Students may complete a major or minor in History of Art.
David J. Cast, Professor (on leave semester II)
Dorothea Dietrich, Visiting Associate Professor
Christiane Hertel, Professor and Major Adviser (A-L)
Homay King, Associate Professor
Dale Kinney, Professor
Steven Z. Levine, Professor and Chair
Gridley McKim-Smith, Professor and Major Adviser (M-Z) (on leave semester I)
Lisa Saltzman, Professor (on leave semesters I and II)
Diala Touré, Lecturer
The curriculum in History of Art immerses students in the study of visual culture. Structured by a set of evolving disciplinary concerns, students learn to interpret the visual through methodologies dedicated to the historical, the material, the critical, and the theoretical. Majors are encouraged to supplement courses taken in the department with history of art courses offered at Swarthmore and the University of Pennsylvania. Majors are also encouraged to study abroad for a semester. Should they choose to do so, they should plan to undertake that work during the spring semester of their junior year.
The major requires eleven units, approved by the major adviser. A usual sequence of courses would include at least one 100-level “critical approaches” seminar, four 200-level lecture courses, four 300-level seminars, and junior seminar in the fall semester of the junior year and senior conference in the spring semester of senior year. In the course of their departmental studies, students are strongly encouraged to take courses across media and areas, and in at least three of the following fields of study: Ancient and Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque, Modern and Contemporary, Film, and Non-Western.
With the approval of the major adviser, courses in fine arts or with significant curricular investment in visual studies may be counted toward the fulfillment of the distribution requirements. Similarly, courses in art history taken abroad or at another institution in the United States may be counted. Generally, no more than two such courses may be counted toward the major requirements.
A senior paper, based on independent research and using scholarly methods of historical and/or critical interpretation must be submitted at the end of the spring semester. Generally 25-40 pages in length, the senior paper represents the culmination of the departmental experience.
Seniors whose major average at the beginning of the spring semester is 3.7 or higher will be invited to write an honors thesis instead of the senior paper.
A minor in history of art requires six units: one or two 100-level courses and four or five others selected in consultation with the major adviser.
What is an icon? What is an idol? How do they differ or are they the same? And what is the relation between icons, idols, and images? This course treats potent image-objects across cultures and across time, including religious icons (Madonnas), pop icons (Madonna), and comparable image-objects of other traditions, such as African minkisi and Native American totems. Readings range from Plato and the Old Testament to contemporary criticism. (Kinney, Division III)
An investigation of the historical and philosophical ideas of the classical, with particular attention to the Italian Renaissance and the continuance of its formulations throughout the Westernized world. (Cast, Division III)
An introduction to the representation and perception of nature in different visual media, with attention to such issues as nature and utopia; nature and violence; natural freedom; and the femininity of nature. (Hertel, Division III)
A study of artists’ self-representations in the context of the philosophy and psychology of their time, with particular attention to issues of political patronage, gender and class, power and desire. (Levine, Division III)
An investigation of the history of art since the Renaissance organized around the practice of women artists, the representation of women in art, and the visual economy of the gaze. (Saltzman, Division III) Not offered in 2009-10.
An introduction to the analysis of film through particular attention to the role of the spectator. (King, Division III) Not offered in 2009-10.
(Donohue, Division III; cross-listed as ARCH B115, CITY B115, and CSTS B115) Not offered in 2009-10.
(Lindenlauf, Division III; cross-listed as ARCH B125 and CSTS B125)
(Cohen, Hein, Division I or III; cross-listed as CITY B190 and ANTH B190) Not offered in 2009-10.
(Donohue, Division III; cross-listed as ARCH B205) Not offered in 2009-10.
(King, Nguyen, Division III; cross-listed as ENGL B205) Not offered in 2009-10.
(Donohue, Division III; cross-listed as ARCH B206) Not offered in 2009-10.
(Lin, Division III; cross-listed as EAST B210 and PHIL B250) Not offered in 2009-10.
An overview of artistic production in Europe antiquity to the 14th century. Special attention will be paid to problems of interpretation and recent developments in art-historical scholarship. (Kinney, Division III) Not offered in 2009-10.
Not just Gothic cathedrals, medieval architecture includes mosques, synagogues, fortifications, palaces, monasteries and other residential structures produced in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East between about 300 and 1350 CE. This course offers a selective overview and an introduction to research in this broad and diverse field of study. (Kinney, Division III; cross-listed as CITY B212)
(Lin, Division III; cross-listed as EAST B225 and HIST B220) Not offered in 2009-10.
(Hein, Hurley, Division I; cross-listed as CITY B227) Not offered in 2009-10.
A survey of painting in Florence and Rome in the 15th and 16th centuries (Giotto, Masaccio, Botticelli, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael), with particular attention to contemporary intellectual, social, and religious developments. (Cast, Division III) Not offered in 2009-10.
Introduction to the international history of film as a narrative and aesthetic form, with consideration of cultural, social, political, technological, and economic determinants that allowed film across the world to evolve, thrive, and become the defining artistic medium of the 20th century. (staff, Division III; cross-listed as ENGL B238) Not offered in 2009-10.
A study of painting and sculpture in Spain from 1492 to the early 19th century, with emphasis on such artists as El Greco, Velázquez, Zurbarán, Goya and the polychrome sculptors. As relevant, commentary is made on Latin America and the Spanish world’s complex heritage, with its contacts with Islam, Northern Europe, and pre-Columbian cultures. Continuities and disjunctions within these diverse traditions as they evolve both in Spain and the Americas are noted, and issues of canon formation and national identity are raised. (McKim-Smith, Division III) Not offered in 2009-10.
(Meyer, Division III; cross-listed as GERM B245) Not offered in 2009-10.
Close attention is selectively given to the work of Cézanne, Courbet, David, Degas, Delacroix, Géricault, Ingres, Manet, and Monet. Extensive readings in art criticism are required. (Levine, Division III)
The major traditions in Western architecture are illustrated through detailed analysis of selected examples from classical antiquity to the present. The evolution of architectural design and building technology, and the larger intellectual, aesthetic, and social context in which this evolution occurred, are considered. (Cast, Division III; cross-listed as CITY B253 and HIST B253) Not offered in 2009-10.
(Steffensen, Division III; cross-listed as CITY B254)
(Steffensen, Cohen, Division III; cross-listed as CITY B255) Not offered in 2009-10.
This course will involve an inquiry into the history of 20th-century visual culture, European and American, through an exploration of art practice, art history, art criticism and art theory. Against the dominant and paradigmatic theorization of modernism, the course will introduce and mobilize materials aimed at its critique. (Dietrich, Division III)
America, Europe and beyond, from 1945 to the present, in visual media and visual theory. (Dietrich, Division III)
(staff, cross-listed as ARCH B268 and CITY B268) Not offered in 2009-10.
(Hein, Division III; cross-listed as CITY B270 and EAST B270) Not offered in 2009-10.
(Lin, Division III; cross-listed as EAST B272 and CITY B273) Not offered in 2009-10.
If the origins of video art date to 1965, when Sony introduced its Portapac to the United States and Nam Jun Paik shot his first piece in New York; its theorization dates to 1976, when Rosalind Krauss published her field defining essay. This course functions as both an introduction and an immersion in the history and theory of video art. Prerequisite: HART 110, HART/ENGL 205, HART 266, HART 299 or permission of instructor. (Saltzman, Division III) Not offered in 2009-10.
This course examines the significant artistic and architectural traditions of African cultures south of the Sahara in their religious, philosophical, political, and social aspects. (Touré, Division III)
(King, Division III; cross-listed as ENGL B299)
(Donohue, Division III; cross-listed as ARCH B303) Not offered in 2009-10.
(King, Division III; cross-listed as ENGL B306 and COML B306)
Topics vary. (Kinney, Division III; cross-listed as CITY B312) Not offered in 2009-10.
Selected subjects in Italian art from painting, sculpture, and architecture between the years 1400 and 1600. (Cast, Division III; cross-listed as CITY B323) Not offered in 2009-10.
A seminar on the diffusion of Palladian architecture from the 16th century to the present. (Cast; cross-listed as CITY B331) Not offered in 2009-10.
(King, Division III; cross-listed as ENGL B334)
(McKim-Smith, Division III; cross-listed as COML B340) Not offered in 2009-10.
(Hertel, Meyer, Division III; cross-listed as GERM B321, CITY B319, and COML B321) Not offered in 2009-10.
The study of the author-director remains one of the primary categories through which film is to be understood; various directors and critical approaches to this topic will be studied. (King; cross-listed as ENGL B349) Not offered in 2009-10.
(Levine, Division III) Not offered in 2009-10.
Individual topics in art-historical methodology, such as art and psychoanalysis, feminism, post-structuralism, or semiotics are treated. (Levine, Division III; cross-listed as COML B354 and HEBR B354) Not offered in 2009-10.
Selected topics of social, literary, and architectural concern in the history of London, emphasizing London since the 18th century. (Cast, Division I or III; cross-listed as CITY B355 and HIST B355)
(Donohue, Division III; cross-listed as ARCH B359 and CSTS B359) Not offered in 2009-10.
This seminar will introduce students to the African art holdings that are part of the Art and Archaeology Collections. (Touré, Division III)
(Nguyen, Division III; cross-listed as ENGL B367)
(Hein, Steffensen, Division III; cross-listed as CITY B377) Not offered in 2009-10.
Topics vary. (Dietrich, Division III; cross-listed as GERM B380)
Designed to introduce majors to the canonical texts in the field of art history and to formalize their understanding of art history as a discipline. Beginning with such foundational figures as Plato and Pliny and ending with the leading art historical practioners of the poststructural and the performative, junior majors will read across the history of art history. Required of and limited to History of Art majors. (Levine, Division III)
A seminar for the discussion of senior research papers and such theoretical and historical concerns as may be appropriate to them. Interim oral reports. Required of all majors; culminates in the senior paper. (Kinney, Dietrich)
Advanced students may do independent research under the supervision of a faculty member whose special competence coincides with the area of the proposed research. Consent of the supervising faculty member and of the major adviser is required. (staff)