ART H 202: Human Beauty and the Mysteries of Heaven
A Survey of Western Art from Late Antiquity to the High Renaissance
Professor Stuart Lingo
Office: Room 361
School of Art + Art History + Design
Office Hours: Monday and Tuesday, 12:00 noon-1:00 PM
TA: Katherine Coty
This course presents a selection of key monuments of Western European and Byzantine art from late Antiquity to the Renaissance. We will discuss their principal stylistic features, their cultural functions and meanings, and the ways in which these works inflected the history of Western art. Critically, we will trace some fundamental thematic issues - such as the shifting relation between Christian monotheism and visual representation, the ongoing presence of ancient Roman culture in the European imagination, and the question of the place of the body in life and art - as we seek to make sense of over 1000 years of artistic production across Europe and much of the Mediterranean basin. Finally, beyond the historical focus of the course, basic methods and techniques of art historical and visual analysis will be explored. As this is a writing course, we will work throughout the term on how to bring words to the analysis of the visual, and how to articulate art historical arguments through writing.
Required Course Readings:
The textbook for Art History 202 is Gardner's Art Through the Ages: the Western Perspective, fifteenth edition, 2015. We will use the online version of the textbook, which will allow us to craft a textbook particularly adapted to Art History 202. To purchase online access, you can either pick up an access code at the University Bookstore or use the following link: http://www.cengagebrain.com/course/site.html?id=1186041.
During the course of the term we will have you read some additional articles and source texts that supplement the materials discussed in the textbook; these will often be the focus of section assignments. They will be made available to you on Canvas as electronic documents.
Goals for Learning in the Course
Goals specifically tied to course content:
-Attain a greater understanding of the art of the centuries between late Antiquity and the end of the High Renaissance.
-Gain familiarity not only with particular artists and works, but also with the salient cultural, religious, economic, political, and perceptual environments that conditioned attitudes toward and uses of the visual arts in the periods we are considering.
-Enhance critical skills of visual literacy and reading. While all students receive training in verbal language, few receive significant education in the interpretation of visual language. This skill will prove crucial, however, in our media age, which relies increasingly on visual messages and on the interplay of text and image.
-Achieve heightened understanding of the interrelation and reciprocal influences between visual culture and other areas of culture and society.
-Develop skill and confidence in expressing arguments and positions in written form.
These goals will be both practiced and tested through the examinations, paper, and section assignments. As you study, remember to consider these issues. We will work together to build skills of visual interpretation and close analysis of images in class and in section.
Grading for this course will be focused on writing assignments and two short papers (the first 3-4 pages, the second 5 pages), with additional focus on very short writing assignments that will be analyzed in sections. You will have midterm and final quizzes, but these are designed to be less demanding than full exams and will not take the entire class period.
The system of grading (on the 4 point scale) is:
midterm and final quizzes: 30%
midterm and final papers: 40%
section participation and written exercises: 30%
Even though this is a large introductory class, I will make frequent efforts to engage you during lecture, and your participation in section discussions will be critical to your success. If you have to miss a class, please let me know and make arrangements with me or a fellow student for a review; our class discussions are critical to understanding the material of the course.
Please observe due dates for all assignments, which will be posted at the beginning of the course. Late submissions will result in grade-point loss of 0.25 per day except in the case of severe extenuating circumstances, such as serious illness or family crisis.