Art History (ARTH)

ARTH-100 Image and Environment

ARTH-100PW Image and Environment: 'The Power of Images'

Fall. Credits: 4

Bombarded daily by thousands of images, we often lack sufficient visual literacy to understand fully how they shape our reality. The course explores roles that images have played in earlier cultures and in our own, how people view, analyze, and articulate their understanding of the visual world. Topics include living statues, votive offerings, voodoo figures, relics, idolatry, iconoclasm, propaganda, and censorship.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
B. Bergmann

ARTH-100WA Image and Environment: 'Western Art: 1400-2000'

Fall. Credits: 4

An introduction to painting, sculpture, and architecture in Europe and America from the Renaissance to the present. Classes are organized around five focused topics: Renaissance Florence; the artist in the seventeenth century; art and revolution; nineteenth-century abstraction. Lectures will be complimented by class discussion and short films.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
P. Staiti

ARTH-101 The Built Environment

Spring. Credits: 4

This course surveys architecture from the ancient world to the present as both a functional response to human activity and as a medium that expresses cultural values. In the service of domestic life, religious ritual, political agendas, commerce, and leisure, architecture reflects and shapes the natural environment, technology, economics, and aesthetic taste. While the history of Western architecture constitutes the primary touchstone, we will pursue themes that include buildings, cities, and sites from around the world.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
M. Davis

ARTH-105 Arts of Asia

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This multicultural course introduces students to the visual arts of Asia from the earliest times to the present. In a writing- and speaking-intensive environment, students will develop skills in visual analysis and art historical interpretation. Illustrated class lectures, group discussions, museum visits, and a variety of writing exercises will allow students to explore architecture, sculpture, painting, and other artifacts in relation to the history and culture of such diverse countries as India, China, Cambodia, Korea, and Japan.

Crosslisted as: ASIAN-107
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Multicultural Perspectives
A. Sinha

ARTH-202 Talking Pictures: An Introduction to Film

Spring. Credits: 4

Some of the best feature-length films of the past century have commanded our attention and imagination because of their compelling artistry and the imaginative ways they tell stories visually and verbally. This course closely studies narrative films from around the world, from the silent era to the present, and in the process it introduces students to the basic elements of film form, style, and narration. Some of the films to be considered are: Broken Blossoms, Battleship Potemkin, Citizen Kane, Contempt, The Bicycle Thief, Ugetsu, Rear Window, Woman in the Dunes, The Marriage of Maria Braun, Days of Heaven, and Moulin Rouge.

Crosslisted as: FLMST-202
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
P. Staiti

ARTH-215 From Alexander to Cleopatra: The Hellenistic World

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Hellenistic art has often been regarded as a chaotic, decadent phase between the golden ages of classical Greece and imperial Rome. Yet the period in the Mediterranean from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE to the Roman conquest of Egypt in 31 BCE saw the creation of some of the greatest masterpieces of ancient art, the development of formal art criticism, and the mass production of art for private enjoyment. The course addresses the new themes and purposes of art in a cosmopolitan culture that, in many respects, was not unlike our own.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
B. Bergmann
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors

ARTH-216 The Visual World of Ancient Rome

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

At its height, the Roman Empire spanned a vast area, from modern Scotland to Libya and Iraq. Within that territory lived peoples of multiple races, languages, and religions. The course explores the art and architecture created in this global culture from its beginning in 30 BCE to the dedication of the first Christian capital, Constantinople, in 330 CE. Subjects include the arts of engineering and city planning, public propaganda, arena spectacles, homes of life and the afterlife, and mystery religions.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
B. Bergmann
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors

ARTH-222 Age of the Cathedrals: The Art of Gothic Europe, 1100-1500

Spring. Credits: 4

A historical survey of medieval architecture, monumental sculpture, and painting of France, England, Germany, and Italy. The course concentrates on the great church as a multimedia environment and on the religious, political and social roles of art in society.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
M. Davis
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors

ARTH-230 Italian Renaissance Art

Spring. Credits: 4

This survey outlines the arts in Italy from the late thirteenth to sixteenth centuries, a time of major cultural transformation. To trace these developments, we will take a geographic approach, focusing on cities and societies in order to understand the diverse social networks that linked artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo with their publics. We will also address themes such as the role of women in the arts as both patrons and producers; the rise of print; and the expanding networks of cross-cultural contact that linked Italian cities like Florence, Rome, and Venice to places throughout western Europe and beyond.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
The department
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors

ARTH-233 Renaissance and Baroque Architecture in Italy

Fall. Credits: 4

This course focuses on architecture in Italy--including churches, palaces, villas, and fortifications, as well as city planning--from 1400 to 1700. In this period, architects took their cues from the classical tradition even as they carved out their own territory, developing new techniques and perfecting old ones to realize their designs. We will trace shifting architectural practice through key figures from Brunelleschi to Bernini, and through the lens of larger cultural forces. We will also examine buildings in light of the painted and sculpted decorative programs that were often integral to their overall effect.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
J. Maier
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors
Advisory: First-year students may seek permission if they have 4 credits in Art History.

ARTH-236 The Global Renaissance

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

The traditionalist view of the Renaissance treats Europe as if it were an isolated hotbed of cultural innovation. This course will reconsider the period as one of intensifying cross-pollination, when European artists were deeply affected by contact with the Near and Far East, Africa, and the Americas. Specific topics will include representations of distant lands and peoples; the collecting of exotic materials; cartography and expanding world horizons; Venice and the Ottoman world; and the reception of classical architecture in Latin America. We will consider many facets of Renaissance visual culture--from paintings and buildings to maps, prints, and illustrated books--that framed these global crosscurrents.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
J. Maier
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors

ARTH-241 Nineteenth-Century European Art: Neoclassicism to Impressionism

Fall. Credits: 4

This course surveys art in Europe from roughly the French Revolutionary era to the last quarter of the nineteenth century, that is, from the neo-classical painters (David and his atelier) at one end and the great painters of modern life in Paris (Manet and his followers) at the other. That chronology represents one of the most important transformations in the history of art: the origins and early development of what we today call 'modern art.' We will spend considerable time tracing this difficult passage, pausing here and there to readjust ourselves to the shifting language of art and to orient art's relationship to the modern public. Among the major figures to be studied are Constable, Courbet, Delacroix, Friedrich, Goya, Ingres, Monet, Renoir, and Turner.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
A. Lee
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors

ARTH-242 History of Photography

Fall. Credits: 4

This survey course traces the rise and development of photography in the United States and, to a lesser extent, England, France, Germany, Mexico, and Russia. It charts the wide range of work with the camera, including commercial, vernacular, and fine art projects, and considers pictures from photography's very beginnings in the mid-nineteenth century to today's practices. Among the major figures to be discussed are Arbus, Brady, Cameron, Cartier-Bresson, Day, Evans, Frank, Johnston, Lange, Mapplethorpe, Modotti, Muybridge, Sander, Steichen, Stieglitz, and Weston.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
A. Lee
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors

ARTH-243 Architecture 1890-1990

ARTH-243AR Architecture 1890-1990: 'Building the Modern Environment'

Fall. Credits: 4

An exploration of major movements and personalities in architecture from the late nineteenth century to the present. Emphasizing the United States against the background of European developments, the course considers the search by architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, and Frank Gehry, for a language of form and space that captures the contemporary spirit as it elevates society to a higher plane of existence. Discussion focuses on issues of technology and utopia, the skyscraper, and the collision of tradition, modernity, and postmodernism in architecture since 1945.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
M. Davis
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors

ARTH-244 Modern Art: 1885-1945

Spring. Credits: 4

This course examines the great ruptures in European art that today we call modernist. It relates aspects of that art to the equally great transformations in European society: revolutionary ferment, the rise and consolidation of industrial capitalism, colonization and its discontents, and world war. It will branch out to compare different kinds of modernisms, including those in Mexico and Russia. Among the major figures to be studied are Duchamp, Matisse, Malevich, Picasso, Rivera, Seurat, and van Gogh.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
A. Lee
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors

ARTH-245 Art Since 1945

Spring. Credits: 4

This course traces the different paths of painting, sculpture, and photography since World War II. We will follow the 'crisis of modernism,' the rise of post-modernism, the turn to identity politics, and recent artistic interests in globalization, transnationalism, and diaspora. Among the major figures to be studied are Boltanski, Chicago, Christo, Johns, Kiefer, Mapplethorpe, Rauschenberg, and Warhol.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
A. Lee
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors

ARTH-250 American Art

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

A survey of painting and sculpture, this course introduces students to the work of individual artists. Classes also develop ways of looking at and thinking about art as the material expression of American social, political, and cultural ideas. Copley, Stuart, Cole, Church, Eakins, Homer, Sargent, Whistler, and Cassatt are some of the artists discussed.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
P. Staiti
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors

ARTH-261 Arts of China

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This course will survey arts of China from the neolithic period to the twentieth century. Class lectures will analyze ceramics, bronze vessels, sculpture, architecture, calligraphy, and painting in relation to various religious ideas and political formations that took place in China's long history.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Multicultural Perspectives
A. Sinha
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors

ARTH-262 Arts of Japan

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This course explores the special characteristics of Japanese art and architecture, from the early asymmetry of Jomon pottery and the abstraction of Haniwa figures to the later elite arts of the aristocratic, military, and merchant classes: narrative scroll painting, gold-ground screens, and the 'floating world' of the color woodblock print. A historical survey of the arts of Japan, highlighting the interplay of art with religious and political issues.

Crosslisted as: ASIAN-270
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Multicultural Perspectives
A. Sinha
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors

ARTH-263 Arts of India

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

The multicultural course will survey architecture, sculpture, painting, and other arts of India from the earliest times to the twenty-first century. Students will explore the various arts as material expressions of a relationship between religious beliefs, geography and cultural conditions of the subcontinent of India in different historical periods. Class sessions will also provide opportunities for an examination of cross-cultural issues relating to the study of non-Western art in a Western academic discipline. Students will develop strategies for visual analysis and critical thinking through written assignments, class discussions, and close reading of scholarly articles.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Multicultural Perspectives
A. Sinha
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors

ARTH-271 Arts of Islam: Book, Mosque, and Palace

Fall. Credits: 4

Through investigation of major works produced in the Muslim world between the seventh and seventeenth centuries from Spain to India, this course explores the ways in which art and architecture were used to embody the faith, accommodate its particular needs, and express the power of its rulers. Topics include the calligraphy of the Qur'an, illustrated literature, the architecture of the mosque, and the aristocratic palace.

Crosslisted as: ASIAN-271
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Multicultural Perspectives
M. Davis
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors

ARTH-280 Approaches to Art History

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Intended for art history majors, this course gives an overview of the field, its methods, and its career opportunities. As part of this class, students will design their own research projects, conceptualize an exhibition, and meet professionals working in various sectors of the art world. Students will hone their research, writing, and speaking skills, while learning what it means to interpret art through lenses such as formalism, Marxism, gender, and postcolonialism. Students will also write applications for internships, jobs, and graduate programs--the goal being to consider how the art history skills they have acquired as an undergraduate can translate into life after college, in the art world and beyond.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
J. Maier
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors
Prereq: 4 credits in Art History.

ARTH-290 Issues in Art History

ARTH-290AP Issues in Art History: 'Ancient Painting and Mosaic'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

The course treats the themes, techniques, and contexts of painting and mosaic in the ancient Mediterranean. From Bronze Age palaces to early Byzantine churches, surfaces were embellished with frescoes, pebbles, glass and jewels. These might be rendered in complex geometric shapes or with mythological scenes. Portable vases displayed elegantly drawn figures. We will examine the unique effects of each medium and how they influenced and interacted with each other.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
B. Bergmann

ARTH-290CW Topics in Art History: 'The City As a Work of Art'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This course will focus on city maps and bird's-eye views in order to explore urban representation and symbolism. Emphasis will be on European imagery from the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries, but the overall scope will range from ancient to modern times, encompassing western and non-western places and works. The class includes units on the history, theory, and form of the city (including utopian and ideal cities); approaches to representing the city (maps, models, pictorial views); and case studies (Kaifeng, Kyoto, Paris, Siena, Tenochtitlan, Venice, and others). The overarching goal is to understand how the essence of the city can be expressed in visual form.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
J. Maier
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors

ARTH-290FM Issues in Art History: 'American Films That Matter'

Fall. Credits: 4

Certain American films stand out as works of art by combining strong narrative structure with striking visual presence. Ten of those films, from the silent era to the present, will be studied. In addition to weekly discussion, students will be responsible for analyzing opening sequences. Among the films to be considered are: The Grapes of Wrath, It's a Wonderful Life, Sunset Boulevard, Touch of Evil, Vertigo, Chinatown, Blade Runner, Do the Right Thing, and Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Crosslisted as: FLMST-270FM
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
P. Staiti
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors
Prereq: A previous Film Studies course.

ARTH-290PM Issues in Art History: 'Pompeii'

Spring. Credits: 4

Buried in the volcanic eruption of 79 CE, Pompeii provides an astounding level of preservation for fresco, sculpture, and luxury arts in addition to temples, baths, houses, shops, theaters, and streets. The rediscovery of the ancient site since the eighteenth century had a significant impact upon European art and literature. The course examines the surviving environment and artifacts created in the late republic and early empire and considers the history of archaeological and art historical methods and the romantic visions of Pompeii in art, theatre, and film up to the present.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
B. Bergmann
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors

ARTH-295 Independent Study

Fall and Spring. Credits: 1 - 4

The department
Instructor permission required.

ARTH-300 Seminar Seminar:

ARTH-301 Topics in Art History

ARTH-301FS Topics in Art History: 'Founding Sisters: The Origins of College Collections'

Fall. Credits: 4

The seminar explores the early history of liberal arts college collections and the pioneering women who founded them. Research in the college archives and museum and department files will supply answers to how and when marble sculpture, plaster casts, and scientific specimens came to Mount Holyoke. The course illuminates a major, forgotten role of women in shaping of the liberal arts in the late 19th and 20th centuries. Final projects will culminate in a virtual exhibition and WordPress site that will be linked to museum and department websites.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
B. Bergmann
Prereq: 8 credits in Art History.

ARTH-302 Great Cities

ARTH-302PA Great Cities: 'Reimagining Paris'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

By 1300 Paris was the largest city in Europe, the royal capital of France, home to a brilliant university, and a thriving commercial hub. This seminar investigates the city through its surviving buildings, paintings, graphic images, maps, and literature. Using digital tools we will reconstruct key lost monuments in a process that casts participants in the role of builder, that demands careful evaluation of fragmentary evidence and that encourages creative imagination informed by art and architectural history.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
M. Davis
Restrictions: This course is open to Juniors and Seniors.
Prereq: 8 credits in Art History, Computer Science, or Medieval Studies.

ARTH-310 Seminar in Ancient Art

ARTH-310CA Seminar in Ancient Art: 'The Lure of the Past: Collecting Antiquity'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

The seminar studies the collecting and display of Greek and Roman objects from antiquity to the present. We will look at current and past controversies about plunder and cultural patrimony. Students will engage in firsthand study of coins, vases, statues, portraits, frescoes, and mosaics and conduct advanced research on their original functions and contexts. Trips to museum collections will offer opportunties to assess installations of ancient objects in modern settings.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
B. Bergmann
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors
Prereq: Courses in Art History, Classics, or Ancient History.

ARTH-310LM Seminar in Ancient Art: 'Love and Metamorphosis'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

The course examines the most popular mythical love tales in classical art and their reception since the Renaissance.The aim of the course is to acquaint students with visual modes of storytelling and compare them with narratives in literature and in (records of) performance.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
B. Bergmann
Restrictions: This course is open to Juniors and Seniors.
Prereq: Courses in Art History, Classics, or Ancient History.

ARTH-310RL Seminar in Ancient Art: 'Roman Luxury'

Spring. Credits: 4

The conquest of the Mediterranean introduced a spectacular array of precious materials, flora, and fauna into Rome, and wealthy homeowners spared no expense in collecting and displaying exotica and virtuoso feats of artistry, many accomplished by captive Greeks. The seminar explores patterns of consumption in houses, villas, and sanctuaries in the late Republic and early Empire, and how they were sustained by slave labor, political affiliations, and land ownership. Focus will be on spring exhibition at Smith College, "Leisure and Luxury in the Age of Nero", and on original works of art in our own museum.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
B. Bergmann
Prereq: Courses in art history, classics, or ancient history.

ARTH-320 Seminar in Medieval Art

ARTH-332 Seminar in Renaissance and Baroque Art

ARTH-332DV Seminar in Renaissance and Baroque Art: 'Leonardo da Vinci'

Fall. Credits: 4

Leonardo da Vinci ushered in the High Renaissance in painting and established an archetype for the visionary that persists to this day. Artist, architect, military engineer, scientist, and author, he has been credited with inventing the helicopter and corkscrew, not to mention new modes of representation. His best known works--the Mona Lisa, the Last Supper, the Vitruvian Man--are among the foremost icons of western culture. In this seminar, our goal is to look at these paradigms, and Leonardo himself, with fresh eyes. By peering into the mind and achievements of one extraordinary individual, we will open a window onto the broader intellectual and artistic concerns of the Renaissance.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
J. Maier
Restrictions: This course is open to Juniors and Seniors.
Prereq: 8 credits in art history.

ARTH-340 Seminar in Modern Art

ARTH-340AM Seminar in Modern Art: 'after Impressionism'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

What happened after the introduction of Impressionism - that is, after the radical challenge to modernist painting's way with the canvas and its image of everyday life? This seminar will explore the proposals put forward by Seurat, van Gogh, Gauguin, and Toulouse-Lautrec.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
A. Lee
Restrictions: This course is open to Juniors and Seniors.
Prereq: 8 credits in art history.

ARTH-340MC Seminar in Modern Art: 'The Art of Modern China'

Spring. Credits: 4

This course will consider the development of modern Chinese art from the overthrow of the Qing dynasty in 1911 to contemporary trends today. Along the way, professional artists in China faced an acute identity crisis: How could they make foreign styles and methods their own? Which aspects of centuries-old ink and brush painting and other traditional art forms ought to be retained and developed? How could art be made to serve ordinary people, not just elites? How much independence was possible in Mao's China? How has commercial success and the internet transformed the outlook of contemporary Chinese artists? As a point of departure, we will examine and discuss traditional Chinese objects in the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Multicultural Perspectives
S. Hawks
Restrictions: This course is open to Juniors and Seniors.
Prereq: 8 credits in art history.

ARTH-342 Seminar in Contemporary Art

ARTH-342GC Seminar in Contemporary Art: 'Curating Global Contemporary Art'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Contemporary art belongs to a global exchange of ideas, requiring models for understanding its value beyond countries of origin. Museums and galleries regularly showcase artworks from different continents to signal historical interconnections. The course explores the challenges or curating contemporary art. We will study existing curatorial practices, and examine the role of small exhibitions as well as large international art fairs in creating an interlinked, international art community. We will work closely with the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, and develop exhibition strategies to foreground the global aspect of contemporary art.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
A. Sinha
Restrictions: This course is open to Juniors and Seniors.
Prereq: 8 credits in Art History.

ARTH-350 Seminar in American Art

ARTH-350FW Seminar in American Art: 'The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This seminar will explore Frank Lloyd Wright's 60-year career in architecture. We will pay particular attention to ways in which he handled form, space, and structure to frame human activity and to create a modern American style. We will also explore the social implications of Wright's approach to domestic design and community planning.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
M. Davis
Restrictions: This course is open to Juniors and Seniors.
Prereq: 8 credits in art history or architectural studies.

ARTH-350GA Seminar in American Art: 'The Gilded Age'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This course examines aspects of American art and culture from the Civil War to the turn of the twentieth century. Classes will be thematic, and art will be linked up with ideas, trends, events, and novels of the period. Among the themes to be treated are: naturalism, masculinity, nervousness, street culture, and reform. Key artists include Sargent, Eakins, Homer, Bellows, and Sloan.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
P. Staiti
Restrictions: This course is open to Juniors and Seniors.
Prereq: ARTH-250.

ARTH-360 Seminar in Asian Art

ARTH-360BC Seminar in Asian Art: 'Bollywood: A Cinema of Interruptions'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

How are we to respond to Indian popular film, which is notorious for its distracting song and dance numbers, meandering story line, and visually overblown spectacles? This seminar will develop historical and theoretical approaches to Indian films as what scholar Lalitha Gopalan calls a 'constellation of interruptions.' Students will examine feature films in class, write critical papers on scholarly essays, and pursue independent research projects on various aspects of Indian film.

Crosslisted as: FLMST-370BC, ASIAN-360BC
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
A. Sinha
Restrictions: This course is open to Juniors and Seniors.
Prereq: 8 credits from Art History or Film Studies.

ARTH-395 Independent Study

Fall and Spring. Credits: 1 - 8

The department
Instructor permission required.