ARHS - Art History


Course Descriptions

ARHS 1050 Art Appreciation (3)

An introductory course for non-art majors. Students examine a variety of visual forms, including art from the past and contemporary currents. Emphasis is on expanded awareness, enhanced understanding, and refined insight of creation influences and meanings in the visual arts. Students gain experience with active and responsive talking and writing about art.

ARHS 2000 Art Forum (1-3)

Introduces a structure for the development of discourse and critical inquiry. The Friday Forum lecture series and immediately current topics in art will be the basic focus of the class. Additionally, students enrolled in art survey and creative strategies courses especially will find this discussion format a supplement to those courses. May be repeated once for credit.

ARHS 2200 Current Art (3)

Surveys many of the dominant styles and theories of contemporary art. As there cannot be an accepted "received history" of the art of our own time, the content of the course will be organized along both a lineal and thematic approach, with special attention to the political and social constructs implicit in the creation of recent "avant-garde" art. Students will be introduced to the nature of the "art world," current trends in art, and the dialogues taking place both in and around its creation.

ARHS 2210 Introduction to the History of Western Art (3)

This course is a broad survey of the major historical periods and styles of the arts of the West from the Prehistoric world through the early twentieth century. As this is a humanistic study, students will be introduced to the social, literary, and religious ideas and events that are interrelated with the creation of visual art. These interrelations of art and culture will be studied in terms of the basic art historical concepts of style, iconography, and context. The primary technical and formal innovations of artistic production also will be addressed.

ARHS 2230 Visual Literacy (3)

Visual input is of high complexity and is sometimes processed in enormous speed. We must be knowledgeable "readers" to decipher images and also must be familiar with the visual codes that organize these messages. It is the aim of the course to present students with the tools to deal with visual material in a knowledgeable and critical way, to obtain insight into the making and consuming of images, and to understand their historical and theoretical basis.

ARHS 2320 Introduction to Asian Art (3)

Continues the art history sequence: introduces the arts of Asia.

ARHS 2350 Introductory Topics in Art History (3)

Introduces basic themes and topics in art history and criticism. Topics will include various approaches and issues relating to the study of art history, the curating and collecting of art, artists' biographies, introduction to art movement, and art in corporate settings. May be repeated for credit if content differs. Prerequisite: ARHS 2210

ARHS 2400 Indigenous Arts of the World (3)

Surveys the arts of non-Western cultures; topics may include the arts of Africa, Oceania, or the pre-Columbian Americas. May be repeated for credit if content varies. Offered periodically. (previously ARHS 3390 Art and Art Cultures)

ARHS 2700 Introduction to Curatorial Studies (3)

This course examines what it means to be a "curator" and the topics that are influencing current curatorial strategies. Emphasis will be placed on the study of active professionals referencing local, national, and international exhibitions. Field trips to art institutions will encourage developing links with gallery and museum curators; managers and directors; writers and critics.(previously ART 2360 Introduction to Curatorial Studies)

ARHS 3010 Greek and Roman Art (3)

Surveys the art and architecture of ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. Offered periodically.

ARHS 3110 Early Renaissance Art (3)

Follows the development of Renaissance art in Italy, from the late Medieval period through the fifteenth century. Topics include the rise of humanism, theories of vision, the introduction of printmaking, and the growth of artistic status and identity. Offered alternating years.

ARHS 3120 High and Late Renaissance Art (3)

Explores the arts of Italy, from the High Renaissance of Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael, to the Mannerism of the mid-sixteenth century. Topics include the artist as intellectual, theory in art, and the rise of art history. Offered alternating years.

ARHS 3130 Northern Renaissance Art (3)

Explores the art of the Lowlands, France, and the German States from 1350–1550. Artists such as Van Eyck, Durer, Bosch, and Bruegel will be seen in the context of religious turmoil and discovery that brought Europe from the Middle Ages to the early modern world. Offered alternating years.

ARHS 3150 Baroque Art (3)

Surveys the art of the seventeenth century in Europe, with a focus on its international nature and as a response to intellectual and cultural forces such as the Counter-Reformation and the Scientific Revolution. Topics include the Academy, the artist as reformist/conformist, and the power of art. Offered alternating years. (previously ARHS 3350 Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Art)

ARHS 3210 Nineteenth-Century Art (3)

Tracing intellectual and cultural currents from the Enlightenment to the fin de siècle, this course will encompass Romanticism, Realism, Symbolism, and early Modernism in art. While the European viewpoint is dominant, we will also look at the contributions of American landscape painters in the nineteenth century. Offered alternating years.

ARHS 3250 Modern Art (3)

This course surveys European High Modern art and other Modernities of the early twentieth century through post-WWII developments to the neo-avant-garde. Concentrating on art as related to the important political forces of the time, the Russian Revolution, World Wars, the Great Depression, and Cold War policies, topics will include German Expressionism, Cubo-Futurism, Constructivism, Abstract Expressionism, Formalism, etc. Offered alternating years.(previously ARHS 3360 History of Modern Art)

ARHS 3270 Contemporary Art (3)

This course focuses on late-twentieth- and twenty-first-century art practices. Topics include theories of contemporary art, post-modernism, post-coloniality, Global art, art as activism, and immediately new genres. Offered alternating years. (previously ARHS 3370 Art Since 1945)

ARHS 3500 History of Architecture (3)

Surveys the history of architecture as the culmination of the aesthetic, social, economic, and technological aspects of various cultures and historical periods. Topics include construction of space, direction of movement, monuments as symbols, and the architect's various identities. Offered periodically. (previously ARHS 3400)

ARHS 4600 Topics in Art History (3)


In-depth study of particular issues in the history and criticism/theory of art. Topics vary from semester to semester: e.g., performance art; history of prints; Renaissance visions of nature; Chinese landscape painting; the Japanese garden; Mughal architecture; art in the current decade. May be repeated for credit if content differs. Offered periodically. (previously ARHS 4350) Prerequisites: ARHS 2200 and ARHS 2210. May be repeated for credit if content differs.

ARHS 4610 Reading Course (1-4)

Prerequisites: permission of the instructor and filing of official form. May be repeated for credit.

ARHS 4700 Cultural Organizations: Structure and Theory (3)

This course studies the environment, principles, and practices of cultural organizations. The class will discuss cultural policy issues and be introduced to the structure of museums and non-profit organizations. Students will formulate a theoretical rationale and "found" their own organizations.(previously ARHS 3410)

ARHS 4730 Art Theory and Criticism (3)

Art theory provides the terminology and theoretical basis necessary for the scholarly investigation and elucidation of specific works of art. This class considers the theoretical issues and related historical framework that come together in the critical interpretation of art. Contemporary approaches to art criticism are a major focus. Prerequisites: ARHS 2200 and ARHS 2210.

ARHS 4810 International Art Capstone (3)

This course is required for and only open to students ready to complete the Certificate in International Art Studies. Students will write an essay that synthesizes their reading and course work on global art, culture, and history.

ARHS 4920 Senior Thesis (03)


In the spring semester, a student, under the direction of a faculty mentor, researches, writes, and presents to the department a substantial project demonstrating the competencies acquired in the history of art. Required for graduation. (previously Senior Overview/Comprehensive Review) Prerequisites: senior standing and permission of the department.

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