Art History Courses

Details below are subject to change. Please confirm all information in the official Course Schedule.
 

Fall 2021 Teaching Formats

Online
Instruction mode "Internet" in course schedule. The course is taught entirely online and does not require in-person activities on campus.

Online with Required In-Person Component
Instruction mode "Hybrid or Blended" in course schedule. The course is a hybrid format that blends online instruction and required in-person activities on campus. Students may be divided into smaller groups for in-person instruction and will be advised by their instructor as to which days to report on campus.

In-Person
Instruction mode "Face-to-Face" in course schedule. The course is taught entirely in-person.

Summer 2021 Courses

ARH 301
Introduction to the Visual Arts

This survey course explores art and human creativity. The class stresses visual literacy by examining how and why art is made. We shall examine both famous and less well known examples of painting, sculpture, prints, and architecture, among other arts, as we investigate the many roles that art plays in different world cultures.

Fulfills →  VAPA / Global Cultures flag

Instructor: Daisy Adams

Online
Complete the course entirely online. No in-person meetings.

On Demand
Work at your own pace. Begin and finish the course anytime during Summer Session I of 2021.

Fall 2021 Courses

ARH 301
Introduction to the Visual Arts

This survey course explores art and human creativity. The class stresses visual literacy by examining how and why art is made. We shall examine both famous and less well known examples of painting, sculpture, prints, and architecture, among other arts, as we investigate the many roles that art plays in different world cultures.

Fulfills →  VAPA / Global Cultures flag

Instructor TBA
TTH 5–6:30
Teaching Format →  In-Person


Art is a language: how do we decode its meaning and its extraordinary effect on us, the viewers? How does art reflect the era, location, and culture of both its maker and its patron? Through a blend of online lectures (2 per week), quizzes (each class through Canvas), and tests (3 on Canvas), as well as TA-led visits to UT’s Blanton Museum of Art, students will learn that art is a prism—often beautiful, always challenging—through which we can view the human experience, both past and present. Throughout the semester, 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! We will concentrate on the familiar media of painting, sculpture, and architecture, but we will also examine drawings, prints, photography, garden planning, ceramics, textiles, earthworks, installation art, and other forms of visual culture, both through live online lectures and through in-person visits to UT’s collections of art.

Fulfills →  VAPA / Global Cultures flag

Dr. Ann Johns
MW 10–11 + Discussion Section
Teaching Format →  Online with Required In-Person Component
(Please contact the instructor for further details on type/frequency of in-person instruction.)

ARH 302
Survey of Ancient through Medieval Art

Why did somebody scratch a chain of impeccably drawn diamonds on a chunk of red stone 77,000 years ago? Was the Egyptian Sphinx as enigmatic in antiquity as it is today? Why did the Greeks need images? Why did Islam negate figuration in its sacred spaces of worship? Why were the medieval cathedrals laden with cute but ominous monsters? There are no easy answers to these questions but works of art are fun to look at and think about. A chronological survey of the visual arts from the Stone Age to the end of the Medieval Period, this course will focus on major achievements of painting, sculpture, and architecture and on their roles as vehicles of expression for individuals and societies alike. Artistic creations have always enshrined a gamut of experiences and mental states: emotions, desires, fears, frustrations, power, repulsion, propaganda, memory, nostalgia, and play, to name but a few. Our goal will be to examine precisely how these elements were expressed in individual cultures, how they changed over time, and whether or not their messages are still recoverable today. Although major emphasis will be given to the western world, non-western developments will also be considered.

The weekly structure of the course is bipartite: There will be two hourly lectures (T Th 11-12) concentrating on generic themes and artworks within each area of study and a third hourly discussion section, more intimate in nature, in which the focus will be on more specific issues and approaches regarding the study and practice of art and archaeology throughout the ages (see themes below). In the discussion session students are expected to actively engage in voicing their own responses to the themes of the lectures and the special weekly readings.

Fulfills →  VAPA / Global Cultures flag

Dr. Nassos Papalexandrou
TTH 11–12 + Discussion Section
Teaching Format →  In-Person

ARH 303
Survey of Renaissance through Modern Art

Art is a language: how do we decode its meaning, its intent, and its extraordinary effect on us, the viewers? In this course, we explore an astonishing array of Western art and architecture. Our course begins c. 1250, in the early Renaissance of Western Europe, and concludes with global artistic trends and issues that are at the heart of the art world in 2020. While we will concentrate on the familiar media of painting, sculpture, and architecture, we will also be looking at manuscripts, drawings, prints, photography, the decorative arts, garden planning, ceramics, earthworks, and installation art.

Fulfills →  VAPA / Global Cultures flag

Instructors TBA
MWF 10–11
TTH 3:30–5
Teaching Format →  In-Person

ARH 304
Issues in Visual Culture

Examines the modern and contemporary history of art and visual culture in relation to a broader set of problems fundamental to visual representation throughout the history of art.

Restricted to incoming freshmen in the Art History program only.

Fulfills →  Ethics flag / Independent Inquiry flag / Writing flag

Dr. Deirdre M. Smith
MW 10–11:30
Teaching Format →  In-Person

ARH 321
Problems in Art Historical Research

How do we as art historians and emerging art historians create art history from fragments, or from that which has been marginalised, obscured, and rendered less than the hegemonic narratives that tend to dominate the canon of Art History? Art History has at its core a pronounced eurocentrism, within which is an inherently problematic framing of certain people - women, ethnic minorities and others - within the subaltern. What challenges do art historians face in their attempts to excavate wider art histories? What methodologies might be employed? In sum, how do we create art history from that which is not immediately recognisable, accessible, or given status. The class will reflect on a wide range of texts, from Virginia Wolf’s A Room of One’s Own, through to Linda Nochlin’s “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” It will consider why artists primarily regarded by the dominant culture according to raced, or gendered constructs are and have been routinely and systemically marginalised within Art History. The class will periodically utilise the HRC and students will each work towards a research project that reflects on, as well as seeks to overcome, problems of art historical research.

Restricted to Art History Majors.

Fulfills →  Independent Inquiry flag / Writing flag

Dr. Eddie Chambers
TTH 11–12:30
Teaching Format →  In-Person

ARH 325
Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East

A vast and complicated mosaic of peoples and cultures, the civilization of the ancient Near East offers fascinating insights to human creativity and fundamental achievements in the history of humanity. This course introduces students to the art and archaeology of a region that extends from contemporary Turkey all the way to the Afghanistan and adjacent areas of South Asia. We will survey key aspects of the dynamic interaction of landscape and people, the origin of urbanism and social complexity, cross-cultural encounters and the development of important phenomena such as writing, figuration, narrative art, and monumental architecture. Emphasis will be given to important textual sources and the convoluted history of archaeological investigation in this area. The contemporary situation in the Middle East dictates that we explore the recent shaping of the region as an arena for colonial action by outside powers since the 19th century. This has resulted in the problematic dissemination of its cultural treasures all around the world. Considering that the contemporary area of the Near East is essentially an artificial construct of colonial powers, it is imperative that we also consider in depth how this situation affects contemporary understanding and analysis of material culture and art.

Fulfills →  VAPA / Global Cultures flag

For Art History majors, this course counts towards Europe & Mediterranean for Geographic Areas and Prehistoric-400CE for Time Period requirements.

Dr. Nassos Papalexandrou
TTH 12:30–2
Teaching Format →  In-Person

ARH 328N
Arabs and Vikings Art Culture

In AD 921, a learned courtier from the glittering capital of Baghdad, set off on a journey into the uncharted land of the Vikings as ambassador for the Abbasid caliph. Then inn 1130, a Christian king would conquer the Italian island of Sicily and begin to create a kingdom that merged Islamic and Christian cultural traditions. A few decades later, a young Crusader would journey to the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem and find a Christian Kingdom that had all the hallmarks of an Islamic Sultanate. This course will look closely at recent films, popular and academic publications, and works of art and architecture that explore the interconnected character of the European and the Islamic worlds in the Middle Ages. This is a cross-listed course with Middle Eastern Studies.

Fulfills →  Global Cultures flag

For Art History majors, this course counts towards either Europe & Mediterranean or Middle East and Africa for Geographic Areas and 400-1500CE for Time Period requirements.

Dr. Stephennie Mulder
MWF 2–3
Teaching Format →  In-Person

ARH 331K
Early Italian Renaissance Art to 1470

Renaissance means “rebirth”, and the rebirth of art and culture is a concept that was very vividly alive in fifteenth-century Italy. This course looks at the great artists and innovations of the period that spans:

  • from Brunelleschi to Bramante in architecture
  • from Masaccio to Botticelli to Leonardo in painting
  • from Donatello to the young Michelangelo in sculpture

Among the issues to be discussed will be: the development of mathematical perspective, art and engineering, the revival of ancient Greek and Roman culture, the role of women in society, religion, gender and sexuality, politics and warfare, technology and science—and how all these themes are reflected in important works of art.

Fulfills →  VAPA / Global Cultures flag

For Art History majors, this course counts towards Europe & Mediterranean for Geographic Areas and 400-1500CE for Time Period requirements.

Dr. Louis Alexander Waldman
TTH 11–12:30
Teaching Format →  In-Person

ARH 331P
Art & The City in Renaissance Italy

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 Renaissance city-state, 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 then 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, 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.

We’ll also examine issues such as the role of women and the family; the importance of race and international trade; the rise of specialized hospitals and quarantine islands in an era of plague; and the delicate balance between the growing urban centers and the control of the surrounding territory, so necessary for crops and other resources.

All readings will be posted on Canvas. Assignments include reading responses and other urbanistic analyses. All tests are non-cumulative.

Fulfills →  VAPA / Global Cultures flag

For Art History majors, this course counts towards Europe & Mediterranean for Geographic Areas and 1500-Present for Time Period requirements.

Dr. Ann Johns
MWF 12–1
Teaching Format →  In-Person

ARH 333L
The Age of Rembrandt and Rubens: Northern Baroque Art

This course explores Northern European art between 1580 and 1720. The focus will be on the Golden Age of Netherlandish art and culture as we investigate the creativity of Rembrandt, Jan Vermeer, Frans Hals, Judith Leyster, Rubens, and Anthony van Dyck, among other great masters. We shall discuss other major artistic centers, such as Paris and Versailles during the reign of King Louis XIV. This was also a period in which the world opened up to Europeans as explorers and merchants brought back knowledge, art, erotic wares, and natural wonders from Asia, Africa, and the Americas. These encounters enriched the Netherlands, among other lands, but often at a human cost.

Fulfills →  VAPA / Global Cultures flag

For Art History majors, this course counts towards Europe & Mediterranean for Geographic Areas and 1500-Present for Time Period requirements.

Dr. Jeffrey Chipps Smith
MW 8:30–10
Teaching Format →  In-Person

ARH 335J
Nineteenth-Century Art

Examines European art and themes in art during the nineteenth century.

Fulfills →  VAPA

For Art History majors, this course counts towards Europe & Mediterranean for Geographic Areas and 1500-Present for Time Period requirements.

Instructor TBA
MWF 3–4
Teaching Format →  In-Person

ARH 341R
Apertures: Film and Photography Through Greater Mexico

Artists, intellectuals, and politicians have debated Mexico’s apertura since the early twentieth century. Apertura means “opening,” Mexico’s relationship to the wider world, but also refers to the lens of a camera and the revelation of something hidden. This undergraduate course explores historical (social, technological) and aesthetic exchanges and affinities between photographers and filmmakers working in greater Mexico, including the U.S. Southwest. We will consider how Mexican life and history are represented, and how borders between Mexico and the world—and among media—are blurred or brought into sharper focus.

Fulfills →  Global Cultures flag

For Art History majors, this course counts towards Americas for Geographic Areas and 1500-Present for Time Period requirements.

Dr. George Flaherty
MW 1–2:30
Teaching Format →  In-Person

ARH 346K
Introduction to African Art

This course is a comprehensive study of the visual arts of Africa, in the social and cultural contexts within which people make and use these images. Students will explore historical, contemporary, and diasporic aspects of African art, as part of a larger expressive complex that includes music, dance, literature, and cinematography.  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 responses of those to whom the artists address the objects.

Fulfills →  VAPA / Cultural Diversity flag / Global Cultures flag

For Art History majors, this course counts towards Middle East and Africa for Geographic Areas and 1500-Present for Time Period requirements.

Dr. Moyosore Okediji
TTH 2–3:30
Teaching Format →  Online

ARH 346L
Africana Women’s Art

Can we adopt the criteria used for the analysis and presentation of western art and artists for the analysis and presentation 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.

Fulfills →  VAPA / Cultural Diversity flag

For Art History majors, this course counts towards Middle East and Africa for Geographic Areas and 1500-Present for Time Period requirements.

Dr. Moyosore Okediji
TTH 9:30–11
Teaching Format →  Online

ARH 347R
Architecture and Sculpture in the Maya World

This course explores, through the lens of architecture and sculpture, the ancient world of the Maya. Students will learn about the Maya from recent research highlighting the deep history of architectural design, and the social functions of sculptural and artistic programs. With a focus on different periods and regions within the Maya area, students will develop an understanding of the role architecture and sculpture play in reflecting social change, starting from the development of the institutions of kingship in the first millennium BCE, through the Classic period when Maya art and architecture reached the highest diversity of form with a variety of regional styles. The course is seminar-style and discussion-based, with most student work focused on weekly writing projects to develop experience with writing in an academic discipline.

Fulfills →  Global Cultures flag / Writing flag

For Art History majors, this course counts towards Americas for Geographic Areas and Prehistoric-400CE for Time Period requirements.

Dr. Astrid Runggaldier
TTH 3:30–5
Teaching Format →  In-Person

ARH 362
Construction, Reconstruction, Deconstruction in Ancient Rome

Taking a broad view of Roman architecture from Republic to Empire, this lecture course examines different phases of ancient buildings’ lives, from construction to restoration to demolition, with a view to determining their political valencies at these moments. Readings will cover issues such as construction process, damnatio memoriae (condemnation of memory) and vandalism, drawing on examples from, and scholarship on, diverse periods and cultures. Participants are encouraged, in turn, to bring expertise/interests of their own to the discussion.

Fulfills →  Global Cultures flag

For Art History majors, this course counts towards Europe and Mediterranean for Geographic Areas and Pre-history to 400CE for Time Period requirements.

Dr. Penelope Davies
TTH 3:30–5
Teaching Format →  In-Person

ARH 366P
What Is Contemporary Art?

This course is a thematic meditation on the field of contemporary art, its characteristics and problematics. We will begin by probing at what, exactly, contemporary art is, and how it has been defined as an amorphously chronological, stylistic, and theoretical phenomenon in the history of art. We will ask not only “What is contemporary art?” but also “When?” and “Where?,” “How does ‘contemporary’ differ from ‘modern’ art?,” and “What is the ‘global’ contemporary?” The course then proceeds by exploring the primary imperatives of contemporary artists, including: challenging the nature of what a work of art is and can be, and using art as a tool for engaging current events and urgent political questions through a diverse group of case studies. The course closes by examining topics in the contemporary art world: the market, the biennial, the gallery and the museum, their imperatives and the ways that artists and activists have critiqued and reformed these institutions.

For Art History majors, this course counts towards Europe & Mediterranean, Americas, Asia & Pacific, or Middle East & Africa for Geographic Areas and 1500-Present for Time Period requirements.

Dr. Deirdre M. Smith
TTH 12:30–2
Teaching Format →  In-Person

ARH 374
Other Animals: Ways of Knowing and Seeing Across Species in Art History

Non-human animals of many kinds are among the most enduring figures in the history of image-making, appearing as divinities, allegories, and specimens, and conjuring fascination, humor, and sympathy. In the past two decades especially, artists have made art with and about other animals, and art historians have written and produced exhibitions about the animal as an artistic subject. These artworks can spark heated ethical debates, as well as opportunities to fundamentally contemplate what it is to be alive together. This curatorial and art historical turn towards the animal in art dovetails with ever-increasing knowledge of the climate crisis’ effects on other species and the ways that industrial farming contributes to this crisis, as well as the surging popularity of images of animals online. In this course, we will read texts and examine artworks and images from throughout the history of art, science and philosophy that concern non-human animals and human-animal difference, with an emphasis on contemporary art and the present moment. We will probe at what, in particular, art offers to discussions of human-animal relationships and differences, and what the animal subject offers to art.

For Art History majors, this course counts towards Europe & Mediterranean or Americas for Geographic Areas and 1500-Present for Time Period requirements.

Dr. Deirdre M. Smith
TTH 9:30–11
Teaching Format →  In-Person

ARH 375
Theories and Methods in the History of Art

This course, which carries Writing and Independent Inquiry Flags, 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. This course 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. Because this class carries both Writing and Independent Inquiry flags, 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/him/them.

Prerequisite: ARH 321: Problems in Art Historical Research. Restricted to Art History Majors.

Fulfills →  Independent Inquiry flag / Writing flag

Dr. Julia Guernsey
TTH 9:30–11
Teaching Format →  In-Person

ARH 376
Independent Study: Art History

Individual projects to be completed under faculty supervision.

Requires consent of instructor to register.

Fulfills →  Independent Inquiry flag

ARH 379H
Art History Honors Thesis

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

Restricted to those participating in Art History Honors Program. Requires approval by Art History Honors Program Director to register.

Fulfills →  Independent Inquiry flag / Writing flag

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