Art 151:
Survey of Art, Renaissance to Modern

Professor Michelli
Catherine Kusske, T.A., grading and webmaster
Laura Mielke, T.A., assignment preparation
Flaten Auditorium
Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 9.05 - 10.00 a.m.
Office Hours by appointment

Home Syllabus Assignment Topics Assignment Topics Encyclopedia

This course will cover Western art from c.1400 AD to the present. But this is starting in the middle of the story, so the course will begin with a quick review of the standards and issues established by the Egyptians, the Classical Greeks and the Early Christians. This will allow us to understand where the artists of the Renaissance are coming from and what they did next, and so on to the present.

Our approach is unusual and even pioneering in a number of ways, so be prepared to use your wits. Because there are so many students in this class, you have been divided into two groups ( and ). These affect the due dates for your assignments, and the days on which you get to dominate class discussion. Class discussion is how this course works. It is required, and graded through name tags. Last semester, we discovered that 37 students could speak comfortably in each class. This semester, we have 60 students. So the groups will alternate, as set out on the syllabus, and you should aim to contribute 25 times during the semester for an "A" (that averages out to one and a half times on your days). On your days, you get first chance to speak. If there is time over, then the other group may join in too. So bring your name tags to class every time.

We will work directly from the set book in class, so bring it with you every time. The syllabus will outline the passages you should read in preparation for each class. You will be asked questions about them! We will discuss several of the works illustrated, and you will be asked to (a) DESCRIBE the work, (b) REPORT what the book has to say about it, (c) ANALYZE it visually, using the skills acquired on the way in class, (d) RESPOND to what the book has to say, and (e) LEARN the necessary VOCAB as you go. All this requires is that you read the passages and learn the vocab. The rest we will generate in class using your observation and opinions.

Assignments will be short and must be submitted on time. This is a team effort. You will be asked to produce THREE 500 word papers about specific artists (see assignment lists, with due dates, attached). I am looking to see you apply the skills you learn in class to your assignments. One of your team mates will review your paper the following week, also using their skills (100-300 words), and you will respond to the review the week after (100 words). All work must be word processed.

Now comes the truly innovative bit: we are going to put your assignments on the web and create an on-line encyclopedia. This is being watched with interest by the outside world, and people will send comments. Catherine Kusske is my T.A. and webmaster, and she has my complete confidence. On the day you submit your assignment to me, make sure you also send a copy by e-mail to Catherine (training sessions provided, don't worry), and she will attach it to the site. By all means use the web as an additional research tool when preparing your papers, and list the URLs in the bibliography (be very accurate about this because we will make them into links). We will watch the growth of the encyclopedia regularly during the semester, adding any good links we find on the way, and generally exploring and reviewing the web at the same time. This is what we will be doing on the Surfing days.

By the end of this course you will be very impressive. You will be able to generate information about a work or building just by looking at it, you will be able to talk with confidence in class and write a creditable paper, you will know three artists quite well, and you will understand the dramatic social change which introduced the modern period and why this was possible. There'll be no stopping you!

Assignments (3 of each):
  • Encyclopedia entry
  • Review
  • Response


  • 25 contributions
  • 20 contributions
  • 15 contributions
  • 10 contributions or less


  • 40 classes

100 points
75 points
25 points

300 points
200 points
100 points
50 points

2.5 points

600 points total

100 points total

1000 points total
for course

Note: Bring all your work to-date to class every time. This helps me to keep track of your grades. Please keep the grading comments attached to your paper until after you have received and accepted your course grade.

Syllabus Assignment Topics Assignment Topics Encyclopedia