Showing 101-125 of 1344 courses

  • History of Art

    ARTH 242 – Patronage and the Artist in Early-Modern Italy

    This course explores the relationship between various patrons and artists in Italy from circa 1400 until circa 1650. We examine the influence held by patrons such as churches, monasteries, and court rulers on art production and, in turn, how artists affected patrons’ taste. In addition, the class addresses issues of gender and politics to understand the process of art production and art reception in early-modern Italy. From fresco cycles, to museum collections, sacred decorations, and self-portraits, this course pays close attention to individual styles while contextualizing the works within their political, social, religious and economic settings.

  • History of Art

    ARTH 243 – Early Modern Spaces

    This course examines various spaces in Italy and France from circa 1400 until circa 1700. The students look at private residences such as palazzi and castles in terms of architecture, patronage, and domestic productions. The class determines the parameters of an established gendered space and the components of a socially constructed space. In addition, the course addresses the impact of urban public structures on politics and culture, as well as the drive behind the establishment of villas outside of city centers. From the gardens of Bomarzo to studioli and to the Chäteau de Chenonceau, this class pays close attention to aesthetic decisions contextualized within political, religious, economic and social settings.

  • History of Art

    ARTH 244 – Baroque Art

    This course surveys a selection of the arts in Italy from the middle of the sixteenth century to circa 1750. The works of major artists such as Caravaggio, Bernini, Gentileschi, Borromini, and the Carracci brothers are examined and contextualized within their political, social, religious and economic settings. A special emphasis is put on Rome, though Florence and Venice are discussed in relation to courtly productions and to the Grand Tour. Close attention to individual styles is emphasized in lectures, readings and class discussion. The class also looks at the intersections of art and science, and the ways in which the interest in the marvelous and the curious took visual forms during a time when questioning the supremacy of divine creation was prevalent.

  • History of Art

    ARTH 245 – Postwar and Contemporary Art: 1945-2000

    This course surveys the diversity of art making since 1945 through a thematic approach. We study postwar modernism—Abstract Expressionism, Art Informel, Neo-Dada, Pop, Minimalism, Conceptual art—in conjunction with more recent work, from a more global context, that challenges its discourses. By focusing on select concepts—body, gender and identity, consumerism, natural environment, cultural hybridity, historical memory, e.g— we
consider critical and creative relationships across periods, cultures, and media (painting and sculpture, photography, performance, installation, film and video). Analysis of individual works, museum visits, web resources, and writings by artists, art historians, and critics form the basis of the course.
(Previously ARTH 340)

  • History of Art

    ARTH 250 – Modernism and Mass Culture in France, 1848-1914

    This course studies the early movements of European modern art—Realism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Cubism—with a focus on their interactions with mass culture. Beginning in the mid-19th century with Courbet and the impact of popular printmaking on his art, we study how other non-elite forms (lithographic posters, commercial photography, newspapers) shaped the subsequent development of modernist art, chiefly in France. In the second half of the course, we consider how new forms of leisure and commercial entertainment in Paris (café-concert, music hall, etc) impacted artists including Manet, Degas, and Seurat. We end in the early 20th century, with a consideration of cubist collage by Picasso and Braque and their adoption of the ephemera of mass culture: newspapers, song sheets, and department store advertisements. Why, if modernism can be traced through its appropriations from the commodity culture of capitalism, has it also been described as a critical alternative to it?

  • History of Art

    ARTH 253 – Castles and Cathedrals

    This course is a study of Gothic architecture and art from the 12th to the 14th century throughout Europe, but primarily in Medieval France, where the movement was “born.” Special attention at the outset of the class will be given to the art of the Romanesque period (11th-12th) for comparative analysis. Thus, we will move from Romanesque monastic pilgrimage sites (their architecture and sculpture), to the great cathedrals of Gothic France (their architecture, sculpture, and stained glass), to the castles of northern Europe (their construction, design, and life in a medieval castle), and to the Gothic art of the 14th century when two natural disasters occurred: The Little Ice Age and The Black Death. Social, political, and economic factors involved in the production of these works of art and architecture will be essential to our understanding of this art. Issues of materials, techniques of production, function, patronage, spectator/audience, historical context, and imbedded meanings for the art (its iconography) will be among the most important areas of inquiry.

  • History of Art

    ARTH 255 – Art and Ritual of the Ancient Americas

    A historical and cultural examination of the architecture, sculpture and allied arts of the ancient Andes and Mesoamerica. Spanning the first millennium B.C.E. to the time of the Spanish Conquest, this course considers the role of the arts in the establishment and maintenance of pre-Columbian political/religious authority.

Previously Pre-Columbian Art and Architecture

  • History of Art

    ARTH 257 – Photography and Knowledge (1830-1930)

    This course is a social history of photography which examines how the medium shaped categories of subjectivity in the 19th century (class, gender, race, nationality, for example). We study how photographic representations were a means to archive and classify fields of knowledge. The development of photography in this period intersected with the burgeoning sciences of ethnography and anthropology, and it was used in both topographical and expeditionary surveys. Faith in photography as a document made it a powerful witness to war, urban development, colonial expansion and social inequalities. While we study the work of photography’s more well-known practitioners from Europe and North America, our approach will not emphasize the aesthetic innovations of self-consciously artistic photography. Rather, we examine both professional and domestic photography as a means to produce knowledge about the world.

     

     

  • History of Art

    ARTH 260 – American Art and Architecture: Colonial to 1865

    An examination of the visual arts in North America from the 17th century to the era of the Civil War, considering their role in the formation of national identity. In addition to class readings and lectures, students will study original works and extant structures in Boston, Providence and Newport.

  • History of Art

    ARTH 261 – Anatomies 1400-1600: Sexual, Forbidden and Monstrous

    This course looks at the ways in which the body was understood and visualized in the early modern period. Focusing mostly on France and Italy, the class addresses topics such as: the perceived imperfections of the female body; the mystery held by reproductive organs and their function; the theological and physical challenges posed by human dissections; the production of illustrated anatomical treatises; the implication of artists and anatomists in exploring monstrous bodies; and the intellectual and physical fascination with hermaphrodites.

(Previously ARTH 311)

  • History of Art

    ARTH 263 – African American Art

    This course explores the contribution of African American artists to the visual culture of the United States, from the work of 18th- and 19th-century enslaved and free blacks to the production of contemporary African American artists. Students examine the various strategies that African American artists have used to establish an independent artistic identity and to provide a political voice for their audiences.

  • History of Art

    ARTH 270 – The Art of the Print

    The development of woodcut, engraving, etching, lithography, etc., from the 15th century to the present. Special attention to the work of Dürer, Rembrandt, Daumier, Whistler and Cassatt. Religious, social and/or political aspects of their work also considered. Print collections at Wheaton and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, will be highlighted. This course culminates in the organization and mounting of an exhibition of prints drawn from Wheaton’s collection of 1,000 impressions.

  • History of Art

    ARTH 274 – Visualizing Ancient Rome

    The Roman world may seem distant to many of you today. After all, its empire was formed over 2000 years ago, and choosing a career as a gladiator is certainly far from your mind. And yet, if you stop for a moment and examine the buildings you enter, the literature you read, the language you speak, and the art you admire, you will recognize much that the Romans left behind. Their legacy is found in the Wheaton Campus buildings (check out the façade of the library), in the laws that govern our land (“a man should have the right to face his accusers”), in the stadiums that house our favorite sports team (Romans cheered for the Whites, the Greens, the Reds or the Blues) and even in the American obsession for cleanliness (at one point there were nearly 1000 baths in the city of Rome, and the central building of the Baths of Caracalla covered 6 acres, the same size as the U.S. Capitol). After a brief introduction to the art of the Etruscans as a foundation for Roman art and a fascinating culture on its own, this course will examine the historical, political, and social structure of the Roman world in relation to the art of its three main periods: the Republic, the ‘Golden Age’ of the Roman Empire, and the declining years of the Late Empire in the third and fourth centuries A.D.

In this course we will look at the art of the copy and the penchant for collecting by the Roman elite. Studying fakes and forgeries, and questioning the ethics of reconstructing Roman portraits will also be covered. We will examine the sexual mores of the Romans in order to understand their more “risqué” – at least in twentieth-century American terms – subject matter. (What is pornographic to us would not be to them.) Although we will spend much of our time looking at the art of the Emperors and elites, we will also fix our attention, although to a lesser degree, on the art of the “average” Roman. All emperors created art primarily in service of the state, whether they were benevolent men or egomaniacal (one emperor made it a capital offense to look down upon his head from the upper story of a building when he paraded through town – Can you guess why?). We will begin the course by meeting a fictional Roman, Maximum, Russell Crowe’s character in Gladiator, and we will end by answering the essential question, “What is Roman about Roman art?”

  • History of Art

    ARTH 298 – Experimental Course

    From time to time, departments design a new course to be offered either on a one-time basis or an experimental basis before deciding whether to make it a regular part of the curriculum. Refer to the course schedule for current listings.

  • History of Art

    ARTH 299 – Selected Topics

    An opportunity to do independent work in a particular area not included in the regular courses.

  • History of Art

    ARTH 300 – French Art and Its Others (1830-1930)

    This seminar examines how a fascination with cultures outside of Europe motivated several artists and designers working in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century France. Modern art in France was profoundly shaped by a series of direct visual appropriations from African, Middle Eastern, and Asian artistic traditions, as well as a system of beliefs projected onto those “Other” cultures in question.

Through close study of select artists (Delacroix, Gérôme, Renoir, Gauguin, Picasso, Giacometti) and case studies from the visual culture of French colonialism, we examine the relationship between art and the political structures of imperialism, and the role of visual representation in shaping constructions of exoticism, race, nation, and sexuality. Readings will introduce students to the various methodologies that art historians, anthropologists, and postcolonial theorists have used to unpack the complex questions surrounding Orientalism and modernist primitivism.

  • History of Art

    ARTH 312 – Contemporary African Arts

    This course will explore contemporary African art and the discourses that frame its production, reception and history. Issues considered include authenticity, tradition, modernity, nationality and African diasporic art. We will also examine the complex relationship of African art to colonialism, European art and its discourses, and the influence of globalization and popular culture. We will focus on several artists or artistic traditions as case studies, including the art scene in Dakar (Senegal); artistic production in post-Apartheid South Africa; and the revival of “traditional” forms through studio art markets. We will also explore the collection and display of contemporary African art. Readings include debates over the nature of representation in the postcolonial world, critiques of the place of African art in the symbolic and monetary economies of the Western metropolis, African feminism as expressed in the arts, and studies of the new contexts of so-called ethnographic objects.

Students are not expected to have prior knowledge of African art, but some background in either Africana studies (theoretical discourses) or art history (historical and stylistic traditions) is recommended. The emphasis in this course will be on honing visual observational skills as well as techniques of theoretical analysis.

(Previously Resistance, Memory and Hope in African Arts.)

  • History of Art

    ARTH 320 – Matisse and Methods

    This seminar will focus on Henri Matisse (1869-1954) using his work as a lens to explore the methods of art history. The vast literature on Matisse provides us with a range of writers asking different questions of the artist’s work. After a critical consideration of methodologies that have been used to interpret Matisse’s work (formalist, structuralist, psychoanalytic, feminist, postcolonial, for example) we will focus in on one art historical question in particular, surrounding sources and their possible influences on Matisse. How have scholars and curators interpreted Matisse’s studio sources, and his appropriations from other media (photography, for example) and other cultural traditions (African and Islamic for example)? Have these approaches adequately addressed the complex relationships between Matisse’s paintings and sculpture, and the critical concepts about representation which inform them?

  • History of Art

    ARTH 330 – Picturing New York

    In this course we will explore artists’ attempts to capture the essence of New York City, from its origins in the 17th century to the 9/11 period and beyond. Considering architecture, prints, photography, painting, sculpture, and film, we will examine the conditions under which New York gave rise to a uniquely American form of urban imagery, attempting to understand the roles that geography, politics, capitalism, race, and gender have played in New York’s development. In addition, we will investigate how these images and designs broke from traditional practices/forms, seeking to understand what “Modernism” means in its New York context.

  • History of Art

    ARTH 334 – Exhibiting Africa: Past and Present

    This course explores the ways in which Africa and its animals, peoples and material culture have been represented by museums. We will study how economic, political and social change influence the collection and display of Africa and Africans and how debates over cultural heritage and repatriation apply to the African continent.

  • History of Art

    ARTH 335 – Exhibition Design

    This course introduces students to the history, practice and theory of exhibition design. In this course, we will engage in all aspects of the exhibition design process through reading, in-class discussions, site visits, and guest lectures as well as the design and installation of an exhibition. We will consider the visitor experience and how objects and ideas are interpreted by and for different audiences, as well as how museums use technology to engage the public. Students will gain an understanding of the history of exhibition design as well as the challenges museums/like institutions face in making their collections accessible to the communities they serve. Students will be required to participate fully in the practical component of the course, which involves the research for and the design and installation of an exhibition for Wheaton’s Beard and Weil Galleries.

  • History of Art

    ARTH 350 – Ruling Families of the Renaissance

    The need to assert power, the struggle to maintain it through different political rules, and the results of visualizing it in effective ways will be the central themes of this course. The students will examine: the establishment of rulership in several Italian city states and duchies; the rise of families and their contiguous visual assertions; the links between commanding European families such as the Valois and the Medici; the creation of absolutist authority through legible media; and the exuberance of rococo as
a political and social statement.

  • History of Art

    ARTH 352 – Early Medieval Art and Culture

    This course covers the art of the early medieval world ending with the first millennium. It takes as its point of departure the legacy of the late antique world and then explores the development of medieval secular and religious art as it is touched by diverse influences and as it evolves in response to the changing needs of two newly formed Christian cultures – one from the East (the Byzantines) and one from the West. Further enrichment of the period from the 7th century to the year 1000 will be achieved by exploring the early years of Islamic art, in particular, its existence in medieval Spain. All media will be represented with special attention paid to questions of materials, techniques of production, function, patronage and context.

  • History of Art

    ARTH 360 – American Art and Architecture: 1865-1945

    Between the Civil War and World War II, American art and architecture demonstrated an unprecedented sense of confidence. Examining the roles of empire building, commerce and the rise of urban culture, this course will chart the development of American art from the American Renaissance to the triumph of the midcentury New York School.

  • History of Art

    ARTH 370 – Women at Work: Art History and Feminism

    This course considers the ways feminist scholarship has transformed the discipline of art history, examining the rediscovery of exceptional women artists from the 1970s onward, as well as recent feminist critics’ efforts to redefine the structure of the field. Students examine two overlapping categories of work; the production of women artists and patrons, and the textual contributions of feminist scholars and critics. The rationale for this new course is to strengthen the department’s ties to women’s studies and to broaden the theoretical focus of the art history major.