Course Descriptions

Course Catalog for ART HISTORY
AHIS 101
Introduction to the History of Art in the West I
A survey of the history of art and architecture from the Paleolithic period to the Middle Ages, examining objects in their cultural, historical, and artistic contexts.
1.00 units, Lecture
AHIS 102
Introduction to the History of Art in the West II
A survey of the history of painting, sculpture, and architecture from the Renaissance to the present day.
1.00 units, Lecture
AHIS 103
Introduction to Asian Art
This course introduces major artistic traditions in Asia, with a focus on China, India and Japan. We will discuss the visual features of these complex traditions and their related social and political issues by analyzing important examples of art and architecture. From the Terracotta Warriors, to Taj Mahal, to Ukiyo-e prints, we will examine art and architecture from the beginning of these Asian traditions to their early modern periods in the nineteenth century.
1.00 units, Lecture
AHIS 105
History of World Cinema
A survey of the art of the cinema examining different national schools with special attention to major commercial and avant-garde filmmakers such as Coppola, Hitchcock, Fellini, Bergman, Godard, Eisenstein, Welles, and Renoir. In order to address individual films in a broad cultural context, one film will be screened and analyzed each week. (Note: Replaces "Film as a Visual Art.")
1.00 units, Lecture
AHIS 202
Close Look at Art and Architecture
In this course we will examine original works of art and discuss major art and architectural materials, techniques and artistic processes. We will focus on works of art from the collections of Trinity College and the Watkinson Library, and we will visit the Wadsworth Atheneum, the New Britain Museum of American Art, the Yale University Art Gallery and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The course offers one-half credit to be taken conjunction with Art History 102 for students who seek greater depth in the field of art history, for prospective majors, for majors in art history, and for students engaged in internships at art museums.
Prerequisite: concurrent or previous enrollment in Art History 102
0.50 units, Lecture
AHIS 207
The Arts of China
This course will focus on the arts of China from the Neolithic period through the Qing Dynasty (ca. 6000 B.C.E.-1850 C.E.) We will study art produced for burial, Buddhist temples, the imperial court, and the scholar elite. We will consider architecture, sculpture, painting, bronze, jade lacquer, and ceramics, placing the art within its historical context and identifying what makes it uniquely Chinese. This 200-level lecture survey course will require a paper, a mid-term, and a final examination. (May be counted towards International Studies/Asian Studies)
1.00 units, Lecture
AHIS 208
The Arts of Japan
This course will focus on the arts of Japan from the Jomon period through the Edo period (circa 10,500 BCE - 1868 CE). Pre-Buddhist art will concentrate on pottery and bronze as well as Shinto architecture. Buddhist art will include architecture, sculpture, and painting. Secular art will explore the tradition of the narrative hand scroll as well as portraits and landscapes. Castle architecture and woodblock prints are other important topics. The art will be placed within its historical context, especially considering what makes it uniquely Japanese and whether or not it incorporates Chinese influence. (May be counted toward International Studies/Asian Studies)
1.00 units, Lecture
AHIS 209
The Arts of China in the 20th Century
In this course, we will examine the development of art in China during the long 20th century, starting with the 1911 Revolution which concluded China's imperial past and ending with the post-Mao economic policies which culminated in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. We will study major works of various formats and genres which define and redefine Chinese art. We will explore issues related to the tension between Chinese nationalism and Westernization, the adaptation of modern aesthetics and visual technologies, the conflict between state sponsorship and censorship, the changing perception of gender and self-image, the emergence of urban space and consumer culture, and the connection between art and the global economy.
1.00 units, Lecture
AHIS 209
Art & Archaeology of Egypt & Mesopotamia
Introduction to the art and archaeology of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, with special attention to new discoveries and interconnections with the rest of the Bronze Age world. For Egypt, we examine material from the Predynastic period to the end of the New Kingdom. For Mesopotamia, we consider evidence from the Uruk period to the end of the Neo-Babylonian era. No prior experience with the subject is expected.
1.00 units, Lecture
AHIS 210
Art of Zen in Japan
Zen, a school of Buddhism, represents quintessential values of Japanese art and aesthetic principles. This course discusses how the ideas of Zen constitute a philosophical foundation for Japanese art, by examining major works in painting, calligraphy and garden design from the 13th to 18th centuries. We discuss how Japanese aesthetics shaped the practice of Zen rituals, especially those related to meditation and the tea ceremony. Through exploring the meanings of pictorial and literary ko'an, we learn how they form visual and textual riddles based on metaphors, allusions, and wordplay. In a contextual approach, we analyze the development of form, style, and iconography in Japanese art associated with Zen, while tracing the underpinning philosophical concepts related to enlightenment, emptiness, and beauty.
1.00 units, Lecture
AHIS 223
Medieval Art and Architecture
The art and architecture of the Middle Ages beginning with the emergence in the 4th century of distinct styles, subjects and forms from the Christian and pagan art of the late Roman empire to the works of the Greek East and Latin West. The course also surveys the monuments of the Carolingian Renaissance and of the Romanesque and Gothic periods in Western Europe.
1.00 units, Lecture
AHIS 227
Public Art
Art as part of public spaces or incorporated into architecture has been integral to artistic practice and civic patronage from antiquity to the present. This digital humanities course will give students the chance to create written, visual and interactive content while learning the history of art in public places from antiquity to the present. Students will curate tours and other digital features for a web catalog of public art and gain field experience working with Greater Hartford NGOs, Museums and Government.
1.00 units, Lecture
AHIS 234
Early Renaissance Art in Italy
A study of painting, sculpture and architecture in Italy from the later Middle Ages through the 15th century, with emphasis on masters such as Pisani, Giotto, Brunelleschi, Piero della Francesca, Botticelli, and Bellini. Themes of naturalism, humanism, the revival of antiquity, and the growth of science as they relate to the visual arts will be explored.
1.00 units, Lecture
AHIS 236
High Renaissance Art in Italy
Italian painting, sculpture, and architecture from the end of the 15th century through the 16th century. Examines the work of the creators of the High Renaissance style, including Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Titian. The emergence of mannerism in central Italy and its influences on North Italian and Venetian painters will also be explored.
1.00 units, Lecture
AHIS 243
El Greco to Goya: The Golden Age of Painting in Spain
This course will focus on the art of Spain between the late-16th and 18th centuries, with particular emphasis on the interaction between painting and the social and political cultures that shaped the works of El Greco, Ribera, Velasquez, Murillo, and Goya. As a leading European power in this period, Spain was in constant contact with artistic centers in Italy and the Netherlands, and thus the course will also discuss the role of patrons and collectors in Spain's Golden Age, whose growing wealth and activities affected both the production of art and the social status of the Spanish artist. Finally, echoing the strangely contradictory position of the Spanish monarchy in this period of European history-as both politically dominant and culturally peripheral-this course will describe how Spain transformed the artistic influences it received from abroad to fit the needs of its changing society.
1.00 units, Lecture
AHIS 244
Empire Building: Architecture and Urbanism in Spanish America
Following the overthrow of the Aztec and Incan Empires, the Spanish Empire instituted programs of political, religious, and social control throughout Central and South America that permanently altered the cultural and artistic landscape of this region. Beginning with the foundation of the city of Santo Domingo in 1502 and ending with the "mission trail" of churches established by Junipero Serra in 18th-century Spanish California, this course will examine the art, architecture, and urbanism that projected the image of Spain onto the "New World." Other issues to be discussed include the interaction between Spanish and local traditions, symbolic map-making, the emergence of a "Spanish Colonial" sensibility, and the transformations of form and meaning at individual sites over time.
1.00 units, Lecture
AHIS 246
Art in the Age of Absolutism: The European Baroque
During the seventeenth century, Europe underwent a series of civil, religious, and economic upheavals which paradoxically resulted in a period of extraordinarily innovative art. This course begins with the rise of the Roman Baroque, from the disturbing realism of Caravaggio to the multi-media theatricality of Bernini, examining artistic patronage and production in the highly charged political, social, and cultural contexts of Europe during and after the Thirty Years' War. It continues with a study of the broad range of artistic response to these developments in both Southern and Northern Europe, from the elaborate state pageantry of Rubens to the intensely personal portraiture of Rembrandt. Other artists to be studied include Poussin, Le Brun, Zurbaran, Velazquez, Van Dyck, and Vermeer.
1.00 units, Lecture
AHIS 247
Renaissance and Baroque Architecture and Urbanism
This course explores major trends in Western architecture and urbanism from the emergence of Italian Renaissance architecture and planning to the extensive Baroque palaces at Versailles and elsewhere in absolutist Europe. Topics to be examined include the classical tradition, the influence of patronage, the rise of architecture as a profession, and the legacy of European theory and practice in North and South America during the colonial period. In addition to exploring the relationship between architectural and urban theory and form, this course will examine buildings and cities in the evolving social, political, and religious contexts of the period.
1.00 units, Lecture
AHIS 252
18th-Century Art and Architecture
This course will examine the major artists, patrons, critics, and art movements of Europe in the Age of the Enlightenment, with emphasis on the reflections in the arts of the political, social, and technological changes that marked this early modern era. In early 18th-century France, we will trace the significance of the Academie Royale in Paris, of the French academy in Rome, and of state patronage and critical support for royal portraiture, secular and religious painting and the theatrical landscapes. As well as the more liberal climate that fostered the French Rococo, naturalists genre and still life painting. In Italy, we will focus on Venice and the Grand Tour. After a brief look at Goya's early career and seminal student trip to Italy, we will consider the rise of satire, history painting, and portraiture in the 18th-century England. In conclusion, we will return to Paris to trace in its art, political, and social history the waning years of the ancient regime and the onset of the French Revolution.
1.00 units, Lecture
AHIS 258
History of the Decorative Arts
This course examines the history of interior architecture and the many types of moveable objects that filled these spaces for both ceremonial and daily use in urban European cultures. While there will be some consideration of the 19th-20th centuries, the main emphasis will be on the 17th and 18th centuries in France, Italy, Germany and Britain. The course will fall into three parts: the study of interior architecture and the uses of interior spaces in palaces and private residences; the history of styles; the history of individual crafts, materials, and makers. The course will consider textile and tapestry, furniture, ceramics, metalwork and sculpture, crystal and glass.
1.00 units, Lecture
AHIS 261
19th-Century Painting and Sculpture
A study of European painting and sculpture from the Romanticism of the late 18th century to the emergence of new directions at the end of the 19th century. The course is adapted each year to take advantage of major exhibitions. Museum visits and extensive readings will be integral to the makeup of the course.
1.00 units, Lecture
AHIS 265
19th-Century Architecture
Broad developments in Western European and American architecture and urbanism from the period 1750 to 1900. Specific developments include international Neoclassicism, the crisis of historicism and the search for style, the rise of new building types and technologies, and the emergence of the architectural profession and modern city planning.
1.00 units, Lecture
AHIS 271
The Arts of America
This course examines major trends in painting, sculpture, architecture, and the decorative arts in the United States from the colonial period to 1900. Emphasis will be placed on how the arts in the United States reflect the social and cultural history of the 18th and 19th centuries.
1.00 units, Lecture
AHIS 282
20th-Century Avant Garde in Painting and Sculpture
This course addresses the position of art in European and American society from 1890 to 1945 when the concept of the artist as a rebel and visionary leader defined art's relation to contemporary social, political, and aesthetic issues. The movements of symbolism, expressionism, cubism, dada, and surrealism are discussed. Current exhibitions and the collection of the Wadsworth Atheneum are used whenever appropriate.
1.00 units, Lecture
AHIS 283
Contemporary Art
Following the Second World War, artists transformed the avant-garde tradition of their European predecessors to establish a dialogue with the mass media and consumer culture that has resulted in a wide array of artistic movements. Issues ranging from multiculturalism and gender to modernism and postmodernism will be addressed through the movements of abstract expressionism, pop, minimalism, neo-expressionism and appropriation in the diverse media of video, performance, and photography, as well as painting and sculpture. Current exhibitions and criticism are integral to the course.
1.00 units, Lecture
AHIS 286
Modern Architecture: 1900 to the Present
This course surveys broad developments in Western European and American architecture and urbanism from 1900 to the present. Topics include Viennese Modernism, the legacy of the Arts and Crafts movement, the Bauhaus, the International Style and the birth of Modernism, and reactions of the past 25 years. Close attention will be paid to such major figures as Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius, Mies van der Rohe, Louis Kahn, Robert Venturi and Frank Gehry.
1.00 units, Lecture
AHIS 292
History of Photography
Major developments in European and American photography from 1839 to the present.
1.00 units, Lecture
AHIS 294
The Arts of Africa
An examination of the art and architecture of sub-Saharan Africa as modes of symbolic communication: the ritual context of art, the concept of the artist, the notion of popular art, and the decorated body.
1.00 units, Lecture
AHIS 301
Major Seminar in Art Historical Method
Required of and limited to art history majors, as one of the first courses they take after declaring their major. Studies in the tradition and methodology of art historical research. Readings in classics of the literature of art history; discussions of major issues and meeting with scholars and museum professionals; students will pursue an active research project and present both oral reports and formal written research papers.
1.00 units, Seminar
AHIS 306
Seminar: Arts of the Song-Ming Dynasties
In this seminar, we will trace the development of visual and conceptual underpinnings of Chinese art and aestheticism from the Song to Ming dynasties (11th-16th centuries) by juxtaposing important works of painting and calligraphy with critical theories in Chinese literati art. Important issues for this seminar include the iconology of formlessness, the notions of self-cultivation, exile and eremitism, the allegorization of nature and antiquity, and the historicity of art history.
1.00 units, Seminar
AHIS 334
Patrons and Artists in the Italian Renaissance
Readings and discussion will center on the collaboration between patrons and artists, focusing on the tangible and intangible goals and results for both parties. Case studies of civic, ecclesiastic and family commissions will be drawn from the period 1300-1500 in central Italy.
1.00 units, Seminar
AHIS 341
Seminar in Baroque Art: Caravaggio
This course will examine the life, work, and legacy of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610) within the artistic and historical contexts of the Baroque era. Reviled and revered for his shockingly realistic painting style, along with his famous (but disputed) insistence on painting directly from life rather than from preparatory drawings, Caravaggio was the most influential painter of his time. Topics to be examined include Caravaggio's relationship to Counter-Reformation art and the Inquisition, his controversial religious scenes, themes of violence, eroticism and homoeroticism in his work, his working methods in light of recent technical analyses, his biographers and critical reception, and the works of his followers, or Caravaggisti, in Europe and beyond. This course fulfills the 17th century requirement in art history.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Art History 102 or 246, or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Seminar
AHIS 357
The History of Decorative Arts in Europe: 1600-1900
The evolution of domestic interior architecture in the early modern period along with the rise of importation of new raw and finished goods from Asia, Africa and the Americas led to a dramatic elaboration of the decorative or useful arts in secular society. There was a parallel decline in the variety and richness of ritual objects used for ecclesiastical and monarchical settings. This course would consider the changes in institutions, trade, social mores and architectural settings that informed the creation of objects for everyday use and would study the specific craft traditions for woodworking, ceramics, textiles, precious metals, glass and stonework as they applied to the making of furniture, tapestry, food service, objects for personal hygiene, transportation, garden ornament, decorative objects, scientific instruments, mirrors, lighting fixtures, heating, clothing and jewelry. The course would include required museum visits.
1.00 units, Seminar
AHIS 381
Seminar: Museum Issues
The art museum in the United States is a unique social institution because of its blend of public and private support and its intricate involvement with artists, art historians, collectors, the art market, and the government. This course will study the art museum's history and status in our society today. Special consideration will be given to financial, legal, and ethical issues that face art museums in our time. The emphasis will be on American institutions and particularly on the Wadsworth Atheneum. Short papers, oral reports, and visits with directors, curators, and other museum officials in nearby museums will be included along with a detailed study of a topic of one's choice.
1.00 units, Seminar
AHIS 382
The History of the Art Museum, 1750 to the Present
This course will examine the art museum from the mid-eighteenth century to the present day. Focus will be on art museums in Europe and the United States. Topics will include the history of collecting, display methods, and the evolution of museum architecture. The course will involve field trips to local museums.
1.00 units, Seminar
AHIS 391
Prints and Printmaking
Images created in multiple have been the most powerful way of disseminating visual imagery in human history. Woodcut, engraving, etching, lithography, silkscreen and now digital processes have all been used to create images which could be used alone as artistic expression or aids in collective enterprises such as book illustration, propaganda, journalism or advertising. The seminar will provide an opportunity for students to to learn the rudiments of print connoisseurship and to study the history of printmaking, print publishing and the history of the illustrated book. The students will work with original prints in the collections of Trinity College and at other Connecticut institutions and works in private collections.
1.00 units, Seminar
AHIS 392
Graphic Satire: Hogarth to Charlie Hebdo
Visual, political satire is a powerful form of free speech which has always been controversial. From William Hogarth in the 18C to editorial cartoons of today, satire in graphic form has led to efforts at suppression, imprisonment and even physical attack as at the Parisian cartoon publication Charlie Hebdo in 2015. For students interested in art, literature, politics and satire, this special course will be taught in collaboration with Yale University's Lewis-Walpole Library in Farmington, CT and several sessions will be in print rooms, seeing originals at Yale in New Haven and Farmington and at the print collections at Trinity and at Wesleyan.
1.00 units, Seminar
AHIS 394
Seminar: History of Travel-The Grand Tour
This course will cover the history of European travel and travel destinations, guidebooks in the 17th and 18th centuries. While most studies of travel in this period address only British travelers to Italy, this course will look at French and central European travelers to Italy as well as travel to England and France. The resources of the Watkinson Library will be used to study period guidebooks and illustrated travel books.
1.00 units, Seminar
AHIS 397
Exhibition Project: Hartford Outdoor Sculpture
upper-level seminar will study the history of large scale bronze sculpture and students will curate an exhibition on sculpture in public places in and near Hartford. The student will do research, write entries, document the sculpture photographically, and create a catalog that may become an online source and a smart device app. This course will fulfill the requirement for an upper-level intensive writing seminar for art history majors.
1.00 units, Seminar
AHIS 399
Independent Study
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar's Office, and the approval of the instructor and program director are required for enrollment.
1.00 units min / 2.00 units max, Independent Study
AHIS 466
Teaching Assistantship
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar's Office, and the approval of the instructor and program director are required for enrollment.
0.50 units min / 1.00 units max, Independent Study
AHIS 497
Senior Thesis
An individual tutorial to prepare an extended paper on a topic in art history. An oral presentation of a summary of the paper will be delivered in the spring term. Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar's Office, and the approval of the instructor and program director are required for enrollment in this single-semester thesis. (1 course credit to be completed in one semester.)
1.00 units, Independent Study