Department of Art History and Art

Navigation + Search
Home / Art History Fall 2017 Course Offerings

Art History Fall 2017 Course Offerings

ARTH 101                                                                                                        KASSLER-TAUB

PYRAMIDS TO PAGODAS                                                                              MWF 10:35-11:25


Cave paintings, Egyptian pyramids, the Colosseum, Byzantine mosaics, Chinese scroll paintings, Hindu temples, Mayan sculptures, Chartres Cathedral.   ARTH 101 is a broad-ranging course –– geographically and chronologically –– which highlights the major artistic monuments created throughout the world from the Paleolithic era up to the start of the fifteenth century. Students will learn how to look at, discuss, and write about works of art, considering such issues as how historical and cultural contexts shaper the meaning, appearance, and function of art, and how artistic concepts and styles develop and change over time and in different world regions.  In addition to two weekly lectures once a week discussion sessions will provide time to look at and discuss art works in the Cleveland Museum of Art and to review concepts and prepare for examinations and paper writing.  Requirements: Two short papers, two in-class tests, a final examination and participation in discussions and assignments in the small group sessions. Recommended texts: Marilyn Stokstad, Art History, vol. 1; Sylvan Barnet,  A Short Guide to Writing about Art, 10/Pearson-Prentice Hall; 10th edition, 2010 (paperback).


ARTH 203                                                                                                        GIUFFRIDA

ARTS OF ASIA                                                                                                 T TH 10:00-11:15


This course surveys a selection of major developments in the arts of Asia from the bronze age to the nineteenth century in a wide range of media including:  bronzes, statues, painting, ceramics, and architecture.  We explore factors behind the making of works of art, including social, political, religious and personal meanings, while examining the historical contexts for the arts of India, China, Japan, Korea, and Cambodia. Attention will be paid to the material and stylistic qualities of art as well as art’s relationship to the ideas and practices of Buddhism and Hinduism. Visits to the Asian galleries at the Cleveland Museum of Art form an integral part of the course.  Readings on Canvas or available at KSL or Ingalls Library. Formal analysis, midterm, gallery review paper, final, presentation, participation.


ARTH 284                                                                                                        RAGER

HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY                                                                         T TH 11:30-12:45


This course will examine the invention, development, and proliferation of photography in its artistic and cultural contexts, from the advent of the daguerreotype in 1839 to the ubiquity of the digital image today.  Through the close study of significant photographers, photographic technologies, and individual photographs, we will consider issues of politics, gender, nationalism, imperialism, globalization, and class intrinsic to the medium.  We will also explore several pervasive themes throughout the history of photography, including: the tension between indexical knowledge and artistic expression in defining the nature, interpretation and role of photography; the struggle for photography to gain legitimacy as an artistic medium; the artifice inherent in the photograph as self-evident document; the rise of photography in the construction of personal and collective memory; the democratization of the photographic image and the development of amateur practice, as well as the burden of representation and visual surveillance; and the commodification of photography and its function in mass popular entertainment.  Supplementing the course text book, this class will also employ various primary source documents and a range of theoretical texts in order to explore diverse approaches to the medium from its inception to the present.  Class sessions will be a mixture of lecture and in-class discussion of readings and images.  In addition, several classes throughout the semester will take place in the study room and galleries of the Cleveland Museum of Art, as well as the Western Reserve Historical Society, where we will be introduced to a selection of their rich holdings of photographic works, while gaining the tools of first-hand visual analysis.

Course Requirements: one in-class presentation; two short papers; in-class mid-term examination; take-home final examination.

Required Texts: Mary Warner Marien, Photography: A Cultural History 4th ed. (Prentice Hall, 2014) ISBN-10: 0205988946 [paperback]

Alan Trachtenberg, ed. Classic Essays on Photography (Leete’s Island Books, 1980) ISBN-10: 091817208X

Additional required readings will be posted to Canvas.

Recommended text: Gordon Baldwin, Looking at Photographs: A Guide to Technical Terms Rev. Ed. (J. Paul Getty Museum, 2009) ISBN-10: 089236971X


ARTH 308/408            /RLGN 308                                                                              GIUFFRIDA

DAOISM: VISUAL CULTURE, HISTORY AND PRACTICE                                  T TH 1:00-2:15

This course explores developments in the visual culture, history and practices of Daoist religious traditions in China from the third to twentieth centuries. Our historically and conceptually structured examination draws upon a balance of visual, textual, and material sources, while considering the various approaches scholars have employed to understand the history and development of Daoist traditions. Topics include: sacred scriptures and liturgies, biographies and visual narratives, iconography and functions of the pantheon of gods and immortals, views of the self and the body, practices of inner alchemy and self-cultivation, thunder deities and exorcism, dietetics and medicine, and modes of meditation and ritual.

Readings on Canvas or available at KSL or Ingalls Library. Formal analysis, midterm, exhibition paper, final, presentation, participation.


ARTH 357/457                                                                                                            GERTSMAN AND QUINTANILLA


 This course will introduce art of the medieval world, considered globally, with a special focus on monuments surviving from the seventh to fifteenth centuries. Emphasis will be on sculpture and architecture; other media—manuscript illumination, wall paintings, ceramics, and metalwork—will be discussed in conjunction with the related sites. We will travel, virtually, to Pre-Columbian Yucatan, Judeo-Christian Europe, Islamic Spain and Central Asia, Hindu and Buddhist India, Tibet, and Southeast Asia. Each week one or two monuments will be discussed in depth, and other sites will be introduced to place it into historical and art historical context. Among the themes we will explore are the power relationships between sovereignty and religion; visual expressions of politics and propaganda; the roles of literature, dance, and music; the ways devotion, liturgy and theology informed architecture and iconographic programs; the importance of pilgrimage; and influences of international trade. Objects from CMA’s permanent collections will form an integral part of the course, which will serve to provide valuable contextualization of the pieces. Medieval Wonders will be held concurrently with CMA’s special exhibition centered on a monumental temple wall carved with Buddhist bas relief sculpture from the medieval Khmer site of Banteay Chhmar in western Cambodia. Each unit will end with the consideration of collecting practices prevalent in the particular field under consideration. Requirements: undergraduates: two exams, research paper, participation: 15%; graduate students: two exams, research paper, presentations, participation, additional readings


ARTH 395                                                                                                        AS ARRANGED


This course is designated for undergraduate 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 faculty supervisor the semester before enrolling in the internship.

ARTH 398                                                                                                        AS ARRANGED

INDEPENDENT STUDY IN ART HISTORY                                                       

Individual research reports on special topics.  Consent of supervising Professor and permit is required.


ARTH 399                                                                                                        AS ARRANGED

HONORS THESIS                                                                                            

 Consent of supervising Professor and a permit is required.


ARTH 490                                                                                                        F 2:15-4:45

Visual Arts and Museums                                                                             Witchey


ARTH 491 A & B                                                                                             AS ARRANGED

VISUAL ARTS AND MUSEUMS: INTERNSHIP                                                            WITCHEY

Consent of supervising Professor.  Prerequisite:  ARTH 490


ARTH 494 (A-F)                                                                                               AS ARRANGED


Consent of supervising Professor and a permit is required for all Directed Readings BEFORE registering.


A: Non-Western Art

B:  Ancient Art

C: Medieval Art

D: Renaissance and Baroque Art

Baroque Art

E: American Art

F: Modern Art


ARTH 495                                                                                                        GERTSMAN

METHODOLOGIES OF ART HISTORY                                                             T 10:00-12:30

This is a writing- and discussion-intensive methodology course, open only to first-year graduate students in the department. Besides offering a synoptic view of critical theory and something of a smorgasbord of various art historical methodologies, the course will focus on sharpening your abilities to look and read critically; to do research effectively; to write and edit research papers; to understand and use the many tools of art historical analysis; to use sophisticated art historical vocabulary (as opposed to jargon); and to construct successful oral presentations. The larger goal of this course is to engage you with new ways of thinking and writing about art and its history. I hope that over the course of this semester, you will realize your own voice as a writer within our field’s larger discourse. Requirements: several short papers, two types of oral presentations, research paper, participation.


 ARTH 551                                                                                                        KASSLER-TAUB


                                                                                             This seminar will explore the remarkable depth of Italy’s artistic and architectural contact with the Islamic world in the period between the fall of Constantinople (1453) and the Battle of Lepanto (1571). With a focus on exchanges between Italian centers such as Venice, Florence, and Pisa and the Mamluk Sultanate, the Safavid Empire, and the Ottoman Empire, we will consider a broad range of case studies, including: the role of the traveling painter and architect in foreign courts; the trade in luxury goods such as textiles, ceramics, and glassware; spolia and the re-appropriation of objects and monuments; shared texts and technologies; pictorial and architectural ornament; and the concepts of artistic portability and mobility. The course will offer an opportunity to engage critically with the theory, methodology, and historiography of early modern cross-cultural exchange in Europe and the Mediterranean. Throughout, we will work closely with fifteenth- and sixteenth-century objects from the European and Islamic collections of the CMA.

Requirements: Readings for the course will be available as PDF files on the course website. Students will be asked to post brief responses to weekly readings and are expected to participate actively in seminar discussions. Independent research projects will culminate in a formal seminar presentation and paper (15-20 pages).


ARTH 570                                                                                                        RAGER

SEMINAR IN 19TH CENTURY ART: THE AGE OF EMPIRES:                            W 10:35-1:05



This course will explore objects from the collections of the Cleveland Museum of Art within the context of British and French imperialism.  Focusing on the long nineteenth century, this course will trace the complex and often fraught legacy of imperialism and colonialism across the globe.  We will investigate the explicit and implicit networks of exchange, power, and resistance that operate through and around a diverse selection of objects from a range of media and geographical locations.  We will consider not only objects produced under the aegis of British and French imperial authority, but also the complex provenance of objects in the museum that circulated through imperial channels.  Ultimately, the goal for this course will not be to denigrate or censure objects or artists for their role in the discourse of imperialism, but rather to open up a dialogue about the legacy of imperialism and the responsibility of the museum today to give voice to these complicated stories.  We will consider the ethics of curatorial stewardship and the responsibility to museum audiences in navigating these rough waters.  This course will include frequent visits to the galleries of the CMA, as well as the Art Study Room, as we study objects from across the collections in consultation with curators and conservators.  As part of the series of Mellon Foundation graduate collection seminars, this course will culminate in a virtual tour for museum visitors produced by seminar students discussing objects in the CMA.


ARTH 601                                                                                                        AS ARRANGED

RESEARCH IN ART HISTORY                                                                          

List name of supervising Professor.


ARTH 610A                                                                                                     AS ARRANGED


List name of supervising Professor


ARTH 701                                                                                                        AS ARRANGED


List name of supervising Professor.











Page last modified: August 1, 2017