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Art History Spring 2016 Course Offerings

Posted on November 13, 2015






MWF 10:30-11:20

Prof. Andrea Wolk Rager


This course takes a broad view of the history of art, tracing major developments from the 14th century to the present in Europe and the America, as well as examining key aspects of African and Asian art. In this class we will discuss significant artists, objects and movements, with special emphasis on painting, sculpture, architecture, the decorative arts, and print media. These works will be studied in their social and historical contexts, with consideration of issues of style, subject matter, meaning, technique, and aesthetics. We will also focus on various methodological approaches to the history of art, focusing on questions of gender, class, and globalization, questioning the formation of the canon as we trace the stories of art and its creation.  This class will take advantage of the rich collections of the Cleveland Museum of Art, with regular sessions in the galleries, allowing students to acquire the skills of visual analysis through firsthand engagement with actual art objects.

Required textbook: Marilyn Stokstad’s Art History (5th edition), volume 2 [ISBN-10: 0205877575

ISBN-13: 978-0205877577].

Course requirements: Two in-class exams, final exam, three short papers in response to objects in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art, and participation in weekly small group



ARTH 270


MW 12:30-1:45

Prof. Henry Adams

The class will survey the first 30 centuries of American art, from the masterful examples of stone-craft created by Native Americans 3000 years ago, to the creations of the early 20th century.  The heart of the class will examine the dramatic changes that have taken place in American art since the 17th century, as European settlement expanded from the Eastern seaboard to embrace an entire continent, as living patterns changed from small villages to cities of a million or more people, and as economic production shifted from agriculture to heavy industry.  The emphasis of the class will be on painting, by figures such as John Singleton Copley, Thomas Cole, Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, and Mary Cassatt.  The class will also include architecture, decorative arts, literature, music and film.  Requirements: There will be several short writing assignments and a final paper.


ARTH 340/440      


TTH 10:00-11:20

Prof.  Noelle Giuffrida


Our chronological and thematic exploration of Chinese painting will focus primarily on works from the tenth through seventeenth centuries (Song – Qing dynasties). We consider the stylistic development of major genres of Chinese painting including landscapes, figures, narratives, fur-and-feathers, as well as Buddhist and Daoist pictures. While we will address major figures and canonical works, we also look at paintings by lesser-known and unidentified imperial court artists.  We pay attention to the diverse formats, types of brushwork, and the role of inscriptions, colophons and seals, all of which are important for understanding Chinese painting. Major themes include: patronage and collecting, paintings as social or political commentary, iconography of Buddhist and Daoist pictures, textual traditions of Chinese criticism and history, as well as connoisseurship and other scholarly approaches to the study of Chinese painting. Close examination of paintings from the Cleveland Museum of Art’s world-renowned collection, particularly those in the Focus Gallery exhibition Masterpieces of Chinese Painting, are an integral part of the course.

Requirements for 308: Facebook postings responding to readings, two short papers, ArtLens collaborative project, paper & presentation, and active participation in class discussions.

Additional requirements for 408:  Graduate students complete all listed under 308 plus four additional meetings, supplementary readings, and one book review.

Course readings will consist of articles and book chapters available as PDF files on BlackBoard as well as exhibition catalogues and books placed on reserve at the CMA’s Ingalls Library.  Short films and video lectures are also also incorporated into our course materials.


ARTH 382/482 (ESTD 382)


MW 12:30-1:45

Prof. Andrea Wolk Rager


As issues of sustainability and environmental impact have become increasingly dominant concerns in contemporary society, eco-criticism has emerged as a vital methodological thread across the humanities.  Motivated by ethical as well as scholarly concerns, eco-criticism not only enacts a fundamental examination of nature as an ideological construct, but also seeks to investigate the complex interrelationship between humanity and the environment.  Concurrently, there has been a marked interest in studying the role of “green issues” in contemporary art, particularly in tracing the development of earth art or eco-art from the early 1970s to the present.  The goal of this seminar is to forge a link between these two emergent strands by tracing the complex relationship between art and the environment from the early nineteenth-century to the present, seeking to thereby assess the capaciousness of eco-criticism as a methodological approach to art history.

Required Textbook: Ben Tufnell, Land Art (Tate, 2007) ISBN-10: 1854376047; ISBN-13: 978-1854376046; additional required readings will be posted to Blackboard or available on reserve at Ingalls Library in the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Requirements for 382: Four object papers; one fifteen-minute oral presentation; choice of final research paper or art project; participation in class discussion.

Requirements for 482: Graduate students will be responsible for all of the above, plus additional weekly readings and bi-weekly meetings, and to serve as discussion leader for one class.


ARTH 384/484


MW 3:00-4:15

Prof. Henry Adams


In the 18th century, Americans created not only a political revolution but an artistic and cultural one as well.  For the first time they produced paintings, buildings, furniture and silver that rivaled the finest productions of Europe; and notably, many of the leaders of the American Revolution, such as Paul Revere, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson, also made significant contributions to the arts.  The course will devote particular attention to the emergence of accomplished representational painting, by such figures as John Singleton Copley and Benjamin West.  We will also examine the architecture of buildings that have become national icons, such as George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, and the National Capitol in the newly created city of Washington D.C.  Throughout the course we will consider the role not only of privileged classes but of slaves, Native Americans, women, and other minority groups.  Requirements: The course will entail weekly readings and both verbal and written reports.


ARTH 392/492



TH 5-7:30 Cleveland Institute of Art

Prof. Jose Teixeira


This joint course, between CWRU Department of Art History and the Cleveland Institute of Art, functions as a seminar and a meeting point, bringing together Art students and Art History majors. Through a series of visiting speakers, including artists and researchers, emphasis will be placed on the productive intersections of Art as Research, Art as Engagement, and Art as Politics.

This course will navigate around issues that have become central to contemporary art, seeking to open channels for exchange and discussion on the following topics and questions, rather than strictly answering them:


 Theory versus Practice – or a more combined art and research model?

 Aesthetics versus Ethics – or a more integrated approach?

 Interdisciplinarity – a more dynamic interrelationship of different media, and fields of study?

 Political Art – what forms of social engagement can art generate?

Collaboration and Participation – what possibilities, challenges and contradictions?


Many artists no longer define themselves as medium-specific, but primarily as visual artists and researchers. Research-based art is predominantly discursive, performative, context-specific, and interdisciplinary. This fluidity among media and subjects allows one to move beyond established categories, and think across boundaries, often enriching the creative process.  As an example of the abovementioned, “social practice” or “participatory art” has emerged as one of the most popular and controversial trends, as a path engaged with community, participation, responsibility, and political activism.


In addition to the guest lecturers, students will be exposed to readings, screenings, and creative projects, being able to contextualize them as the reflection of our current economic, political, and socio-cultural moment. While looking critically at such practices, they will learn about their historical lineage and interdependence with other fields. Multiple short writing assignments, and a main final project, will be developed throughout the semester.

Requirements for 392:  Two short critiques on selected guest speakers, a powerpoint presentation, a final research paper of 8-10 pages, and participation in class discussions.

Requirements for 492:  Three short critiques on selected guest speakers, a powerpoint presentation, a final research paper of 12-15 pages, and participation in class discussions.


ARTH 395                                                                                                                            


Prof. Noelle Giuffrida                                                                                                                                                                

This course is designated for students seeking professional experience in art history. It focuses on the museum experience (registration, exhibition, interpretation, and administration) although students may also elect to conduct internships in museum-related environments such as art conservation. Students are encouraged to have gained significant experience in art history coursework before embarking on an internship. Students must identify an internship and supervisor as well as a campus internship supervisor the semester before enrolling in the internship.


ARTH 396    



TH 1:15-3:45

Prof. Noelle Giuffrida

Since inception in eighteenth-century Europe, museums have provided modern societies with a powerful tool to display and define their own cultures as well as those from around the world. During the twentieth century, the Cleveland Museum of Art built a world-class collection of East Asian art. How and why did this occur? How and why have museums in the United States, Britain, China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan collected and displayed Chinese, Japanese and Korean objects as art?  In this course, we take a cross-cultural and comparative approach to explore the meanings created by the assemblage of East Asian objects in museums. Through a series of case studies, we examine the development of specific museum collections of East Asian materials, as well as the national, institutional, cultural, and personal aims for collecting, displaying, and interpreting them. In the process, we will consider how museums have re-framed objects beyond their original contexts; the overlapping roles of private collectors, dealers, curators, and scholars; and the complex motives (e.g., national identity, cross-cultural diplomacy, preservation of cultural heritage) that museums have had for acquiring objects. Frequent visits to the Cleveland Museum of Art will anchor our investigations. We also examine emerging interactive technologies that are changing how we experience East Asian art, both within and beyond the physical spaces of the museum.


Limited to Art History majors. Counts as SAGES Senior Capstone.


Requirements: Weekly Facebook postings responding to readings, short case study paper, ArtLens collaborative project, final paper, presentation, and active participation in class discussions.


Course readings will consist of articles and book chapters available as PDF files on BlackBoard as well as exhibition catalogues and books placed on reserve at the CMA’s Ingalls Library.  Short films and video lectures are also also incorporated into our course materials.



ARTH 398                                                                                                                                                                                    


Individual research and reports on special topics.  Consent of Professor.


ARTH 399                                                                                                                                                                                    

HONORS THESIS                                                                                                                                                                         

Consent of Department Chair.  List name of supervising Professor


ARTH 489                                                                                                                                                                                      

MA QUALIFYING PAPER                                                                                                                                                          

Graduating Art History (ARH) Masters students only.


ARTH 490B                                                                                                                                                                                   


T 10:00-12:30                                                                                                                             

Prof. Holly Witchey

This course examines the idea of the art museum in both its historical and contemporary manifestations, focusing on the context of Western Europe and the United States. The art museum is a rich topic; this sequence of courses is mainly concerned with the collecting and exhibiting institutions. 490 B focuses on aspects of the museum that are not specifically collection and conservation oriented including exhibitions communications and marketing, management and governance, and as the museum as a site for learning and community engagement. The inter-connections between these broad fields will be demonstrated and reinforced throughout the semester.

ARTH 491B                                                                                                                                                                                


Prof. Holly Witchey

Prerequisite:  ARTH 490A & B


ARTH 496


TH 1:15-3:45

Prof. Heather Galloway

This course will introduce students to the examination methods, terminology, ethics and goals of art conservation as it supports art historical research and practice.  We will explore the materials and construction of cultural artifacts looking for commonalities across media and cultures.  Assignments will focus on finding ways to describe and understand the physical object, the appearance of aging materials and the degree to which that alteration is or is not accepted.  As much as is possible, the class will be taught from the collections on display at the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) so that the students become familiar with reading the evidence of manufacture and condition in their direct study of art.   These observations will be augmented by in-class visits to conservation labs at the CMA to examine objects closely and to engage in discussions with conservators on how their treatment interventions affect what we see including their approaches to aesthetic compensation.

Readings:  Course readings will consist of articles and chapters of books that will be placed on reserve in the Ingalls Library at the CMA and/or posted on blackboard as PDFs.  Course Requirements:  Active participation in class discussions; one (1-2page) ungraded visual analysis of materials and structure and one longer technical research paper (12-15page) both based on objects in the CMA collection; consultation with CMA staff conservators with a knowledge base applicable to the research paper; and an in-class presentation based on that research.


ARTH 552


T 1:15-3:45

Prof. Catherine Scallen


Two of the most dynamic and consequential art centers of northern Europe were Antwerp in the sixteenth century and Amsterdam in the seventeenth century.  Neither city had a strong artistic tradition before the period of their domination in the visual arts. It was their preeminent roles as major centers for early modern capitalism that led to conditions where the arts of painting and printmaking flourished.  The two cities were also the sites of the first extensive open art markets in Europe.  We will read about the social, political, religious, and economic characteristic of these two cities.  Then we will focus on the career strategies of the significant artists who worked in them, such as  Quinten Massys, Joachim Patenir, Joos van Cleve, Pieter Aertsen, and Pieter Bruegel in Antwerp and Thomas de Keyser, Pieter Codde, Ferdinand Bol, Rembrandt van Rijn, Pieter de Hooch and Jacob van Ruisdael in Amsterdam.  From time to time we will also consider other major Netherlandish art centers ( e.g. Bruges, Brussels, Leiden, Delft) that provide comparative material about patronage, markets, and subjects.  Note: Professor Bret Rothstein of Indiana University, a scholar of sixteenth-century Netherlandish art, will give a lecture entitled “Toys for Grownups in the Early Modern Low Countries”  Friday April 15 at 5:30; attendance will be required of class members. I hope that we can also set up an informal discussion with him earlier that Friday afternoon.


Requirements:  The seminar meetings will focus on extensive discussion of readings done in common each week.  Every seminar member is expected to participate in these discussions  regularly as a seminar requirement. Two-person teams will also help to lead the discussion each week. Finally, each participant will deliver an abbreviated version of their semester research project in class and provide an annotated bibliography for the other participants at that time.  The research project will culminate in a 15-18 page research paper. We will be reading articles, book chapters and exhibition catalogue essays weekly that will be scanned and posted on Google Drive whenever possible.


ARTH 601                                                                                                                                                                                    

RESEARCH IN ART HISTORY                                                                                                                                    

List name of supervising Professor.



List name of supervising Professor

ARTH 701                                                                                                                                                                                     

DISSERTATION PH.D.                                                                                                

List name of supervising Professor.







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