Survey of Western Art


Professor: Dr. Perette Michelli, Ext 3098, .
Class: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 2.00-2.50 p.m., Flaten Hall lecture room
Office Hours: Prof Michelli By appointment;
Katie Elliott 3.00-5.00 pm Wed, Studio
Required set book: M Stokstad, Art History, Prentice Hall, Abrams, 1998

Home Syllabus

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 in Classical Greece and during the Middle Ages. 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.

The course works through class discussion, which is tracked and graded through name tags. Because there are so many students in this class, you have been divided into two groups ( and ), which will dominate the discussion on alternate days, as set out on the syllabus, and you should aim to contribute 30 times during the semester for a full participation grade. 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. If you feel you are being passed over, remember that this affects your grade, so make me notice you!

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 it! 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.

A particularly burning issue in art historical education at the moment is the quality of the introductory texts. We are going to contribute to that debate! Your assignments will be short and must be submitted on time. This is a team effort. You will be asked to produce THREE 300 word papers about specific introductory text books, and you will be asked to produce ONE 200 word response to one of your classmates' reviews. At the Final Exam, we will produce a short classroom consensus or dialogue about each book.

I will be looking for very specific ingredients in these reviews, so attend: firstly, read the review grading rubric (attached) and use it as a checklist to make sure you have covered everything required - you will have to be PITHY! Secondly, I am looking to see you apply the analytical skills you will be learning in class in order to make an informed response to the books. We hope to submit some of these reviews or consensus documents to the New York Times for publication (subject to confirmation), and we will certainly display them all on the web and invite responses from visitors and surfers.

Now, the content of the art history introduction or survey is a hot political issue. We hear a lot about this from professionals in the field. This time, we want to hear from you. So keep a journal about the course. Include your response to the materials and the teaching methods. Speculate on what you would like to see in the way of possible improvements. Affirm what is already working. Document any changes in your attitudes and anything you find particularly interesting or unexpected.

Finally, use this journal to make your final course evaluations count! I would like to include these evaluations on the web too, but will only do so with your permission (so there will be a box to check for this purpose).

There will be no identifications to learn, but there will be informal peer-graded terminology and analysis tests in class from time to time. Art History is a vocab-intensive subject and knowing the language is essential if you are to get anything from the subject. It's a tremendous subject, by the way!

Grading will be an average of your four written assignments and your terminology tests (whose average score will be treated as a single written assignment for purposes of course grading). The written assignments will be graded according to the rubric. Participation is worth up to 3% of extra credit (i.e. 30 participations are worth 3%).

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.
Home Syllabus