Art-153 Course Information

Art 153, Introduction to Art History, introduces students to the working methods of Art History. We break from the tradition of a western survey of art and zero-in on case-study explorations drawn from a sampling of diverse cultures, art forms and works of arts.

Students learn to analyze art visually, to understand the relationships between works of art and their cultural contexts, to consider the practices and politics of museum display, and to think critically about the role of art in their own lives and in society.

Each instructor will teach these skills and topics through a theme applied to sets of diverse cultures and time periods relating to the instructor’s interests. Each instructor’s specific theme, samplings of cultures and artistic circumstances are provided below in alphabetical order by instructor’s name:

Nancy Thompson

My sections of Art 153 will explore the idea that works of art and architecture have the power to transform human beings and their environments. Considering works of art from ancient Rome, medieval Europe, western Africa, and the modern and contemporary worlds, students will examine how works of art were created by artists and interpreted by viewers in specific cultural contexts and how these works of art continue to act in museum, religious, private, and public settings.

Christopher Tradowsky

My sections of Art 153 will focus on issues of representation. Does art always represent the world around it, and if so, how is this representation influenced or distorted by social, economic and political pressures? Topics within this general framework will include: the European Renaissance and Baroque periods, with an emphasis on religious and secular patronage; the roles of women as patrons, producers, and subject matter within Western art; West African visual culture and the ethics of the collection and display of African objects; Modern technologies of reproduction (printing, photography, and digital media) and how these have altered the logic of representation; and the impact of globalization on art today.