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The College Catalogue

Art – Courses in the History of Art

First-Year Seminars

For a full description of first-year seminars, see the First-Year Seminar section.

1010 {11} c. Visual Culture and the Holocaust. Fall 2014. Natasha Goldman.

1011 c. Why Architecture Matters. (Same as Environmental Studies 1011.) Fall 2014. Jill Pearlman.

1019 {19} c. Representing the Modern Artist in Word and Image. Fall 2014. Susan B. Bakewell.

[1026 {26} c. Art and the Public Sphere.]

Introductory, Intermediate, and Advanced Courses

1100 {100} c. Introduction to Art History. Fall 2014. Pamela Fletcher, Stephen Perkinson, and Peggy Wang.

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.

1300 {130} c - IP. Introduction to the Arts of Ancient Mexico and Peru. Spring 2015. Susan Wegner.

A chronological survey of the arts created by major cultures of ancient Mexico and Peru. Mesoamerican cultures studied include the Olmec, Teotihuacan, the Maya, and the Aztec up through the arrival of the Europeans. South American cultures such as Chavin, Naca, and Inca are examined. Painting, sculpture, and architecture considered in the context of religion and society. Readings in translation include Mayan myth and chronicles of the conquest. (Same as Latin American Studies 1300 {130}.)

2090 {209} c. Greek Archaeology. Fall 2015. James A. Higginbotham.

Introduces the techniques and methods of classical archaeology as revealed through an examination of Greek material culture. Emphasis upon the major monuments and artifacts of the Greek world from prehistory to the Hellenistic age. Architecture, sculpture, fresco painting, and other “minor arts” are examined at such sites as Knossos, Mycenae, Athens, Delphi, and Olympia. 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 Greek world. (Same as Archaeology 1101 {101}.)

2100 {210} c. Introduction to Roman Archaeology. Fall 2014. James A. Higginbotham.

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. 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. (Same as Archaeology 1102 {102}.)

[2130 {213} c - VPA. Art of Three Faiths: Christian, Jewish, and Islamic Art and Architecture, from the Third to the Twelfth Century.]

2140 {214} c - VPA. The Gothic World. Spring 2015. Stephen Perkinson.

Introduces students to art produced in Europe and the Mediterranean from the twelfth though the early fifteenth century. Following a general chronological sequence, investigates the key artistic monuments of this period in a variety of media, including architecture, painting, manuscript illumination, stained glass, sculpture, and the decorative arts. Explores a particular theme in each class meeting through the close analysis of a single monument or closely related set of monuments as well as those that students may encounter in their future studies.

Prerequisite: Art History 1100 {100}, placement above Art History 1100, or permission of the instructor.

2200 {220} c - IP, VPA. Art and Revolution in Modern China. Fall 2014. Peggy Wang.

Examines the multitude of visual expressions adopted, re-fashioned, and rejected, from China’s last dynasty (1644-1911) through the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). Major themes include the tension between identity and modernity, Westernization, the establishment of new institutions for art, and the relationship between cultural production and politics. Formats studied include ink painting, oil painting, woodcuts, advertisements, and propaganda. Compares other cultures to interrogate such questions as how art mobilizes revolution. (Same as Asian Studies 2200 {220}.)

Prerequisite: Art History 1100 {100}, placement above Art History 1100, or permission of the instructor.

2210 c. From Mao to Now: Contemporary Chinese Art. Spring 2015. Peggy Wang.

Examines the history of contemporary Chinese art and cultural production from Mao’s Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) until today. Traces experiments in oil, ink, performance, installation, video, and photography and considers these media and formats as artistic responses to globalization, capitalist reform, urbanization, and commercialization. Tracks themes such as art and consumerism, national identity, global hierarchies, and political critique. Readings include primary sources such as artist’s statements, manifestoes, art criticism, and curatorial essays. Not open to students who have credit for Art History 320 or Asian Studies 311. (Same as Asian Studies 2201.)

2220 {222} c - VPA. Art of the Italian Renaissance. Spring 2015. Susan Wegner.

A survey of the painting, sculpture, and architecture of Italy in the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries, with emphasis on major masters: Giotto, Masaccio, Donatello, Brunelleschi, Alberti, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian, and Michaelangelo.

Prerequisite: Art History 1100 {100}, placement above Art History 1100, or permission of the instructor.

[2230 {223} c - VPA. The Arts of Venice.]

[2240 {224} c - VPA. Mannerism.]

2260 {226} c - VPA. Northern European Art of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries. Fall 2014. Stephen Perkinson.

Surveys the painting of the Netherlands, Germany, and France. Topics include the spread of the influential naturalistic style of Campin, van Eyck, and van der Weyden; the confrontation with the classical art of Italy in the work of Dürer and others; the continuance of a native tradition in the work of Bosch and Bruegel the Elder; the changing role of patronage; and the rise of specialties such as landscape and portrait painting.

Prerequisite: Art History 1100 {100}, placement above Art History 1100, or permission of the instructor.

2320 {232} c. Art in the Age of Velázquez, Rembrandt, and Caravaggio. Fall 2014. Susan Wegner.

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.

Prerequisite: Art History 1100 {100}, placement above Art History 1100, or permission of the instructor.

2420 {242} c. Realism and Its Discontents: European Art 1839-1900. Fall 2014. Pamela Fletcher.

A survey of European art from the advent of photography to the turn of the century. The nineteenth century witnessed an explosion of urban growth, increasing political and economic power for the middle and working classes, and revolutionary scientific and technological discoveries. How did the visual arts respond to and help shape the social forces that came to define Western modernity? Questions to be addressed include: What was the impact of photography and other technologies of vision on painting’s relation to mimesis? How did new audiences and exhibition cultures change viewers’ experiences and expectations of art? How did artists respond to the new daily realities of modern urban life, including the crowd, the commodity, railways, and electric light? Artists discussed include Courbet, Frith, Manet, Ford Madox Brown, Julia Margaret Cameron, Whistler, Ensor, Gauguin, and Cézanne.

Prerequisite: Art History 1100 {100}, placement above Art History 1100, or permission of the instructor.

2430 {243} c - VPA. Modern Architecture: 1750 to 2000. Spring 2015. Jill Pearlman.

Examines major buildings, architects, architectural theories, and debates during the modern period, with a strong emphasis on Europe through 1900 and both the United States and Europe in the twentieth century. Central issues of concern include architecture as an important carrier of historical, social, and political meaning; changing ideas of history and progress in built form; and the varied architectural responses to industrialization. Attempts to develop students’ visual acuity and ability to interpret architectural form while exploring these and other issues. (Same as Environmental Studies 2431{243}.)

2440 {244} c. Shoot, Snap, Instagram: A History of Photography in America. Spring 2015. Dana Byrd.

A survey of photography made and experienced in the United States from the age of daguerreotypes until the era of digital image processing. Addresses the key photographic movements, works, practitioners, and technological and aesthetic developments while also considering the social, political, cultural, and economic contexts for individual photographs. Photographers studied include Watkins, Bourke-White, Weegee, and Weems. Readings of primary sources by photographers and critics such as Stieglitz, Sontag, Abbott, and Benjamin bolster close readings of photographs. Builds skills of discussing, writing, and seeing American photography. Incorporates study of photography collections across the Bowdoin College campus.

Prerequisite: Art History 1100 {100} or permission of the instructor.

[2620 {262} c. American Art I: Colonial Period to the Civil War.]

2640 {264} c. American Art from the Civil War to 1945. Fall 2014. Dana Byrd.

A survey of American architecture, sculpture, painting, and photography from the Civil War to 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. Works with original objects in the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

[2710 c - IP, VPA. Power and Politics in Pre-Modern Chinese Art. (Same as Asian Studies 2020.)]

2970–2973 {291–294} c. Intermediate Independent Study in Art History. Art History Faculty.

2999 {299} c. Intermediate Collaborative Study in Art History. Art History Faculty.

Seminars in Art History

The seminars are intended to utilize the scholarly interests of members of the department and provide an opportunity for advanced work for selected students who have successfully completed enough of the regular courses to possess a sufficient background. The department does not expect to give all, or in some cases any, seminars in each semester. As the seminars are varied, a given topic may be offered only once, or its form changed considerably from time to time.

3160 {316} c. Memory, Mourning, and the Macabre: Visualizing Death in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe. Spring 2015. Stephen Perkinson.

In pre-modern Europe, people lived in the shadow of death. This was true in literal terms—mortality rates were high—but also in terms of art: the imagery of the period was saturated with images of death, dying, and the afterlife. Examines how images helped people confront profound questions about death: What happens to the “self” at death? What is the relationship between the body and the soul? What responsibilities do the living have to the dead? Addresses these issues through study of tomb sculptures, monumental paintings of the Last Judgment, manuscripts containing accounts of journeys to the afterlife, prayer beads featuring macabre imagery, and other related items.

[3320 {332} c. Painting and Society in Spain: El Greco to Goya.]

3330 {333} c. Studies in Seventeenth-Century Art: Caravaggio and Artemisia Gentileschi. Fall 2014. Susan Wegner.

Contrasts two artists—one male, one female—whose powerful, naturalistic styles transformed European painting in the seventeenth century. Starting with a close examination of the artists’ biographies (in translation), focuses on questions of the artists’ education, artistic theory, style as a reflection of character, and myths and legends of the artists’ lives. Also examines the meanings of seventeenth-century images of heroic women, such as Esther, Judith, and Lucretia, in light of social and cultural attitudes of the times.

Prerequisite: Art History 1100 {100}, placement above Art History 1100, or permission of the instructor.

[3550 {355} c. Modernism and the Nude. (Same as Gender and Women’s Studies 3350 {355}.)]

[3600 c. Race and Visual Representation in American Art, 1619-1999.]

3800 c. The Thing. Fall 2014. Dana Byrd.

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. Explores object-based approaches to American culture through hands-on study of things such as grave markers, great chairs, and girandoles in the Bowdoin College Museum of Art and the historic house museums of Brunswick. Readings include primary sources and scholarly analyses of objects and assignments hone descriptive, analytical, and interpretive writing skills.

Prerequisite: Art History 1100 {100}, placement above Art History 1100, or permission of the instructor.

4000–4003 {401–404} c. Advanced Independent Study in Art History. Art History Faculty.

4029 {405} c. Advanced Collaborative Study in Art History. Art History Faculty.

4050–4051 c. Honors Project in Art History. Art History Faculty.


Online Catalogue content is current as of August 1, 2014. For most current course information, use the online course finder. Also see Addenda.