Courses

The department offers majors or correlates in art history and studio art. Enriched by a comprehensive college art museum, both majors culminate in a one-semester senior thesis or independent studio project. Art 105-106 (Introduction to the History of Art)—required for majors and encouraged for all Vassar students—opens with monuments of the ancient world and ends with today’s global video as professors in the department present their areas of special expertise. Upper level courses offer work in architectural and museum studies as well as art history and criticism. Academic credits may also be earned through study abroad and field work or internships in the New York museums, galleries and auction houses. Art 102-103 (Drawing I), the introductory studio course, opens the way for students with a range of drawing experience to advanced classes in drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, color, computer animation and video. An architecture sequence of introductory, intermediate and advanced drawing and design classes is also offered.

The following courses for Art (ART) include courses for Art History and Studio Art (studio work in design, drawing, painting, sculpture, and architectural design.

The following information is from the 2016-17 Vassar College Catalogue.

Art: I. Introductory

105a. Introduction to the History of Art and Architecture 1

Opening with the global present, ART 105 now uses today's digital universe as a contemporary point of reference to earlier forms of visual communication.Faculty presentations explore the original functions and creative expressions of art and architecture,shaped through varied materials, tools andtechnologies. Within this visual legacy fundamental experiences and aspirations emerge: forms of religious devotion, attitudes toward nature and the human body, and the perpetual need for individual and social definition. Moving through painting, sculpture and architecture of pre-history through great monuments of the Middle East, Egypt, Greece, Rome and Asian Antiquity, we examine the  flowering of medieval art and architecture through current research in computer imaging. The print revolution and the Protestant Reformation's redirection of the role of images then lead us to connections between Renaissance art and science in works by Leonardo da Vinci and Albrecht Dürer. Weekly discussion sections help students develop essential tools of visual analysis through study of original works in the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center. Electing both semesters of ART 105, 106 in chronological sequence is strongly recommended, but each may now be taken individually or in the order that fits a student's schedule.

NRO available for juniors and seniors. Open to all classes. Enrollment limited by class.

Three 50-minute periods and one 50-minute conference period.

106b. Introduction to the History of Art and Architecture 1

ART 106 continues exploration of an accelerating global exchange of images and ideas from Michelangelo in the High Renaissance to contemporary architecture and video. Between then and now, we consider the emergence of the public art museum along with industrializing cultures and mass media in the nineteenth century. As we trace the rise of modernity and the increasing authority assumed by artists and architects, we examine new forms of public space, both urban and natural, and the impact of alternative creative and political practices. In considering American developments, Art 106 provides a focus for analyzing the ongoing dynamic between indigenous and newly arriving cultural forms: Native American, African American, Latino, Asian and European. Such diversity has created a richly layered foundation for today's efforts to interpret, display and safeguard the world's irreplaceable cultural heritage, old and new. Electing both semesters of ART 105,106 in chronological sequence is strongly recommended, but each may now be taken individually or in the order that fits a student's schedule.

NRO available for juniors and seniors. Open to all classes. Enrollment limited by class.

Three 50-minute periods and one 50-minute conference period.

125 The Sound of Space: Intersecting Acoustics, Architecture and Music 1

(Same as MUSI 125 and PHYS 125) The disciplines of acoustics, architecture, and music are often treated in isolation, resulting in the loss of many synergistic connections. This course will bring these three different but intersecting disciplines together in an exciting new way through a collaborative team-teaching process. The course will explore the physical nature of music in the built environment, focusing on the generation, transmission, and reception of music in a variety of spaces across campus. An introduction will first be given for each discipline, then the intersections of these seemingly disparate, yet closely related fields will be studied through a combination of lecture, group discussion, and hands-on investigation. Student teams will adopt a key acoustical space on campus, which they will present during a processional performance by a Vassar choral group open to the public at the end of the semester. David Bradley, Christine Howlett, and Andrew Tallon.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

160a. Art and Social Change in the United States 1

(Same as AMST 160) In this first-year seminar, we explore relationships between art, visual culture, and social change in the United States. Focusing on twentieth and twenty-first century social movements, we study artists and communities who have sought to inspire social change--to cultivate awareness, nurture fresh ideas, offer new visions, promote dialogue, encourage understanding, build and strengthen community, and inspire civic engagement and direct action--through creative visual expression. Lisa Collins.

Open only to freshmen; satisfies the college requirement for a Freshman Writing Seminar.

Two 75-minute periods.

170 Introduction to Architectural History 1

(Same as URBS 170) An overview of the history of western architecture from the pyramids to the present. The course is organized in modules to highlight the methods by which architects have articulated the basic problem of covering space and adapting it to human needs. Nicholas Adams.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

Art: II. Intermediate

210 Art, Myth, and Society in the Ancient Aegean 1

(Same as GRST 210) Eve D'Ambra.

Prerequisite: ART 105 or ART 106 or coursework in Greek & Roman Studies, or permission of the instructor.

NRO available to non-majors.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

211 Rome: The Art of Empire 1

(Same as GRST 211) From humble beginnings to its conquest of most of the known world, Rome dominated the Mediterranean with the power of its empire. Art and architecture gave monumental expression to its political ideology, especially in the building of cities that spread Roman civilization across most of Europe and parts of the Middle East and Africa. Roman art also featured adornment, luxury, and collecting in both public and private spheres. Given the diversity of the people included in the Roman empire and its artistic forms, what is particularly Roman about Roman art? Eve D'Ambra.

Prerequisite: ART 105 or ART 106  or one unit in Greek and Roman Studies, or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

215 The Art and Archaeology of Ancient Egypt 1

(Same as GRST 215) Ancient Egypt has long fascinated the public with its pyramids, mummies, and golden divine rulers. This course provides a survey of the archaeology, art, and architecture of ancient Egypt from the prehistoric cultures of the Nile Valley through the period of Cleopatra's rule and Roman domination. Topics to be studied include the art of the funerary cult and the afterlife, technology and social organization, and court rituals of the pharaohs, along with aspects of everyday life. Eve D'Ambra.

Prerequisites: ART 105 or ART 106 or one unit of Greek and Roman Studies, or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

218b. The Museum in History, Theory, and Practice 1

This course surveys the long evolution of the art museum, beginning with private wonder rooms and cabinets of curiosity in the Renaissance and ending with the plethora of contemporary museums dedicated to broad public outreach. As we explore philosophies of both private and institutional collecting (including that of the college and university art museum) we use the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center as our first point of reference for considering a range of topics, such as the museum's role in furthering art historical scholarship and public education, its acquisition procedures, and challenges to the security, quality or integrity of its collections posed by theft, by the traffic in fakes and forgeries, or the current movement to repatriate antiquities to their country of origin. Assignments include readings and group discussions, individual research projects, and at least three one-day field trips to museums in our area (including Manhattan) to allow us to examine the many different approaches to museum architecture and installation. Susan Kuretsky.

Prerequisites: ART 105 or ART 106, and permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

219b. The First Cities: The Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East 1

(Same as GRST 219) The art, architecture, and artifacts of the region comprising ancient Iraq, Iran, Syria, Palestine, and Turkey from 3200 BCE to the conquest of Alexander the Great in the fourth century BCE. Beginning with the rise of cities and cuneiform writing in Mesopotamia, course topics include the role of the arts in the formation of states and complex societies, cult practices, trade and military action, as well as in everyday life. How do we make sense of the past through its ruins and artifacts, especially when they are under attack (the destruction wrought by ISIS)? Eve D'Ambra.

Prerequisites: ART 105 or 106 or one unit in Greek and Roman Studies, or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

220 Medieval Architecture 1

A survey of the greatest moments in Western, Byzantine and Islamic architecture from the reign of Constantine to the late middle ages and the visual, symbolic and structural language developed by the masters and patrons responsible for them. Particular attention is paid to issues of representation: the challenge of bringing a medieval building into the classroom, that of translating our impressions of these buildings into words and images, and the ways in which other students and scholars have done so. Andrew Tallon.

Prerequisite: ART 105 or ART 106, coursework in Medieval Studies, or permission of instructor.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

221b. The Art of Faith: Sacred Objects of the Middle Ages 1

A selective chronological exploration of the art of western Europe from early Christian Rome to the late Gothic North, with excursions into the lands of Byzantium and Islam. Works of differing scale and media, from monumental and devotional sculpture, manuscript illumination, metalwork, to stained glass, painting and mosaic, are considered formally and iconographicallly, but also in terms of their reception. Students work directly with medieval objects held in the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center and with manuscripts in the Special Collections of the Vassar Library. Andrew Tallon.

Prerequisites: ART 105 or ART 106, coursework in Medieval Studies, or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

230a. Art in the Age of Van Eyck, Dürer and Bruegel 1

The Northern Renaissance. Early Netherlandish and German art from Campin, van Eyck and van der Weyden to Bosch, Bruegel, Dürer and Holbein. This transformative period, which saw the invention of the printing press in the fifteenth century and the explosive turmoil of the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century, generated a profound reassessment of the role of images in the form of new responses toward human representation in devotional and narrative painting and printmaking as well as developments in secular subjects such as portraiture and landscape. Susan Kuretsky.

Prerequisite: ART 105 or ART 106 or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

231 The Golden Age of Rubens, Rembrandt and Vermeer 1

An exploration of the new forms of secular and religious art that developed during the Golden Age of the Netherlands in the works of Rubens, Rembrandt, Vermeer and their contemporaries. The course examines the impact of differing religions on Flanders and the Dutch Republic, while exploring how political, economic and scientific factors encouraged the formation of seventeenth century Netherlandish art. Susan Kuretsky.

Prerequisite: ART 105 or ART 106 or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

235a. The Rise of the Artist, from Giotto to Leonardo da Vinci 1

A survey of Italian art c. 1300 - c.1500, when major cultural shifts led to a redefinition of art, and the artist emerged as a new creative and intellectual power. The course considers painting, sculpture and decorative arts by artists including Giotto, Donatello, Botticelli, and Leonardo. Our study of artworks and primary texts reveals how a predominantly Christian society embraced the revival of ancient pagan culture, elements of atheist philosophy, and Islamic science. We also discuss art in the context of nascent multiculturalism and consumerism in the new city-states; the importance of new communications systems, such as print; and artistic exchange with northern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean centers of Baghdad and Constantinople. Other topics include art theory and criticism; techniques and materials of painting and sculpture; experiments with multimedia and mass production; developments in perspective and illusionism; ritual and ceremonial; and art that called into question notions of sexuality and gender roles. Yvonne Elet.

Prerequisite: ART 105 or ART 106, or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

236b. Art in the Age of Leonardo, Raphael, and Michelangelo 1

An exploration of the works of these three masters and their contemporaries in Renaissance Italy, c. 1485 - c. 1565. The primary focus is on painting and sculpture, but the course also considers drawings, prints, landscape, gardens, and decorative arts, emphasizing artists' increasing tendency to work in multiple media. We trace changing ideas about the role of the artist and the nature of artistic creativity; and consider how these Renaissance masters laid foundations for art, and its history, theory and criticism for centuries to come. Other topics include artists' workshops; interactions between artists and patrons; the role of the spectator; ritual and ceremonial; and Renaissance ideas about beauty, sexuality and gender. Yvonne Elet.

Prerequisite: ART 105 or ART 106, or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

249 a, Encounter and Exchange: American Art from 1565 to 1865 1

(Same as AMST 249) This course provides a survey of the visual arts made in the United States (or by American artists living abroad) until 1865, beginning with the first European representations of Native Americans in the 16th century and ending with Alexander Gardner's images of death and destruction on the battlefields of the U.S. Civil War. It emphasizes the significance of cross-cultural encounter and international exchange to the creation and reception of artworks produced in a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, and prints. Our approach will be both chronological and thematic, considering topics such as the role of art in the construction of national identity; the origins of the U.S. art market; and the tensions of class, gender, race, and ethnicity in early American art.

Prerequisites: ART 105 or ART 106, or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

251b. Modern America: Visual Culture from the Civil War to WWII 1

(Same as AMST 251) This course examines American visual culture as it developed in the years between the Civil War and World War II. Special attention is paid to the intersections among diverse media and to such issues as the emergence of new forms of mass imagery, consumerism, cosmopolitanism, regionalism, abstraction, gender, primitivism, mechanized reproduction, and the rise of modern art institutions. Artists studied include Winslow Homer, Timothy O'Sullivan, James McNeill Whistler, Thomas Eakins, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Mary Cassatt, Georgia O'Keeffe, Aaron Douglas, and Edward Hopper, among others.

Prerequisite: ART 105 or ART 106 or a 100-level American Studies course, or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

254b. The Arts of Eastern, Southern, Central and Western Africa 1

(Same as AFRS 254) This course is organized thematically and examines the ways in which sculpture, painting, photography, textiles, and film and video function both historically and currently in relationship to broader cultural issues. Within this context, this course explores performance and masquerade in relationship to gender, social, and political power. We also consider the connections between the visual arts and cosmology, identity, ideas of diaspora, colonialism and post-colonialism, as well as the representation of the "Self," and the "Other." 

Prerequisites: ART 105 or ART 106, one course in Africana Studies, or permission of the instructor.

The Non-Recorded Option is available to non-majors.

Two 75-minute periods.

256a. The Arts of China 1

(Same as ASIA 256) This course offers a survey of art in China from prehistory to the present. The remarkable range of works to be studied includes archeological discoveries, imperial tombs, palace and temple architecture, Buddhist and Taoist sculpture, ceramics, calligraphy, painting, and experimental art in recent decades. We examine the visual and material features of objects for insight into how these works were crafted, and ask what made these works meaningful to artists and audiences. Readings in primary sources and secondary scholarship allow for deeper investigation of the diverse contexts in which the arts of China have evolved. Among the issues we confront are art's relationship to politics, ethics, gender, religion, cultural interaction, and to social, technological, and environmental change.

Prerequisite: ART 105 or ART 106, one Asian Studies course, or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

258 The Art of Zen in Japan 1

(Same as ASIA 258) This course surveys the arts of Japanese Buddhism, ranging from sculpture, painting, architecture, gardens, ceramics, and woodblock prints. We will consider various socioeconomic, political and religious circumstances that led monks, warriors, artists, and women of diverse social ranks to collectively foster an aesthetic that would, in turn, influence modern artists of Europe and North America.

Prerequisite:ART 105 or ART 106  or a 100-level Asian Studies course, or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

259b. Art, Politics and Cultural Identity in East Asia 1

(Same as ASIA 259) This course surveys East Asian art in a broad range of media, including ceramics, sculpture, calligraphy, painting, architecture, and woodblock prints. Particular attention is paid to the ways in which China, Korea, and Japan have negotiated a shared "East Asian" cultural experience. The works to be examined invite discussions about appropriation, reception, and inflection of images and concepts as they traversed East Asia. 

Prerequisites: ART 105 or ART 106 or one 100-level Asian Studies course, or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

262 Art and Revolution in Europe, 1789-1848 1

A survey of major movements and figures in European art, 1789-1848, focusing on such issues as the contemporaneity of antiquity in revolutionary history painting, the eclipse of mythological and religious art by an art of social observation and political commentary, the romantic cult of genius, imagination, and creative self-definition, and the emergence of landscape painting in an industrializing culture. Brian Lukacher.

Prerequisite: ART 105 or ART 106, or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

263b. Painters of Modern Life: Realism, Impressionism, Symbolism 1

A survey of major movements and figures in European art, 1848-1900, examining the realist, impressionist, and symbolist challenges to the dominant art institutions, aesthetic assumptions, and social values of the period; also addressing how a critique of modernity and a sociology of aesthetics can be seen developing through these phases of artistic experimentation. Brian Lukacher.

Prerequisite: ART 105 or ART 106, or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

264a. The Nature of Change: the Avant-Gardes 1

(Same as MEDS 264) Radical prototypes of self-organization were forged by the new groups of artists, writers, filmmakers and architects that emerged in the early twentieth century as they sought to define the future. The course studies the avant-gardes' different and often competing efforts to meet the changing conditions that industrialization was bringing to culture, societies and economies between 1889 and 1929, when works of art, design, and film entered the city, the press, the everyday lives and the wars that beset them all. Molly Nesbit.

Prerequisite: ART 105 or ART 106, or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods and one weekly film screening.

265b. The New Order of Media, Message and Art, 1929-1968 1

(Same as MEDS 265) When the public sphere was reset during the twentieth century by a new order of mass media, the place of art and artists in the new order needed to be claimed. The course studies the negotiations between modern art and the mass media (advertising, cinema, TV), in theory and in practice, during the years between the Great Depression and the liberation movements of the late 1960s-the foundation stones of our own contemporary culture. Neither the theory nor the practice has become obsolete. Molly Nesbit.

Prerequisite: ART 105 or ART 106.

Two 75-minute periods and one weekly film screening.

266b. Art and Everyday Life in the United States 1

(Same as AFRS 266 and AMST 266) An exploration of material and expressive creations closely associated with everyday life from the era of the transatlantic slave trade to the present day. Focusing on objects, images, spaces, and lore intimately tied to African American lives, we examine these ordinary and extraordinary creations and expressions in relation to the histories, movements, beliefs, practices, and ideas that underlie them. Lisa Collins.

Prerequisite: ART 105 or ART 106 or coursework in Africana Studies, American Studies, Women's Studies, or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

268 The Activation of Art, 1968 - now 1

(Same as MEDS 268) This course studies the visual arts of the last thirty years, here and abroad, together with the collective and philosophical discussions that emerged and motivated them. The traditional fine arts as well as the new media, performance, film architecture and installation are included. Still and moving images, which come with new theatres of action, experiment and intellectual quest, are studied as they interact with the historical forces still shaping our time into time zones, world pictures, narratives and futures. Weekly screenings supplement the lectures. Molly Nesbit.

Prerequisite: ART 105 or ART 106.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods and one weekly screening.

270 Renaissance Architecture 1

European architecture and city building from 1300-1500; focus on Italian architecture and Italian architects; encounters between Italian and other cultures throughout Europe and the Mediterranean. Nicholas Adams.

Prerequisite: ART 105 or ART 106, or ART 170 or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

271 Early Modern Architecture 1

Prerequisite: ART 105 or ART 106, or ART 170, or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

272 Buildings and Cities after the Industrial Revolution 1

(Same as URBS 272) Architecture and urbanism were utterly changed by the forces of the industrial revolution. New materials (iron and steel), building type (train stations, skyscrapers), building practice (the rise of professional societies and large corporate firms), and newly remade cities (London, Paris, Vienna) provided a setting for modern life. The course begins with the liberation of the architectural imagination around 1750 and terminates with the rise of modernism at the beginning of the twentieth century (Gropius, Le Corbusier). Nicholas Adams.

Prerequisite: ART 105 or ART 106 or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

273b. Modern Architecture and Beyond 1

(Same as URBS 273) European and American architecture and city building (1920 to the present); examination of the diffusion of modernism and its reinterpretation by corporate America and Soviet Russia. Discussion of subsequent critiques of modernism (postmodernism, deconstruction, new urbanism) and their limitations. Issues in contemporary architecture.

Prerequisite: ART 105 or ART 106, or ART 170, or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

275 Rome: Architecture and Urbanism 1

(Same as URBS 275) The Eternal City has been transformed many times since its legendary founding by Romulus and Remus. This course presents an overview of the history of the city of Rome in antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Baroque period, and modern times. The course examines the ways that site, architecture, urbanism, and politics have interacted to produce one of the world's densest urban fabrics. The course focuses on Rome's major architectural and urban monuments over time (e.g., Pantheon, St. Peters, the Capitoline hill) as well as discussions of the dynamic forms of Roman power and religion. Literature, music and film also will be included as appropriate. Nicholas Adams.

Prerequisite: ART 105 or ART 106, or ART 170 or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

279a. Four Architects of the Modern Era 1

(Same as URBS 279) The course considers the architecture, the design work, and the subsequent reputations of the greatest architects of the twentieth century, Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Alvar Aalto, and Louis Kahn. A comparative discussion of these architects and their work entails a close of examination of their major works and architectural theories in the context of cultural change during the twentieth century.  Nicholas Adams.

 

Prerequisites: ART 105 or 106 or ART 170, or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

290a or b. Field Work 0.5 to 1

Projects undertaken in cooperation with approved galleries, archives, collections, or other agencies concerned with the visual arts, including architecture. The department.

Prerequisites: ART 105-ART 106 and one 200-level course.

Open by permission of a supervising instructor. Not included in the minimum requirements for the major.

May be taken either semester or in the summer.

298a or b. Independent Work 0.5 to 1

Open by permission of the instructor with the concurrence of the adviser in the field of concentration. Not included in the minimum for the major.

Art: III. Advanced

300a or b. Senior Essay Preparation 0.5

Prerequisite: permission of the Chair of the Art Department.

Optional. Regular meetings with a faculty member to prepare an annotated bibliography and thesis statement for the senior essay. Course must be scheduled in the semester prior to the writing of the senior essay. Credit given only upon completion of the senior essay. Ungraded.

301a or b. Senior Project 1

Supervised independent research culminating in a written essay or a supervised independent project in studio art.

310a. Seminar in Ancient Art 1

(Same as GRST 310) Topic for 2016/17a: Pompeii: Public and Private Life. The volcanic eruption of Vesuvius in A.D. 79 blotted out life in Pompeii, but the Roman town lives on as a study site and tourist attraction. Its urban development with grand theaters and amphitheaters alongside of taverns and brothels exemplifies high and low Roman culture. The homes of private citizens demonstrate intense social competition in their scale, grounds, and the Greek myths painted on walls. Pompeii gave shape to the world of Roman citizens and others through its raucous street life and gleaming monumental centers. Eve D'Ambra.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

312b. Critical Readings in Art History 0.5

This half-unit course investigates the history of art history, its changing methods, and its evolving theories. Interdisciplinary by nature, art history has roots and tributaries in many fields of knowledge and practice: philosophy, museology, social history, architectural theory, and others. Each year the course explores a different set of transformative episodes in the history of the discipline. Readings, focus, and instructors will change from year to year.

Topic for 2016/17b: Radical Turning Points.  The work of Erwin Panofsky, Aby Warburg, André Malraux, Walter Benjamin, Henri Focillon, Meyer Schapiro, T. J. Clark and Linda Nochlin will be studied. Brian Lukacher.

Prerequisites: ART 105-ART 106.

First six-week course.

One 2-hour period.

320b. Seminar in Medieval Art 1

Topic for 2016/17b: The Art and Architecture of the Pilgrimage Roads. The mindset of the pilgrim, the universal human desire to seek the transcendent through a spiritual or physical voyage, is inscribed from the very start, and at the deepest level, in the Christian faith. It is the physical manifestation of this desire that we study in this seminar: the art and architecture created to honor the saints whose tangible remains on earth, it was believed, retained miraculous powers; created to inspire, instruct, and some would say control those that came to venerate them. We begin in Jerusalem, where Christian pilgrimage, considered as an industry, began, and move to Rome, the site of the tombs of the apostles Peter and Paul. We examine the pilgrimage which, beginning in the eleventh century, supplanted those of both Jerusalem and Rome: the road to the tomb of the Apostle James in Santiago de Compostela. We conclude by considering the cult of the unlikely martyr Thomas Becket at Canterbury, and then embark upon a pilgrimage of our own: to the shrine of Saint Frances Cabrini and to the Cloisters Museum in New York. Andrew Tallon.

 

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

331a. Seminar in Northern Art 1

Topic for 2016/17a: Art and Science in the Age of Vermeer. The seminar explores the importance of empirical investigation in the "Age of Observation" to developments in seventeenth century Dutch art and thought. After examining responses to nature on the part of earlier northern European painters such as Jan van Eyck, Albrecht Dürer, and Pieter Bruegel, we go on to consider, among other topics, the impact of lenses and the camera obscura on the art of Vermeer and his scientific and artistic contemporaries, relationships between botanical illustration and Dutch still life painting, and Rembrandt's depictions of anatomy lessons. Susan Kuretsky.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor

One 2-hour period.

332b. Seminar in Italian Renaissance Art 1

Reconsidering Raphael. Raphael devised new modes of designing and making art that changed the course of western visual culture. He has long been known as "the prince of painters," but this label ignores the astonishing range of his activities: Raphael was also an accomplished architect, landscape designer, archeologist, draftsman, and designer of prints and tapestries. And despite his reputation as a cool classicist, he actually worked in an astonishing variety of styles and modes. This seminar reconsiders Raphael's extraordinary career, taking a comprehensive view of his varied projects. We also examine his writings and his close collaborations with literary figures including Baldassare Castiglione, addressing the relation of text and image in Renaissance creative processes. This holistic approach allows a new appreciation of Raphael's brilliance and originality, and the reasons his works served as models for artists down to modernism. Yvonne Elet.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

333 The Art of the Garden in Renaissance and Baroque Italy 1

Changing attitudes toward the relationship between art and nature were played out in the decoration of villas and gardens, c. 1450- c. 1650. These extensive estates by top artists and patrons featured paintings, sculptures, fountains, grottoes, and plantings that blurred distinctions between indoors and outdoors, and between nature and artifice. We examine sites from Florence, Rome, the Veneto, and Naples to France, considering the inheritance of ancient Roman, medieval, and Islamic gardens. We explore the influx of new flora and fauna during the exploration of "new" worlds, and changing patterns of collecting and display. Readings explore villa ideology, the relation between city and country life, utopian conceptions of garden and landscape, and human dominion over nature. On a field trip, we experience the role of the ambulatory spectator, and consider the reception of the Italian garden in America. Yvonne Elet.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2016/17.

One 3-hour period.

358a. Seminar in Asian Art 1

(Same as ASIA 358) Topics vary each year.

Topic for 2016/17a: Art in China from 1900 to Today: Vision, Politics, and Globalism. This seminar offers an in-depth investigation of art in China from the early twentieth century to the present. We discuss a vast array of artistic media, from painting, printmaking, and sculpture, to popular imagery, photography, film, fashion, architecture and urban space. The course emphasizes careful visual analysis, supplemented by readings that examine the evolving circumstances in which artists in modern China have created their works. Issues we confront in the seminar include art's role as an instrument of political authority, opposition, and subversion; artists' experiments with technology and new media; and the rise of Chinese art as a global phenomenon, with attention to the complex and divergent realities of today's China as envisioned by artists in the twenty-first century.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

362 Seminar in Nineteenth-Century Art 1

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2016/17.

One 2-hour period.

364a. Seminar in Twentieth Century and Contemporary Art 1

(Same as MEDS 364) Topic for 2016/17a: The Moving Image: Between Video and Experimental Curating. Already by 1930 experimental film had tested the boundaries for the exhibition of works of art; when video built on that foundation thirty years later, the borders were again expanded. Moving image and radical exhibition formats would continue to evolve in tandem, becoming a succession of inspirations and experiments. The seminar studies these as theoretical, practical and perceptual questions posed in fact since the invention of cinema; case studies from past and present are compared; the seminar plans and executes curatorial experiments of its own. Molly Nesbit.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor

One 2-hour period.

366b. Art and Activism in the United States 1

(Same as AFRS 366, AMST 366, and WMST 366) Topic for 2016/17b: Exquisite Intimacy. An interdisciplinary exploration of the work and role of quilts within the US. Closely considering quilts as well as their creators, users, keepers, and interpreters, we study these integral coverings and the practices of their making and use with keen attention to their recurrence as core symbols within American history, literature, and life. Lisa Collins.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

367 Artists' Books from the Women's Studio Workshop 1

(Same as AMST 367 and WMST 367) In this interdisciplinary seminar, we explore the limited edition artists' books created through the Women's Studio Workshop in Rosendale, New York. Founded in 1974, the Women's Studio Workshop encourages the voice and vision of individual women artists, and women artists associated with the workshop have, since 1979, created over 180 hand-printed books using a variety of media, including hand-made paper, letterpress, silkscreen, photography, intaglio, and ceramics. Vassar College recently became an official repository for this vibrant collection which, in the words of the workshop's co-founder, documents "the artistic activities of the longest continually operating women's workspace in the country." Working directly with the artists' books, this seminar will meet in Vassar Library's Special Collections and closely investigate the range of media, subject matter, and aesthetic sensibilities of the rare books, as well as their contexts and meanings. We will also travel to the Women's Studio Workshop to experience firsthand the artistic process in an alternative space. Lisa Collins.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2016/17.

One 2-hour period.

370b. Seminar in Architectural History: Rome of the Imagination 1

(Same as URBS 370) No city has had a greater influence on the architectural imagination than Rome. Throughout western history the standard for architecture has been measured by Rome. In this seminar we investigate the continuing hold and varied architectural interpretations of Rome and Romanness: the built Rome, the ruined Rome, and the imagined Rome. How has Rome changed its significance for architects over time? Among the architects we consider Andrea Palladio, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, E. L. Boullée, Giuseppe Terragni, Albert Speer, Gunnar Asplund, Louis Kahn and others. We may also consider those such as John Ruskin who reject the Roman stamps.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

One 3-hour period.

382b. Belle Ribicoff Seminar 0.5

Topic for 2016/17b: Modern Days, Ancient Nights: African Art, Music, Cinema, and Fashion. This seminar explores what it takes to realize a major exhibition of African art-a traveling, international loan show-within the context of a major American museum. Carol Thompson, Curator of African Art at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and co-curator of the upcoming exhibit "Modern Days, Ancient Nights: African Art, Music, Cinema, and Fashion" guides this seminar on this exhibition in the making. "Modern Days, Ancient Nights" juxtaposes masterpieces of African art with music, cinema, and fashion to foreground reciprocal conduits of myriad multisensory, multilayered exchanges. By highlighting the work of African artists-including musicians, photographers, film directors, and designers-the exhibition also foregrounds Africa's role in shaping its own self-image. This exhibition features haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear alongside African art to explore the impact of African aesthetics on Western fashion and to show how Africa has "fueled the fashionable imagination for centuries." Likewise, filmic representations of Africa are incorporated throughout to reveal how visions of Africa are framed by narratives that draw upon popular culture, "to recognize the importance of cinema as a medium through which to understand the richness" of African history. Through this dynamic prism, students become familiar with the fundamentals of African art, though no prior knowledge of the field is necessary.

Some classes meet in New York City, with behind the scenes visits to the Metropolitan Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and galleries such as Jack Shainman, the Walther Collection, Axis, Salon 94, and Tambaran. This seminar offers students a firsthand experience of what is involved in realizing a major art exhibition.

Six meetings to be held on consecutive Friday afternoons, 1:00-3:00 pm, after spring break. Some classes will meet at Vassar; most will take place in New York City. Transportation will be provided.

Second six-week course.

One 2-hour period.

385b. Seminar in American Art 1

(Same as URBS 385) Topic for 2016/17b: The Visual and Material Culture of U.S. World's Fairs, 1853-1939. From the mid-nineteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries, world's fairs played a crucial role in facilitating the emergence of mass visual culture and shaping important developments in the fine arts, architecture, and urban design. Millions of visitors attended these immense global spectacles, wandering through the elaborate but temporary cities erected on the fairgrounds, in order to view public works of art and architecture, anthropological exhibitions, popular entertainments, and juried exhibitions of the latest cultural, scientific, and technological achievements. This interdisciplinary seminar focuses on the art, architecture, and techniques of display at major world's fairs held in the United States, including New York (1853 and 1939), Philadelphia (1876), Chicago (1893), Buffalo (1901), St. Louis (1904), and San Francisco (1915). We consider how the visual and material culture of international expositions attempted to give form to (or, in some cases, subvert) a new social order during an era of rapid modernization, industrialization, and growing nationalism and imperialism. Lacey Baradel.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

391 Advanced Fieldwork in Art Education at Dia: Beacon 0.5

The Dia: Beacon-Vassar College program offers a yearlong, immersive fieldwork experience for the study of the Dia collection in the context of the philosophical mission of Dia Art Foundation and its public programming. In the first term, interns focus on the ideas, work, and histories of the individual Dia artists, who were and continue to be some of the most ambitious and pioneering artists of the late 1960s through to the present day. Interns also study the latest advances in museum education: constructivist learning theories vis-à-vis the work of Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, and John Dewey; their practical application in art museums; the research being done at other institutions, for example, Harvard University's Project Zero. In the second term, interns draw from these perspectives in order to design and give tours to school groups, primarily from the Dutchess County public schools. Admission by special permission and limited to no more than 6 students with advanced coursework in contemporary art or education. Students must commit to working 6 hours each week at Dia on either Thursdays or Fridays from 10am - 4pm, with a lunch break, and occasional weekends in both the fall and spring terms. Interns report to the Dia:Beacon Arts Education Associate. Molly Nesbit.

Prerequisite: students with advanced coursework in contemporary art or education.

Six hours each week at Dia on either Thursdays or Fridays, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm.

399a or b. Senior Independent Work 0.5 to 1

Open by permission of the instructor with the concurrence of the department adviser in the field of concentration. Not included in the minimum for the major.

Studio Work in Design, Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, and Architectural Design: I. Introductory

102a. Drawing I: Visual Language 1

Development of visual ideas through a range of approaches to drawing. Emphasis is placed on perceptual drawing from life through subjects including landscape, interior, still life, and the human figure. In the second semester, figure drawing is the primary focus. Throughout the year, students work in a range of black and white media, as the elements of drawing (line, shape, value, form, space and texture) are investigated through specific problems. This course is suitable for both beginners and students with drawing experience. Laura Newman, Gina Ruggeri, Didier William.

Open to all classes.

Yearlong course 102-ART 103.

Two 2-hour periods.

103b. Drawing I: Visual Language 1

Development of visual ideas through a range of approaches to drawing. Emphasis is placed on perceptual drawing from life, through subjects including landscape, interior, still life, and the human figure. In the second semester, figure drawing is the primary focus. Throughout the year, students work in a range of black and white media, as the elements of drawing (line, shape, value, form, space and texture) are investigated through specific problems. Patrick McElnea, Laura Newman, Gina Ruggeri, Didier William.

Open to all classes.

Yearlong course ART 102-103.

Two 2-hour periods.

108b. Color 1

To develop students' understanding of color as a phenomenon and its role in art. Color theories are discussed and students solve problems to investigate color interactions using collage and paint. Peter Charlap.

Open to all classes.

176a. Architectural Design I 1

A studio-based class introduction to architectural design through a series of short projects. Employing a combination of drawing, modeling and collage techniques (both by hand and using digital technology) students begin to record, analyze and create architectural space and form. Tobias Armborst.

Prerequisite: ART 102-ART 103. Corequisite: one of the following: ART 220, ART 270, ART 272 or ART 273, or permission of the instructor.

Two 2-hour periods.

Studio Work in Design, Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, and Architectural Design: II. Intermediate

202a. Painting I 1

An introductory course in the fundamentals of painting, designed to develop seeing as well as formulating visual ideas. Working primarily from landscape and still life, the language of painting is studied through a series of specific exercises that involve working from observation. Activities and projects that address a variety of visual media and their relationship to painting are also explored. Peter Charlap.

Prerequisite: ART 102-ART 103.

Yearlong course 202-ART 203.

Two 2-hour and 50-minute periods.

203b. Painting I 1

A variety of painting strategies are explored, working primarily from the human figure, including representation, metaphor, narrative, pictorial space, memory, and identity. Instructor: Peter Charlap.

Prerequisite: ART 102-ART 103.

Yearlong course ART 202-203.

Two 2-hour periods.

204a. Sculpture I 1

Introduction to the language of three-dimensional form through a sequence of specific problems which involve the use of various materials. Harry Roseman.

Yearlong course 204-ART 205.

Two 2-hour periods.

205b. Sculpture I 1

Introduction to the language of three-dimensional form through a sequence of specific problems which involve the use of various materials.

Yearlong course ART 204-205.

Two 2-hour periods.

206a. Drawing II 1

The course explores contemporary drawing strategies. Students take an interpretative approach to assignments, and work from a variety of subjects. Harry Roseman.

Prerequisite: ART 102 or other studio course.

Two 2-hour periods.

207 Drawing II 1

The course explores contemporary drawing strategies. Students take an interpretative approach to assignments, and work from a variety of subjects. Harry Roseman.

Prerequisite: ART 102 or other studio course.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 2-hour periods.

208a. Printmaking: Relief 1

This course is designed to explore the fundamentals of printmaking focusing primarily on relief printing techniques including linocut, woodcut, wood engraving, monotype, and collagraph. Didier William.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Corequisite: ART 102.

Two 2-hour periods.

209b. Printmaking: Intaglio 1

This course is designed to explore the fundamentals of printmaking focusing on primarily on Intaglio techniques including, drypoint, etching, aquatint, mezzotint, engraving, embossing, and stippling. Didier William.

Prerequisite: ART 102, and permission of the instructor.

Two 2-hour periods.

212a. Photography 1

An investigation of the visual language of black and white photography. The technical and expressive aspects of exposing film, developing negatives, and printing in the darkroom are explored. No previous photographic experience is necessary. Students are required to provide their own camera, film and photographic paper. Judith Linn.

Prerequisites: ART 102-ART 103.

One 4-hour period.

213b. Photography II 1

This course explores the development of an individual photographic language. Technical aspects of exposure, developing and printing are taught as integral to the formation of a personal visual esthetic. All students are required to supply their own camera, film, and photographic paper. Judith Linn.

Prerequisite: ART 102-ART 103 and/or permission of the instructor.

One 4-hour period.

214a. Color Digital Photography 1

This course examines how color in light delineates space and form. The goal of this class is to record this phenomenon as accurately as possible. Scanning traditional silver gelatin film and digital capture systems are utilized. Digital color prints are produced using Photoshop and inkjet printing. Some of the topics covered are the documentary value of color information, the ability of the computer program to idealize our experience of reality, and the demise of the latent image. Judith Linn.

Prerequisite: ART 212 or ART 213 and/or permission of the instructor.

Two 2-hour periods.

217b. Video Art 1

(Same as FILM 217) Video continues to document, illuminate, and instruct our lives daily. New channels of accessibility have opened it to a broad range of alternative practices, always in relation to its online or televised utility. In this studio, students make videos to better understand the affects and formal potential of video as an opportunity for critique. Technical experimentation covers the major tools of video production and post-production. Workshops examine set, keying, montage, sound, pacing, composition, and the cut. Regular assignments address a range of structural problems, at once conceptual and plastic (topics include the question of the subject, politics of visibility, satire, abjection, abstraction, psychedelia, performance and humiliation). Work by artists who have harnessed or perverted video's components is screened bi-weekly. Patrick McElnea.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

Two 2-hour periods.

276b. Architectural Design II 1

A studio-based course aimed at further developing architectural drawing and design skills. Employing a variety of digital and non-digital techniques students record, analyze and create architectural space and form in a series of design exercises. Tobias Armborst.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

Two 2-hour periods.

Studio Work in Design, Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, and Architectural Design: III. Advanced

302a. Painting II 1

This course investigates painting through a series of assigned open-ended projects. Because it is intended to help students develop a context in which to make independent choices, it explores a wide range of conceptual and formal approaches to painting and considers various models through which painting can be considered, such as painting as a window, a map, or an object. Laura Newman.

Prerequisite: ART 202-ART 203, or permission of the instructor.

Two 2-hour periods.

303b. Painting II 1

This course investigates painting through a series of assigned open-ended projects. Because it is intended to help students develop a context in which to make independent choices, it explores a wide range of conceptual and formal approaches to painting. It examines the idea of painting as an ongoing development of thought; its projects are organized around the question, "How do you make the next painting?" Laura Newman.

Prerequisite: ART 202-ART 203, or permission of the instructor.

Two 2-hour periods.

304 Sculpture II 1

Art 304 is devoted to the study of perception and depiction. This is done through an intensive study of the human figure, still life, landscape, and interior space. Meaning is explored through a dialectic setup between subject and the means by which it is visually explored and presented. Within this discussion relationships between three-dimensional space and varying degrees of compressed space are also explored. In ART 305 we concentrate on the realization of conceptual constructs as a way to approach sculpture. The discussions and assignments in both semesters revolve around ways in which sculpture holds ideas and symbolic meanings in the uses of visual language.

Prerequisite: ART 204-ART 205 or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 2-hour periods.

305b. Sculpture II 1

Art 305 is devoted to the study of perception and depiction. This is done through an intensive study of the human figure, still life, landscape, and interior space. Meaning is explored through a dialectic setup between subject and the means by which it is visually explored and presented. Within this discussion relationships between three-dimensional space and varying degrees of compressed space are also explored. In Art 305 we concentrate on the realization of conceptual constructs as a way to approach sculpture. The discussions and assignments in both semesters revolve around ways in which sculpture holds ideas and symbolic meanings in the uses of visual language. Christina Tenaglia.

Prerequisite: ART 204-ART 205, or permission of the instructor.

Two 2-hour periods.

375b. Architectural Design III 1

Visual Constructs. An examination of a number of visual constructs, analyzing the ways architects and urbanists have employed maps, models and projections to construct particular, partial views of the physical world. Using a series of mapping, drawing and diagramming exercises, students analyze these constructs and then appropriate, expand upon, or hybridize established visualization techniques. Tobias Armborst.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

Two 2-hour periods.

379a. Computer Animation: Art, Science and Criticism 1

(Same as CMPU 379, FILM 379, and MEDS 379) An interdisciplinary course in Computer Animation aimed at students with previous experience in Computer Science, Studio Art, or Media Studies. The course introduces students to mathematical and computational principles and techniques for describing the shape, motion and shading of three-dimensional figures in Computer Animation. It introduces students to artistic principles and techniques used in drawing, painting and sculpture, as they are translated into the context of Computer Animation. It also encourages students to critically examine Computer Animation as a medium of communication. Finally, the course exposes students to issues that arise when people from different scholarly cultures attempt to collaborate on a project of mutual interest. The course is structured as a series of animation projects interleaved with screenings and classroom discussions. Thomas Ellman, Harry Roseman.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

Two 2-hour periods.