Location: Bowdoin / Art History / Courses / Fall 2012

Art History

Fall 2012

016. Art and the Environment: 1960 to the Present
Natasha Homann M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55 VAC-Picture Study
Since the 1960s, artists in Western Europe and the United States have used the environment as a site of discussion, critique, and action. From Robert Smithson and his ever-disintegrating Spiral Jetty, to Agnes Denes’ Wheatfield growing alongside Wall St., to Mierle Ukeles’ installation and performance art in conjunction with the New York Department of Sanitation, to Eduardo Kac’s GFP Bunny, artists have explored the ways in which art objects are in dialogue with the environment, recycling, and biology. Works engage with concepts such as entropy, the agricultural industry, photosynthesis, and green tourism, encouraging us to see in new ways the natural world around us. One field trip to Boston, in-class Skype interviews with contemporary artists, and visits to the Bowdoin College Museum of Art’s William Wegman: Hello Nature exhibition complement the material studied. Students will leave this writing-intensive course with a firm understanding of library and database research and the value of writing, revision, and critique.

017. Thinking through Things: Material Life in Early America
Dana Byrd M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55 VAC-Picture Study
The study of “things,” or material culture has emerged as a multidisciplinary umbrella for the understanding of everyday life. Material culture encompasses everything we make or do –the clothes we wear, the houses we occupy, the art we hang on our walls, even the way we modify our bodies. Our exploration of object-based approaches to early American culture will proceed through hands-on study of things such as, grave markers, great chairs, and girandoles in the Bowdoin College Art Museum and the historic house museums of Brunswick. Readings include primary sources, and scholarly analyses of objects. Frequent short writing assignments will enable students to hone descriptive, analytical, and interpretive writing skills.

100. Introduction to Art History
Pamela Fletcher T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25 VAC-Beam Classroom
An introduction to the study of art history. Provides a chronological overview of art primarily from Western and East Asian traditions. Considers the historical context of art and its production, the role of the arts in society, problems of stylistic tradition and innovation, and points of contact and exchange between artistic traditions. Equivalent of Art History 101 as a major or minor requirement. Not open to students who have credit for Art History 101.

210. Introduction to Roman Archaeology
Ryan Ricciardi M 1:30 - 2:25, W 1:30 - 2:25, F 1:30 - 2:25 Searles-315
Surveys the material culture of Roman society, from Italy’s prehistory and the origins of the Roman state through its development into a cosmopolitan empire, and concludes with the fundamental reorganization during the late third and early fourth centuries of our era. Lectures explore ancient sites such as Rome, Pompeii, Athens, Ephesus, and others around the Mediterranean. Emphasis upon the major monuments and artifacts of the Roman era: architecture, sculpture, fresco painting, and other “minor arts.” Considers the nature of this archaeological evidence and the relationship of classical archaeology to other disciplines such as art history, history, and classics. Assigned reading supplements illustrated presentations of the major archaeological finds of the Roman world.

215. Illuminated Manuscripts and Early Printed Books
Stephen Perkinson T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25 VAC-Beam Classroom
Surveys the history of the decorated book from late antiquity through the Renaissance, beginning with an exploration of the earliest surviving illuminated manuscripts in light of the late antique culture that produced them. Examines uses of books in the early Middle Ages to convert viewers to Christianity or to establish political power. Traces the rise of book professionals (scribes, illuminators, binders, etc.), as manuscript production moved from monastic to urban centers, and concludes with an investigation of the impact of the invention of printing on art and society in the fifteenth century, and on the “afterlife” of manuscript culture into the sixteenth century. Themes include the effect of the gender of a book’s anticipated audience on its decoration; the respective roles of author, scribes, and illuminators in designing a manuscript’s decorative program; and the ways that images can shape a reader’s understanding of a text. Makes use of the Bowdoin Library’s collection of manuscripts and early printed books.

232. Art in the Age of Velázquez, Rembrandt, and Caravaggio
Susan Wegner M 9:30 - 10:25, W 9:30 - 10:25, F 9:30 - 10:25 VAC-Beam Classroom
The art of seventeenth-century Europe. Topics include the revolution in painting carried out by Caravaggio, Annibale Carracci, and their followers in Rome; the development of these trends in the works of Rubens, Bernini, Georges de la Tour, Poussin, and others; and the rise of an independent school of painting in Holland. Connections between art, religious ideas, and political conditions are stressed.

251. Victorian Art
Pamela Fletcher T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55 VAC-Beam Classroom
The art of Victorian Britain. Topics include the relationship of art and literature in the work of the Pre-Raphaelites, the moralizing function of Victorian narrative painting, classicism in the work of Leighton and Alma-Tadema, and Aestheticism. Special attention paid to the exhibition culture and art criticism of the period.

264. American Art from the Civil War to 1945
Linda Docherty T 8:30 - 9:55, TH 8:30 - 9:55 VAC-Beam Classroom
A survey of American architecture, sculpture, painting, and photography from the Civil War and World War II. Emphasis on understanding art in its historical and cultural context. Issues to be addressed include the expatriation of American painters, the conflicted response to European modernism, the pioneering achievements of American architects and photographers, the increasing participation of women and minorities in the art world, and the ongoing tension between native and cosmopolitan forms of cultural expression. This class will work with original objects in the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

272. The Arts of Japan
Peggy Wang M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25 VAC-Beam Classroom
Surveys ritual objects, sculpture, architecture, painting, and decorative arts in Japan from the Neolithic to the modern period. Topics include ceramic forms and grave goods, the adaptation of Chinese models, arts associated with Shinto and Buddhist religions, narrative painting, warrior culture, the tea ceremony, woodblock prints and popular arts, modernization and the avant-garde.

324. Art and Life of Michelangelo
Susan Wegner M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25 VAC-Picture Study
Examines painting, sculpture, drawings, and poetry of Michelangelo in light of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Italian society. Topics include color, meaning, and recent restoration of the Sistine Chapel Ceiling and Last Judgment; the heroic male figure in sculpture and drawings; religion and politics in relation to patrons; artistic rivalries with Leonard, Raphael, and Titian. Readings include English translations of sixteenth-century biographies, art theory, and poetry.

361. The World of Isabella Stewart Gardner
Linda Docherty T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55 VAC-Picture Study
A contextual study of Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840–1924) and the museum she bequeathed to Boston. Focuses on the cosmopolitan world that Gardner inhabited and the influence she exerted on American art and culture. Issues to be considered include the formation of her art collection, her creativity as an institution builder, her abiding interests in Dante, Venice, gardening, and religion, and her global travels and deepening relationship with Asia, and how she fashioned a public identity through her portraits, her collection, and her museum. Field trip to Boston.