The Art Program
The department offers two distinct but interrelated majors – art history and studio art. The Art History major provides the background for a life-long appreciation of art and the intellectual framework for conducting research in art history. The Studio Art major challenges the student to address theory and technique in the making of art. With resources such as a subscription to ARTstor digital database, lecture rooms with sophisticated equipment, a darkroom, studios with skylights, and a computer imaging and multimedia laboratory, the department is fully equipped to serve both majors.
The Art History major explores in chronological sequence the span of Western art within its cultural, philosophical, and historical contexts. Special courses on styles, issues, and individuals in Western and non-Western art give a broad overview of the complexity of artistic expressions. Proximity to Washington, D.C., Richmond, Baltimore, and New York City, give students first-hand experiences of art works. Visiting scholars and artists offer students important networking opportunities, as well as lectures on recent developments in the field. In the internship program, students gain valuable experience and career contacts by working in museums and art institutions in the Washington, D.C., and Richmond areas, and beyond.
The Studio Art major teaches technical skills, increases aesthetic sensibilities, and advances the student’s individual development primarily in the areas of ceramics, drawing, painting, print media (printmaking, photography, and digital imaging), and sculpture/time-based media (performance and video). Upper-level students are encouraged to explore personal approaches and technical skills specific to their area of interest. Studies for the advanced student focus on conceptual approaches to artistic problems.
Internships are also available and offer students professional experience outside the classroom. The Studio Art majors culminate their studies with the capstone course, ARTS 474: Professional Practices in Studio Art and an exhibit in duPont Gallery or by submission of a senior portfolio.
The University Galleries present art exhibitions and events of interest to the University community. Students gain valuable experience in the Galleries as catalogers, researchers, administrative assistants, and exhibition installers.
Requirements for the Art History Major
Thirty-nine (39) credits to include ARTH 114, 115, and 303; and thirty (30) additional credits in Art History, including at least one 400-level seminar course (ARTH 460 or 470) and one course from each of the following chronological periods: Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Modern.
Art History Course Offerings
Art History course offerings will be found under the 4 letter code of ARTH in the course listings.
114 – History of Western Art I (3)
A survey of Western architecture, painting, and sculpture from the Prehistoric period to the late Gothic.
115 – History of Western Art II (3)
A survey of Western architecture, painting, and sculpture from proto-Renaissance to the present.
260 – Topics in Art History (3)
Prerequisite: ARTH 114 or 115. Explores significant figures, styles, movements, and topics in Western art. Does not fulfill an area requirement but can count as elective credit in the major.
270 – Topics in Non-Western and Non-Eurocentric Art (3)
Prerequisite: ARTH 114 or 115. Major monuments of architecture, sculpture, and painting of non-Western and/or non-Eurocentric cultural contexts are explored, as specified by the topic title. Previous topics have included: Asian art, African art, Islamic art, and Pre-Columbian and Latin American art.
303 – Methods of Art History (3)
Prerequisite: Art History major. Permission of instructor required. Introduces philosophies of art historical methodologies and principles and examines the historic development of the discipline.
305 – Egyptian and Near Eastern Art and Archaeology (3)
(also taught alternately as CLAS 305) Prerequisite: ARTH 114. Using the methodologies developed by archaeologists and art historians, this course examines the artistic and architectural traditions of Egypt and the Near East from the prehistoric through the Greco-Roman periods.
310 – Greek Art (3)
Prerequisite: ARTH 114. Focuses on the development of Greek art from the early Aegean Age through the Geometric, Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic periods.
311 – Roman Art (3)
Prerequisite: ARTH 114. A review of the major developments in Roman art and architecture from the Italo-Etruscan period to the end of the Roman Empire. Special attention is devoted to the topography and major monuments of the ancient city of Rome.
315 – Art Museum Studies (3)
Prerequisites: ARTH 114 and 115. Examines the art museum and its role, including: developing and managing collections and exhibits; interpretation and museum education for diverse audiences; funding; governance; and ethics and values. Case studies, field trips, practice, and readings included. Does not satisfy the Art History requirement for the Studio Art major.
317 – Laboratory in Museum Studies (3)
Prerequisite: ARTH 315 or HISP 200. Through the creation of a hypothetical museum, students gain experience working in a team environment as they apply their knowledge about museum audience, collections, education, exhibition, organization and administration, physical plant, and public relations. Does not count as an elective for the Art History major. Does not satisfy the Art History requirement for the Studio Art major.
325 – Early Christian, Byzantine, and Early Medieval Art (3)
Prerequisite: ARTH 114. This course traces the development of art and architecture from the beginnings of the Christian tradition through the Byzantine, Hiberno-Saxon, Carolingian, and Ottonian periods. Focus is placed on the major monuments from these periods and the related issues of patronage, culture, and liturgy that influenced their creation.
326 – Romanesque and Gothic Art (3)
Prerequisite: ARTH 114. A survey of the visual arts of western Europe from the 11th through the 15th centuries. The works of architecture, sculpture, and painting are studied with attention to the social, religious, and intellectual frameworks of the societies that produced them. Special emphasis is given to the monastic tradition, pilgrimage and relic cults, and the urban cathedral.
330 – Northern European Art, 1400 to 1600 (3)
Prerequisite: ARTH 115. An introduction to the artistic traditions of northern Europe through a focus on such artists as Jan van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden, Bosch, Dürer, and Bruegel. The relations between patron and image are of particular interest, as are the connections between northern and southern European art during this period.
331 – Early Italian Renaissance (3)
Prerequisite: ARTH 115. A survey of the painting, sculpture, and architecture of Italy from about 1300 to 1475. All major figures, including Giotto, Ghiberti, Donatello, and Botticelli are considered. Works are examined in terms of setting, patronage, and cultural context in addition to questions of style and meaning. Of particular interest is the relationship between artistic expression and the personalities and institutions of the city of Florence.
332 – High Renaissance and Mannerism (3)
Prerequisite: ARTH 115. A survey of the painting, sculpture, and architecture of Italy from about 1475 to 1600. Among the High Renaissance artists considered are Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Titian. Of special consideration is the nature of the Papacy as a patron of the arts and the city of Rome as a context for artistic activity. The course also considers the reasons for the dissolution of the classical tradition during this time by artists such as Pontormo, Parmigianino, and Giulio Romano.
340 – Northern Baroque Art (3)
Prerequisite: ARTH 115. Examines the major works of northern European art from the late sixteenth century until around 1700. Issues covered include the influence of antiquity, contacts with Italy, patronage of royal courts as well as the new “middle class,” and the role of religion. Selected works by Rubens, Van Dyck, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Poussin, and others are studied from a variety of interpretative points of view including iconography, style, technique, social and economic circumstances, and the relationship of the visual arts to other cultural productions such as literature and music.
341 – Italian and Spanish Baroque Art (3)
Prerequisite: ARTH 115. Examines the major works of Italian and Spanish art from the late sixteenth century until around 1700, with some attention paid to Islamic influences in Spain as well as influences from the arts of the “New World”. Selected works by Caravaggio, Bernini, Borromini, Velazquez, Zurbaran, and others are studied from a variety of interpretative points of view including iconography, style, technique, social and economic circumstances, and the relationship of the visual arts to other cultural productions such as literature and music.
350 – Neoclassicism to Impressionism (3)
Prerequisite: ARTH 115. Focuses on the periods of Neoclassicism, Realism, and Impressionism in painting and sculpture in Europe, with emphasis on French art.
351 – Post-Impressionism to Abstract Expressionism (3)
Prerequisite: ARTH 115. Focuses on the periods of Post-Impressionism to Abstract Expressionism in painting and sculpture.
352 – American Art (3)
Prerequisite: ARTH 115. A survey of American painting and sculpture with emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries.
354 – Pop Art to the Present (3)
Prerequisite: ARTH 115. Explores the history of art since 1945 and its critical response.
355 – Modern Architecture (3)
Prerequisite: ARTH 115. A chronological survey of 20th-century architecture that focuses on the most noted architects and their work, as well as the revolutionary building technologies and aesthetic theories that made such architecture possible.
450 – Topics in Art and Art History (3)
Prerequisites: ARTH 114 or 115 and Studio Arts 105; or permission of instructor. Previous offerings have included: “Mosaics: History and Techniques,” that bridge traditional boundaries between Art History and Studio Art.
460 – Seminar: Women and Western Art (3)
Prerequisites: ARTH 114, 115, 303, and permission of instructor. Examines the roles women have played in the visual arts in Western traditions, as well as the literature by and about these women. Focus is on the work of women artists, the commissions of women patrons, the responses of audiences to these works, meanings placed on the feminine form, and the work of male artists which has as its subject the female form. Also looks at contemporary issues to examine the role of feminist art as an art which critiques and creates society.
470 – Seminar: Special Studies in Art History (3)
Prerequisites: ARTH 114, 115, 303, and permission of instructor. For Art History majors and other qualified students. Concentration, in seminar format, is on an individual artist, specific problem, limited time period, or theme.
491, 492 – Individual Study in Art History (3, 3)
Prerequisites: ARTH 114, 115, at least three ARTH courses in three different chronological periods, and permission of the department individual study committee and instructor required. For Art History majors only. Includes a faculty-approved research project, oral presentation, and major paper. Vehicle for those seeking honors in Art History. Available on a competitive basis.
499 – Internship (Credits variable)
Supervised experience developed in consultation with the Art History faculty. May not be used to satisfy the Art History 400-level research course requirement. A maximum of three credits may count toward the major requirements.