HISTART 655-001

Studies in the History of Art History: Thinking about the Visual

T 4:00-7:00
3 Credit Seminar

This seminar is intended to acquaint students with strategies employed in the historical analysis of visual art and artifacts. The "image" became an object of degree-granting academic study – historical and philosophical – only in the later nineteenth century. In the earlier 20 th century, especially between the wars, some of the discipline's most sophisticated work was conducted. Drawing on critical work of our own day concerning still-relevant thinkers, we will conduct close readings of a wide range of texts. This will mean considering figures important in the development of "looking" as an investigative act (Wölfflin to Schapiro), "structure-analytical" practices developed by members of the first and second Vienna schools (Riegl to Pächt), and the dissemination from Hamburg of the "iconological" line (Warburg, Panofsky, Wind, etc.). Issues include: networks of scholarly exchange; the place of gender and identity in the development of the field; the impacts of institutionalization; art and politics; alternatives to "European" methodologies. The final reading list will be determined by the interests of the members of the class. Students, as they choose their research topics, will be encouraged to focus on thinker(s) or methods that inform their own research. Interdisciplinarity will be a focus and members of other disciplines who wish to add depth to their study of the visual are welcome.