Contacts | Program of Study | Introductory Courses | Program Requirements | General Requirements for Art History Majors | Recommendations for Art History Majors | Summary of Requirements | Advising | Grading | Honors | Minor Program in Art History |  Courses

Department Website: http://arthistory.uchicago.edu

Program of Study

The study of art history encompasses the visual arts and material culture of a wide range of regions and historical periods. Art history courses develop students' skills in visual analysis, interpretation of images and texts, use of historical sources, and engagement with scholarly debates. Within the department, survey classes provide a chronological overview of an extended period in Western or non-Western art, while Art in Context courses focus on a particular artist or artists, medium or theme, artistic problem, movement, or period. Upper-level classes may be similarly focused but at a more advanced level, or may deal with theoretical questions. After taking an introduction to art historical methods in their third year, fourth-year students who are majoring in art history conduct independent research on a topic of their own devising, producing a BA paper with the guidance of a faculty member and a graduate preceptor. The major in art history thus introduces students to a variety of cultures and approaches while providing analytical skills to enable students to focus their attention productively on specific questions in the study of art. In combination with a broad general education, art history provides excellent preparation for professions as well as graduate school in art history and careers in the arts.

Nonmajors may take any 10000-level course to meet general education requirements or as an elective; ARTH 10100 Introduction to Art is designed specifically to introduce these students to skills in thinking and writing about art of different cultures and periods. Nonmajors may also take more advanced courses with the instructor's consent after completing one 10000-level course or its equivalent.

Introductory Courses

Any of these 10000-level courses is an appropriate choice to meet the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts. None presuppose prior training in art.

ARTH 10100 Introduction to Art develops basic skills in the analysis and critical enjoyment of a wide range of visual materials. Issues and problems in the making, exhibition, and understanding of images and objects are explored through classroom discussion of key works, critical reading of fundamental texts, visits to local museums, and writing.

Survey Courses

  • ARTH 14000 through 16999 - discuss major monuments of world art and architecture in the context of broad chronological and geographic categories and in relation to broad questions concerning the role art plays in individual, societal, and institutional settings.
  • ARTH 14000 through 14999 - address Western art in Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance.
  • ARTH 15000 through 15999 - address Western art from the early modern period to the present day.
  • ARTH 16000 through 16999 - address the art of Africa, Asia, Latin America, and/or the Middle East.

Art in Context Courses

  • ARTH 17000 through 18999 - introduce students to a well-defined issue, topic, or period of art in depth; at the same time, these courses explore issues of creativity, communication, and value in a series of concrete case studies.

Students who have taken at least one course in art history or studio art, or who have equivalent nonacademic experience, may elect to take an advanced lecture course, numbered from 20100 to 28999. The prerequisite is consent of instructor or any 10000-level course in art history or visual arts. The 20000-level art history courses investigate the arts of specific periods and places from a variety of perspectives. Some courses embrace large bodies of material defined by national culture; others follow developments in style, iconography, and patronage as they affect works in selected media.

Program Requirements

The BA in art history is intended to furnish students with a broad knowledge of Western and non-Western art. It also provides an opportunity for the complementary, intensive study of an area of special interest. It is recommended for students who wish to develop their abilities in visual analysis and criticism; to acquire some sense of the major developments in the arts from ancient times to the present; and to understand the visual arts as aspects of social, cultural, and intellectual history. So conceived, the study of art is an element of a general, liberal arts education; the skills of analytical thinking, logical argument, and clear verbal expression necessary to the program are basic to most fields. Thus, the major in art history can be viewed as training for a wide range of professions. The program in art history also prepares interested students for advanced study at the graduate level and, eventually, for work in academia, museums, galleries, and other organizations.

General Requirements for Art History Majors

  1. Students register for an approved drama, music, visual arts, cinema and media studies, or creative writing course to meet the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts; art history majors may not use art history courses to meet general education requirements.
  2. Students register for a total of four Survey Courses (see definition under Courses for Nonmajors above): one course at the 14000 level, one course at the 15000 level, one course at the 16000 level, and a fourth Survey Course of the student's choosing. Art History majors should see the instructor about additional assignments and requirements in these courses. With permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies, majors may substitute up to two Art in Context courses for Survey Courses in the same chronological and geographical region.
  3. Art history majors take the department's two undergraduate seminars. In Winter Quarter of their third year, they register for the ARTH 29600 Junior Seminar: Doing Art History. Students who wish to study abroad during that quarter are strongly urged to enroll in ARTH 29600 Junior Seminar: Doing Art History in the Winter Quarter of their second year and must meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to discuss their program in the major before they go abroad. In Autumn Quarter of their fourth year, they register for the BA paper writing seminar (ARTH 29800 Senior Seminar: Writing Workshop) (see following section).
  4. Students in art history write at least two research papers that are ten to fifteen pages in length before starting their fourth year, typically in the context of 20000-level courses in art history. Alternatives include 40000-level graduate seminars, reading courses, or, more rarely, Art in Context courses. It is the student's responsibility to initiate arrangements with an instructor and obtain his or her signature on an approval form when the paper is completed. To obtain an approval form, visit arthistory.uchicago.edu/files/undergraduate-research-approval-form.pdf.

    A research paper should address a topic chosen by the student in consultation with the instructor. The student should draw on scholarship and evidence to shape and support a thesis or argument of the student's own devising. Formal analyses of works of art and analytic papers on materials assembled for a class by the instructor do not qualify. However, students may ask the instructor to allow a substitution of a research paper or they may write a research paper in addition to basic course requirements.
  5. Students develop a special field of interest (see below).
  6. Within this field, students write a BA paper (see below).
  7. Double Majors and the BA Thesis: Whether or not a single BA thesis can satisfy the requirements for a double major in art history and another program is decided by the department on a case by case basis. Students should consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies. The criteria on which the decision is based include:
    • the degree to which the resulting thesis is likely to speak from and to art history, even as it necessarily speaks from and to another field;
    • the feasibility of the proposed advising arrangements for the proposed joint thesis; and
    • the department's estimation of the student's track record for independent work that bodes well for writing a successful thesis while navigating between two majors
  8. Students may apply to transfer up to four courses in art history to fulfill their major requirements. Students who wish to receive credit in the major or minor for courses taken elsewhere should read carefully the following information. Preference will be given to courses that fall into the survey course category or, in the case of students in Track II (see below), into the category of special field courses taken in disciplines/departments outside art history. Approval is required from the Director of Undergraduate Studies, who will review each course individually. These guidelines apply not only to courses taught at other institutions and in study abroad programs but also to courses that are affiliated with the University but not taught by University faculty. Students should meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies well in advance to discuss a course they wish to take. After completing the course, students should petition the Director of Undergraduate Studies in writing for credit for the major. The petition must include a cover letter with the title and description of the course, as well as the name and location of the institution. To the cover letter should be attached a syllabus and a written record of the work the student did for the course.

    The Office of the Dean of Students in the College must approve the transfer of all courses taken at institutions other than those in which students are enrolled as part of a study abroad program that is sponsored by the University of Chicago. Please note that it may be possible use such a course to meet requirements in the College but not in the major. For more information, visit college.uchicago.edu/policies-regulations/course-registration-policies/transfer-credit.

Recommendations for Art History Majors

  1. Students are encouraged to take graduate seminars with prior consent of instructor. (These seminars are also open to nonmajors with the same proviso.)
  2. Students are urged to also pursue upper-level language courses. If a language course is relevant to a student's special field, the student may petition the Director of Undergraduate Studies to count it toward electives.
  3. Those planning to continue their study of art history at the graduate level are advised to achieve language competency equal to at least two years of college study in French or German, or in Italian for those with primary interest in the art of Italy.

Two Tracks

In structuring their programs, students may choose one of two orientations ("tracks"): one offering a broad coverage of the history of art, and the other offering a close cross-disciplinary study of a specific area or topic.

Track I

In addition to the four Survey Courses, the ARTH 29600 Junior Seminar: Doing Art History, and the ARTH 29800 Senior Seminar: Writing Workshop, Track I students take six upper-level courses within the department. Up to two Art in Context courses (see definition under Courses for Nonmajors above) may be substituted for upper-level courses with prior approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Within the six departmental courses, students must develop a special field consisting of three courses with a relevance to one another that is clearly established. The field may be defined by chronological period, medium, national culture, genre, theme, or methodological concerns. Because they reflect the interests of individual students, such fields range widely in topic, approach, and scope. Reading courses with art history faculty may be used to pursue specific questions within a field. Students are encouraged to distribute the remaining three departmental courses widely throughout Western and non-Western art. Within their six upper-level courses, students must take at least one course in Western art before 1400, one course in Western art after 1400, and one course in non-Western art.

Track II

In addition to the four Survey Courses, ARTH 29600 Junior Seminar: Doing Art History, and ARTH 29800 Senior Seminar: Writing Workshop, Track II students take six courses: three upper-level courses inside and two courses outside the Department of Art History that make up the special field, and one additional upper-level course in art history, the subject of which is the student's choice. In order to encourage breadth of expertise, the elective course may not be in the student's special field. Occasionally, Art in Context courses (see definition under Courses for Nonmajors above) may be substituted for upper-level courses with prior approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

In Track II, the special field may take many different forms. It may be civilization defined by chronological period, nation-state, or cultural institution. Extradepartmental courses in history and literature are particularly relevant to such a program. Another special field might be conceptual in character (e.g., art and the history of science, urban history, geography) and draw upon a variety of extradepartmental courses in the Humanities Collegiate Division and the Social Sciences Collegiate Division. A field could combine historical, critical, and theoretical perspectives (e.g., visual arts in the twentieth century) and include courses in art history, drama, music, film, and popular culture. Finally, art history and studio courses (e.g., Visual Arts) may be combined in special fields exploring their interrelations (e.g., abstraction and conceptualism in modern art).

The Special Field

The topic for the BA paper normally develops from the special field and allows for further study of the area through independent research and writing.

Whether a student is following Track I or Track II, the declaration form for the special field must be received and approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies no later than the end of a student's third year. Students should obtain the form at arthistory.uchicago.edu/files/SpecialFieldDeclaration.pdf and discuss the proposed special field with the Director of Undergraduate Studies. It is strongly recommended that students complete at least two courses in their special field by the end of their third year.

Undergraduate Seminars and the BA Paper

The ARTH 29600 Junior Seminar: Doing Art History is designed to introduce the methods of art historical research. It also requires students to develop a BA paper topic and identify potential faculty advisers. Students who wish to study abroad during Winter Quarter of their third year are strongly urged to take ARTH 29600 Junior Seminar: Doing Art History in the Winter Quarter of the second year and must meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to discuss their program in the major before they go abroad.

By the end of their third year, it is the student's responsibility to find a member of the faculty who agrees to act as the faculty research adviser for the BA paper. The research paper or project used to meet this requirement may not be used to meet the BA paper requirement in another major without the approval of both majors.

ARTH 29800 Senior Seminar: Writing Workshop is a workshop course designed to assist students in writing and researching their BA papers. Students typically take the seminar in Autumn Quarter before graduating in Spring Quarter; students graduating in Autumn or Winter Quarter should take this course in the previous academic year. In the closing sessions of the seminar, students present their work in progress for the BA paper. They continue their research on the paper during the following quarters, meeting at intervals with their faculty research adviser.

Students may elect to take ARTH 29900 Preparation for the Senior Paper in Autumn or Winter Quarter to afford additional time for research or writing. NOTE: This course may not count toward the twelve courses required in the major. It may be taken for a P/F grade with consent of the instructor.

A polished draft of the paper is due by Friday of ninth week of the quarter preceding graduation; the final version is due Monday of second week of the quarter of graduation. Both are to be submitted in duplicate: one copy to the research adviser and the second to the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Because individual projects vary, no specific requirements for the senior paper have been set. Essays range in length from twenty to forty pages, but there is no minimum or maximum.

Summary of Requirements

GENERAL EDUCATION
Introductory drama, music, ARTV, or Creative Writing course100
Total Units100
MAJOR: TRACK I
14000s Survey Course100
15000s Survey Course100
16000s Survey Course100
Survey Course of student's choice100
3 upper-level ARTH courses in special field *300
3 upper-level ARTH courses (The six upper-level courses must include, altogether, one course each in Western art before 1400, Western art after 1400, and non-Western art.) *300
ARTH 29600Junior Seminar: Doing Art History100
ARTH 29800Senior Seminar: Writing Workshop100
BA paper
Total Units1200
MAJOR: TRACK II
14000s Survey Course100
15000s Survey Course100
16000s Survey Course100
Survey Course of student's choice100
3 upper-level ARTH courses in special field *300
2 courses outside ARTH related to special field200
1 upper-level ARTH elective (not special field)100
ARTH 29600Junior Seminar: Doing Art History100
ARTH 29800Senior Seminar: Writing Workshop100
BA paper
Total Units1200
*

With prior approval, up to two Art in Context courses may be used toward this requirement.

Advising

Art history majors should see the Director of Undergraduate Studies no less than once a year for consultation and guidance in planning a special field, in selecting courses, and in choosing a topic for the BA paper, as well as for help with any academic problems within the major. When choosing courses, students should refer to the worksheet available at arthistory.uchicago.edu/files/MajorWorksheet-form.pdf. This form helps each student and the Undergraduate Program Chair monitor the student's progress in the program.

Grading

Art history majors must receive quality grades in art history courses taken for the major. ARTH 29900 Preparation for the Senior Paper is open for P/F grading with consent of instructor, but this course may not count toward the twelve courses required in the major. Art history courses elected beyond program requirements may be taken for P/F grading with consent of instructor. Students taking art history courses to meet the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts must receive quality grades. Nonmajors may select the P/F grading option with consent of instructor if they are taking an art history class that is not satisfying a general education requirement. A Pass grade is given only for work of C- quality or higher.

Honors

Students who complete their course work and their BA papers with great distinction are considered for honors. Candidates also must have a 3.3 or higher overall GPA and a 3.5 or higher GPA for art history course work.

Standards will inevitably differ from adviser to adviser, but in general students are expected to write a BA paper that is of A quality—although not all A papers will necessarily receive honors. An honors thesis involves substantial research; makes an argument that is supported with evidence; and is well crafted, inventive, and, often, intellectually passionate.

The faculty adviser of a student who wishes to be considered for honors must submit a detailed letter of nomination. Students are not responsible for requesting the letter, but they should plan to work closely with their adviser to make sure they understand the standards that they are expected to meet.

Minor Program in Art History

The minor in art history requires a total of seven courses: three survey courses (one from the 14000 series, one from the 15000 series, and one from the 16000 series), and four courses at the 20000 level or above. With the permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies, students may substitute up to two Art in Context courses (17000 and 18000 series) for 20000-level courses. Students also write one research paper of about ten to fifteen pages on a topic chosen with and guided by the instructor, by individual arrangement at the start of one of the 20000-level courses. As one of their 20000-level courses, minors may elect to take ARTH 29600 Junior Seminar: Doing Art History with the majors; if they do, they will research and write an essay on a topic of their choice instead of preparing a BA paper proposal. Students with a minor in art history may use art history courses to meet general education requirements.

Students who elect the minor program in art history must meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies before the end of Spring Quarter of their third year to declare their intention to complete the minor. Students choose courses in consultation with the Director of Undergraduate Studies. The Director's approval for the minor program should be submitted to a student's College adviser by the deadline above on a form available at arthistory.uchicago.edu/files/MinorProgramApplicationForm.pdf.

Courses in the minor (1) may not be double counted with the student's major(s) or with other minors; and (2) may not be counted toward general education requirements. If students have already taken one of the survey courses to fulfill the general education requirement, they may substitute an additional 20000-level course to complete their seven-course program. Courses in the minor must be taken for quality grades, and more than half of the requirements for the minor must be met by registering for courses bearing University of Chicago course numbers.

The following group of courses would comprise a minor in art history:

Sample Minor Program

  • ARTH 14000–14999 e.g., The Ancient World, The Medieval World, or Renaissance Art
  • ARTH 15000–15999 e.g., Nineteenth-Century Art, or Twentieth-Century Art
  • ARTH 16000–16999 e.g., Art of Asia: China, or Arts of Japan
  • ARTH 20000 series, e.g., ARTH 28804 American Art Since 1960; or ARTH 27304 Photo/Modernism/Esthetic; or ARTH 28300 Chinese Scroll Painting; or ARTH 22204 Medieval Chinese Visual Cult; or ARTH 26504 Revolution and 20th Century Mexican Culture

 Courses

ARTH 10100. Introduction to Art. 100 Units.

This course seeks to develop skills in perception, comprehension, and appreciation when dealing with a variety of visual art forms. It encourages the close analysis of visual materials, explores the range of questions and methods appropriate to the explication of a given work of art, and examines the intellectual structures basic to the systematic study of art. Most importantly, the course encourages the understanding of art as a visual language and aims to foster in students the ability to translate this understanding into verbal expression, both oral and written. Examples draw on local collections.

Terms Offered: Autumn, Winter, Spring
Note(s): Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment. For nonmajors, this course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts.

ARTH 14000 through 16999. Art Surveys.  May be taken in sequence or individually. Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment. For nonmajors, any ARTH 14000 through 16999 course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts. The major monuments and masterpieces of world painting, sculpture, and architecture are studied as examples of humankind’s achievements in the visual arts. Individual objects are analyzed in detail and interpreted in light of society’s varied needs. While changes in form, style, and function are emphasized, an attempt is also made to understand the development of unique and continuous traditions of visual imagery throughout world civilization. Courses focus on broad regional and chronological categories.

For nonmajors, these courses meet the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts. Art History majors/minors who wish to take these courses for departmental credit should see the instructor about additional assignments and requirements.

ARTH 14107. Greek Art and Archaeology. 100 Units.

This course will survey the art and archaeology of ancient Greece from ca. 1000 BCE–ca. 200 BCE. Participants will see the Greeks emerge from poverty and anarchy to form a distinctive political and social system based on city-states—and they will see that system grow unstable and collapse. They will see the emergence of distinctive forms of sculpture, architecture, pottery, and urban design—many of which are still in use today. Along with these facts, they will acquire a conceptual toolkit for looking at works of art and for thinking about the relation of art to social life. The big question is: How can we make sense of the past by means of artifacts?

Instructor(s): R. Neer     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment. This course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts.
Equivalent Course(s): CLCV 21807

ARTH 14200. From Missionary Images to Image Explosion: Introduction to Medieval Art. 100 Units.

This course explores the challenging world of medieval art. Beginning with the fourth-century fusion of Imperial and Christian images and ending with the advent of print, we trace how images and art-making took on new roles—and re-invented old ones—over the course of the Middle Ages. We consider architecture, sculpture, wall-painting, manuscript painting, stained glass, metalwork, and textiles in their historical contexts, questioning why medieval objects look the way they do and how they were seen and used by medieval viewers. Readings include medieval sources (in translation) and exemplary modern scholarship.

Instructor(s): A. Kumler     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment. For nonmajors, any ARTH 14000 through 16999 course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts.

ARTH 14700. Building Renaissance Italy: A Survey of the Built Environment. 100 Units.

This introductory course surveys the major patrons, architects, and building programs that defined the spatial contexts of the Renaissance in Italy. Between the 15th and 16th centuries, the political aspirations of governments, popes, princes, and merchants demanded a more articulated architectural environment that would facilitate increasingly complex modes of public and private life. They were aided in this endeavor by the emergence of a newly professionalized class of architects, who turned their eyes towards both a systematic study of the classical past and a critical assessment of their contemporary world. Renaissance urban palaces—both civic and private—and rural villas provided the stages upon which a new art of living could be performed. New inventions in military engineering responded to rapidly advancing technologies of warfare. Urban planning techniques created new topographies of spiritual and political triumph and reform, while treatises on ideal cities laid the foundations for the modern integrated multi-functional city. Between Venice, Florence, Rome, and their rural surroundings, this course will focus on a range of important patrons such as Roman popes, Venetian doges, princely courts, and private merchants, and will explore what made the works of such architects as Filippo Brunelleschi, Giuliano da Sangallo, Leon Battista Alberti, Francesco di Giorgio, Michelangelo, Jacopo Sansovino, and Andrea Palladio so creative, innovative, and influential well into our own contemporary architectural landscape.

Instructor(s): N. Atkinson     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment. This course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts.

ARTH 15200. Global Baroque. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): R. Zorach     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): PQ: Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment. This course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts.

ARTH 15600. Twentieth-Century Art. 100 Units.

Focusing on the interrelationships between avant-garde culture and the emerging mass cultural formations of industrializing societies in Europe, North America, Asia, and South America, our survey will address a wide range of historical and methodological questions: the impact of new technologies of production, the utopian projects of the Euro-American avant-gardes, the transformation of modernist conceptions of artistic autonomy, the changing roles of cultural institutions, the construction of social Others, the formation of new audiences, and the rise of “contemporary art.” Prior knowledge of art history not required.

Instructor(s): M. Jackson; T. Zhurauliova     Terms Offered: Autumn; Winter
Prerequisite(s): Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment. This course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts.

ARTH 15780. Modern Art from the Enlightenment until Today. 100 Units.

Surveying the history of modern Western art from the 18th through the 21st century, this course will introduce students to the artists, art works, and issues central to the relationship between art and modernity: the rise of the self and identity politics, the growth of the metropolis, the questioning of the "real" and the invention of photography, the autonomous thrust and semiotic potential of abstraction, the political ambitions of the avant-garde, and the impact of consumer and media cultures. Most discussion sections will center around original works of art and take place in the Smart Museum of Art.

Instructor(s): C. Mehring     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment. For nonmajors, any ARTH 14000 through 16999 course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts.

ARTH 16100. Art of Asia: China. 100 Units.

This course is an introduction to the arts of China focusing on major monuments and artworks produced in imperial, aristocratic, literati, religious, and public milieus. Lectures will reconstruct the functions and the meanings of objects, to better understand Chinese culture through the objects it produced.

Instructor(s): TBD     Terms Offered: TBD
Note(s): Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment. For nonmajors, any ARTH 14000 through 16999 course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts.
Equivalent Course(s): EALC 16100

ARTH 16213. Andean Art and Architecture. 100 Units.

The civilizations of ancient Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador challenge many of our assumptions about the nature of art and society. In this course, we will study traditional Andean forms of art, such as textiles and landscape modification, as well as more familiar media, such as architecture and sculpture. Focusing on the art of the Chavín, Nazca, Moche, Tiwanaku, and Inca civilizations, among others, we will consider the interplay between naturalism and abstraction, imperial control and regional diversity, and the challenges of the Andean environment. In addition to a textbook, we will read scholarly articles addressing aspects of Andean art history. Students will have the opportunity to hone their research and writing skills through short writing assignments and a final research paper drawing on objects in Chicago's superb museum collections.

Instructor(s): C. Brittenham     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): PQ: Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment. This course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts.
Equivalent Course(s): LACS 16213

ARTH 16460. Modern Latin American Art. 100 Units.

This course offers an introductory survey of the art of modern Latin America from the first wave of independence in the early nineteenth century to the present day. Through the study of key artists, movements, and works of art, we will attend to a set of central problems: the formation of collective identities in these new nations, the impact of revolution, dictatorship, and political violence on the development of art in the region, the incorporation of both foreign styles and indigenous traditions, and the shifting definitions of Latin American art. Special emphasis will be placed on developing the skills needed to analyze a wide variety of modern and contemporary art, including painting, sculpture, photography, performance art, and site-specific installations.

Instructor(s): M. Sullivan     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment. This course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts.
Equivalent Course(s): LACS 16460

ARTH 17000 through 18999. Art in Context. May be taken in sequence or individually. Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment. For nonmajors, any ARTH 17000 through 18999 course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts. Courses in this series investigate basic methods of art historical analysis and apply them to significant works of art studied within definite contexts. Works of art are placed in their intellectual, historical, cultural, or more purely artistic settings in an effort to indicate the origins of their specific achievements. An informed appreciation of the particular solutions offered by single works and the careers of individual artists emerges from the detailed study of classic problems within Western and non-Western art.

For nonmajors, these courses meet the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts. Art History majors/minors who wish to take these courses for departmental credit should see the instructor about additional assignments and requirements.

ARTH 17121. The Art of Leonardo da Vinci. 100 Units.

The central focus of this course will be on the small, damaged and disputed body of paintings that Leonardo has left to us, the wealth of his drawings that help us make sense of that problematic heritage and provide the most direct route into his creative thinking, and the hundreds of pages of text in the form of notes in mirror-image handwriting that comment on art and so many other subjects. Our structure will be roughly chronological, including his late fifteenth-century Florentine artistic and social context (e.g., artists such as Verrocchio, Pollaiuolo, Ghirlandaio, and Botticelli), his two long periods in Milan as a court artist, his triumphant return to Florence and rivalry with the young Michelangelo, his brief and unsatisfying stay in papal Rome, and the little known, mythic final years in France. Among the themes that will be critically examined are: Leonardo’s role in the creation of what is still grandiosely called the High Renaissance; the value and problematic aspects of thinking of him as the quintessential artist-scientist; the significance of the fact that he has been a figure of such obsessive art-historical and broader cultural significance for over 500 years (e.g., readings by Vasari, Freud, and the innumerable artists who have interpreted and mimicked his work); and the ways in which recent scientific and digital imaging have shed surprising amounts of new light on his art. Through the concentrated art-historical material studied, the course will take seriously the attempt to introduce students with little or no background in art history to some of the major avenues for interpretation in this field, including formal, stylistic, iconographical, psychological, social, feminist, theoretical, and reception. Readings are chosen with this diversity of approach in mind.

Instructor(s): C. Cohen     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment. For nonmajors, any ARTH 17000 through 18999 course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts.
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 21414

ARTH 17205. Islamic Gardens in Landscape and Image. 100 Units.

Garden imagery is ubiquitous in the art and architecture of the Islamic world from the eighth century to the eighteenth, and from Spain to India. The poetic trope whereby a visually pleasing object or site is compared to the garden of paradise is equally ubiquitous. But does this imply any historical consistency in the significance of garden imagery, of actual gardens, or of the poetic trope? In this course we explore this question by examining both garden imagery and actual gardens from many different times and places in the Islamic world. How do their visual forms and cultural significance shift according to specific historical circumstances?

Instructor(s): P. Berlekamp     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment. For nonmajors, any ARTH 17000 through 18999 course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts.
Equivalent Course(s): NEAA 17205

ARTH 17410. Frank Lloyd Wright in Chicago and Beyond. 100 Units.

This course looks at Wright's work from multiple angles. We examine his architecture, urbanism, and relationship to the built environment, as well as the socio-cultural context of his lifetime and legend. We take advantage of the Robie House on campus and of the rich legacy of Wright's early work in Chicago; we also think about his later Usonian houses for middle-income clients and the urban framework he imagined for his work (Broadacre City), as well as his Wisconsin headquarters (Taliesin), and spectacular works like the Johnson Wax Factory (a field trip, if funds permit), Fallingwater, and the Guggenheim Museum. By examining one architect's work in context, students gain experience analyzing buildings and their siting, and interpreting them in light of their complex ingredients and circumstances. The overall goal is to provide an introduction to thinking about architecture and urbanism.

Instructor(s): K. Taylor     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment. This course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts.
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 20502

ARTH 17411. Strategies of Modernism in Latin America. 100 Units.

This course departs from Andrea Giunta’s observation that Latin American artists employed three primary strategies (swallowing, appropriation, and inversion) in adopting and modifying forms of cosmopolitan modernism. We will survey Latin American versions of Impressionism, primitivism, Expressionism, Cubism, Futurism, Surrealism, and abstraction in the early twentieth century, asking how artists negotiated between the formal innovations they encountered in Paris and local imperatives to form authentic national cultures. In tracing the movement of artists and forms between Paris and Caracas, Mexico City, Havana, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, and São Paulo, we will investigate the relationship of modern art and modernity under distinct historical conditions. Artists to be studied include Armando Reverón, Tarsila do Amaral, Wifredo Lam, Rufino Tamayo, Frida Kahlo, and Joaquín Torres-García.

Instructor(s): M. Sullivan     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): PQ: Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment. This course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts.
Equivalent Course(s): LACS 17411

ARTH 17610. Modernism. 100 Units.

This course will explore the development of European and American modernism by concentrating on examples in local collections, especially the Smart Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago. The modernist era, from roughly 1860 to 1960, brought dramatic changes in the conception and making of art. We will analyze these by attending to the media of painting, sculpture, and printmaking. The class will meet frequently at the Art Institute, and students will need to be able to arrive at the museum in time for classes beginning there at 3:00 p.m.

Instructor(s): M. Ward     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment. For nonmajors, any ARTH 17000 through 18999 course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts.

ARTH 17611. Envisioning the Colonial Metropolis. 100 Units.

This course explores urbanism and its representations in the colonial enterprises of Spain and Portugal from the 16th to the 18th century. Focusing on four cities, Mexico City (Mexico), Cuzco (Peru), Luanda (Angola), and Salvador da Bahia (Brazil), we will analyze how the policies adopted by the Spanish and Portuguese crowns led to the development of different types of cities, and how indigenous populations contributed to the distinctively local texture of each urban fabric. Bringing together analytical writings on urbanism, architecture, and space with close formal consideration of these cities and their representations in pictorial, cartographic, and literary media, we will consider how urbanism on the one hand and its social uses on the other hand contributed to the political and religious enterprise of colonialism, shaped colonial identities, and helped fashion notions of race and gender. Along with architecture, both durable and ephemeral, and city planning, the course will consider cities as spaces of social and economic interactions, examining processions, parades, and marketplaces as key elements of these cities of empire.

Instructor(s): C. Fromont     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): PQ: Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment. This course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts.
Equivalent Course(s): LACS 17611

ARTH 17700. 19th Century French Art in the Art Institute. 100 Units.

In this course, we will closely examine 19th century paintings and sculptures in the Art Institute of Chicago and seek to understand how and why art changed during this period. Topics to be considered include the meaning of stylistic innovation in the 19th century, the development and dissolution of the genres as landscape and portraiture, and varying conceptions of realism and abstraction. Most class sessions will be devoted to looking at works in the galleries of the Art Institute. Because attendance is mandatory, students should consider whether their schedules will allow time for traveling to and from the museum for class meetings. Assignments include three papers and a variety of written homework exercises.

Instructor(s): M. Ward     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment. This course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts.

ARTH 18700. The Arts of Arabic and Persian Manuscripts. 100 Units.

This undergraduate art in context course focuses on Islamic arts of the book from the eleventh through sixteenth centuries. We will pay particular attention to relationships between painting, calligraphy, and illumination; problems of copying and originality; challenges posed by manuscripts that have been altered by successive generations of users; multiple levels of text-image relationships; and identify special considerations related to the manuscript format. Throughout the seminar we will consider points of congruence and divergence between how such issues were theorized in (translated) primary texts contemporaneous to the manuscripts being studied, and how they are theorized today.

Instructor(s): P. Berlekamp     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment. For nonmajors, any ARTH 17000 through 18999 course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts.

The following courses do not meet the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts.

ARTH 21313. Video Art: The Analog Years. Theory, Technology, Practice. 100 Units.

The course gives a critical introduction to early video and television art—from the proto-televisual impulses in the historical avant-gardes to the increasing proximity between analog and digital technologies in video art in the late 1970s and early 1980s. We will focus on the various technical aspects of analog video, as well as on artistic practice and early writings on the subject. Topics may include the technics and politics of time; video, feedback systems, and ecology; the reconfiguration of the artist’s studio; guerilla politics and alternative TV; video and autobiography; the relation between video and painting; the musical history of video; the invention of new machines; and video as a “television viewer.”

Instructor(s): I. Blom     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 31313

ARTH 22611. The Politics of Luxury in the Middle Ages. 100 Units.

This course explores conspicuous consumption, the love of costly things, the lure and power of precious materials, and the important role played by the arts in the definition of status, authority, influence, and pleasure in the Middle Ages. Investigating a series of episodes from the history of medieval luxury, we will explore how precious objects participated in western medieval theological conceptions of gifting as well as politically charged "secular" practices of medieval gift-culture, and how the patronage of works of art served a variety of ideological and social aims, and we will scrutinize the implicit aesthetics and notions of value congealed in works of art and "ars." Not least, the course aims to interrogate how a changing politics of luxury contributed to changing conceptions of the status of the artwork and the artist over the course of the Middle Ages.

Instructor(s): A. Kumler     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Knowledge of art history &/or medieval studies very helpful. Students interested in the course MUST attend the first day of class to remain enrolled or to add the course. Requires consent No
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 32611

ARTH 23801. Soundscapes of the Early Modern City. 100 Units.

This course focuses mainly on the late medieval and Renaissance soundscapes in Italian cities, but owing to the nature of the scholarship, we will be focusing as well on some modern examples as well.  The conceptual framework on which it is based explores a variety of theoretical frameworks that have contributed to the construction of the soundscape as an urban phenomenon.  It will explore such pre-modern themes as the acoustic construction of sacred and secular space, bells and bell towers, the visual and aural aspects of early modern time-keeping practices, ritual forms of music and singing in the public sphere, the auditory practices of civic devotion, the phenomena of mendicant preaching and public storytelling, as well as more modern and industrial soundscapes, such as noise and the circulation of information through urban communication networks.

Instructor(s): N. Atkinson     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 33801

ARTH 24812. Museums and Art. 100 Units.

This course considers how the rise of the art museum in the 19th and 20th centuries affected the making of modern art and the viewing of past art. It is not designed to be a survey course, but rather a historical investigation of certain issues and developments. We will concentrate on the following: what has been said to happen to objects when they are uprooted and moved into the museum; how and why museums have changed display practices so as to get viewers to look at art in new ways; what artists have understood museums to represent and how they have responded to that understanding in their work and their display preferences. Though reference will be made to the contemporary art world, the focus will be on materials and case studies drawn from the French Revolution through the 1960s. French, German, English, and American museums will be featured.

Instructor(s): M. Ward     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 34812

ARTH 25105. Chichen Itza. 100 Units.

The Art and Architecture of Chichen Itza. This course investigates the visual culture of Chichen Itza, one of ancient Mesoamerica’s most cosmopolitan cities. Thriving in the centuries after the collapse of the lowland Maya kingdoms, the city of Chichen Itza articulated a new political and cosmological vision of authority, drawing on traditions from all over Mesoamerica, past and present, to create an innovative visual synthesis. This course will investigate Chichen Itza’s most famous architectural and sculptural monuments in the light of new epigraphic and chronological discoveries, paying close attention to questions of innovation, repetition, and serial production.

Instructor(s): C. Brittenham     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 35105,LACS 25101,LACS 35101

ARTH 25202. Visual Encounters in the Global Renaissance. 100 Units.

This course examines the visual, material, and political encounters between Europeans and peoples from Africa, Asia, and the Americas between the era of European expansion inaugurated circa 1450 to the abolitionist period of the mid-1800s. It seeks to bring a multicultural framework to the understanding of the early modern period. We will examine the role of images, material exchange, and visual reckoning in the early modern institutions and endeavors that helped shape our current world: the Atlantic slave trade, envisioning the other in European and non-European art, religious encounters and conflicts, visual and material exchange in scientific explorations, imperialism and colonialism. Special attention will be given to the enduring effects of these interactions in contemporary European societies and emphasis brought to a critical consideration of the idea of the Renaissance as a keystone of histories of ‘Western’ art, culture, and science.

Instructor(s): C. Fromont     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 35202

ARTH 25810. Global Abstraction. 100 Units.

This course investigates twentieth-century abstraction as a global phenomenon, focusing on the period from 1945 through the 1960s. Case studies will be drawn primarily from the United States, Europe, Latin America, and East Asia, but individual research projects from other regions will be welcome. Themes and questions to be addressed include: the repetition of historical avant-garde strategies such as the grid, the monochrome, and non-compositional order in Europe, the United States, and South America; the global reception and adaptation of Abstract Expressionism; distinct understandings of gesture, mark-making, and subjectivity; the meaning and use of color; the relationship of abstraction to industry and design; the deployment of abstraction as a “weapon of the Cold War” and a strategy of internationalization; and autochthonous definitions of abstraction outside the West. Artists and groups to be studied include: Jackson Pollock, Barnett Newman, Ellsworth Kelly, Agnes Martin, Zero, Blinky Palermo, Georges Mathieu, Lucio Fontana, Neoconcretism, Alejandro Otero, Gutai, and Tansaekhwa.

Instructor(s): M. Sullivan     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 35810,LACS 25810,LACS 35810

ARTH 26101. Painting in South Asia. 100 Units.

This course surveys the rich diversity of painted media in South Asia, from the fifth-century murals that decorate the rock-cut Buddhist caves at Ajanta to contemporary canvases that travel the world. We will explore how the familiar categories with which we describe painting, such as Landscape, Portraiture, Narrative, and even Modern, might be productively reassessed in light of South Asian aesthetic traditions by locating the works in their physical, ritual, and intellectual contexts. The course culminates in the contested spaces of contemporary art, where questions of politics, identity, and intention come to the fore. Although mainly focusing on the painting traditions of India, the course will include painting from Pakistan, the Himalayas, Sri Lanka, and the South Asian diaspora.

Instructor(s): A. Seastrand     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): SALC 28403

ARTH 26600. Early 20th-Century Urban Visions. 100 Units.

It is hard to understand contemporary architectural debate about how cities should develop without knowing its origins in the influential city planning proposals developed by architects and planners in pre–World War II Europe and North America. This course studies those foundations, looking at the period when modernist architects and intellectuals proclaimed the obsolescence of the metropolis just as it came to dominate the modern landscape. We will examine a variety of strategies devised to order or replace the metropolis during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, ranging from the City Beautiful movement in Chicago, Camillo Sitte’s influential critique of Vienna’s Ringstrasse, and the English garden city alternative Lewis Mumford championed for the New York region, to Le Corbusier’s Plan Voisin for Paris and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Broadacre City model displayed in New York’s Rockefeller Center. We conclude with urban renewal in New York and Chicago, and Jane Jacobs’s reaction. Course readings are in primary sources. Focusing on particular projects and their promulgation in original texts and illustrations, as well as in exhibitions and film, we will be especially concerned with their polemical purposes and contexts (historical, socio-cultural, professional, biographical) and with the relationship between urbanism and architecture.

Instructor(s): K. Taylor     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): This course does not meet the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts.
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 36600

ARTH 27505. The Black Arts Movement in Chicago. 100 Units.

This course studies the 1960s–1970s Black Arts Movement in Chicago, in particular its visual artists, in the broader context of African American art and artists in Chicago from the 1940s to the 1990s. The class will make frequent trips to the South Side Community Art Center at 3831 South Michigan Avenue. Topics include the relationship of art to political militancy, the place of history, the formation of a "Black aesthetic," text-image relations, and the uses of different media (painting and sculpture, printmaking, performance).

Instructor(s): R. Zorach     Terms Offered: Autumn

ARTH 28402. The Art of the Maya Tomb. 100 Units.

Over the past 70 years, archaeologists have discovered a number of spectacular burials of ancient Maya kings, queens, and nobles, who went to their graves adorned with jades and elegant textiles, surrounded by painted vessels full of foodstuffs and other offerings. Many other works of Maya art in museums and private collections were likely also removed from tombs, unfortunately under less controlled and documented circumstances. What can these objects teach us about how the Maya understood death and the afterlife? How did the assemblages of objects in the tombs of identifiable historical figures address the shared beliefs of all Mesoamericans as well as particular historical and political circumstances? How did Maya tombs—and beliefs about death—change over time? This course will address these and other questions through a series of case studies of archaeologically excavated tombs, considering logics of sacrifice and assemblage, the relationship between tomb interior and exterior, attitudes towards the past reflected in the burial of heirlooms, and practices of ancestor veneration and commemoration.

Instructor(s): C. Brittenham     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 38402,LACS 28402,LACS 38402

ARTH 29600. Junior Seminar: Doing Art History. 100 Units.

The aim of this seminar is to deepen an understanding of art history as a discipline and of the range of analytic strategies art history affords to students beginning to plan their own BA papers or, in the case of students who are minoring in art history, writing research papers in art history courses. Students read essays that have shaped and represent the discipline, and test their wider applicability and limitations. Through this process, they develop a keener sense of the kinds of questions that most interest them in the history and criticism of art and visual culture. Students develop a formal topic proposal in a brief essay, and write a final paper analyzing one or two works of relevant, significant scholarship for their topics. This seminar is followed by a workshop in Autumn Quarter focusing on research and writing issues for fourth-year students who are majoring in art history, which is designed to help writers of BA papers advance their projects.

Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Required of third-year students who are majoring in art history; open to nonmajors with consent of instructor. This course does not meet the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts.

ARTH 29700. Reading Course. 100 Units.

This course is primarily intended for students who are majoring in art history and who can best meet program requirements by study under a faculty member's individual supervision. The subject, course of study, and requirements are arranged with the instructor.

Terms Offered: Autumn, Winter, Spring
Prerequisite(s): Consent of Instructor and Director of Undergraduate Studies
Note(s): Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Form. Must be taken for a quality grade. With adviser's approval, students who are majoring in art history may use this course to satisfy requirements for the major, a special field, or electives. This course is also open to nonmajors with advanced standing. This course does not meet the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts.

ARTH 29800. Senior Seminar: Writing Workshop. 100 Units.

This workshop is designed to assist students in researching and writing their senior papers, for which they have already developed a topic in the Junior Seminar. Weekly meetings target different aspects of the process; students benefit from the guidance of the workshop instructors, but also are expected to consult with their individual faculty advisers. At the end of this course, students are expected to complete a first draft of the senior paper and to make an oral presentation of the project for the seminar.

Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Required of fourth-year students who are majoring in art history. This course does not meet the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts.

ARTH 29900. Preparation for the Senior Paper. 100 Units.

This course provides guided research on the topic of the senior paper. Students arrange their program of study and a schedule of meetings with their senior paper adviser.

Terms Offered: Autumn, Winter, Spring
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor and Undergraduate Program Chair
Note(s): Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Form. May be taken for P/F grading with consent of instructor. This course may not count toward the twelve courses required in the major. This course does not meet the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts.


Contacts

Undergraduate Primary Contact

Director of Undergraduate Studies
Chelsea Foxwell
CWAC 265

Administrative Contact

Department Coordinator
Joyce Kuechler
CWAC 160
773.702.5880
Email