained—until the Unification of Italy that made Rome the new Capitol¬—much of its traditional life, not to mention its vivid signs of the past in the still-present remains of Ancient, Renaissance, and Baroque splendour. Similarly, fundamental changes to art patronage and audiences, new roles for artists, and altered habits of vision and aesthetic discourses were comparatively absent from the Roman scene (at least until late-century). This ‘sleepy’, ‘backward’ environment held a strong attraction for many artists, often coming from other 19th century capitals.

This course proposes that many of these artists and movements might be considered an alternative modernism. Groups such as the Nazarenes and the artists of il Purismo, for example, not only formed avant-gardes of a certain type, they too, reflected critically on modernity. Similarly, the work of expatriate Americans Elihu Vedder and William Wetmore Story, the watercolors of German-Italian Ettore Roesler Franz, or the Roman commission of Edward Burne-Jones suggest complex and modern conceptions of history, time, and change—not just simple romanticism. Thus, while these artists and many others in Nineteenth-century Rome are frequently relegated to categories that imply entrenchment in tradition or simple rejection of the modern, their practice has much to teach us about about modernity's relationship to loss, trauma, and nostalgia¬—thus also broadening conventional modernist discourse. The course will study their conscious strategies for critical art making, imaginative conceptions of the past, and formal experimentation.

AH/CL 222 Perception of Space: Wallpainting in the Ancient Mediterranean

The course examines wall painting and painted spaces in the Greek and Roman world. It focuses mainly on fresco painting, and examines the versatility and visual impact of this medium across subject, setting and viewing. Since wall painting is intimately linked to its display setting, the course will examine both the subjects and artistic approach of the paintings, and the nature of the spaces they adorned, as well as the interplay of the two-dimensional medium and its three-dimensional setting. Considerations may hence address aspects such as pictorial illusionism, public and private display, articulation of space, the role of the viewer, and the relationship between movements and viewing.

AH/CL 266 Special Topics in Ancient Art

Specialized courses offered periodically on specific aspects of the art of the ancient world. Courses are normally research-led topics on an area of current academic concern.
May be taken more than once for credit with different topics.

AH/CL 352 Rome in the Age of Augustus

The course examines the dynamic and culturally vibrant period linked to the reign of Rome's first emperor, Augustus. It examines how the change from a Republic to a Principate was articulated in contemporary visual culture: from public works, to luxury goods, to funerary/domestic imagery. Fundamental is the examination of the change and radical redefinition of Roman political, cultural and artistic expression that characterizes this period. The course will provide a contextualized appreciation of the visual and artistic culture of the Augustan period. It will furnish students with an in-depth knowledge of key monuments and artworks, and their multifaceted connotations; an awareness of the refashioning and imaging of the city of Rome; and a nuanced appreciation of the particular relationship between politics and representation.

AH/CL 366 Special Topics in Ancient Art

Specialized courses offered periodically on specific aspects of the art of the ancient world. Courses are normally research-led topics on an area of current academic concern. May be taken more than once for credit with different topics.

AH/GDR 365 Visualizing Gender from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages

The course investigates the visual construction of gendered identities in the art produced in Europe in late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. The course will discuss how this diverse visual repertoire operates as in an on-going re-definition or re-negotiation of gender as a category. To that end, it addresses both traditional gendered constructs and representations that challenge hetero-normativity as an ideal. The cultural centrality of Christianity in these periods means that representations of gender are inextricably linked to contemporary discourses regarding political, social, economic and ethnic identities, as well as religion. Methodological approaches to the analysis of gender, and to agency of the viewer in the reception and construction of gendered identities, are integral to the course.

AH/LAW 345 Art Crime: Who Owns Antiquity?

The course examines the complex subject of art and cultural heritage crime, with a particular emphasis on Italy. While examining the international and national normative frameworks determining what constitutes an art/cultural heritage crime, special attention will be paid to the question of what constitutes “ownership” of art and cultural heritage. The course will consider the development over time of ideas of the value of art (both real and symbolic), as well as the ways that ideas of “ownership” have changed since the late 20th century. In addition to examining issues related to the definition, prevention, and punishment of art/cultural heritage crimes, the course will also examine the role of the Italian state in protecting its national cultural artifacts.

AH/RL 260 Early Christian and Byzantine Art

This course traces the developments in architecture, painting, sculpture, and mosaic of the Early Christian and Byzantine periods, from the art of the catacombs in the 3rd and 4th centuries to the monuments of Italo-Byzantine art of the Middle Ages. Students are introduced to the early Christian art and architecture of cities such as Rome, Ravenna and Constantinople. The mandatory field trip may require a fee.