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Art History Course Descriptions

LOWER-DIVISION COURSES: ART HISTORY

11A and 12A. Cultures & Ideas I and II
A two-course sequence focusing on a major theme in human experience and culture over a significant period of time. Courses emphasize either broad global interconnections or the construction of Western culture in its global context. Courses may address art, politics, propaganda, and other topics. Successful completion of ARTH 11A: C&I I is a prerequisite for ARTH 12A: C&I II. (4 units each quarter)

21. Introduction to the Arts of Ancient and Medieval Europe
A foundation course of the art history program focusing on visual analysis and the ancient and medieval world. Topics may include the relationship between Greek art and politics, Imperial Roman art, propaganda, Pompeian wall painting, early Christian art, the origins of Islam, and the function and culture of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages. Not open to students who have taken Art, Power, and Propaganda (ARTH 11A or HNRS 11A). (4 units)

22. Art in the Age of Exploration: Introduction to Early Modern Europe
Few periods in the history of art inspire greater reverence than the Renaissance. But why? What renders objects such as Michelangelo's David or Leonardo's Mona Lisa to become pop culture icons in the 21st century? This survey course of European visual culture from approximately 1348 to 1648 seeks to answer this question through the study of canonical works; artists such as Raphael, Titian, and Dürer; and artistic centers including Venice, Florence, Rome, and Paris. Other topics for discussion may include the patronage and production of art; the visual construction of gender identity; the relationship between art, science, and religion brought about by humanist study; and the impact of global trade and exploration on the development of European visual culture. Not open to students who have taken Art, Power, and Propaganda (ARTH 12A or HNRS 12A). (4 units)

23. Art & Revolution: Europe and the United States, 18th-20th Centuries
Introduction to the visual culture of modern Europe and the United States from Louis XIV to the present. This course traces the origins of modern art through political, technological, and artistic revolutions, from royal patronage to Pop, Neoclassicism to Neo-dada, as well as Impressionism, Surrealism, and Abstract Expressionism. Fulfills the Studio Art program modern or contemporary emphasis course requirement. (4 units)

24. From Damascus to Dubai: A Survey of the Visual Culture of the Middle East
From the majesty of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem to the awe inspiring heights of the Abu Dubai skyline, few regions boast as long and impressive a history of ambitious art and architecture as the Middle East. Yet, this region is likewise one of the most misunderstood. This survey course focuses on the rich and diverse visual culture of the region from the 7th century CE to the present day. Topics for discussion include early mosque architecture, scientific developments in medieval Baghdad, the rise of the Ottoman Empire, the garden city of Isfahan, European colonialism in North Africa, and contemporary art and architecture. Not open to students who have taken ARTH 164. Fulfills the Studio Art program global emphasis course requirement. (4 units)

25. Indigenous Visions: Introduction to the Arts of the Americas
Introduction to the indigenous arts and architecture of North, South, and Central America from prehistory to the present including the Olmec, Aztec, Inca, Native American Great Plains, and Southwest. Themes include indigenous concepts of time and space; the vision quest; warfare and blood sacrifice; art and the sacred. Lecture and discussion, plus a visit to a local museum. Fulfills the Studio Art program global emphasis course requirement. (4 units)

26. Art! Making China Modern
As the curtains of history closed on dynastic China, writers, politicians, and revolutionaries leveraged art to modernize a nation. At the dawn of the republic, artists looked to Japan and Europe for inspiration. After WWI, the May Fourth Movement marshaled woodblock prints to combat foreign exploitation while the Communist Party wielded folk art as weapons of propaganda against Japan and the US-backed Nationalists. With the founding of the People’s Republic, art helped reorganize society and fueled radical conformity. As China globalized, artists cashed in on burgeoning markets, grappled with historical legacies, sounded alarms about oppression, and questioned “The Chinese Dream.” Fulfills the Studio Art program global emphasis course requirement. (4 units)

27. Introduction to the Arts of Africa
This is an introductory survey of African art designed to provide foundational knowledge in some of the major aesthetic/cultural complexes on the continent and their interaction with the rest of the globe. Each culture will be approached as a case study with an emphasis on cultures in sub-Saharan Africa. Tensions between traditional and contemporary arts will be explored as well as theoretical approaches to the study, collection, and display of non-Western art. Fulfills the Studio Art program global emphasis course requirement. Formerly ARTH 46. (4 units)

93. Explore with Me Docent Program
The Explore with Me Docent Program is a museum internship in which students are trained to give public docent tours of the de Saisset Museum's temporary exhibitions. No previous knowledge of art history or experience with museums is required. As part of the curriculum, students will learn the necessary skills and information to provide thoughtful and engaging tours. They will be trained in Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS), a touring style that uses questions and interactive conversation to relay information about the objects on display. The program provides a great opportunity for students to gain professional experience working in the arts, to learn to speak comfortably and confidently about art, and to develop and improve public speaking skills. In addition to attending class sessions and completing short assignments, each docent is required to give three public tours as part of the course. Students may enroll for up to two quarters to receive both lower- and upper-division credit. (2 units)

97. Special Topics
Occasional courses in selected art historical topics. May be repeated for credit. (4 units)

98. Internship/Practicum
Individual projects in conjunction with professional visual arts agencies. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: Written proposal must be approved by on-site supervisor, art history faculty member, and department chair. (2-4 units)

UPPER-DIVISION COURSES: ART HISTORY

100. Art History Proseminar
What is the history of art history? What does it mean to think like an art historian? To answer these questions we will examine the origins of the discipline and its current methodologies. Close textual analysis with writing and discussion. Required of all art history majors, preferably at the end of sophomore year. Prerequisites: Two ARTH courses, one of which must be upper-division, or permission of instructor. Formerly ARTH 190. (5 units)

104. Greek Art and Architecture
Examination of Greek art from the Archaic through the Hellenistic periods. Developments in architecture, sculpture, vase painting, and wall painting will be addressed in their cultural context. (5 units)

106. Art and Architecture of the Roman Republic and the Early Empire
Chronological survey of artistic development in Republican and Imperial Rome. Related issues include the influence of Greek and Etruscan art, the relationship between political ideology and public art programs, and the impact of improved materials on building design. (5 units)

110. Early Christian and Byzantine Art
Christian art and architecture from the catacombs in Rome through the early 14th century in Byzantium. Highlights include the Constantinian monuments of Rome, Justinianic Ravenna and Constantinople, iconoclasm, and the Macedonian "Renaissance." (5 units)

112. The Art of the Book
Covers select developments in the illustrated book between the 5th and 15th centuries CE. Topics for discussion may include the earliest preserved classical and religious codices, Anglo-Saxon manuscripts, Carolingian and Ottonian manuscript illumination, Romanesque and Gothic manuscript illumination, and Byzantine manuscript illumination. (5 units)

114. Early Medieval Art
Art and architecture in Western Europe from the early Middle Ages to circa AD 1000. Hiberno-Saxon, Carolingian, and Ottonian art discussed in their respective political, intellectual, and cultural contexts. (5 units)

120. Keeping up with the Medici: Fame & Family in Renaissance Florence
What makes someone a "household name?" Is it talent, beauty, connections, or simply shrewd marketing? While fame, fortune, and celebrity may seem like modern phenomena, the cult of personality was equally prominent in Renaissance Florence. As is the case today, money played a key role in the arts. This course focuses on the ways in which the Medici family, through their social, financial, and spiritual support, transformed the city of Florence from an Italian commune with limited natural resources into the center of the European culture. And in doing so, transformed the notion of the artist from that of mere craftsman to superstar. Additional topics of discussion include the influence of the capitalist economics on artistic production, domestic art perceptions of the nude figure in religious paintings, the relationship between art and science, and the writings of Machiavelli. (5 units)

121. Venice and the Other in Renaissance
Concentrates on the art and architecture of the Venetian Republic from approximately 1400-1650 CE, specifically the visual culture produced by and/or associated with ethnic and social groups excluded from the highest echelons of Venetian society. Areas of inquiry include Muslim merchants living in the city, construction of the Jewish ghetto, Ethiopian servant community, courtesan culture, convent life, the material culture of exorcism, witchcraft, and dwarfism. Prerequisite: Upper-division status or permission of instructor. (5 units)

122. Papal Rome: Power, Intrigue and the Arts
As the leader of the Catholic Church, an early modern pope was Europe's most powerful spiritual leader. He was also one of Europe's most powerful political leaders. This course examines the ways in the concerns of faith and politics, at times dependent, at times adversarial, but always in direct exchange with one another, influenced the visual culture of early modern Rome. Special attention will be focused on the construction of St. Peter's Basilica, the decoration of the Sistine Chapel and Vatican apartments, cardinalate palaces, suburban villa decoration, and the artistic reaction to the Protestant Reformation. (5 units)

123. The Global Renaissance
The Renaissance has traditionally been viewed as a period of artistic and cultural development associated almost exclusively with the Italian peninsula in the 15th and 16th century. This same tradition privileges "high art"—that is, painting, sculpture, and architecture—over other forms of visual culture. This course seeks to reassess these notions by considering Italian Renaissance art within the context of early modern globalism. This reexamination likewise mandates a consideration of a broader spectrum of objects, including gemstones, glassware, and textiles. Topics such as the relationship between Michelangelo, Leonardo, and the Ottoman architect Sinan; the collection of Aztec feather paintings by the Medici family; and the influence of Egyptian mosque architecture on Venetian palace design will be examined from an interdisciplinary perspective. Fulfills the Studio Art program global emphasis course requirement. Not open to students who have taken The Global Renaissance (ARTH 11A and 12A). Prerequisite: One lower-division ARTH course (ARTH 22 or 24 suggested). (5 units)

128. The Glories of Baroque Rome: Caravaggio, Artemisia, & Bernini
This course focuses on the art and culture of Rome in the early 17th century and specifically the three artists whose activity left a lasting impact on the city we love today: the "rebel" Caravaggio, the "other" Artemisia Gentileschi, and the "genius" Gian Lorenzo Bernini. An in-depth examination of the lives and works of the three most dominant personalities of the Roman Baroque period provides the lens through which students will examine the significant social, cultural, spiritual, and artistic changes that took place in the Counter-Reformation city. Topics for discussion include the visual agenda of the papacy, Caravaggio's mythologies, Artemisia Gentileschi and women artists, theatricality in the work and writings of Bernini, and the influence of Galileo upon the visual arts. (5 units)

135. European Art: 1780-1880
Analysis of the culture and art of Europe from the era of the French Revolution to the end of the 19th century. This course will address the relationship between politics and art, shifting class structures, and the increasing importance of the industrial revolution. Painting, sculpture, architecture, and other media will be covered. (5 units)

137. Modern Art in Europe: 1880-1940
The emergence of Modernism in Europe from the 1880s to World War II. The major movements of Expressionism, Cubism, and Surrealism will be studied in the larger context of political, social, and economic change. Painting, sculpture, architecture, and other media will be covered. Fulfills the Studio Art program modern or contemporary emphasis course requirement. (5 units)

140. Photography in the United States
We live in a world densely populated by photographs; how did that come about and what purposes has photography served in the U.S.? We will examine the social, political, and aesthetic aspects of American photography from its inception in the 1830s to the present. Close readings of objects yield insights into the creation and growth of popular and elite audiences for photography; journalistic, ethnographic, and documentary photography; fashion and commercial photography; photography as an artistic medium; the role of photography in discourses of race, gender, class and nationalism; and photography in relation to modernism, postmodernism, and consumer culture. Fulfills the Studio Art program modern or contemporary emphasis course requirement. Prerequisite: One ARTH course or permission of instructor. Formerly ARTH 186. (5 units)

141. Tradition & Change in Native American Art: California & the Pacific Northwest
Visual culture of the native peoples of California and the Pacific Northwest, from prehistory to the present. Emphasis on the role of the artist in society and on artistic responses to political and cultural change. Topics include arts of status, shamanism, World Renewal, Missions, tourism, and the rise of the art market. (5 units)

142. Native American Art: Special Topics
Sustained analysis of a specific time period or genre of Native American art. Emphasis on 20th-century/contemporary art. Topics may include tourism/market forces, land and cultural preservation, postcolonialism, and gender identity. Research paper will be required. Fulfills the Studio Art program modern or contemporary emphasis course requirement. (5 units)

143. Women's Work: American Women in the Visual Arts
From colonial times to the ongoing feminist revolution of the present, American women made, sold, collected, and supported visual art, and in so doing profoundly influenced the development of the nation's culture, art, and art institutions. This course will examine American women's roles in the visual arts and the active interplay between issues embedded in art and "craft," women's self-fashioning and the art market, images of women, and the impact of women's studies and feminism on the study of the visual arts. Close readings of images and objects spanning traditional and nontraditional media such as painting, sculpture, photography, embroidery, and quilting produce insights into the dynamic relationships between gender and art, culture, and commerce in American history. Fulfills the Studio Art program modern or contemporary emphasis course requirement. Prerequisite: One ARTH course or WGST 50, or permission of instructor. Formerly ARTH 188. Also listed as WGST 156. (5 units)

144. Race, Gender & Nation in 18th- and 19th-Century American Art
What did visual and material arts from the Colonial period to the Gilded Age (1880s) look like and how did they function in colonial society and in a new, fast-growing nation? Close readings of objects illuminate the relationships between art, gender, and race; self-fashioning and social identity in portraiture; the "West as America"; American national identity at home and abroad; landscape painting; photography; representations of democracy, politics, and citizenship; representations of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars; collectors and the creation of art institutions; and an audience and market for art in the United States. Fulfills the Studio Art program modern or contemporary emphasis course requirement. Prerequisites: ARTH 11A & 12A (C&I I and II), or one other ARTH course, or permission of instructor. (5 units)

145. Perpetual Revolution: American Art in the 20th-Century
The 20th Century was a period of turmoil and growing international stature for the U.S. How did artists deal with these events, which saw several wars, including two World Wars; the Great Depression, the growth of labor unions, the Civil Rights Movement, feminist reforms, etc.; and the encounter with European modernist art? How were these events shaped in turn shaped by art and visual culture? Close readings of objects illuminate the relationship of American modern art to European modernism; race and gender in American society, politics, and American national identity; patrons and dealers, including those of the Harlem Renaissance; the government as a patron for the visual arts; and the founding of major visual arts institutions and the solidifying of an art audience in the United States. Fulfills the Studio Art program modern or contemporary emphasis course requirement. Prerequisites: ARTH 11A & 12A (C&I I and II), or one other ARTH course, or permission of instructor. (5 units)

146. African-American Art
A survey of African-American art from the 18th to the 21st century. With an emphasis on case studies and movements throughout this history, this course explores how black artists in the United States have engaged with key issues such as race, gender, sexuality, class, and ethnicity. The course is designed to expose students to complex debates about representation and the role of race and identity in American art. Fulfills the Studio Art program modern or contemporary emphasis course requirement. (5 units)

147. Native Women in Contemporary Arts
This course will examine the complex ways in which aspects of individual identity—such as gender, race, class, ethnicity, sexuality, and religion—inform the ways in which contemporary art is produced, disseminated, and consumed within art structures and institutions framed by nationalist narratives. We will specifically analyze the ways in which Native women who actively engage the contemporary arts have strategically negotiated these aspects of identity in gaining access to—or, conversely, outright dismissing—the various structures and practices that support the contemporary art world. Fulfills the Studio Art program modern or contemporary emphasis course requirement. (5 units) 

152. Arts of Ancient Mexico: From Olmec to Aztec
Survey of the arts of the Mesoamerican region, from the 1500 BCE to the conquest of 1521 CE. Focus on Mesoamerican concepts of time and space, the ritual calendar, warfare, blood sacrifice, shamanism, and the ballgame. Fulfills the Studio Art program global emphasis course requirement. Formerly ARTH 151. (5 units)

160. East-West Encounters in the Visual Arts
This course examines cross-cultural artistic encounters between the Western world (Europe and the United States) and Asia (India, China, and Japan) from the 16th through the 20th centuries, focusing in particular on Asian responses to the West. Topics may include the impact of Western realism on traditional Asian art forms, the role of commodities and empire in artistic production, Japonisme and Chinoiserie in 19th-century Europe and America, issues of cultural identity in Asian modernism, and post-World War II abstract art. Fulfills the Studio Art program global emphasis course requirement. Not open to students who have taken Contact Zones: Arts East and West (ARTH 11A & 12A). Prerequisite: One lower-division ARTH course (ARTH 22, 23, or 26 suggested). (5 units)

161. Photography in Japan
Exploration of Japanese photography from its origins in the 1850s to today, examining photography as an artistic medium and as a central part of modern and contemporary Japanese culture. Topics may include tourist photography, ethnographic photography, photography as propaganda, the development of the Japanese photobook, and gender issues in contemporary photography. Fulfills the Studio Art program modern or contemporary emphasis course requirement. Prerequisite: One lower-division ARTH course (ARTH 23 or 26 suggested). (5 units)

162. Visual Culture of Modern Japan
This course examines the visual culture of modern Japan circa 1850-1960, exploring issues of national and cultural identity and emphasizing in particular Japan's reaction to and engagement with the West. Topics may include Japanese adaptation of foreign artistic techniques and styles, the development of a national painting school, Japanese participation in World's Fairs, and the role of art in Japanese imperialism. Fulfills the Studio Art program modern or contemporary emphasis course requirement. Prerequisite: One lower-division ARTH course (ARTH 23 or 26 suggested). (5 units)

163. The Japanese Print
Ukiyo-e, or woodblock prints of the floating world, were an inherent part of the thriving urban culture of Edo-period Japan (1615-1868). Characterized by their vivid colors and lively designs, woodblock prints are perhaps the best known examples of Japanese visual art in the West. This course examines the genre within its cultural context, surveying not only traditional print subjects but also considering the development of woodblock prints into the 20th century and their relationship to other print media such as photography and lithography. Topics may include courtesan prints, Kabuki prints, the landscapes of Hiroshige and Hokusai, erotic prints, supernatural imagery, the creative print movement, and collectors of prints in the West. Fulfills the Studio Art program global emphasis course requirement. Prerequisite: One lower-division ARTH course (ARTH 26 suggested). (5 units)

164. Islamic Art, 600-1350 CE
Study of the art and architecture of the Islamic world with an emphasis on Jerusalem, Baghdad, Cairo, and Spain. Topics of discussion include the origin of Islam, mosque design and ornament, desert palaces, the Muslim reaction to classical antiquity, 1001 Arabian Nights, the transmission of Arab science and medicine to the West, manuscript illumination, and the decorative arts. Fulfills the Studio Art program global emphasis course requirement. Prerequisites: Upper-division status and at least two other ARTH courses. (5 units)

170. Art of the African Diaspora
An introduction to the art of the African Diaspora. The course uses visual culture as a means to explore the history and impact of the global spread of African peoples from slavery until the present day. The course examines a range of artistic practices from the visual culture of street festivals and Afro-Caribbean religions to the work of studio-trained artists of international repute. Fulfills the Studio Art program global emphasis course requirement. (5 units)

185. Post-Modern and Contemporary Art
An overview of significant issues and movements in art since the 1960s. Primary focus on art in the United States. Themes to be addressed: artist in nature, body in performance, new media, feminism, gender and sexuality, art in public places, censorship, art and public activism, emergence of global arts community. Fulfills the Studio Art program modern or contemporary emphasis course requirement. Formerly ARTH 183. (5 units)

193. Explore with Me Docent Program
The Explore with Me Docent Program is a museum internship in which students are trained to give public docent tours of the de Saisset Museum's temporary exhibitions. No previous knowledge of art history or experience with museums is required. As part of the curriculum, students will learn the necessary skills and information to provide thoughtful and engaging tours. They will be trained in Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS), a touring style that uses questions and interactive conversation to relay information about the objects on display. The program provides a great opportunity for students to gain professional experience working in the arts, to learn to speak comfortably and confidently about art, and to develop and improve public speaking skills. In addition to attending class sessions and completing short assignments, each docent is required to give three public tours as part of the course. Students may enroll for up to two quarters to receive both lower- and upper-division credit. Prerequisite: ARTH 93. (2 units)

194. Peer Educator in Art History
Peer educators in art history work closely with a faculty member to help individual students prepare for exams, conduct research, and master course content. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. (1-2 units)

195. Art History Thesis
Students with a GPA of 3.5 or better in their major may petition to write a thesis, typically in their senior year. The thesis will be based on a research paper written for a previous upper-division course with the same instructor. Prerequisites: Senior status, demonstrated excellence in the major field, and permission of instructor. (5 units)

196. Senior Art History Capstone Seminar
Advanced research in art history. Research theme of the seminar will vary with instructor. Requirements include a lengthy research paper and public presentation of that research. Restricted to art history majors. Course should be taken in the senior year. Prerequisite: ARTH 100. (5 units)

197. Special Topics
Occasional courses in selected art historical topics. May be repeated for credit. (5 units)

198. Internship/Practicum
Individual projects in conjunction with professional visual arts agencies. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: Written proposal must be approved by on-site supervisor, art history faculty member, and department chair. (2-5 units)

199. Directed Reading/Directed Research
Individual guided reading, research, and/or writing on selected art historical topics. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisites: Course outline, reading list, and schedule of instructor/student meetings must be approved by art history faculty member and department chair 10 days prior to registration. (1-5 units)