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Spring 2015 Art History Courses


ARTH 102                                                                                                             


MWF 10:30-11:20


The second half of a two-semester survey of world art highlighting the major monuments of art made in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe from 1400 to the present. Special emphasis on visual analysis, historical and sociocultural contexts, and objects in the Cleveland Museum of Art.  Reading: Marilyn Stokstad and Michael Cothren, Art History (Vol. 2, 4th Edition) ISBN 0205744214; additional readings will be posted on Blackboard. Requirements: 3 exams and two short papers; active participation in class discussions and group activities; frequent visits to the Cleveland Museum of Art, including Friday class meetings.

ARTH 203


TTH 2:45-4:00


A thematic survey of some major developments in the arts of Asia from the bronze age to the present in a wide range of media, including sculpture, painting, ceramics, architecture, prints, and installations.  The course explores factors behind the making of works of art, including social, political and religious meanings, while examining the historical contexts for the arts of India, China, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia.  Attention will be paid to the relationship between art and the ideas and practices of Buddhism, Hinduism, Shinto, and Daoism.  Course topics include:  secular and sacred narrative scroll painting, landscape painting, Buddhist monuments, Hindu temples, ancient bronzes, expressions of resistance and reclusion in the visual arts, cross-cultural exchanges within Asia and with Europe, and the role of Asian artists in the contemporary international art market. Requirements: two exams (midterm and final), weekly reading responses, two short papers, active participation in class discussions.  Textbook: Neave, Blanchard and Sardar.  Asian Art. Pearson, 2014.  Other readings and videos through BlackBoard and online.

ARTH 226


TTH 10:00-11:15


This survey course explores the history of Greek and Roman sculpture from the Mycenaean period up through the reign of Constantine. Students learn how to analyze works of sculpture in terms of form, function, and iconography. Particular emphasis is placed on situating works of sculpture within the changing historical, cultural, political, and religious contexts of ancient Greece and Rome. Students will study a variety of kinds of sculptures—such as free-standing statues, reliefs, and engraved gems—from across the ancient Greek and Roman worlds. The course will introduce students to famous works such as the sculptures of the Parthenon in Athens and Arch of Constantine in Rome but also to lesser known but equally important works. As we study sculpture from ancient Greece and Rome, we will consider questions of design, patronage, artistic agency, viewer reception, and cultural identity. We will also consider the complex relationship between Greek and Roman culture, as these two major civilization interacted across centuries. Readings: Course readings will consist of articles, book chapters, exhibition catalogues, and ancient sources in translation; these will be placed on reserve in Ingalls Library at the Cleveland Museum of Art and/or posted online as PDFs. Requirements: Three-four quizzes, midterm and final exams, reading responses, one 5-7 page paper.

ARTH 271 (AMST 271)


MW 12:30-1:45


The class will survey the development of American art from the late 19th century to the present—a period of tumultuous cultural change, which was one of tumultuous artistic change as well.  These changes provided the framework for the world we live in today.  Painting will be emphasized but the course will also consider architecture, the decorative arts, film, literature and music; and it will touch on cultural issues, such as the changing role of women.  Requirements: The grade will be based primarily on writing assignments and class participation.  Recommended reading:  Henry Adams, What’s American About American Art?, Cleveland Museum of Art, 2009.

ARTH 329/429

MARVELS OF ROME: Monuments and their Decoration in the Roman Empire

TTH 1:15-2:30


This course examines major buildings of the ancient Roman world, including Nero’s Golden House, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli, and the villa of Piazza Armerina in Sicily. We will explore one monument a week, delving into the architecture, painted and sculptural decoration, and social functions of each monuments. Students will gain a new appreciation and deeper understanding of some of the most iconic buildings of the classical tradition.  Course readings: Course readings will consist of articles, book chapters, exhibition catalogues, and ancient sources in translation; these will be placed on course reserve and/or posted online as PDFs. Students enrolled in the 400-level may be required to do additional reading each week.  Requirements (300-level): Reading responses, participation in class discussions, one 4-5 page paper, one 10-12 page research paper, oral presentation of research topic. Undergraduate students may be asked to lead one class discussion of the assigned readings.  Requirements (400-level): Same as for 300-level, but with a longer (15-20 page) research paper and additional course readings. Graduate students will also lead at least one class discussion.

ARTH 334/434/CLSC 334


MW 12:30-1:45


This course explores the development of Greek art and architecture over three millennia from abstract Cycladic marble figurines to replicas of fresco painting buried in the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. It will address the latest archaeological discoveries and examine major sites such as Athens, Olympia and Delphi. Requirements: There will be a midterm, final, and paper, presented both orally and in written form.

ARTH 358/458


MW 12:30-1:45


This course will explore the meanings and representations of the body in western medieval culture. Topics will include bleeding bodies, fragmented bodies, lactating bodies, labile bodies, cosmic bodies, physiological bodies, mystical bodies, suffering bodies, edible bodies, enclosed bodies, gendered bodies, Christ’s bodies, Mary’s bodies, decomposing bodies, macabre bodies, resurrected bodies, dead bodies, intercessory bodies, unhinging bodies, translucent bodies, martyred bodies, desirable bodies, desirous bodies, abhorrent bodies, mimetic bodies, nude bodies, marginalized bodies, de-fleshed bodies, social bodies, political bodies, monstrous bodies, mnemonic bodies, and deformed bodies. We will discuss the complex rhetoric of embodiment as it manifests itself in the ambiguous discourse—both medieval and contemporary—on the relationships between the material and intangible, spiritual and physical, somatic and mental, corporeal and ethereal.

Requirements: Undergraduates: Two exams, 30% of grade each; Research paper, 8-12 pp: 25% of the grade; Discussion participation: 15% of the grade

Graduate students: Two exams, 20% of grade each; Research paper, 12-15 pp: 35% of the grade; Presentation and discussion participation: 25% of the grade; additional readings

ARTH 368/468


MW 3:00-4:15


A child’s room is often stocked with marvels: bird nests, shells, shiny stones, books, and drawings.  The great art collections of the Renaissance began in much the same way as these playful assemblages.  From cabinets of curiosities containing treasures from foreign lands, to paintings of nude women by Titian and Raphael, these early collections marked the beginning of the modern art museum.  What do the hoarding tendencies of the Jesuit Athanasius Kircher (1601-1680), founder of the ‘Kircherianum’—a museum filled with taxidermy animals and mechanical inventions—have in common with Ronald Lauder’s recent and widely publicized purchase of a Gustav Klimt painting for $135 million?  Famous American art collectors of the 19th & 20th centuries like Henry Clay Frick, Isabella Stewart Gardner, and Peggy Guggenheim opened these formerly private realms of display to the public, revealing the complex motives and politics inherent to the practice of art collection.

This course will focus first on the conceptual issues that informed early modern collecting in the western world, and subsequently the way that these ideas and modalities later inflected and shaped the history of modern collecting—particularly in the private sector in Europe and America. Reading: all required readings will be posted as PDF’s on Blackboard.  Requirements for undergraduate students: a sequence of three 5-7 pg papers; a take-home, written final exam; brief gallery talks given once per semester; and active participation in class discussions and group activities.  Requirements for graduate students: a series of short, critical reflection papers; a longer 20-30 pg. research paper; an in-class, formal presentation, and active participation in class discussions and group activities.

ARTH 386/486

ISSUES IN AMERICAN ART: Realism Versus Abstraction in 20th Century American Art

MW 9-10:15


For much of the 20th century the issue of “Abstraction” was the single most controversial and fiercely debated artistic issue—the issue that could stir up an argument in any social group and that seemed to be the problem most central to arguments about the meaning and purpose of art.  Indeed, for much of this period the progress of “modern art” was conceived by most leading artists and critics as a march towards more and more radical forms of abstraction.  This class will examine the debate about this issue, and the works of art inspired by it, in the period from the late 19th century up to about the year 2000.  We’ll focus principally on American art groups, such as the Ash Can School, the Stieglitz Group, the Midwestern Regionalists, the Abstract Expressionists, the Pop artists, the Minimalists and the Conceptualists, but will also consider major European movements such as Impressionism and Cubism when they are relevant to American developments. Why was “abstraction” viewed as “modern” throughout most of the 20th century; and why did abstraction largely collapse as an art doctrine in the late years of the 20th century, when it was largely replaced among young artists by an interest in issues of the body, gender, race and social class?   Requirements: The grade will be based primarily on writing assignments and class participation.  300 level students will write weekly short papers.  400 level students will write an extended research paper and will present their paper orally in a class presentation. Reading will focus principally on short scholarly articles and contemporary sources.

ARTH 392/492


Research, Engagement, and Politics in Contemporary Art

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, curators, 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:

 What is contemporary? – possible definitions and conceptual revisions

 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” 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                                                                                                   





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 398                                                                                                                                                   AS ARRANGED


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

ARTH 399                                                                                                                                                   AS ARRANGED

HONORS THESIS                                                                                                                                       STAFF

Consent of Department Chair.  List name of supervising Professor

ARTH 489                                                                                                                                                   AS ARRANGED

MA QUALIFYING PAPER                                                                                                                            STAFF

Graduating Art History (ARH) Masters students only.

ARTH 491B                                                                                                                                              AS ARRANGED



Consent of supervising Professor.  Prerequisite:  ARTH 490A & B

ARTH 496


TH 1:15-3:45


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 517

SEMINAR IN ASIAN ART: History of Collecting and Exhibiting Chinese Art in the 20th Century

T 10:30-1:00


This graduate seminar explores major themes, individuals, institutions, types of objects, and eras in the history of collecting and exhibiting Asian art.  Adopting a cross-cultural and comparative approach, we investigate practices of collecting and display within Asia, and in Britain, Europe, and the United States. We examine personal, institutional, cultural, and national aims for collecting as well as processes involved in collection formation. We also consider how exhibitions have served as social agents of discourse, acts of cultural diplomacy, and their impact on the evolution of artistic canons.

Topics include cross-cultural transfer and re-framing of objects; divergent connoisseurship practices and aesthetic tastes; overlapping roles of private collectors, dealers, curators, and scholars; political, economic, and social factors that affected collecting and display; exhibitions and collections as expressions of cultural and national identity; the roles of imperialism and colonialism; and the circulation of objects in global art markets.   Requirements:  weekly papers on readings, collecting and exhibiting history mini case study paper, book review, research project and paper, oral presentation, active participation in class discussions

ARTH 545

SEMINAR IN MEDIEVAL ART: Piety and Leisure in Late Medieval Europe

W 2:30-5:00


One of the greatest strengths of the Cleveland Museum of Art is its recently reinstalled collection of late medieval European art. The seminar will study a multitude of objects in this collection with a special focus on those associated with the Capetian and Valois dynasties. The two dynasties ruled a kingdom generally known for its political and economic stability, powerful armies, vibrant spiritual and intellectual life, flourishing urban communities, and, most of all, for its magnificent visual and material culture. This culture will be explored in the seminar through the consideration of some of the major themes in late medieval art, keyed to specific objects in the CMA’s collection. They will include late medieval European automata and their Greek, Chinese, and Islamic sources; courtly love and gift-giving; cultures of death; Marian devotion; art and liturgy; vision and affectivity; performative image and private devotion; patronage, identity, and economy; luxury goldsmithing and enamelwork; and cults of saints, relics, and pilgrimages. As a courtesy, Stephen Fliegel will offer several guest lectures in the galleries, focused specifically on object study. The ultimate outcome of the seminar will be a focus exhibition, scheduled for 2016 — the museum’s centennial — which will embrace many of the seminar’s themes, but center on the table fountain, treating it as a prismatic object of sorts.  As part of the course, students will research exhibition objects and write wall text and catalogue entries, thereby gaining invaluable curatorial experience and a publication to be included on their CVs.

ARTH 570

SEMINAR IN 19TH CENTURY EUROPEAN ART: From Pre-Raphaelitism to Aestheticism: Art and Modernity in Victorian Britain

W 11:30-2:00


In recent years, a wealth of new scholarship has emerged not only contextualizing Pre-Raphaelitism and the closely interconnected movement of Aestheticism within the rich visual culture of Victorian Britain, but also arguing for a reconsideration of these movements as occupying a leading role in the nineteenth-century artistic avant-garde.  Employing both primary source texts and subsequent critical scholarship, this course will survey the work of the original Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood of 1848 (including Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, and Ford Madox Brown) from their brief years of artistic cohesion through their subsequently diverging careers.  We will explore their work in relationship to contemporary technological developments (particularly photography), scientific discoveries, the social conditions of modern life, art historical revivalism, religious and political reforms, the British imperialist project, and the formation of gender identities.  We will then explore the intersection between Pre-Raphaelitism and the late-Victorian movement of Aestheticism under the rubric of “art for art’s sake,” focusing in particular on the work of Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris, Walter Crane, James McNeill Whistler, and G. F. Watts.  Finally, the course will incorporate a research project on Aestheticism in Cleveland, examining Frank Brangwyn’s mural for the Cuyahoga County Courthouse, Walter Crane’s mural for the Society for Saving’s building, and Louis Comfort Tiffany’s window and mosaics for Wade Chapel.

ARTH 601                                                                                                                                                   AS ARRANGED  

RESEARCH IN ART HISTORY                                                                                                            


List name of supervising Professor.


ARTH 701                                                                                                                                                   AS ARRANGED

DISSERTATION PH.D.                                                                              

List name of supervising Professor.











Page last modified: January 23, 2015