Fall 2019

Undergraduate Courses

Graduate Courses

Undergraduate Courses

Undergraduate Catalog

ARTH200 Art and Society in Ancient and Medieval Europe to the Mediterranean (Professor Martinez) 
MW 10-10:50 + section (ASY 2203)
Did you know that most ancient and medieval architecture and sculpture was brightly colored?  Or that the Romans used concrete for their massive buildings?  Perhaps you never realized that Gothic cathedrals soar because of their pointed arches.
This introductory course covers a broad sweep of history from ancient Egypt to the early Middle Ages. We will survey sculpture, architecture, painting, and other two-dimensional forms. Our goal will be to understand how people of the past gave visual expression to their ideas about life, death, and power.  To that end we will place our selected works in cultural, religious, social, and political contexts.  
You will learn fundamental principles of art and become acquainted with the distinctive styles of different periods.  An additional focus will be the extraordinary mastery of materials and techniques that artists and architects achieved over the many millennia this course covers.

 ARTH201 Art and Society in the West from the Renaissance to the Present (Professor Mansbach) 
MW 9-9:50 + section (ASY 2203)
This course examines the visual arts of Europe (and to a lesser extent the United States) from roughly the year 1300 to the present.  Although the course is predicated chronologically on ARTH 200, there is no pre-requisite and a student will find ARTH 201 self-sufficient as it introduces and analyzes major artistic monuments that continue to shape our vision and define our world.



ARTH260 Art and Activism (Professor McEwen)
MW 11-11:50 + section (TWS 0310)
Can art effect social change?  How may we use the history of radical and avant-garde art to inform present-day movements and models of artistic and creative activism?  This course explores the modern and contemporary history of political art and arts activism on local, national, and global scales.  From the art of the Russian and Mexican Revolutions to that of the Vietnam War, Feminism, AIDS, and the Arab Spring, we consider questions of creativity and social efficacy.  The course questions the nature and radicality of different media—including mural painting, TV, sound, performance, and the Internet—as well as the role of institutions and the public.  Texts draw from primary sources (manifestos and artist statements; websites) in addition to foundational readings in the discipline of art history and aesthetic and cultural theory.  Class meetings combine lectures with small- and large-group discussion and debate.  There are no pre-requisites for this course.

ARTH303 Roman Art and Archaeology (Professor Gensheimer)
TuTh 11-12:15 (ASY 3211)
Colosseum, RomeAt the height of its power, the Roman Empire stretched from Britain to Morocco and from Spain to Syria.  Rome itself, initially a small and unimportant town, grew into a major megalopolis that not only ruled its vast empire but set the pattern for a sophisticated urban style of living for over one thousand years.  This class will explore the architectural remains of ancient Rome, both within the city and throughout the breadth of its Empire.  Grandiose Roman architecture – temples, fora, triumphal arches, theaters, and baths, among other examples – along with the quotidian building blocks of the Empire – bridges, aqueducts, and roads – will be evaluated.  Emphasis is placed on studying Roman art and architecture within historical, political, social, and religious contexts and changes.  Questions of patronage (imperial, elite, middle and lower classes) and function (public, domestic, and funerary) will also be considered.


 ARTH324 Leonardo's World: Art and Experience in Renaissance Italy (Professor Gill)
TuTh 12:30-1:45 (ASY 3211)
We will examine the history of painting, sculpture, architecture, and the decorative arts in Italy from the late fifteenth through the sixteenth centuries. We will consider themes such as the social function and domestic role of the art object; the investigations of Leonardo, Raphael, and Michelangelo into the human body, science, and nature; women in the visual arts; the revival of classical style and its flourishing in Mannerist art; and the ways in which artists expressed their patrons’ wishes for commemoration after death. Class meetings include lectures and group discussion.




 ARTH346 Nineteenth-Century European Art from 1850 (Professor Pushaw)
TuTh 12:30-1:45 (ASY 3215)
The second half of the nineteenth century fostered the rise of some of the world’s most famous modern artists, including Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, and Edvard Munch. Behind the ascent of such styles as Realism, Impressionism, and Symbolism was a dynamic age of electricity and empire, witnessing the abolition of slavery and serfdom and the consolidation of colonial powers, radically changing the possibilities of individual agency in an ever industrializing world. This course takes a global approach to understand how evolving notions of race, gender, class, and empire informed the creation of modern art in Europe. We will explore themes including the transformative role of the invention of photography; the cultural impact of the “opening” of Japan; European artists shuttling between the continent and colonies; and the significance of artists from Asia, Africa, and the Americas at European art academies.

ARTH359W Film as Art: The Screwball Comedy Film: Interrogating Gender, Class and Rationality (Professor Metcalf)
W 3:30-7 (ASY 4213A)
The Screwball Comedy was a variation on the classic form of romantic comedy that emerged during the Depression and offered timely reflections of American culture in the 1930s and 1940s and returned at the end of the Twentieth Century. Screwy powerful women and confused, flailing men ba ntered their way through an unsettled world of extreme wealth and poverty, loose morals and flexible reality, a world that was intensely mode rn and on the go. Screwball comedy also has served as a stage on which to examine gender roles, from the biological to the socially constructed -- sex, sexiness and sexuality and changing definitions of class, wealth and sanity.


ARTH361 American Art Since 1876 (Professor Korobkin)
TuTh 2-3:15 (ASY 3215)
A critical survey of art of the United States from the turn of the twentieth century to the present. Students explore diverse artistic movements and makers through a wide range of visual and material culture, including painting, sculpture, folk art, decorative arts, photography, performance, and new media. This course focuses on the role of the visual arts in constructing and challenging formations of race, class, gender, and citizenship in the context of significant social movements and political transformations of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.



ARTH370 Latin American Art and Archaeology before 1500 (Professor Bland)
W 2-4:30 (ASY 3217)
This course examines the early Great Traditions in art and architecture in Mexico and Central America, created by the Olmec, Zapotec, Teotihuacán, Maya and Aztec peoples. This survey of art and architecture will be presented within an archaeological and cultural context. Large-scale archaeological projects and research conducted throughout Mexico and Latin America over the last 100 years have significantly increased our knowledge of ancient indigenous cultures. Class discussions of the art, architecture, and ongoing archaeological research will be supplemented with discussions of contemporary political events impacting indigenous people living in Mexico and Latin America today.




ARTH386 Experiential Learning
Prerequisite: Permission of ARHU-Art History & Archaeology department.
Junior standing or higher.
Contact department for information to register for this course.

ARTH389A Special Topics in Art History and Archaeology: The Art of Drawing: A Left and Right Brain Experience (Professor Bland)
W 10-12:30 (ASY 4306)
This course examines Old and Modern Master Drawings, theories of drawing and drawing practice. Lectures will discuss Dr. Betty Edward's theory of a verbal, analytical Left Brain and a visual, perceptual Right Brain. As practice, students will learn to make the mental shift from left, analytical brain to right, visual brain. Class exercises are based on Betty Edward's text, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. No prior drawing experience is necessary.


ARTH389B Special Topics in Art History and Archaeology; The Art of Color: A Left and Right Brain Experience (Professor Bland)
F 10-12:30pm (ASY 2318)
This course is about understanding color and experiencing color. The course is composed of two parts, a lecture and color practice. The lectures examine a wide range of old and modern master paintings from Antiquity to the Twentieth Century. The lectures also examine how artists use color in a variety of media to distinctively record their surroundings, express their emotions and explore the aesthetics of color applications. The practice portion of this course is composed of color/painting assignments that challenge students beyond color theory. Students will complete a series of exercises based on Dr. Betty Edward's text, Color, A Course in Mastering the Art of Mixing Color. No prior drawing or painting experience is necessary. However, students should be willing to extend a concerted amount of time and effort on each studio assignment.


ARTH389D Special Topics in Art History and Archaeology; Art and War (Professor Georgievska-Shine)
Tu 2-4:30 (ASY 3211)
This course presents key examples of artworks on the subject of war, ranging from antiquity to the twenty-first century. Class meetings will involve active discussion of ancient artifacts, of paintings by "old" masters such as Velazquez and Goya and of those closer to our time, such as the German expressionists Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Max Beckmann, and of our contemporaries, such as Anselm Kiefer.

Students will learn through first-hand experience, including visits to museums and memorial sites, and discussions with art practitioners who have explored war in their own work or have lived through war conflicts.

ARTH389V Special Topics in Art History and Archaeology; South Asian Art and Architecture in Context (Professor Kumar-Dumas)
TuTh 9:30-10:45 (ASY 3215)
This course introduces South Asia’s many artistic traditions, diverse cultural contexts, and broad physical geography.  We will explore how sculptural artifacts and sacred architectures of the subcontinent, Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia were made and used. We will also examine cultural transformations and continuities affecting South Asian images.  By looking closely at works in museum collections, we will begin to consider social, political, economic, and environmental aspects of South Asian art.  No previous knowledge of South Asian history or art is required.



ARTH488F Colloquium in Art History; Mexican Muralism: National, Race, Revolution (Professor McEwen)
W 3-5:30 (ASY 3215)
A survey of Mexico’s mural movement, this course examines the work of “Los Tres Grandes”—Diego Rivero, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and José Clemente Orozco—and their contemporaries in Mexico and the United States between approximately 1920 and 1960. Their work is studied in the context of Mexico’s Revolution and period discourse on state modernization, national identity, and Pan-American politics. We also consider parallel expressions of Mexican modernity, including photography and film, and the role of such women artists as Frida Kahlo and María Izquierdo. Class meetings include some lecture but rely heavily on discussion and close analysis of artworks and texts.



ARTH488W Colloquium in Art History; Monuments and Memory in America (Professor Korobkin)
TuTh 11-12:15 (ASY 3215)
This course investigates the political and cultural work of monuments in the United States since the Civil War. Taking recent struggles over the presence and removal of Confederate monuments as our starting point, we will consider issues of race and representation, memory and memorialization, appropriation and iconoclasm. How do monuments embody cultural values, consolidate power structures, and become sites for mourning and protest? We will examine war memorials, civic statuary, city beautification projects, and abstract public works, including Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial (1982) and the recently opened Equal Justice Initiative’s Memorial to Peace and Justice in Alabama. We will also explore how contemporary artists such as Tatsu Nishi, Titus Kaphar, Krzysztof Wodiczko, and Kara Walker, whose ephemeral installations, photographic projections, and new sculptural bodies challenge and reinvent conventions of monumentality.    

ARTH489O Special Topics in Art History; Art in the Museum World (Professor Georgievska-Shine)
F 2-4:30 (ASY 3215)
Johann Zoffany, Uffizi Picture GalleryThis course is intended for upper division students majoring in art history, but it is open to anyone interested in the museum world. Its main goal is to introduce various facets of museum work and possible career paths within that environment.

Many of the meetings will take place in museums and other art institutions in the Washington area. Each of them will address a particular aspect of museum work through a conversation with museum professionals and/or guided tours through different departments. Topics to be discussed include, but are not limited to, curatorial work, collection display and preservation, and outreach programs that promote a more meaningful relationship between museums and their audiences.


ARTH498 (PermReq) Directed Studies in Art History I. Individual Instruction Course

ARTH499 (PermReq) Honors Thesis. Individual Instruction Course 

Graduate Courses

ARTH 692: Methods of Art History
Professor Anthony Colantuno
Monday 12:00-2:30 p.m.
ASY 4304

Methods of research and criticism applied to typical art-historical problems; bibliography and other research tools.

For all non-Art History and Archaeology majors, permission of the department is required.


ARTH 749C: Seminar in Nineteenth-Century Eurpean Art: Berthe Morisot: Gender and Impressionism
Professor Mary Morton
Wednesday 3:00-5:30 p.m.
ASY 4304

Despite her central role in avant-garde painting and print making in later 19th and early 20th century Paris, Mary Cassatt s radical artistic innovations tend to get subsumed by simplified narratives regarding her feminine imagery. Berthe Morisot s contribution to Impressionism is being reevaluated in a major exhibition in 2018-2019. This course will look at the critical and art historiographical reception of the two Women Impressionists, and compare prevailing interpretations against the deep holdings of their work at the National Gallery of Art.


ARTH 758A: Seminar in American Art: The Athletic Turn
Professor Jordana Saggese
Thursday 12:00-2:30 p.m.
ASY 4304

This course will explore athleticism and its representations from the Gilded Age to the present. Students will work across disciplines --art history, cultural studies, philosophy, and sports history --to consider how the development of organized sports (both team and individual) in the United States has informed rhetorics of gender, race, and sexuality in the public sphere. That is, how do images of athletic bodies function to shore up ideologies around whiteness and heteronormativity via the reaffirmation of stereotypes? And how have artists deployed images of athletes in order to interrogate their own social, moral, and physical positions? Using examples from both fine art and visual culture, we will explore how both sport and art manifest as social practices and as practices of the self.


(Perm Req)
Directed Graduate Studies in Art History
Contact department for information to register for this course.

(Perm Req)
Master's Thesis Research
Contact department for information to register for this course.

(Perm Req)
Pre-Candidacy Research
Contact department for information to register for this course.

(Perm Req)
Doctoral Dissertation Research
Contact department for information to register for this course.