Art History Course Descriptions

Art History faculty members teach a variety of courses that range from broad surveys to in-depth topical seminars.  Students must take certain courses to meet minor requirements.

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Spring 2020 Art History Course Offerings

Art History Courses

ARHY 100 - Understanding Art
This course is an introduction to the theories of art and to the roles of art in society. Students are exposed to compositional principles, thematic content, the vocabulary of art, techniques, and media, and the historical context of artistic styles. Formal analysis, iconographic content, and an interdisciplinary perspective of the arts are covered.
Theme Area: Creative Arts

ARHY 100C - Understanding Art (Learning Community only)
This course is an introduction to the theories of art and to the roles of art in society. Students are exposed to compositional principles, thematic content, the vocabulary of art, techniques, and media, and the historical context of artistic styles. Formal analysis, iconographic content, and an interdisciplinary perspective of the arts are covered.
Theme Area: Creative Arts

ARHY 102 - Intro to Modern Art
A survey of Western art from the middle of the 19th century to the end of the 20th century. Topics include Impressionism, Cubism, Surrealism, Pop Art, and Postmodernism.

ARHY 111 - Art History: Ancient to Medieval World
A chronologically oriented, detailed presentation of the history of Western art. This survey deals with Near East, Greek, Roman, Early Christian and Medieval art.
Theme Area: Creative Arts
x-listing: CLSX 111

ARHY 112 - Art History: Renaissance to Modern World
A continuation of ARHY 111. Surveys Renaissance, Baroque and Modern art in Western Europe. Can be elected to fulfill the history/literature requirements.
Theme Area: Creative Arts

ARHY 112C - Art History: Renaissance to Modern World (ARTES Learning Community only)
A continuation of ARHY 111. Surveys Renaissance, Baroque and Modern art in Western Europe. Can be elected to fulfill the history/literature requirements.
Theme Area: Creative Arts

ARHY 161 - Arts and the Human Experience
This course will expose students to artistic expression that is timeless yet immediate, universal while individual, complex but accessible. Students will learn that the arts demand responses--emotional, intellectual, mystical, positive or negative. Through this dialogue, we are reminded that we are human and that we are not alone.
Theme Area: Creative Arts

ARHY 175 - Intro to Asian Art
A survey of the art and archaeology of China, Japan, Korea and India with an emphasis on the art's historical and social context.
Theme Area: Creative Arts and Global Diversity

ARHY 185 - Cult and Cosmos
This course explores the archaeological remains relating to the religious and philosophical life of ancient Athenians. It provides an archaeological and religious overview of the city, from the Iron Age to the Late Roman period. We will investigate Athenian topography and monuments, with special attention given to its varied shrines, sanctuaries, and rituals. Students will reflect on the connection between the religious life of the city and the ideas of its most famous philosophers. Lecture.
Theme Area: Faith and Reason.

ARHY 205 - Christian Art & Architecture of Rome (Italian Campus only)
This study of the major stylistic forms of Christian art as evidenced in the art and architecture of Rome is offered at the Italian campus. Beginning with the adaptive forms of Early Christian art at the time of the late Roman Empire in the third and fourth centuries, this course will study, largely through on-site visits, the Early Christian, Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque stylistic periods and monuments. The course will include the architecture of the church, as well as sculpture, mosaic, and painting.
Theme Area: Creative Arts

ARHY 210 - American Art
An overview of American architecture, painting, sculpture and decorative arts intended to acquaint the student with the major trends and contributions of American art from colonial to modern times.
Theme Area: Creative Arts

ARHY 211 - African-American Art
This course will consider the art, architecture, and material culture of the African-American community from its early origins until the contemporary period. Ranging from folk and vernacular art through cutting-edge contemporary art, this course will introduce students to stylistic developments but also to the theoretical and methodological trends in assessing and evaluating African-American Art.
Theme Areas: Creative Arts and Global Diversity

ARHY 214 - Introduction to Archaeology
An overview of the discipline of archaeology. We will consider the discipline's aims, history, theories, and methods, and will devote special attention to its modern practice, problems, ethical concerns, and significance. The course will address, in turn, the nature of archaeological evidence, how we interpret it, and what we should do with it. While we often will focus on archaeological sites in the Mediterranean and Near East, the discussion will touch on others throughout the world. As will be clear immediately and throughout, at the heart of this course is the identity of human beings, past and present.
x-listings: HIST 240 and CLSX 214

ARHY 217 - Religion, Reason, & Visual Culture
This class examines the relationship between religion and visual culture, with particular emphasis on Western art and popular culture.
Theme Area: Faith and Reason

ARHY 217C - Religion, Reason, & Visual Culture (Learning Community Only)
This class examines the relationship between religion and visual culture, with particular emphasis on Western art and popular culture. Only students in Learning Communities may take this course. 
Theme Area: Faith and Reason 

ARHY 218 - Building Faith in the United States
This course will consider the architecture and material culture of faith practices in the United States. With a concentrated emphasis on popular and community religion, this course guides students to understand how the human relationship with "things" helps to reinforce and alter faith practices. When offered for Service Learning credit, this course will involve students' engagement and interaction with a local parish or other religious community.

ARHY 220 - History of Photography
A survey of photographic developments from the early 19th C. to the present. Emphasis is upon the United States and upon the interaction of and confrontation between artists and photographers.
Theme Area: Creative Arts

ARHY 224 - History of Things
This is an introductory survey in the field of material culture (the physical objects created and used by societies). Students will examine both everyday consumer items and special museum artifacts to learn how to read objects and their contexts to understand and create larger historical stories. 

ARHY 226 - The American Home
This course selectively surveys domestic architecture in the United States from colonial times to the present. Students will study important aesthetic, social, cultural, and economic factors that have influenced the forms of housing in the United States. In addition to examining the history of both popular and innovative styles, students will look at interior design to discover how the layout and decoration of homes changed over time to reflect different needs and aspirations. The course will use the rich and diverse housing architecture of the Pittsburgh region as a field school for visits and study, and there will be hands-on practice in methods related to historical research and historic preservation.
Theme Area: Creative Arts

ARHY 230 - History of Western Architecture
A survey of Western Architecture, focusing on the forms and functions of the built environment in Europe and the U.S., with emphasis on architecture with public purposes.

ARHY 260: Medieval Art East & West
This course will offer an introductory survey to the art, architecture, and material culture of Medieval Europe and the Byzantine East. From the transformations of Roman Art in the Late Antique period through the High Gothic and the early rise of the Renaissance, this course will familiarize students with key stylistic and cultural developments of this vital period in the development of European art.

ARHY 264 - Following Michelangelo, Leonardo, Donatello & Raphael through Florence and Rome
Study the art of the great masters of the Italian Renaissance where they lived and worked.
View landmarks of the Florentine Renaissance such as the Medici Palace, the iconic Florentine Cathedral, and view celebrated works in place, such as Michelangelo's colossal David.
Rome offers masterpieces of the High Renaissance, including Michelangelo's dome for the new St. Peter's, his famed Sistine Chapel ceiling frescoes and Raphael's cycle of paintings for the Papal Apartments in the Vatican. Throughout the two weeks, students expand their global horizon by meeting local residents as well as foreign visitors, deepening their worldview, in philosophy, religion, and politics, all within the ambiance of Italian culture.

ARHY 270 - Museum History
This course will offer an introduction to the history of museums and curatorial practices, from the first cabinets of curiosities into the contemporary period. In addition to learning the history of how objects have been gathered, displayed, and interpreted within exhibition spaces, students will also study museums as powerful forces in society that enforce and encapsulate relationships of power. This course will consider evolving categories of museums including the art museum, the "national" museum, as well as natural history, science and children's museums.

ARHY 280 - Gender, Vision, and Representation
This course will offer an introduction to considering the manner in which art (encompassing visual and material culture) has participated in the construction, representation, and characterization of femininity and masculinity. Considering both the work of male and female artists, this course will consider the particular concerns of creation, spectatorship, and analysis involved in the construction of gender identities in art. Different semesters of this course may engage in different chronological or geographical periods.
x-listings: WSGS 280

ARHY 285 - Issues of Social Justice in Visual Culture
This course examines how visual culture reflects and influences issues of social justice, whether as commentaries, historical records, or as visual rhetorical arguments. Visual culture resources from a variety of sources and cultures are used, and students engage in analyzing visual culture from an informed and critical perspective.
Theme Area: Social Justice
x-listings: PJCR 285

ARHY 290 - Non-Western Art
This course is an introductory survey of masterpieces of visual art and architecture from ancient and traditional non-Western cultures. Course material is divided into four sections. Unit I surveys the art of the world's earliest civilizations in Egypt, Mesopotamia and the Indus River Valley in Pakistan and India. Study of these cultures establishes early models of civilizations, each distinguished by their art, architecture, urban planning, and social organization. Units II and III focus on the development of Far Eastern and Islamic cultures with special emphasis on the art and architecture associated with Eastern philosophy and religions. These two units examine cultural links in Asia through the cross-pollination of religious ideologies that produce affiliate, though, distinct aesthetics traditions. Unit IV surveys some of the early cultures of the Americans and a selection of traditional African societies. This final unit also takes note of cross-cultural links while examining the rich diversity and panoramic elaboration of fundamental forms of artistic expression.
Theme Area: Global Diversity AND Creative Arts

ARHY 295 - Survey of African Art
This course takes students on a continental voyage from Pharaonic Egypt of ancient times to contemporary arts, such as body art, of current African culture. Lectures are approached as a "voyage", with each class treated as a "port-of-call" illustrated by powerpoint visuals. From our classroom on the Bluff, we "sail" to ancient Alexandria to explore the eternal pyramids of Giza, the rock art of the Sahel, and the Roman heritage sites and villas of the north Mediterranean coast. For our next unit, we move down around the coast of West African studying the ancient kingdoms of Ife, Yoruba and Benin, and Cameroon cultures, as well as the interior cultures of the Kuba. Kongo and Zimbabwe. South Africa and Eastern African offer new traditions of art and architecture, introducing mnemonic decoration of earplugs in addition to standard tattooing in the south and an ephemeral painting tradition using the body as canvas in the east. Completing our voyage is a new section that expands on the traditional study of the legacy of Eastern Christian tradition with an exploration of contemporary church architecture in Ethiopia today. In addition to our virtual tour, the course includes an actual field trip to Chatham University, to study the university's collection of 19th and 20th c. African Art.

ARHY 311W - Writing History
Required for all Art History majors. In this seminar course, students sharpen the skills necessary to the practice of history. Students will work on increasing their proficiency in analyzing and interpreting both primary and secondary sources, developing their research skills, and improving their writing.

ARHY 315W - Archaeological History: Greek World
A survey of the archaeology of Greece from prehistory to the Roman period.
x-listings: CLSX 315W

ARHY 317 - Roman Archaeology
This course is on the movements and organizations that developed to save, protect, and present historical sites. It introduces preservation law and procedures established to survey and list buildings and sites as national, state, and local treasures. Examination of the archaeology and art of the ancient Roman world as well as its literature, epigraphy, and later sources-enables us to reconstruct the history and culture of these people and their predecessors. In this course, in addition to studying archaeological techniques and the history of archaeology, we will examine Roman history and culture through its artifacts, art, and architecture. We will also discuss such central issues as archaeological ethics and legality, collections, and public display in order to have a better understanding of archaeology as a discipline.
x-listings: CLSX 317

ARHY 321W - 15th C. Renaissance Art
An investigation of the Renaissance spirit of the 15th century. Concentration is upon comparisons of Northern and Southern attitudes of man, nature, and social structure, and to materials, techniques, pictorial representation, and iconography.

ARHY 325W - Neoclassicism
This course will consider the influence of the art and architecture of the Classical world on artists, designers, and architects of later periods and civilizations. Though primarily focused on the European and American contexts of the neoclassical tradition from the early modern and modern periods, different semesters of this course may be offered thematically or with a more narrow chronological focus, depending on the instructor.

ARHY 326W - The Grand Tour
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, artists, scholars, and socialites alike embarked in a practice called "the Grand Tour," as a crucial stage, and often the final, stage in their educations. Travelling through Continental Europe (and for American artists, also the voyage to the United Kingdom) allowed individuals to see significant sites and works of art, as well as to participate in vibrant communities of like-minded individuals. This course will consider the cultural, artistic, historical, literary, and museological phenomenon that was the "Grand Tour."

ARHY 330W - Timeless Passions
This course will consider ways in which themes such as love, betrayal, loyalty, and devotion have been captured by art, artists, and their publics. Thematically or chronologically organized at the discretion of the instructor, this course will enable students to think about the representation of significant and deeply-held notions of self, relationships, and society as they have been captured in works of art and material culture.

ARHY 331 - Impressionism & Post Impressionism (Spring Break Away course)
An assessment of the major movements of the nineteenth century in Europe and America with special emphasis on the social political and economic aspects that determined Modernism in Europe from 1789 to 1890. The course also addresses the changing role of the avant-garde artist and the formation of the new patronage, the art market, museum institutions, and exhibitions.This course will participate in the Spring Break Away program. Students will spend Spring Break in Paris, France.
Theme Area: Creative Arts

ARHY 332W - Art of the 20th Century
Examination of the major American and European artists and movements of the early twentieth century. Beginning with the work of Cezanne and his impact on the formation of Cubism and Futurism, the contradictions and parallels in the various avant-garde practices from 1905-1945 are assessed and evaluated. The changing affiliations of artists, such as their political and aesthetic associations, are a major emphasis.

ARHY 349 - Modern Art in Rome (Italian Campus only)
The study of Modern Art in Rome and taught at Duquesne's Italian campus in Rome.

ARHY 361 - Michelangelo-Caravagio-Bernini
This course will study the art and personalities of three great superstars of Italy's golden age of art-The Renaissance and Baroque periods. Internationally famous and influential, patronized by popes and princes, at times irascible, opinionated, or even violent, these artists defined the artistic styles of these periods and transformed how the world saw art and artists.

ARHY 367 - High Renaissance Art in Rome
A study of the period of culmination in Renaissance art, as found in the art and monuments of Rome created during the late 15th and early 16th centuries. Artists like Michelangelo, Raphael, and Bramante will be the focus.

ARHY 368W - Surrealism
This course will examine the origins, artists, and history of the twentieth-century art movements Dada and Surrealism. Responding to war, its aftermath, and social conditions, Dadists and Surrealists challenged traditional conceptions of art and aesthetics. This course will provide a historical frame for understanding the investigations and experiments of these artists, which later influenced Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Happenings, Performance, and Conceptual art.
Theme Area: Creative Arts

ARHY 376 - Pop Art to the Present
A study of neo-avant-garde from 1945 to the present in the major international art centers and in America. The reception of the various modernist movements of contemporary art are examined in the context of social and cultural changes in the twentieth century. Major movements included are Abstract Expressionism, Realism, Pop Art, Minimalism, Happenings, Performance Art, Conceptual Art, and the New Art of the Eighties.
Theme Area: Creative Arts

ARHY 379 - Origins of Renaissance Art
This course will focus on the art of Tuscany at the beginning of the stylistic period known as the Renaissance. Through an examination of the works of Trecento (1300's) and early Quattrocento (1400's) artists, students will learn about the new ideas, intentions, and conventions that formed what we call the "Renaissance style." Particular attention will be paid to the three great innovators of the early Renaissance: Brunelleschi, Donatello, and Masaccio. The course will explore the ways in which artists in the early 1400's in Florence responded to the influences of both classical antiquity and the middle ages, to the role of patrons in forming and supporting the new style, and to the intellectual and cultural milieu that gave rise to the new illusionism, innovation and naturalism that identify the Renaissance. When offered as a part of the Spring Break Away program, an integral part of the course will be a one-week site visit to Florence.
Theme Area: Creative Arts

ARHY 381W - Art And Politics
This course will focus on the concentrations between art and politics from the French Revolution through the present. In addition to examining works of art in various media, this course will explore the socio-historical contexts that prompted each work and how social and political issues and controversies impact the art world.
Theme Area: Social Justice

ARHY 385 - Baroque Painting & Sculpture
A survey of Baroque Art of the 17th century, with particular emphasis on the art of Italy, France, and the Netherlands.

ARHY 396 - Public History: Peoples' Pasts
This course is about preserving, interpreting, and presenting history outside of academe. In looking at representations of the past beyond the classroom, students learn why and how peoples, in this case, the American public, look at history the way that they do. Is public history supposed to be a matter of celebration, commemoration, or something else? While examining such issues, students will also survey various specializations across the field of Public History, including current museums, archival, archaeological, and historical preservation theories and practices. Students will also assist a community partner in a history project. (This qualifies as a service-learning course.)

ARHY 398W - Art & Society
This course explores the ways that social and political conditions and demands affect artists' aesthetic choices. Although many of the examples discussed in class are drawn from the visual arts, other art forms such as literature, drama, music and dance are included as appropriate. The class will examine thematic topics through history such as art and social protest, art in the service of governments, and commercial art. It also looks at issues of controversy in contemporary art worlds as they affect artistic production.

ARHY 400 - Art History Capstone Tutorial (1 credit)
Working with their mentor in their final semester, art history majors will review their cumulative portfolio and evaluate their learning and achievements in the discipline.

ARHY 411 - Museum Roles & Practices
This course studies the roles art museums have played and continue to play in culture. Students will be introduced to the theoretical, curatorial, and educational principles of current museum practices, and also to the practical considerations faced by cultural institutions. Museum visits and field trips are required of all students.

ARHY 420 - Identity & Representation
In this class we will study the roles of representation in women's lives, with particular attention to the places of Muslim women in American visual culture. Students will use multimedia tools to analyze their roles as both consumers and producers of images. We will begin by examining how aspects of identity are expressed and reinforced through various forms, including film, television, photography, graphic design and the Internet, as well as fine art. Readings will examine gender roles in American visual culture and their counterparts in selected Islamic societies. Collaborative projects with volunteers from the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh will allow students personal engagement with the experiences of Muslim women in our city.

ARHY 431 - Selected Readings-Various Topics in Fine Art
Selected Readings consists of a tutorial in which a student reads extensively and prepares reports on a topic chosen in consultation with a faculty advisor and mentor.

ARHY 441W - American Paint & Sculpture
Selected topics in 18th, 19th, and early 20th century American Art History are examined in the context of social, political, cultural and economic issues. Topic examples include: The Changing American Landscapes in the 19th Century; American Portraiture; American Impressionism; American Women Artists; The Rise of American Art Academies; Art Criticism and Patronage, Exhibitions, and Museum Institutions.

ARHY 442W - American Architecture
This course studies construction, style, building types, and concepts of city planning in American architecture from the 17th century to the present. The social and political forces affecting style are emphasized. The course also includes an introduction to the theory and practice of historic preservation.

ARHY 443W - American Decorative Arts
Decorative arts from the Pilgrims to the Bauhaus influence are examined in context: historical, formal, technological, and cultural. Field trips to area collections are scheduled.

ARHY 478 - Art - Internship
Practical experience in art related areas introduces the student to the many opportunities in the art field. Permission of the art history faculty required.

ARHY 490W - Women and Art
This course examines women artists and also art about women. Through a variety of methodologies, it discusses the marginalization of and cultural attitudes toward women throughout history, the institutional obstacles they faced, and recent research that explores critical and cultural evalutions and re-evaluations of their work.