Art 153: Introduction to Art History
This course introduces students to the working methods of Art History. Students learn to analyze works of art visually, to understand the relationships between works of art and their cultural contexts, to consider the practices and politics of museum display, and to think critically about the role of art in their own lives and in society.
In my sections of Art 153, students explore the worlds of the ancient and medieval Mediterranean and also consider how and why the art of the past continues to be relevant today by engaging with 20th and 21st century debates about the destruction of images, the appropriation of the past by white supremacists, and the repatriation of art objects.
Art 254: Italian Renaissance Art
This course explores painting, sculpture, architecture, and urban development in Italy from c. 1300 to c. 1600. The course focuses on the major urban centers of the period: Florence, Rome, and Venice. Students address the ways in which art functioned in its original Renaissance context and explore issues of artistic identity and the importance of patronage in the period.
Art 255: Italian Art in Context (taught abroad)
What kinds of stories do historians, writers, and artists tell about the cities in which they live? How are these stories reflected in the architecture and urban fabric of the cities themselves? And how do the geography and environment of Italy shape both the lore about a city and its actual built environment? To answer these questions, students explore the representations of Italian cities in literature and visual arts and the documented and architectural realities of urban development. The majority of the course focuses on a study of the city of Florence, where students will live together independently in apartments and have the opportunity to shop in Florentine food markets and cook their own meals. The class will make shorter visits to other Italian cities–Siena, Ravenna, and Venice–and study the facts and fictions about each city’s urban history.
Art 263: Medieval Art
In this course, we will explore the arts and architecture of western Europe from around 300 to 1350. In our lectures and discussions, we will look at buildings, paintings, sculpture, manuscripts, metalwork and stained glass windows created by the many cultures of this rich and diverse period in the history of art. Our approach will be multifaceted: in addition to issues of style, technique and iconography, we will also address issues of viewing, patronage and gender throughout the semester.
Art 264: Race and Difference in Medieval Art
Were the Middle Ages white? This seminar is an introduction to the ways that conceptions of race and difference were active in the visual culture of the later Middle Ages (ca. 1000-1500) in Europe, a period that is often mistakenly racialized as White in popular culture. The course also examines how European colonialism shapes our ideas about medieval art and how medieval art has been used to support racist and white supremacist ideologies.
Art 268: Early Medieval Art and Identity
In this seminar, students explore the early medieval period, a time of dynamic transformation. Migrating and conquering cultures brought new approaches to art and architecture that forever changed the visual landscape of the early medieval world. Students examine the art of the Christian empires of the Mediterranean, the monastic traditions of Egypt and Nubia, Germanic cultures (the barbarians), the Islamic caliphate in Spain, and the Carolingians and Ottonians in northern Europe.
Art 278: Life and Art in 15th-Century Florence (Topic for Fall 2022)
This seminar focuses on the exhibit “Botticelli and Renaissance Florence: Masterworks from the Uffizi” at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts from Oct 15-Jan 8. The exhibit is an opportunity for students to delve deeply into the lives of artists and patrons in 15th-century Florence and explore issues such as power and patriarchy, gender and identity, artistic production and techniques, and the legacy of the ancient world. In addition to readings and assignments, the class will visit the exhibit twice during the semester. Transportation and entry fees are covered.
First Year Seminar 120: Art and Gender in 17th-Century Italy
As they are today, conceptions of sex and gender were hotly debated in early modern Italy. In this seminar, students first explore ideas and debates that shape 21st-century understandings of sex and gender. Then, through an in-depth study of the Roman painter Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1656), students investigate how current understandings of sex and gender shape the study of women artists from the past. Also considered are the responses of contemporary artists (Gina Siciliano and Kehinde Wiley, among others) to Gentileschi’s work. Course assignments teach students to engage in meaningful discussion on controversial topics, to visually analyze works of art, and to find and evaluate a variety of sources for individual research projects.