University of Oregon

Department of the History of Art and Architecture

300 Level Courses

Below is an historical listing of offered courses. For a list of course offerings specific to a given academic term please consult the University of Oregon Class Schedule.
 

This course is designed to introduce Art History majors to key research tools and scholarly methods in our field. Students will hone their visual and analytical skills through readings, discussions, written work, and oral presentations. They will learn to navigate libraries and digital resources with ease, to read with a critical eye, to formulate a strong argument, and to write persuasive prose. Students will also be exposed to a variety of professions that demonstrate how the art historical skills they acquire in college can serve them in future careers.

Format: Lecture/ Discussion Sections

This course is a survey of buildings and of architectural thought in the West from antiquity to Gothic times (i.e. from "caves to cathedrals"). Naturally, any course covering over 5,000 years of architectural history in ten weeks will be cursory. We will focus on major periods of architectural history by examining building types, patrons, materials, building traditions, structural innovations and several other critical aspects inherent to architecture. A number of paradigmatic monuments will be presented in detail and discussed throughout their existence in order to gain a sense of the long life of buildings, their powerful impact on people, and the diverse manners in which cultures have shaped space around them.

Format: Lecture/Discussion Sections

This course, the second in a two-part sequence, will explore the history of Western architecture from the Renaissance until the turn of the twenty-first century. From basilicas to blobs, key projects will be discussed in depth from the perspective of materials, technologies, site, and relationships to wider political, religious, and historical contexts. Analyses of individual buildings and architects will be woven into overarching themes such as the development of cities, the relationship between architecture and landscape, the effects of technological innovation on design, and the interplay between architecture and history. In addition to providing students with an understanding of key architectural concepts and an experience of the broad sweep of architectural history to the present, the course is intended as a launching point into further study in the history of architecture, urban planning, and design. Course requirements include a mid-term, final exam, and smaller writing and sketching assignments. Students will be expected to participate in discussion sections aimed at exploring architectural texts, debates, and individual works in greater depth.

Format: Lecture/Discussion Sections

The course surveys the history of art in Greece and the Aegean from the Bronze Age, through the Archaic and Classical periods, to the end of the Hellenistic period. Although the course provides an introduction to the chronological development of the major genres of Greek art (such as free-standing sculpture and vase-painting), it is also concerned with such broader issues and special topics as the representation of nature in Minoan and Mycenaean frescoes, the varieties of narration in Archaic art, and the ideologies of the sculptural programs of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia and the Acropolis of Athens.

Prerequisites: ARH 204 strongly recommended

Format: Lecture/Discussion Sections

An introduction to the major traditions, messages, and styles of the art of ancient Italy, from the era of the Etruscans through the Roman Republic and Empire to the reign of Constantine the Great. Emphasis will be placed upon such topics as the emergence and function of portraiture and the ideology and art of the Augustan period.

Prerequisites: ARH 204 strongly recommended

Format: Lecture/Discussion Sections

The course examines the political and ideological uses of art and architecture in the ancient world. We will begin at the end, with the historical reliefs and portraits of the Roman Empire, in order to establish a clear model for the analysis of “propaganda” in ancient society. We will then return to the beginning, to the art of Egypt and Near East, to see how these earliest of ancient cultures utilized art to establish and reinforce ideology. We will then conclude with ancient Greece, where the political nature and role of art is more problematic and subtle.

Format: Lecture/ Discussion Sections

The course surveys the art, history, and mythology of the Athenian Acropolis from the Neolithic and Bronze Ages to the Roman period, with special emphasis on the monuments of the Periclean “Golden Age.” While the focus is upon the sculpture and architecture of the sanctuary, the course also explores such issues as the nature of Athena (the principal goddess of the rock), the role of the Acropolis in everyday Athenian life, and the modern history of excavation and restoration on the citadel.

Format: Lecture/Discussion Sections

This course explores distinct cultural moments during the Middle Ages (ca. 650–1200), drawing on its multicultural character—analyzing its art and its historical, social, religious, racial, and class systems.

Format: Lecture/Discussion Sections

This course covers the painting, sculpture and art theory of the Renaissance and Mannerist periods. The years under consideration, spanning from roughly 1300 to 1580, encompass the activity of artists like Giotto, the Lorenzetti, Masaccio, Mantegna, Donatello, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian and Tintoretto and architects like Brunelleschi, Bramante and Palladio. Issues of style, iconography, patronage, liturgical function, social context and the revival of classical antiquity will unite our consideration of the diverse artistic production of the great art centers of Florence, Siena, Lombardy, Venice and Rome. Particular attention will be given to the political function of art, deployed by such canny manipulators as the Medici, the Doges of Venice and the Popes of the Counterreformation. The course also examines the concept of “Renaissance” and the historiography of the Renaissance, from Giorgio Vasari’s 1550 Lives of the Artists to the postmodern era. More broadly, the course aims to hone the visual literacy of students, and will also be an excellent preparation for any student considering the Summer Art History/Architecture program in Rome.

Format: Lecture/Discussion Sections

The course covers the art of seventeenth century Italy and France. Focus will be primarily on painting and sculpture, though architecture, urbanism, the decorative arts and printmaking will also enter consideration. We will begin with the “reform of mannerism” and with the stylistic revolutions of Caravaggio and the Carracci family. They and others in central Italy (including Domenichino, Guido Reni, Guercino, Artemisia Gentileschi, Pietro da Cortona and GianLorenzo Bernini) established a style that spread across Italy and Europe. France will be represented by the classicist Nicolas Poussin, the pastoral landscapist Claude Lorrain, and the team of artists who served the propagandistic purposes of King Louis XIV at the Château of Versailles.

Artworks will be examined in the context of the political, economic and social history of the time. This is a century in which art and propaganda were often inseparable, so we will ask how the agendas of the patrons affect the form and content of artworks. Likewise, counterreformation theology and religious mysticism also influenced many church commissions. Finally, art theory and the theoretical debates of the time will be examined, as will the relationship of the baroque artist to the examples of nature, to the art of the High Renaissance, and to Classical Antiquity.

Format: Lecture/Discussion Sections

The course covers the painting, printmaking, and art theory of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in the Netherlands and Germany. This period of exciting developments encompasses the meticulous naturalism of Jan van Eyck, the dynamically moving compositions of Rogier van der Weyden, the dark fantasies of Hieronymus Bosch, the emotive spiritualism of Matthias Grünewald, the virtuoso engraving of Albrecht Dürer, and the peasant genre scenes of Pieter Bruegel. Avenues of examination will include style, technique, iconography, patronage, liturgical function, and the social context of the artwork. Major themes include the status of the artist in society, humanism and renaissance philosophy, the effects of the Protestant Reformation, and the role of imagery in campaigns of religious and political propaganda.

Format: Lecture/Discussion Sections

Ending a long period of war and religious strife, the Peace of 1609 recognized the division of the Netherlands into a predominantly Protestant north (corresponding roughly to modern-day Holland) and a predominantly Catholic south (corresponding roughly to modern Belgium). Peace brought prosperity, and the arts flourished as an ascendant middle class asserted itself through the patronage of art. It is no wonder that many regard the seventeenth century as “The Golden Age” of Dutch and Flemish painting.

This course focuses on the Netherlands from c.1590 to c.1700, with particular attention to artists like Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer, Jan Steen, Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck. Issues the course engages include the relation of Dutch and Flemish styles to international baroque trends, connections between art and social history, and the use of art as political or religious propaganda. The central question of naturalism will be explored, especially in the context of the emergence of still life, landscape and genre painting. Portraiture and self portraiture will be considered as means of social and personal “self-fashioning”. The economy of art, as seen in studio organization and the art markets, will also be a central theme.

Format: Lecture/Discussion Sections

This course examines the city of Rome in the seventeenth century, a period of energetic activity and important development in the visual arts, architecture and urbanism. The central figure of the course (and of the era) is Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1597-1681), a sculptor, painter, architect who possessed a combination of artistic genius and extraordinary organizational skills. He served seven popes in succession, winning the confidence of each with his ability to translate their ambitions into visual form. The city of Rome as we know it today is conditioned by his monumental vision and the collaborations that he carried out with his patrons and his workshop.

The course will begin with a survey of the artist’s career and major works. We will then examine a set of themes, which fall into four main segments. The segment on planning & urbanism includes consideration of ancient and renaissance precedents, and looks at how the baroque planners dealt with the existing fabric of the city in both a practical and symbolic fashion. The second segment examines issues of architectural style, comparing Bernini to his rival Borromini and investigating the unity of the visual arts attained in Bernini’s most successful projects. The third thematic segment looks at the ways in which artists served the propagandistic needs of the great Roman families. The Roman palace meets consideration as architecture, but also as a representational whole that includes painted ceilings, displayed collections, and the decorative arts. This segment also includes portraiture and tomb design. Finally, the last segment deals with the ephemeral life of the baroque city, comprised of religious ritual, civic ceremony, and theatrical performances, many of which involved the work of major artists like Bernini. Through the specific examples of seventeenth century Rome, students will gain a more broadly applicable awareness of the interaction of art, politics and the built environment.

Format: Lecture/Discussion Sections

Beginning with Francisco Goya (1746-1828) and Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825) in the final quarter of the eighteenth century, and ending with the paintings exhibited by Henri Matisse (1869-1954) and his fellow Fauves at the Salon d’Automne of 1905, this course offers a broad survey of art made during the “long nineteenth century” in Europe, the United States, and Latin America. Although we will focus on painting and sculpture, we also will touch on architecture, photography, printmaking, and the decorative arts. Particular attention will be paid to the close study of original sources and documents, and to evaluating new approaches to the study of nineteenth-century art and culture.

Format: Lecture

Modern art emerged in an age of social, political and moral crisis in the modern west. The age of Post-Impressionism, Symbolism, Expressionism, Futurism, Cubism, Constructivism, Dada and Surrealism was also the age of European colonial expansion, collapse of empires on the European continent; World War I and II; fascism and communism. What is the link between artistic innovations and socio-political crisis? To what extent did modern art serve as the means to question, attack, negotiate, and affect modern socio-political realities?

This survey course will introduce students to major works and movements in modern art, with emphasis on how they responded to socio-political modernity in the period between 1880 and 1950. We will look at the emergence of new artistic techniques such as anti-illusionism, collage, ready-made and the montage. We will also look at how these techniques were used in avant-garde movements, which assaulted the institution of art through alternative practices: manifesto, performance, independent exhibition, and political engagement.

Format: Lecture/Discussion

This course is an introductory survey of art in the West since World War II. It will address the ambitions and contexts of Abstract Expressionism, Post-War European painting, Happenings, Fluxus, Situationism, Pop Art, Minimalism, Conceptual Art, Performance Art, Video Art, New Media Art, and more. Special attention will be paid to artists’ writings and to theories of modernism and post-modernism. This course will also introduce students to various critical approaches and historical models applied to the analysis of visual culture since 1945. Students will develop skills in viewing and writing about art and will be introduced to critical frameworks for relating art to larger social, cultural, and political concerns.

Format: Lecture/Discussion

This course aims to introduce students to the history of industrial design that spans from the royal manufactories of 17th-century Europe to the age of mass production. Emphasis will be placed on the changing modes of production under industrial capitalism and the major design movements that arose in response to them. Topics include but are not limited the following: emergence of modern manufacture system; design and construction of social myths; aestheticist design of the 19th- and early 20th- centuries; avant-garde design movements (Bauhaus, De Stijl); fashion; typography; as well as architecture.

Format: Lecture/Discussion

This course surveys the history of photography from its origins as a new medium in the early 19th century through the introduction of digital today. There is a basic introduction to technical innovations over time, but the emphasis is on understanding the various roles played by photography and key photographers throughout the modern era. Topics include the social function of photography versus its purely aesthetic concerns; the separate genres of photographry—for example portraiture or War photography; the careers of selected photographers who have made a particular contribution to the medium.

Format: Lecture

This course examines Chinese mortuary art and architecture, especially from the neolithic period through the Han dynasty, which ended in 220 CE; some later examples of funerary practices, as exemplified by such sites as the Ming imperial tombs and the mausoleum of Chairman Mao, will also be introduced. The class begins with neolithic jade and pottery cultures, and considers the question of the extent to which we can properly refer to this cultural phase as “Chinese.” Subsequently, we will examine burial practices in the bronze age and their further evolution and development in the Han period; we will conclude with a look at later mortuary practices, both among Buddhists and at the imperial courts.

Format: Lecture/Discussion

ARH 386 is a survey of selected aspects of Chinese visual culture from the establishment of the Ming dynasty in 1368 to the start of the Republic in 1912. The course will examine a wide variety of media (painting, calligraphy, ceramics, textiles, jades, glass, and architecture) as employed at the imperial court, in Buddhist and Daoist temples, and among both the merchant class and the educated élite. In particular, the class will consider some of the many and varied ways in which objects were deployed to make claims about religious, political, and cultural authority.

Format: Lecture/Discussion

This course is intended as an introduction to the history of Chinese Buddhist art. Topics to be covered include: sculpture and painting at important cave site; sutra illustration and the evolution of printing; Buddhits architecture; repersentations of paradise and hell; Chan painting; and later Buddhist art. In addition to the analysis of stylistic features, this course will focus on Buddhism as a cultural force in China, and will look closely at the interactions between “Buddhist” art and “Chinese” art.

Format: Lecture/Discussion

Image: Yamantaka-Vajrabhairava with Imperial Portraits, Yuan dynasty, ca. 1330-32, silk and metallic thread tapestry. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift.Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Buddhism has been at the heart of Japanese culture for fifteen centuries. From still-thriving temples in and around Tokyo to statues and paintings housed in museums the world over, from a bodhisattva-shaped cell-phone strap to comic books about the life of Siddhartha, Buddhist motifs are present in all types of Japanese art and visual culture. To fail to understand Japanese Buddhist art is to miss out on an understanding of Japanese culture.

This course will examine Japanese Buddhist art in both its classical forms and its popular manifestations. The course is divided into two parts. The first half of the course will provide a chronological overview of Japanese Buddhist art, to acquaint students with its general characteristics and development. The second half will focus on close examinations of objects to show how Buddhist iconography has been appropriated into secular culture.

Format: Lecture/Discussion

Offerings vary and reflect the interests of faculty members. Courses recently taught under this heading include:

Christianity & Japanese Art

The course will trace Japanese art from the 16th century to the present that was inspired by Christianity in some way. Christianity has always been a minority religion in Japan, but it had (and still has) a significant cultural impact. It is argued that some of the ceremonial aspects of Japanese tea were incorporation of Catholic mass. Catholicism was the only belief banned and persecuted in Japan, giving birth to the “Hidden Christians,” who reinterpreted the bible and produced their own icons. Many artists after Japan's defeat in the Pacific War converted to Christianity and produced Christian-inspired works. Some of the most highly acclaimed works by the internationally renowned Japanese architects are churches. And today, although only 1 % of Japanese call themselves Christian, its image of heaven and hell is the most prevalent in the popular imagination. By focusing on Christianity-inspired art, we will explore issues such as Japan's position in Asia as well as the world, ethnic and cultural identity, colonialism and post-colonialism, trauma, etc.

Format: Lecture/Discussion