Department of Art History and Art

Navigation + Search
Home / Art History Spring 2018 Course Offerings

Art History Spring 2018 Course Offerings




ARTH 102 Art History II

M/W/F 10:35-11:25, On Campus

Prof. Andrea Wolk Rager


Course Description:  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 Americas, 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 (6th edition), volume 2 [ISBN-13: 978-0134479262; ISBN-10: 0134479262].  Additional required readings will be posted to Canvas.

ISBN-13: 978-0205877577].  Additional required readings will be posted to Canvas.

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 discussion.



ARTH 250: Art in the Age of Discovery

Art and Architecture in Renaissance Europe (1400-1600)

T/TH 2:30-3:45, Classroom A, CMA

Prof. Elizabeth Kassler-Taub


Renaissance Europe was a site of political, cultural, and religious revolution. Naval battles, territorial conquest, foreign trade, and scientific discovery fueled innovations in the making of art and the design of buildings and cities. Taking a broad thematic approach, this survey will consider issues such as: the impact of anatomical dissection on the representation of the human body, developments in how cartographers mapped and imagined the known world, and the use of the urban space to craft and express power. A focus will be placed on major artists and architects across Italy, Spain, and Northern Europe, including: Leonardo da Vinci, Titian, Andrea Palladio, Albrecht Dürer, Pieter Bruegel, and El Greco.

Requirements: Course readings will be available as PDF files on the course website. Students will be expected to participate actively in course discussions and gallery visits in the CMA. Assignments will include: two short papers (5 pages), an in-class mid-term examination, and a final paper (10 pages) accompanied by a brief in-class presentation.

ARTH 302/402 Buddhist  Arts in Asia

Visual and Material Culture of Buddhism in China and Korea

Prof. Noelle Giuffrida, CMA Classroom A

T/TH 1-2:15


This course explores Chinese and Korean Buddhist visual and material culture with a focus on modes of cultural, religious, and artistic transmission and exchange from the fifth to eighteenth centuries.  In tracing the major historical developments in Buddhist imagery and objects, this class examines their relationships with belief, practice, and ritual. We consider the ways that artistic traditions have developed and adapted, both within China and Korea as well as cross-culturally.  Topics include: early Buddhist tomb murals; stone-carved cave temples; sacred sites and pilgrimage; representations of the Buddhist pantheon; Buddhism and rulership; the roles of women as patrons of Buddhist art; and imagery associated with visualization practices and the veneration of relics. Visits to the Asian galleries at the Cleveland Museum of Art form an integral part of the course.


ARTH 349/449:

Gothic Art: Vision and Matter

Prof. Elina Gertsman, CMA Classroom A

T/TH 11:30-12:45

This course will examine the development and dissemination of Gothic art in Western Europe in the High and Late Middle Ages. We will consider a variety of media, including architecture, metalwork, sculpture, manuscript illumination, panel paintings, fresco cycles, and small devotional objects. As we study medieval art in its socio-historical contexts – private and public, monastic and political, liturgical and lay – we will pay special attention to issues of patronage, relationships between texts and images, the introduction of visionary and mystical devotion, attitudes towards education and authority, differences between male and female piety, modes of medieval viewing, and reception and manipulation of art by medieval audiences. Visits to the CMA will form an integral part of the course. Assignments: two exams; research paper; participation; additional readings, presentations, and reading critiques for grad students


ARTH 362/462: Issues in Early Modern Southern European Art

From the Studiolo to the Piazza: Late Renaissance and Baroque Sculpture (1550-1750)

T/TH 10-11:15, CMA Classroom A

Prof. Elizabeth Kassler-Taub


This course will consider dynamic changes in how sculpture was designed, experienced, and understood in Italy between 1550 and 1750. During a period marked by cultural upheaval, new religious doctrine, and shifts in the global balance of power, sculptors launched experiments that pushed the boundaries of their craft and challenged the relationship between sculpture and the other arts, most notably architecture. Using sculpture as a lens, we will rethink key questions and explore new directions in late Renaissance and Baroque art history, from the interplay between naturalism and illusionism to the concept of materiality. Topics to be considered include: public sculpture and fountains; the role of sculpture in performance and festivals; the culture of collecting and the rise of antiquarianism; the phenomenon of the small bronze and sculpture’s relationship to the decorative arts; stucco and the gilded surface; gender and the sculpted body; and the sculptural sketch and copy. Our concentration will be on Italy, with frequent comparisons to France, Flanders, and Central Europe. Throughout the course, we will work closely with objects in the European collection of the CMA.

Requirements: Course readings will be available as PDF files on the course website. Students will be expected to participate actively in course discussions and gallery visits in the CMA. Assignments will include: a short paper on an object in the collection of the CMA accompanied by a presentation of the object to the class; a final research paper (15 pages for 300 level; 20 pages for 400 level); and a presentation of independent research (10 minutes for 300 level; 20 minutes for 400 level)


ARTH 382/482 (ESTD 382) Art, Eco-criticism, and the Environment

Prof. Andrea Wolk Rager

M/W 12:45-2:00, On Campus


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 Canvas

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 395



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 Majors Seminar

The Roles of Acquisition: Collecting, Exhibiting, and Interpreting China and Japan for the Museum

Prof. Noelle Giuffrida, CMA Classroom E

Thursday 10-12:30


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 Chinese and Japanese art. How and why did this occur? How and why have museums in the United States, Britain, China, Japan, and Taiwan collected and displayed Asian objects as art?  In this course, we will take a cross-cultural and comparative approach to explore the meanings created by the assemblage of Asian objects in museums. Through a series of case studies, we will examine the development of specific museum collections of 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 Asian objects. Frequent visits to the Cleveland Museum of Art will anchor our investigations.


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 490 B

Visual Art and Museums

Prof. Holly Witchey, CMA Library Seminar Room

Wednesday 2:15-4:45


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 institution. As a result of this course, students should be familiar with the following topics:

  • The historic development of the museum, from its origins in collecting

practices to its modern incarnation as an institution

  • The development and care of a collection, including acquisition, cataloguing,

and conservation

  • The display and housing of a collection, including internal and external

museum architecture

  • The study and interpretation of the collection/exhibition, considering

diverse publics

  • The governance of the institution, including project management, finance,

and administration

Through the study of these topics, the student should be familiar with the following


o The museum as a place for learning, research and scholarship.

o The museum as steward of cultural property & issues of ethics and the


As a result of studying with the course topics and concepts outlined above and the

desired outcomes specified below, students should be prepared to undertake a

professional level internship. In addition, through undertaking course assignments

students will gain proficiency in written and verbal expression and deepen skills in

critical thinking, analysis, and problem solving. While the acquisition of foreign

language skills lies outside the scope of this course, students are nonetheless

encouraged to develop their skills in this arena in order to read and interpret

foreign language materials often associated with objects and museum projects.

490A – Students study the general history of museums, museum collections and

related aspects of care, research, interpretation and scholarship.

490 B Students study the museum as an institution including management.



ARTH 494 A-F


Independent Study

Consent of professor


ARTH 496


TH 1:15-3:45, CMA Library Seminar Room

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 545:

Seminar in Medieval Art: Vision, Image, Imagination

Prof. Elina Gertsman, CMA Library Seminar Room

Tuesday 2:30-5:00

This seminar will explore the multivalent meanings of vision in the Middle Ages; our special focus will be on objects created between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries, reflecting the strengths of the CMA collections. We will tackle the idea of vision from several perspectives, physiological as well as devotional, and explore its relationship with medieval images, memory theories, and concepts of imagination. At the crux of our inquiry will be the discourse of visuality—the culturally constructed way of seeing—and its many reverberations through the late medieval material and literary cultures. Be prepared to read about optics; intellectual taxonomies of vision; dream visions; mystical visions; the physicality of the gaze; mnemonic values of seeing; and visions of the imaginary. Primary source material will be complemented by recent and plentiful scholarly explorations of medieval notions of what it meant to see. The seminar will culminate in an exhibition of manuscript folios, which will provide the primary visual source material for your final papers. Assignments: leading discussions, readings’ critiques, participation, presentation, research paper.


ARTH 530

Seminar in Byzantian Art

The Agency of Monastic Visual Culture in Byzantium

Prof. Elizabeth Bolman, Library Seminar Room

Wednesday 10:35-1:05

Monks were powerful players in Byzantine society, claiming personal poverty but deploying substantial funds on monumental churches and their decoration, as well as on other types of visual culture. In this class, we will explore the history of this association of ascetic wealth and poverty, and examine the ways in which the dynamic worked over time, from the fourth through the fifteenth centuries. We will consider whether monastic art and architecture followed a different etiquette than other types of material expression in Byzantium. We will endeavor to ascertain whether or not gender affected visual production in any way (e.g. expense, iconography). While our overall scope is large, we will engage with specific case studies, and examine the similarities and differences between these examples over time and across the empire. Students may, with permission, choose a subject that is within the cultural sphere of Byzantium, but not within the boundaries of the empire, for example Mar Musa al-Habashi, in Syria. For the final project, students may choose between a traditional research paper and a digital exhibition or other digital expression of the results of the project. No background in Byzantine art is required.


ARTH 601                                                                                                                                                                                        



List name of supervising Professor.





List name of supervising Professor


ARTH 701                                                                                                                                                                                         


List name of supervising Professor.










































































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.









Page last modified: November 9, 2017