History of Art Seminars

Seminar topics are determined by the directions of the current research of faculty members and by the interests of students. Students may also register for units of independent work on topics of particular concern to them individually.

In addition to History of Art courses, graduate students may enroll in GSems (Group Seminars), team-taught by professors from the Graduate Group in Archaeology, Classics, and History of Art. These seminars are organized around interdisciplinary topics in theory, methodology, and interpretation. See also departmental course information

Fall 2022 Graduate Course Offerings

Course # Course Title Instructor Class Hours
HART B620 Topics in Chinese Art: Art and Environment in Traditional China J. Shi Wed. 2:10 - 4:00 p.m.
HART B646 The History of London Since the Eighteenth Century D. Cast Th. 2:10 - 4:00 p.m.
HART B651 Topics: Interpretation and Theory C.C. McKee We 2:10-4 p.m.
GSEM B652 History and Memory M. Kale, L. Saltzman Th. 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Spring 2023 Graduate Course Offerings

Course # Course Title Instructor Class Hours
HART B620 Topics in Chinese Art: Rethinking the Silk Road Art J. Shi Wed. 2:10 - 4:00 p.m.
HART B640 Topics in Material Culture: Textiles of South Asia S. Houghteling Tu. 2:10 - 4:00 p.m.
HART B680 Topics in Film Studies: Contemporary Art & FIlm in Philadelphia H. King F. 2:10 - 4:00 p.m.
HART B699 Advanced Research Methods H. King Wed. 2:10 - 4:00 p.m.
GSEM B624 Greek Tragedy in Performance A. Sigelman, C. Slusar TBD

List of Graduate Seminars and Courses

Seminar topics are determined for each semester in consultation with the graduate students.

  • 622 Topics in Netherlandish Art (Hertel)
  • 625 Vermeer (Hertel)
  • 630 Topics in Renaissance Art: Mannerism (Cast): This seminar is concerned with the history and the historiography of Mannerism. The first subjects here are those works of art, described as Mannerist, that were produced in Italy in the XVIth century in various mediums and in various cultural centers. And we will also investigate the influence of these works on art in other countries of Europe, bound to the Italian tradition. But we are concerned also, and very seriously, with the critical history of these works and the attention they have been given within the history of art, especially in Germany in the first years of the last century. We will also examine how far and how usefully the designation Mannerist, with or without a capital letter, can helpfully be used of art from other moments and other cultural contexts. And it is this interest that allows us to think about art beyond the XVIth century, from the first years of the last century onwards, even to the present.
  • 636 Vasari (Cast)
  • 638 Problems in the Renaissance (Cast)
  • 643 Velázquez (McKim-Smith)
  • 644 Interpretation of Technical Data (McKim-Smith)
  • 645 Problems in Representation (McKim-Smith)
  • 650 Topics in Modern Art: Self-Portraiture (Levine)
  • 655 Topics in Contemporary Art (Saltzman)
  • 657 Manet (Levine)
  • 661 Film Theory (King)
  • 665 Topics in Contemporary Art: Postwar Germany (Saltzman)
  • 668 Anselm Kiefer (Saltzman)
  • 669 Art and Psychoanalysis (Levine)
  • 670 German Art Criticism and Aesthetics in the 20th Century (Hertel)
  • 671 Topics in German Art (Hertel): In his introduction to The Life and Art of Albrecht Dürer, Erwin Panofsky observes that “German psychology is marked by a curious dichotomy clearly reflected in Luther’s doctrine of “Christian Liberty,” as well as in Kant’s distinction between an ‘intelligible character’ which is free even in a state of material slavery and an ‘empirical character’ which is predetermined even in a state of material freedom. The Germans, so easily regimented in political and military life, were prone to extreme subjectivity and individualism in religion, in metaphysical thought, and, above all, in art.” In part this observation resonates with the book’s date of publication, 1943; in part it addresses German Renaissance culture. In this seminar we will explore the possibility in German Renaissance art of the simultaneous affirmation and negation of a topic, point of reference or tradition iconographically represented or invoked by a work of art. This practice may be implicit or explicit, an inadvertent byproduct or a form of resistance; it may stay within the parameters of an established genre and/or medium (altarpiece, portrait, history; sculpture, painting, print) or use a satirical mode. We will explore this phenomenon empirically, through a series of case studies in the art of Veit Stoss, Tilman Riemenschneider, Albrecht Dürer, Hans Baldung Grien, Hans Holbein and others. We will also explore it theoretically, for example as dialectic (Benjamin), atency (Freud), melancholia (Kristeva), negativity Agamben), and through particluar interpretive paradigms in art history (Panofsky, Baxandall, Hults, Koerner and others). In their research projects seminar participants will work with these or choose their own artistic examples and interpretive paradigms.
  • 673 Postwar American Art 1945-1970 (Saltzman)

List of 300-level courses

Note: 300-level courses are seminars offering discussion of theoretical or historical texts and/or the opportunity for original research.

  • 300 Methodological and Critical Approaches to Art History (Levine)
  • 303 Art and Technology (McKim-Smith)
  • 306 Film Theory (King; cross-listed as Comparative Literature 306 and English 306)
  • 311 Topics in Medieval Art (Walker)
  • 323 Topics in Renaissance Art (Cast)
  • 324 Roman Architecture (Scott, cross-listed as Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology 324 and Greek, Latin and Classical Studies 324 and Growth and Structure of Cities 324)
  • 327 Feminist Film Theory and Practice (King; cross-listed as English 327)
  • 331 Palladio and Palladianism (Cast; cross-listed as Growth and Structure of Cities 331)
  • 340 Topics in Baroque Art: Velázquez (McKim-Smith; cross-listed as Comparative Literature 340 and Spanish 340)
  • 348 Topics in German Art: Dresden: Art and Architecture from the Renaissance to German Reunification; cross-listed as German and German Studies 348)
  • 349 Theories of Authorship in the Cinema: Alfred Hitchcock (King; cross-listed as English 349)
  • 350 Topics in Modern Art (Levine)
  • 354 Topics in Art Criticism (Levine, Division III; cross-listed as Comparative Literature 354)
  • 355 Topics in the History of London (Cast; cross-listed as Growth and Structure of Cities 355 and History 355)
  • 359 Topics in Urban Culture and Society (Hein; cross-listed as Anthropology 359, German and German Studies 321, and Growth and Structure of Cities 360)
  • 377 Topics in the History of Modern Architecture: Housing and Dwelling: Perspectives on Modern Domestic Architecture (Hein;; cross-listed as Growth and Structure of Cities 377)
  • 380 Topics in Contemporary Art: Performance and Performativity (Saltzman)