Art History Courses

Accordion book in printmaking studio

 

FA 30a History of Western Art I: From Antiquity to the Middle Ages

[ ca ]
Open to all students; first-year students and sophomores are encouraged to enroll. 
Surveys the artistic and architectural traditions of the peoples of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East from prehistory to the end of the Middle Ages with an emphasis on their cultural context, meaning and stylistic characteristics. Ususally offered every year.
Jonathan Unglaub or Staff

FA 30b History of Western Art II: From the Renaissance to the Modern Age

[ ca ]
Open to all students; first-year students and sophomores are encouraged to enroll. 
A study of the major styles in architecture, painting, and sculpture of the West from the Renaissance to the early twentieth century. Usually offered every year.
Peter Kalb or Jonathan Unglaub

FA 33b Islamic Art and Architecture

[ ca djw nw ]
Through case studies of cities, sites, and monuments, the course presents an overview of the art and the architecture of the Islamic world beginning from the seventh century up to the present. Some of the themes include, but are not limited to, Islamic material culture, orientalist imaginations, systems of governance and the colonial present, search for the local identity, urban modernity and nationalism, and globalization. Usually offered every second year.
Muna Guvenc

FA 34a History of Asian Art

[ ca nw ]
A selective survey of the art of the three major Asian areas: India, China, and Japan. Usually offered every second year.
Aida Wong

FA 42b The Age of Cathedrals

[ ca ]
Architecture, sculpture, and painting (including stained glass) in Western Europe from the twelfth to the fifteenth century, with particular attention to the great churches of medieval France. Usually offered every second year.
Staff

FA 45a Early Renaissance Art in Tuscany from the Age of Dante to the Medici

[ ca ]
Course to be taught at Brandeis program in Siena.
Examines the development of late Medieval and Renaissance Art and Architecture between 1200 and 1500, with an emphasis on the centers of Siena and Florence, and artists who worked in these cities.
Jonathan Unglaub or Staff 

FA 46b High and Late Renaissance in Italy

[ ca ]
Examines the major works of art produced in Italy in the sixteenth century. It focuses on the principal centers of Florence, Rome, and Venice. The foremost artists of the age, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Titian, receive in-depth coverage. The course also considers the social institutions, ecclesiastical, courtly and civic, that furnished the patronage opportunities and promoted the ideas that occasioned, even demanded, new artistic forms of grace and harmony, energy and torsion. Usually offered every year.
Jonathan Unglaub

FA 47b Renaissance Art in Northern Europe

[ ca ]
A survey of the art of the Netherlands, Germany, and France in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Cultural developments such as the invention of printing, the Protestant Reformation, and the practices of alchemy and witchcraft will be considered through the work of major artists. Usually offered every fourth year.
Jonathan Unglaub

FA 48a Baroque Art and Architecture in Italy

[ ca ]
This course counts towards minors in Architectural Studies, Italian Studies and Medieval and Renaissance Studies.
Immerse yourself in the spectacle of Papal Rome during the long seventeenth century (1580-1730) when it was the artistic capital of Europe. We will study Caravaggio and Bernini in depth as the prevailing artistic forces, while considering the major contributions of the Carracci, Borromini, Poussin, Gentileschi and Cortona. Apart from the patronage strategies of successive popes and how they reshaped Rome with grand churches, palaces and urban spaces, we will consider architectural and artistic production in such diverse centers as Venice, Naples, Bologna and Turin. Usually offered every third year.
Jonathan Unglaub

FA 56a American Art

[ ca deis-us ]
A survey of American painting from the colonial period to the early twentieth-century. Usually offered every third year.
Peter Kalb 

FA 59a Modern Art and Modern Culture

[ ca ] 
A thematic study of modernism in twentieth-century painting and sculpture, emphasizing three trends: primitivism, spiritualism, and the redefinition of reality. Individual artists and art movements will be examined in the context of literature, politics, and aesthetic theory. Artists include Picasso, Matisse, Kandinsky, and Duchamp. Usually offered every second year.
Peter Kalb

FA 61a History of Photography

[ ca ]
The history of photography from its invention in 1839 to the present, with an emphasis on developments in America. Photography is studied as a documentary and an artistic medium. Topics include Alfred Stieglitz and the photo-secession, Depression-era documentary, Robert Frank and street photography, and postmodern photography. Usually offered every second year.
Peter Kalb

FA 62a Art since 1945

[ ca ]
Survey of developments in painting and sculpture since World War II. Consideration of major trends of the period, including abstract expressionism, pop art, minimalism, color field painting, and realism. Usually offered every second year.
Peter Kalb 

FA 71b The Art of Japan

[ ca nw ]
A survey of Japanese art from antiquity to the modern period. Usually offered every second year.
Aida Wong

FA 72b Introduction to Korean Art

[ ca nw ]
Surveys Korean arts and material culture, from the Neolithic to the mid-20th century. Covers archaeology, religious and secular art/artifacts of the Three Kingdoms, United Silla, and Koryo periods. Covers Choson dynasty and Colonial period. Usually offered every fourth year.
Staff

AAAS/FA 74b Introduction to African Art

[ ca nw ss ]
Surveys the visual artistic traditions of Africa. Investigates the different forms of visual art in relation to their historical and socio-cultural context. Symbolism and complexity of Africa's visual art traditions are explored through analysis of myth, ritual, cosmology, and history. Usually offered every second year.
Staff

AAAS/FA 75b History of African American Art

[ ca deis-us ]
"Black art has always existed," stated artist Romare Bearden, "it just hasn't been looked for in the right places." This course examines how Black artists in the U.S. explore beauty, individuality, justice and other themes through personal, racial and societal lenses. Usually offered every third year.
Staff 

FA 77b Twentieth-Century and Contemporary Latin American Art

[ ca djw nw ]
This course is a selective survey of the outstanding figures and movements that have made significant contributions to the history of Latin American art. Special focus will be on Mexican, Argentinean, Brazilian, Venezuelan and Cuban artists. Usually offered every second year.
Camila Maroja

FA 80a Modern Architecture

[ ca ]
Explores major architectural developments from the 19th to the 21st century. While tracing major stylistic developments and new building types that have characterized "modernism" in architecture, the course also studies new forms of global dominance (via colonialism), expression of new sovereignties around the world (via the nationalist movements) and the creation of the new spaces of capitalism and consumption (the highway, the mall, the suburb, etc.). Usually offered every year.
Muna Guvenc 

FA 86b Museum Studies

[ ca dl wi ]
An experiential learning seminar focused on the art object in the context of the museum; the history of museums (architecture, educational mission, curatorial presentation); museum ethics and provenance studies; new theories of museums and their expanded role in the community. Usually offered every second year.
Camila Maroja 

FA 92b Internship and Analysis in Art History

Students may petition to receive credit for internships completed in museums, galleries and arts institutions. Student must get a faculty sponsor with whom they will agree in advance on the internship and requirements for receiving credit. Art history credit can also be earned by completing one of several internships offered at the Rose Art Museum for which students apply in the spring semester for the following academic year. At the Rose, focus may center in the areas of education, registrar, exhibition installation, or curatorial work. All student applications to the Rose, with preference given to upperclassmen, must be endorsed by a faculty recommendation. Usually offered every semester.
Staff

FA 96a Senior Research in Art History

Prerequisite: A minimum GPA in fine arts courses of 3.00. Art history students consult with faculty the second semester of their junior year and petition to enroll at the beginning of their senior year.
Usually offered every year.
Staff

FA 96b Senior Research in Art History

Prerequisite: A minimum GPA in fine arts courses of 3.00. Art history students consult with faculty the second semester of their junior year and petition to enroll at the beginning of their senior year.
Usually offered every year.
Staff

FA 98b Independent Study in Art History

Prerequisites: Normally open only to art history majors in their junior and senior years. As the number of times FA 98b may be taken is limited by department regulations, the interested student should consult the art history advising head and his or her adviser.
Usually offered every year.
Staff

CA 125a Provocative Art: Outside the Comfort Zone 

[ ca ]
Presents, analyzes and discusses art that provokes controversies, discomfort, and other strong responses. This class will focus on a broad range of artistic expressions, including visual art, theater, film, music, and literature with Brandeis faculty as well as visiting artists. Usually offered every year.
Will Chalmus 

FA 149a The Age of Rubens, Rembrandt and Vermeer

[ ca wi ]
Explores the major figures of seventeenth-century painting in the Netherlands and Flanders: Rubens, Van Dyck, Rembrandt, and Vermeer. During this time, the ideal of Renaissance painter/courtier gives way to the birth of the modern artist in an open market, revolutionizing the subjects, themes, and styles of painting. Usually offered every second year.
Jonathan Unglaub

FA 155a Impressionism: Avant-Garde Rebellion in Context

[ ca wi ]
Focuses on major 19th century artists in France, from the innovation of Edouard Manet to the formation of the group called the Impressionists. Study of the series of independent exhibitions, mounted between 1874 - 1886, and organized by the unlikely allies Edgar Degas and Claude Monet, including women artists Morisot and Cassatt. Also analysis of the influence of Japanese art from abroad, and the new 'objective' style, shaped in part by the invention of photography, will be a focus. The next generation - Cézanne, Gauguin, Seurat and Van Gogh - develop stylistic ideas out of Impressionism, and re-shape its aims. Usually offered every third year.
Staff

FA 156b Post-Impressionism and Symbolism, 1880-1910

[ ca wi ]
Artists Vincent Van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat and Cézanne, first identified with Post-Impressionism, are contextualized with Toulouse-Lautrec and others who defined the French art world before 1900. Symbolism has its roots in the art work of Redon, Van Gogh and above all Gauguin, here studied in context with poetry and art criticism of the times. The Expressionist move toward an abstract idiom in Norway, Germany and Austria will focus on Edvard Munch and Gustav Klimt. Decorative styles such as Art Nouveau and Jugendstil define the bridge to the 20th century. The course ends with early 20th century masters, Matisse and the Fauves, and finally German Expressionism. Usually offered every fourth year.
Staff 

FA 164a The Re-Invention of Art

[ ca djw]
By the 1960s, the United States was the art-world capital. Radical art, however, appeared everywhere. Examines US art of the 1960's-1970s in light of artistic production in, among other places, Germany, England, Italy, Brazil, Argentina, Senegal, and Japan. Usually offered every year.
Peter Kalb

FA 165a Contemporary Art

[ ca ]
After theories of power and representation and art movements of pop, minimalism, and conceptual art were established by the 1970s, artists began to create what we see in galleries today. This course addresses art at the turn of the millenium with attention to intersections of art and identity, politics, economy, and history. Usually offered every third year.
Peter Kalb

FA 166b Representing Globalism

[ ca djw nw ]
For several decades, artists have been investigating the character and consequences of life under global capitalism. Through examination of writings by artists, theorists, and historians in the context of art since the turn of the millennium, this course seeks to uncover stories of the global present and possible futures. Usually offered every third year.
Peter Kalb

FA 169a Ecology and Art

[ ca dl ]
Provides a theoretical foundation and art historical background for discussion of contemporary art that draws attention to the ecologies, primarily natural but also cultural, of which it and we are a part. Usually offered every third year.
Peter Kalb

FA 170a Arts of the Ming Dynasty

[ ca nw ]
Examines a broad array of arts from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The first half of the course focuses on activities in and around the Chinese court. The second half concentrates on monuments related to literati and popular cultures. Usually offered every second year.
Aida Wong

FA 171b Buddhist Art

[ca nw]
Surveys Buddhist art and architecture in different parts of the world. Primarily, religious buildings, artworks, and monuments from South Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia will be examined within their historical, cultural, and social contexts. Usually offered every fourth year. Staff. 

FA 172b Taiwan's Art at the Edge of Empires

[ca nw]
Prerequisite: One course in Fine Arts or East Asian Studies. This course examines artistic expressions of Taiwan in relation to China, Japan, and the United States, focusing on painting and film. Issues of imperialism, (post-)colonialism, nationalism, and indigeneity will be examined. Aida Wong. 

FA 173b Art in Shanghai

[ ca nw ]
Examines the art and visual culture of Shanghai - China's symbol of modernity -- from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries, encompassing painting, architecture, calligraphy, fashion, advertising, among other topics. Usually offered every third year.
Aida Wong 

FA 176a Fashion History of China

[ ca nw ]
Examines the evolution of garments, ornaments, accessories, shoes, and other bodily adornments in China through the lens of art history. Students learn about the importance of dress and fashion (and their visual representations) in shaping identities through the ages. Usually offered every third year.
Aida Wong

FA 177b French Connection in Modern East Asian Art

[ ca djw ]

Examines the encounter of East Asian artists with France, Paris in particular, since the late nineteenth century. It deals with a range of artistic expressions, focusing on painting, but also covering fashion design, architecture, and conceptual art. Usually offered every third year.
Aida Wong
 

FA 178b Seminar on Chinese Calligraphy and Practice

[ ca nw oc ]
Prerequisite: Some knowledge of reading Chinese. May not be taken for credit by students who took FA 191a in prior years.
Introduces the major scripts and canonical works of Chinese calligraphy. Besides studying historical developments, students gain hands-on experience with producing their own works. The class combines theory and practice to advance understanding of the aesthetic, critical language, and the functions of this enduring art. Usually offered every second year.
Aida Wong

FA 180a Contemporary Architecture

[ ca ]
Presents major innovations and stylistic developments in world architecture in the aftermath of World War II. Examining the larger social, political and cultural contexts within which architecture operates, the course will trace the diverse positions that characterize contemporary architecture across the globe. Special attention will be paid to the relationships between theories, debates, and the creative capacity of design and practice in architecture since the mid-twentieth century. Usually offered every second year.
Muna Guvenc

FA 181a Housing and Social Justice

[ ca deis-us dl ss ]
Employs housing as a lens to interrogate space and society, state and market, power and change, in relation with urban inequality and social justice. It trains students to become participants in the global debates about housing. In doing so, it teaches students about dominant paradigms of urban development and welfare and situates such paradigms in the 20th century history of capitalism. It will explicitly adopt a comparative and transnational urban approach to housing and social justice, showing how a globalized perspective provides important insights into local shelter struggles and debates. Usually offered every second year.
Muna Guvenc 

FA 187a Approaches to Architecture and the City

[ ca ]
Trains students in developing the ability to conduct architectural and urban analysis of the built environment. Through a comparative case-study approach—based on selected readings, real spaces, and creative projects—students will better understand architectural and urban design in relation to social, cultural, human, and political aspects. Usually offered every year.
Muna Guvenc

FA 191b Studies in Renaissance and Baroque Art

[ ca oc wi ]
Preference for Fine Arts majors and minors, Italian Studies minors, and Medieval and Renaissance Studies minors only. Topics may vary from year to year; the course may be repeated for credit as topics change.
Usually offered every third year.
Jonathan Unglaub

FA 192a Studies in Modern and Contemporary Art

[ ca oc ]
Topics may vary from year to year; the course may be repeated for credit.
Usually offered every second year.
Gannit Ankori, Peter Kalb or Staff

FA 193a Studies in Modern and Contemporary Architecture

[ ca wi oc ]
Topics may vary from year to year; the course may be repeated for credit with permission of the instructor.
Usually offered every third year.
Muna Guvenc

FA 194a Studies in Latin American Art

[ ca oc djw ]
Topics may vary from year to year; the course may be repeated for credit with permission of the instructor.
Usually offered every third year.
Camila Maroja

FA 195a Engaging Across Racial and Ethnic Barriers: Islamic Architecture in the United States

[ca wi djw deis-us]
Links between religion and racial integration in religious congregations are at the center of growing public and scholarly conversations with important implications for American public and religious life. This class draws upon the relationships between xenophobia, racism, and white supremacy in the United States by studying sacred spaces of the Muslim diaspora. 

FA 197a Studies in Asian Art

[ ca nw oc ]
Topics may vary from year to year; the course may be repeated for credit as topics change.
Usually offered every third year.
Aida Wong

FA 199a Methods and Approaches in the History of Art

[ ca wi dl ]
Prerequisite: one course in Art History. Explores various ways of analyzing works of art and provides an overview of the historical development of the discipline. Designed specifically for junior and senior art history majors. Usually offered every year.
Jonathan Unglaub or Staff

FA/NEJS 43a Middle Eastern Cities: Navigating the Transition from Empires to Nation-States in the Globalized World

[ ca djw ]
This interdisciplinary course offers an integrated exploration of Middle Eastern literature,
urbanism, and architecture. It delves into the vibrant urban heritage of the Middle East, spanning from ancient metropolises like Cairo, Damascus, Istanbul, Jerusalem, and Baghdad. By engaging in a comprehensive examination of Middle Eastern cities, students will acquire profound insights into the region's multifaceted histories, including the impacts of colonialism, imperialism, nation-state formation, and the dynamics within our increasingly globalized world. The course analyzes the accelerated urbanization in recent decades, which has led to significant ethnic, national, and socio-political transformations, more recently influenced by globalization and neo-liberalization.

Muna Guvenc and Yuval Evri 

Cross-listed Courses

CLAS 105b Introduction to Mediterranean Archaeology 

[ hum ] 

The Mediterranean region stands as a testament to the intricate tapestry of human history and culture. "Introduction to Mediterranean Archaeology" is an immersive and comprehensive exploration of this diverse and dynamic region. This course offers an interdisciplinary approach, integrating anthropology, history, art history, and environmental studies to unravel the mysteries of the Mediterranean's past. Topics in this course are intended to provide and understanding of the archaeology of the civilizations in the Mediterranean world from the Bronze Age through the Byzantine period. It will emphasize the contributions of studies of material culture to our understandings of social, economic, religious, and political activities and their changes over time. The study of ancient world provides us with a series of snippets of the past into the lives of people within a rich material world, filled with complicated societies remarkably similar to our own. By analyzing their remains, archaeologists investigate ‘big questions’ such as: How did religious practice intersect with political life? Was gender and identity just as dynamic in the ancient world? How was status communicated? The archaeology of ancient Mediterranean provides material evidence for understanding life in a complex past that also illuminates our own world today. Usually offered every year.
Alexandra Ratzlaff
CLAS 111a Art and Archaeology of the Hellenistic World

[ ca hum ] 

Surveys the art and archaeology of the Hellenistic world (including Greece, western and central Asia, north Africa, and Italy) focusing on the 4th century Mediterranean leading up to the conquests of Alexander the Great (336-323 BCE) and the kingdoms of his successors until the death of Cleopatra in 30 BCE. A major theme throughout this course will be the global culture of the cosmopolitan world created by Alexander the Great. Other themes will include encounters between varying cultural traditions, how material correlates of identity played out in all levels of society, and how the art, artifacts, and architecture of the Hellenistic communities were used to assert themselves in a rich multi-cultural environment. We will cover the elite, domestic, and funerary architectural remains associated with the Hellenistic kingdoms, as well as their material culture in the forms of mosaics, sculpture, and other portable artifacts. Usually offered every second year.

Alexandra Ratzlaff

CLAS 116b The Archaeology of Imperialism

[ hum ] 


Provides an in depth survey of the archaeological material and theory of empires across the ancient world. Usually offered every third year.
Alexandra Ratzlaff

CLAS 133a The Art and Archaeology of Ancient Greece 


[ ca hum ] 

Surveys the main forms and styles of Greek art and architecture from the Bronze Age through the Hellenistic period in mainland Greece and on the islands of the Aegean. Archaeological remains and ancient literary evidence help explore the relationships between culture, the visual arts, and society. Usually offered every second year.

Staff

CLAS 134b The Art and Archaeology of Ancient Rome 


[ ca hum ] 

Surveys the art and architecture of the ancient Romans from the eighth century BCE to the end of the empire in Sicily, mainland Italy (with focus on Rome, Ostia, Pompeii, and Herculaneum), and in the Roman provinces. Usually offered every second year.
Staff

CLAS 136b Roman Technology, Medicine, and Art 


[ hum ] 

Investigates a selection of the most famous monuments and cultural institutions of the Roman world in order to understand the technology and engineering that created them. The primary source is Elder Pliny. We also consider Roman medicine. Usually offered every third year.

Staff 

CLAS 145b Topics in Greek and Roman Art and Archaeology 

[ ca hum ] 

Topics vary from year to year and the course may be repeated for credit. Topics include daily life in ancient Rome; Greek and Roman technology and art; Rome, City of Marble; and Athens and the golden age of Greece. See Schedule of Classes for the current topic and description. Usually offered every second year. 

Staff

CLAS 150b Pompeii: Life in the Shadow of Vesuvius 


[ ca hum ] 

Examines Pompeii and Herculaneum, buried by Vesuvius in 79 CE, using the ancient cities' art, architecture, and wall writings to understand the social, political, economic, and religious realities of Roman life on the Bay of Naples, especially in the first century CE. Usually offered every third year.

Staff

ENG 183b Gods and Humans in the Renaissance 


[ ca hum ] 

Examines the relationship between gods and humans in literature and art from the Renaissance, exploring how classical gods and goddesses, as well as biblical figures of the divine, are represented by major European artists and authors. Usually offered every fourth year.
Ramie Targoff and Jonathan Unglaub             
FREN 146a Picturing Versailles: Portrait, Space and Spectacle under the Sun King
[ fl hum ] 

Examines bodies of literature, visual arts, and courtiers at Versailles in the theatrical society of intrigue and exile under Louis XIV. Concentrates on how the texts, maps and art of the palace fashion a global portrait of absolutism: the Sun King. Usually offered every third year.
Catherine Theobald      
FREN 149b Le Livre Illustré: Word and Image in Francophone Texts from Bestiaries to Bandes Dessinées
[ ca hum ] 

Explores the theories and practices of text-image interactions in illustrated francophone books of the past and present by addressing themes such as learning, travel, sentimentality, pornography, politics, and humor. This course will include archival work in the Brandeis library. 
Staff                                              

PHIL 113b Aesthetics: Painting, Photography and Film 


[ ca hum wi ] 

Explores representation in painting, photography and film by studying painters Rembrandt, Velazquez and Vermeer, as well as later works by Degas, Cezanne and Picasso; photographers Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Edward Weston, Walker Evans, Alfred Stieglitz and Diane Arbus; and filmmakers Renoir and Hitchcock. Usually offered every second year.
Staff