Topic outline

  • Introduction

    The aim of this class is to introduce students to the history of art and its objects from the period of the cities and empires in the Ancient Near East up to the beginning of the European Renaissance in the 15th century. We will study works of painting, sculpture and architecture from a vast array of different cultures with an aim to developing students' analytical capacities in looking at and understanding a work of art formally, culturally and contextually within both the History of Art and the History of the History of Art. The primary skills that this class is designed to develop in students are global competence (defined as a capacity to recognize and analyze different and diverse cultural productions), verbal and written fluency and sophistication, and visual analysis.

    Introductory level
  • Week 1. Introduction and Prehistory

  • Weeks 2 through 5 - Ancient World

    In this section we will move chronologically across the globe examining the art and architecture of the urban civilizations from the Near East to Egypt to India. As a survey our examination will necessarily be limited to certain works made in certain places at certain times. The focus of our discussions will be on what remains, how it has been interpreted and written about, what we know about it, how we know what we know; and finally what can these objects, images and buildings tell us about the civilizations that made them. Maps and chronologies are excellent tools to help you through this period stretching from 3500 BCE to CE 100.

  • Weeks 6 through 13 - The 'Middle' Period

    The period from the sack of Rome in CE 410 to the 14th (or 15th) century in Europe has generally been known as the "Middle Ages" to distinguish the period that separated the ancient period from its "revival" beginning in the 14th century in Italy. This chronology devised as it was by Europeans fits their history well, but is less useful for other cultures. The term has been modified to "middle period" by some scholars of the Islamic world, however, and because our study here is focused on the areas of modern day Europe and the Islamic world, we'll use it here. This period covers the development of cities in Europe and the Middle East, manuscript illumination, large scale wall painting, metal work and stone sculpture.

  • Week 14. Review and Assess