Previous course offerings can be found here.

ARTH 101

Art History I. 3 Units

Prof. Gerald Guest

MWF 10:35-11:25

An introductory course exploring the visual cultures of the ancient and medieval Mediterranean, Mesoamerica, Africa, and Asia up to 1400. Special emphasis on visual analysis, historical and sociocultural contexts, and an introduction to issues in the study of art history and the institution of the museum. The class will include frequent visits to the Cleveland Museum of Art. Counts as a CAS Global & Cultural Diversity course. Counts as a Human Diversity & Commonality course. Counts as a Understanding Global Perspectives course.

ARTH 512
Seminar in Ancient Art
Prof. Maggie Popkin
T 10:00am-12:30pm

ARTH 203

Arts of Asia

Bo Liu

MW 1:00pm-2:15pm

ARTH 284

History of Photography

Prof. Andrea Rager

TR 1pm – 2:15pm

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.

UGER Perspectives: Understanding Global Perspectives; Human Diversity and Commonality

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

Required Textbook: Mary Warner Marien, Photography: A Cultural History 5th ed. (Prentice Hall, 2021) ISBN-10: 1856694933

ARTH 348/448

Cosmic Ecologies:  Medieval Jewish Art

Prof. Elina Gertsman

TTH 2:30pm-3:45pm

This course will explore late medieval Jewish art from western Europe and beyond. The first part of the seminar will focus on broad historical and historiographic issues in Jewish visual culture; topics will include, inter alia, issues of word and image, problematics of representation, the iconoclastic argument, and anti-Jewish polemic. In the second part of the course we will look at the great variety of later medieval Hebrew books with a special focus on illuminated Bibles and commentaries, liturgical books, and prayer books produced in both Sephardic and Ashkenazi contexts. In the last part of the class we will study several focused themes in medieval Jewish art, including issues of gender, zoocephalic representations, and the Kabbalah. By way of a coda, we will explore late medieval Yiddish books. You will have a chance to examine four remarkable true facsimiles of Hebrew books in the collections of the Ingalls Library: the Golden Haggadah, the Barcelona Haggadah, the Worms Mahzor, and the Kennicott Bible.

This course fulfills two UGER perspectives: global perspectives and human diversity and commonality. This is also a Communications Intensive (CI) course.

By the instructor’s consent only.

ARTH/HUMN 318/418

Dr. Erin Benay

TR 2:30pm-3:45pm

In 1764 the Indigenous artist José Manuel de la Cerda made a series of lacquerware trays (batea) depicting scenes from Virgil’s Aeneid using a pre-Hispanic lacquer technique. Produced in west-central Mexico, these astounding objects—which combine Roman subject matter with distinctly Indigenous motifs and techniques–speak to the visual consequences of Mexico’s status as both a colonial possession of Spain, and as a vital bastion of artistic innovation. This course uses objects like this one as a point of departure to investigate art of the Iberian world—a world that extended far beyond the European continent during the 16th-18th centuries. In this Communication Intensive (CI) course we will focus on the nexus of transpacific and transatlantic trade that facilitated the production of objects like the batea. We will explore the ways that maps, illustrated travelogues, frescos, paintings and prints worked alongside decorative objects such as feathered headdresses, weapons, and carved ivory statuettes in order to interrogate the place of material culture in the formation of knowledge. Readings will be drawn from art history, anthropology, and sociology and will highlight decolonial methodologies for understanding racial representation and the history of collecting. Themes will include Iberian conceptions of race, caste, limpieza de sangre and settler colonialism. Students will have the unique opportunity to work on the Public and Digital humanities publication Baroque Without Boundaries—a digital mapping intervention facilitated by the CWRU Freedman Center.




ARTH 570

Seminar in 19th Century Art:  victorian Avant-Garde: Pre-Raphaelites, Aestheticism, and the Arts and Crafts Movement

Prof. Andrea Rager

This seminar will not only contextualize Pre-Raphaelitism, Aestheticism, and the Arts & Crafts Movement within the visual culture of Victorian Britain and the British Empire, but will also reconsider 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 and their circle, from their brief years of artistic cohesion through their subsequently diverging careers, including Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, Ford Madox Brown, and Elizabeth Siddal.  We will 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, May Morris, Walter Crane, Julia Margaret Cameron, James McNeill Whistler, and G. F. Watts.  We will also examine the relationship of the international Arts & Crafts Movement to Pre-Raphaelitism, investigating the enduring legacy of design reform and industrial resistance.  We will devote particular attention to recent methodological approaches, foregrounding issues of gender, race, sexuality, and class, including: contemporary calls for decolonization and the history of British global imperial networks of power and extraction; ecocriticism and the rise of industrial environmental destruction and protest; health, medicine, environmental equity, and the body; fantasy, utopia, and the Gothic Revival; and materiality and the signification of color in light of scientific, artistic, and technological innovations.  This course will include frequent visits to the galleries and Art Study Room of the Cleveland Museum of Art.  We will also incorporate sites around Cleveland, including Louis Comfort Tiffany’s window and mosaics for Wade Chapel in Lake View Cemetery.