This course is a survey of topics in European and American art from the late 14th century to the present, as well as an introduction to the techniques of art history. It will examine institutions such as patronage and the art market, the changing roles of artists in society, art and its public, and the changing functions of art. We will learn about some of the key monuments and concepts that have helped to define artistic traditions in the West and that continue to shape today's visual environment, keeping in mind both the differences between historic periods and the continuity of certain ideas that link past and present. The purpose of the class, however, is not simply to memorize a set of monuments. Rather we aim to develop the skills of asking questions of a work of art and using historical knowledge, and careful looking, to answer them. Lectures focus on the general issues of a given period of artistic production as well as individual artists, works of art, and artistic technique. Readings are selected from a variety of viewpoints to promote an understanding of critical and scholarly debate. Weekly discussion sections provide students with the opportunity to address these readings and come to grips with the challenges of critical thinking, as well as to develop skills in visual analysis. Written assignments and museum visits provide an opportunity to use those skills in looking at, and thinking about, original works of art and historical art criticism.
Requirements: One paper, one midterm, one final exam, attendance at one field trip to the Detroit Institute of Art (with copay). Mandatory attendance at lectures and sections, reading for lectures and sections.
Estimated cost of materials: $100 or more less than $150.