At the Seaside by William Merritt Chase

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ART H 204 A: Art History and Visual Culture

We look forward to safely returning to in-person instruction and activities this autumn quarter. Current and prospective students please visit our COVID-19 Updates pages.
Summer Term: 
Meeting Time: 
TTh 9:10am - 11:10am
* *
Marek Wieczorek
Marek Wieczorek

Syllabus Description:


Impressionism and Post-Impressionism

Instructor: Marek Wieczorek
Class times: T/TH 9:10-11:10am
Office hours: by appointment on Zoom

IMPORTANT: communicating with me should ideally be done in the Zoom sessions when your question is also relevant to others, otherwise through the internal Canvas email.

When the term “Impressionism” was first coined in 1874, few people appreciated what these “intransigent” painters, such as Monet, Degas, and Pissarro, were trying to do. Today Impressionism is one of the most celebrated of all art movements. We will examine how their focus on capturing light through bright colors in radip, visible brushwork upsetacademic standards, but also look at a younger generation of followers whose works were later dubbed “Post-Impressionist.” Seurat, Cézanne, Van Gogh and Gauguin became more systematic in their approach to technique and vision. Their art was also produced amidst a larger “crisis in representation” in the philosophy, art, sciences, and politics of the 1880s and 1890s that is inseparable from the shape of our modernity today.  Simultaneously, we will explore critical issues that currently preoccupy the discipline of art history. These include the self-conscious reflection on the different methods available in approaching art, issues of gender, and the role of genre and medium. Topics and questions introduced in the readings will be explored and developed further in lectures, with emphasis on the development of specific skills required for art historical argumentation. The class is largely discussion based, and there will be a short paper and student presentations. Class participation is vital to the success of the class and your grade.

COVID-19 Changes
This class was originally planned as an in-person class. It now has been accommodated for all of us to stay at home due to COVID-19. This is my first time teaching entirely online and so consider the syllabus tentative and subject to change to fit what works best for our group.  Your suggestions and feedback are critical, so send them along anytime so we can make adjustments.

Class Attendance & Participation are vital
We are building this learning community together and a key element of co-creating a shared learning environment is a commitment to active participation in class. The expectation is that you arrive to class having completed all reading and viewing assignments and are prepared to engage in discussion. I will launch a short quiz question during (almost) every class, which will be counted toward your grade. The points you can score for each of these are not much, so these are low-stakes quizzes, but together they add up to 60% of your final grade for the course. I will drop the lowest 3 scores in case you cannot attend some classes (make-up quizzes are only given for valid reasons). Your grade for this portion of the class is thus based on: arriving on-time and staying actively engaged for the entire class, active listening and attentiveness to your peers, having access to your notes and questions that arose when you completed your assigned reading, answering the short quiz questions, and respect (including not talking while others are speaking, and making space for everyone in the class to contribute ideas). In this regard, you have a responsibility to the education of everyone in the class, not just to your own. If you have a busy quarter and cannot commit to consistent, full participation in this class, then this is not the class for you. 
In short, a large part of your participation grade will come from timely participation in each week’s two Zoom sessions with embedded short quizzes.

This course is scheduled to run synchronously at our scheduled class time via Zoom. These Zoom class sessions will be recorded. The recording will capture the presenter’s audio, video and computer screen. Student audio and video will be recorded if they share their computer audio and video during the recorded session. The recordings will only be accessible to students enrolled in the course to review materials. These recordings will not be shared with or accessible to the public.

Course Book
The course book is available online and can be downloaded as one long Pdf through the UW library website. Nathalia Brodskaïa, Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, New York 2018. Other readings will be posted in Pdf form in the Sum '20 Schedule and Readings section (also found in the Files section of this site), where you will receive directions on how to read these sources. 

Course Objectives:

  1. You will gain familiarity with the development of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art and with several themes that have structured scholarly inquiry into these movements.
  2. You will learn and refine your knowledge of the elements of visual analysis in modern painting, and develop your skills at communicating visual analysis.
  3. You will learn how to develop visual description into art historical interpretation.
  4. You will gain exposure to some of the ways in which art historical scholarship relates visual objects to their historical contexts.
  5. You will get hands-on experience of engaging with artworks in virtual museum setting.


    Paper:                                                                                   40 %

    Participation (including short quizzes):              60 %

    A minimum of a 60 % score is required to pass the course.


Student Courtesy: I value the perspectives of all students in my class and I look forward to the dynamic discussions we will have throughout the semester.  Be advised that we may cover material that challenges your viewpoints or beliefs.  I ask that students be respectful toward each other in the classroom to foster a comfortable space in which all students feel free to share their perspectives throughout the semester.

Disability Accommodation

  • To request academic accommodations due to a disability, please contact Student Disability Services, 448 Schmitz, (206) 543-8924 (V/TTY) or
  • If you have a letter from Student Disability Services requesting academic accommodations, please present this to your instructor on the first day of class.

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Land Acknowledgment:  I would like to acknowledge that I live and work in Salish territory, specifically the lands of the Suquamish and Duwamish and the shared lands and waters of the Tulalip and Muckleshoot. There is a long history of education on this land dating to long before the establishment of this university. 

Catalog Description: 
Study of art and visual culture as instruments of knowledge and methods of human expression that operate in many arenas of history, tradition, and the contemporary environment.
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
April 22, 2020 - 9:20pm