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Art History Courses

Additional information can be found in the official Course Schedules.

Fall 2018 Courses

ARH 301
Introduction to the Visual Arts

VAPA • Global Cultures flag



Ann Johns
MW 10–11 (Lectures Taught Online)

Art is a universal yet highly varied language: come learn it with us! Over the course of the semester, students will learn to decode art’s meaning, its intent, and its effect on viewers, past and present. Students will increase their visual literacy and critical thinking skills by looking at a global array of works from many eras and locations—the only prerequisites are open eyes and open minds! While we will concentrate on the familiar media of painting, sculpture, and architecture, we will also be looking at drawings, prints, photography, design, garden planning, ceramics, textiles, earthworks, installation art, and other forms of visual culture.

This course will be a blend of convenient, online lectures, quizzes, and tests with on-site, TA-led visits to UT’s Blanton Museum.



Instructor TBA
MWF 9–10

Instructor TBA
TTH 5–6:30

A broad survey of selected traditions of art with an emphasis on understanding their visual elements and cultural significance.

ARH 302
Survey of Ancient through Medieval Art

VAPA • Global Cultures flag



Instructor TBA
MWF 12–1

A study of selected visual works throughout the world from prehistoric time to 1400 CE.



Joan Holladay, Nassos Papalexandrou, and David Stuart
TTH 11–12

This course discusses art from the prehistoric period to the Early Renaissance (ca. 1300) in Europe, the Middle East and the ancient Americas, with emphasis on style and cultural context. The arts—architecture and city planning, sculpture, painting, metalwork, and ceramics—of ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Islam, Mesoamerica and the Middle Ages are included. The control of the viewer’s experience, the political and religious use of art, the meaning of style, the functions of art in public and private life, and the role of art in expressing the cultural values will be among the major themes considered. This is also an introduction to the discipline of art history, training students in basic vocabulary and techniques of close looking and analytical thinking about visual material.

ARH 303
Survey of Renaissance through Modern Art

VAPA • Global Cultures flag

Instructor TBA
MW 4–5:30

Instructor TBA
TTH 3:30–5

A study of selected visual works throughout the world from 1400 CE to the present.

ARH 304
Issues in Visual Culture: Animation

Ethics & Leadership flag

Ann Reynolds
TTH 12:30–1:30

This course will consider the modern and contemporary history of animation in relation to a broader set of formal, conceptual, philosophical, spiritual, and ethical issues that artists and audiences for art have been addressing for centuries: the representation of animate life in images, the life and potential death of art objects, and animism, the attribution of conscious life to nature and all inanimate objects, including works of art. All of these issues also generate practical ethical dilemmas for artists, art historians, art educators, curators, and art collectors such as who decides which moment in a work of art’s history is the privileged one and the one that must be restored or maintained or should the ongoing “life” or “death” of an art object – the history of physical alterations made to it, how it has been used, the contexts within which it has been used, and changes in how it has been interpreted, including alterations and partial or complete destruction — be expressed? What role do value-laden terms such as restoration, augmentation, appropriation, vandalism, or destruction play in our understanding of works of art? And how might current philosophical and social cybernetic descriptions of a potential fluidity of life force or anima across the previously discrete categories of organic and inorganic; animal, vegetal and human; and cybernetic and human make the ethical dilemmas generated for centuries by different conceptions of the “life of the art object” even more relevant to our lives as artists, designers, curators, art historians and art educators today?

Issues in Visual Culture is one of the few courses that art and art history majors in the Department of Art and Art History take together, and through a focus on animation, which is both a type of artistic practice and a concept central to the entire history of art, I hope to motivate students to consider the deep material and conceptual ties among their intended areas of study. Through the individual assignments, I will also encourage students to use a variety of tools to think and learn about works of art including writing, drawing, and design skills. Finally, because this course is primarily concept-driven and framed in terms of visual culture, not art history, I will introduce students to a broad variety of fields, time periods, and types of images, both fine art and mass produced.

ARH 321
Problems in Art Historical Research

Louis Waldman
TTH 3:30–5

The course is designed to prepare students for further work in the field by developing essential skills that art historians use, including: bibliographic skills, critical analysis of sources, visual analysis of artworks, and the mechanics of clear logical organization and writing. Students will gain insight into the history of the discipline of art history and understanding of many of the critical terms that define its focus and scope. The course involves extensive reading as well as writing in and out of class.

ARH 322
Issues in Exhibitions and Collections of Visual Arts: Textile Arts of the Indigenous Americas

Astrid Runggaldier
F 12–3

This course explores the textile holdings of the Art and Art History Collection at UT Austin, examining 19th century hand-woven Navajo textiles from the US Southwest, ethnographic collections of huipiles and other clothing from the Maya region, and Pre-Columbian cloth from the Andean cultures of South America. Working with objects from UT’s collections, students will learn about manufacture from weaving and dyeing technologies, about social and ritual meaning from symbolism and iconography, and about gender, power, and the economic value of hand-crafted cloth in ancient societies. Course readings focus on archaeological, anthropological, and iconographic studies of ancient textile traditions in the Americas and in comparative global perspective.

ARH 326K
Myth in Images in the Greek and Roman Mediterranean

Nassos Papalexandrou
TTH 5–6:30

Admit it! You have often surrendered yourself to the irresistible power of Classical Myths! You have often sailed along with Odysseus in dangerous and uncharted waters, or you have been wounded by the bittersweet arrows of Eros. In the ancient Mediterranean, myths formed the most important means for articulating the fundamental concepts of the physical and moral universe of individuals and communities. Can we “think” with them by engaging in a dialogic relationship with their mythical images? Despite the fact that we live in an increasingly visual culture, the ancient usages of imagery may seem puzzling or even paradoxical to us today. In this course, we will have fun examining media and methodologies towards a deeper understanding of both myth and images.

ARH 328J
Arts of Islam: From Caliphs to Sultans

VAPA

Stephennie Mulder
MWF 2–3

Has Islam, as one of the world’s great religions, given a special character to its art? Or is the term “Islamic” perhaps a misnomer to describe an artistic tradition that spans 1,400 years and five continents? In this course, we’ll start in Byzantium and end with the Mongols, roving from Spain to China. We’ll investigate architectural patronage and the value of the portable arts, we’ll explore how it is that a religion that ostensibly forbade image-making produced one of the world’s greatest painting traditions, and we’ll learn why a medieval Caliph thought a wine glass was an appropriate diplomatic gift. By the end of this course, you’ll confidently navigate both the basic outlines of Islamic history and its rich and spectacular visual culture.

ARH 331P
Art and the City in Renaissance Italy

VAPA • Global Cultures flag

Ann Johns
MWF 12–1

Florence, Venice, Siena: the cultural landscape of Italy is dominated by cities so rich in artistic treasures that any one example is worthy of a whole course. We begin with the most famous of all the Renaissance city–states, Florence. We will explore the development of art and architecture in civic, ecclesiastic, monastic, palatial, and private settings, from Brunelleschi’s dome to private, secular decoration in the city’s palazzi. We will examine the cities of Venice and Siena; each of these cities is distinguished by its own unique style of art and architecture. We’ll study Italy’s “court” cities, including Ferrara, Padua, Mantua, and Urbino. We’ll observe the unique sense of “place” that distinguishes these communities, but we’ll also discover cultural, artistic, and urban commonalities throughout Renaissance Italy.

ARH 333L
The Age of Rembrandt and Rubens

VAPA • Global Cultures flag

Jeffrey Smith
MWF 9–10

This course surveys Northern European art from about 1580 to 1700. We shall delve deeply into the creativity of such masters as Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, Frans Hals, Rembrandt, Jan Vermeer, and others during the golden age of Dutch and Flemish baroque art as well as during the reign of King Louis XIV of France, the builder of Versailles. As Dutch traders explored Asia, Africa, and the Americas, exotic art and cultural knowledge transformed European conceptions of the world. These artists probed human nature, including our folly and deepest aspirations, as well as the beauties of the natural world.

ARH 337K
20th Century European Art to the 1940s

VAPA • Global Cultures flag

Linda Henderson
TTH 12:30–2

With a particular emphasis on cultural context, this course surveys the development of modern art in Europe, starting with a review of the Post-Impressionists Seurat, Cézanne, Van Gogh, and Gauguin and concluding with Surrealism. The primary emphasis, however, is on the major artists and movements of the early 20th century, including Fauvism, German Expressionism, Cubism, Futurism, Vorticism, Russian Suprematism and Constructivism, De Stijl, the Bauhaus, Dada, and Surrealism. Although painting is the major focus of the class, we will also consider sculpture and architecture.

ARH 339M
American Art, 1958–1985

VAPA

John Clarke
TTH 9:30–11

This course surveys the major movements in American art from about 1958 to about 1985. We will look at the major trends, including pop art, minimalism, conceptual art, site-specific art, performance and body art, photorealism, patterning and decoration, and the varieties of figural art that emerged in the 1980s, including neo-expressionism, graffiti, narrative, and appropriation. We will look at these trends from three principal points of view: their relationship to prior historical developments, their self-stated aims, and their treatment by contemporary critics. This course will deepen your knowledge of the history of this period and help you to hone your own critical thinking about visual art. It will cultivate your own ideas about both the works of art and the criticism written about them.

ARH 341K
Modern Art of Mexico

VAPA • Global Cultures flag

George Flaherty
TTH 11–12:30

Mexican art and visual culture from the late nineteenth century through the 1950s, a period characterized by rapid modernization but also violence and glaring social and political injustices. With the Mexican Revolution, the first major social upheaval of the twentieth-century (1910–20), the country became a beacon for politically committed art throughout the Americas and beyond. Emphasis will be on emergence of cosmopolitan avant-garde artists and their relationship to government and society. Mixing native and international influences, these artists, writers and intellectuals contributed to notions of national identity (lo mexicano) that still resonate today.

ARH 346L
Africana Women’s Art

VAPA • Cultural Diversity in the United States flag • Global Cultures flag

Moyo Okediji
TTH 9:30–11

Can we adopt the criteria used for the analysis and presentation of western art and artists for the presentation and discussion of works by Africana women artists? How do we define Africana women’s art and artists? Who are the most influential Africana women artists, and in which mediums do they work? What tasks do they tackle and what challenges face them? What are the stylistic diversities that define and distinguish their contributions? What are the technological tools available to them, and how have they manipulated and fashioned these tools? How have they shaped the past and present trends in art history, and what are their aspirations and hopes for the future? These are some of the questions that this course will investigate with the use of art historical and critical theories that draw on oral and written literatures, music, films, and other formal and informal documents.

ARH 362
Love, Beauty, and Protection in the Visual Culture of Ancient Greece and Rome

Global Cultures flag

John Clarke
TTH 2–3:30

This course examines visual culture to gain a better understanding of how ancient Greeks and Romans thought about themselves with regard to love, sexuality, divine and human beauty, and protection from demonic forces. We will analyze specific works of art between the sixth century B.C. and the fourth century A.D. to deepen our understanding of what these concepts meant in social and cultural contexts that were very different from our own. In addition to increasing your understanding of the major developments within the visual arts over this long period, you will gain a greater understanding of how each culture constructs the rules that regulate social behavior, leading to the cultural diversity that we see both in the ancient world and our own.

ARH 362
Art and Politics in Republican Rome

Global Cultures flag

Penelope Davies
TTH 3:30–5

This course covers the art and architecture of Republican Rome, ca. 500–44 BC, when Rome began to establish dominance in the Mediterranean and to develop an artistic tradition that would flourish into the Empire. Copious wealth from victories abroad led to massive public works such as temples, civic buildings and triumphal monuments, which articulated the competing ambitions of elite families, jostling for political prominence. Students should gain a good grounding in Republican Roman visual culture and politics, and be able to assess works of art within their political and social context.

ARH 366J
Goya in Context

Writing flag

Michael Charlesworth
M 3–6

This Writing Flag course will be taught as an undergraduate seminar (16 students). We shall visit the Blanton Museum Prints Collection to study Goya’s print series, in addition to studying his painting in the conventional way. Developing an understannding of the dramatic history of Spain in Goya’s lifetime (1746–1828) will be important. For the first part of the course, students will work together in small groups.

ARH 366J
Landscape in Europe

Global Cultures flag

Michael Charlesworth
TTH 5–6:30

This upper division Topics course studies Landscape in 19th century Europe. Landscape is the place where everything happens.This course looks at all the arts of landscape: paintings, gardens, poetry, prose, photography, etc., considering love and death, nationalism, nature, cityscape and alienation, psychological landscape, history, geology, mental process; and colonialism.

ARH 374
Making African Art

Moyo Okediji
TTH 2–3:30

At the Blanton Museum of The University of Texas at Austin, an unprecedented and comprehensive exhibition of African art, titled “Making African Art,” will open from October 2018 to January 2019. This course uses the exhibition as its laboratory to examine the social and cultural contexts within which people make and use artistic images in Africa. Students will explore historical, contemporary, and diasporic aspects of African art, as part of a more massive expressive complex that includes music, dance, literature, and cinematography. Within a curatorial context of the Blanton Museum exhibition, the course will present the works of major artists, art groups, ethnicities, and communities, as a lively dialog between the creative imaginations of those who make the objects, and the philosophical insight of the audiences.

ARH 375
Theories and Methods in Art History

Independent Inquiry flag • Writing flag

Julia Guernsey
TTH 12:30–2

This course provides an introduction to the discipline of art history and to some of the most significant methodological approaches and challenges to the study of art and visual culture. It does not follow a lecture format but instead focuses on class discussion, active participation, and collaborative learning. Our goal is to become familiar with the fundamental characteristics and objectives of various methods and traditions in art history, and to create a productive environment in which to analyze, critique, compare, and utilize them. Emphasis will also be placed on a series of written assignments and papers that enable the student to more fully research and explore a topic of particular art historical interest to her or him.

ARH 376
Reading Tutorial in Art History Problems

Individual projects to be completed under faculty supervision.

ARH 379H
Honors Thesis

Independent Inquiry flag • Writing flag

Individual conference course in which student researches and writes a thesis.