Texas Tech University

Art History Course Descriptions

Summer 2018
Art History Schedule & Course Descriptions

Study Abroad in Italy - Summer I (Rome June 5 - July 7, 2018)
ARTH 3320 Medieval Art of Europe [Dr Elliott]
Topic: Medieval Rome (Reading, Writing, and Fun Intensive)

This course will focus on Rome during the Middle Ages, roughly 250-1300 CE, to explore the urban development of the city, the cult of saints relics, the power of the papacy, and the many works of arts that decorate churches and civic spaces. We will begin with the Vatican necropolis and grottoes and a visit to Roman catacombs. We will study the churches built during the reign of the Emperor Constantine, and we will visit the medieval walls and houses and churches decorated with brilliant mosaics, such as Santa Prassede and the Marian churches. For the later medieval period we will visit the Franciscan and Dominican churches in Rome and make a day trip to Assisi, home of St Francis of Assisi, and visit the church dedicated to him which is decorated throughout two levels with frescoes by the leading Italian artists of the time. Every site visit will provide an opportunity to examine the relationship of the arts to politics, to historical events, and to religious and devotional practice.

This course is offered along with ART 4099 Experimental Drawing (David Lindsay). Students may take 3 or 6 credit hours. Grad students welcome! Grad sections possible!


ARTH 3360 18th & 19th-Century Art [MW 5:00-6:20 B-01 Dr Chua]
Topic: Spectacle and Modernity: Art in France and England 1851-1914
(Prerequisites: ARTH 2302 or consent of Instructor. Writing Intensive)
This course will examine art and visual culture in France and England between the Great Exhibition of 1851 and the First World War. We will look at questions of mass consumption and commodity culture, urbanization, new media (photography and film), popular media (eg. the poster and the panorama), the exhibitionary complex, decorative arts, and the meaning of avant-garde modernism. Our focus will be on three interrelated terms: spectacle, image, and dream. Why did the rise of capitalism in the late-19th century rely on such imagistic, dream-like ("impressionist") forms of art? How did the invention or discovery of the "unconscious" in the physiological sciences illuminate hidden processes in society and the economy? And how did commodity culture give rise to a "dream world" of capitalism? Artists and figures to be dealt with will include Manet, Monet, Degas, Morisot, Pissarro, Seurat, Puvis de Chavannes, Charcot, Marey, William Morris, Whistler, Sickert, and Picasso.

ARTH 4308 Seminar in Art History [MW 3:30-4:50 B-01 Dr Cortez]
Topic: Themes in Contemporary Art 1990-2014
(Prerequisites: ARTH 3303 or consent of Instructor. Writing Intensive)

ARTH 4389 Topics in 20th and 21st-Century Contemporary Art [TR 2:00-3:20 B-01 Dr Orfila]
Topic: In and Around the Bauhaus
(Prerequisites: ARTH 3303 or consent of Instructor. Writing Intensive)
This course, by focusing on the history of the Bauhaus, explores the interrelation of art and design in the Interwar Period. The Bauhaus—active from the end of WWI (1919) to the rise of the Nazis to power (1933)—represents one of the most brilliant cultural periods of the 20th century: Germany's Weimar Republic. Anchored in the strong German design tradition (Art Nouveau, Deutscher Werbund) the school's approach to art, design, and architecture synthetized the viewpoints of the most significant contemporary art movements: Russian Constructivism, Neoplasticism, Dada, Surrealism, Expressionism, New Objectivity, as well as the latest trends in graphic design, the decorative arts, advertising, photography, installation, etc.

The transdiciplinary approach to art creation and the intention to rethink design from the bottom up and not to accept any traditional certainties not only opened the way to a fresh start in modern art, but also enabled the influence of the 'Bauhaus experiment' to continue right down to the present day. The immigration of many Bauhaus professors and students to the United States after 1933 deeply influenced American art and secured the dissemination of the Bauhaus principles after WWII.

The relevance of new media in today's art has brought new attention to the Bauhaus interdisciplinary approach to art creation and its creative explorations in (at the time) new media. This renewed interest runs parallel to the recognition that the Interwar Period was a key period in the development of the information society.
By exploring the different artistic movements that influenced the Bauhaus, this course will provide a unique understanding of modern art and design. Moreover, students will better comprehend how new media influenced modern art, an aspect of the history of art occluded by the rise of the discourse of Modernism after WWII.


ARTH 5305 Topics in Art History [W 12:00-2:50 B-02 Dr Elliott]
Topic: The Art and Architecture of Islam 6-16th Centuries
(Prerequisites: Consent of Instructor.)
This course will cover the history of Early Islamic Art and Architecture. We will begin with introductory readings to provide an overview of Islamic art history, its basis in the religion of Islam and within the Judeo-Christian tradition, and its historical and geographical development from the 6th – 16th centuries. From there we will move to a discussion of more recent scholarship on issues in Islamic art, including the colonialist approach of art historians to Islamic art. About mid-way through the course, the students will develop a research project and write a paper.

ARTH 5382 Modern and Contemporary Art [TR 5:30-5:50 B-02 Dr Orfila]
Topic: Art in the Interwar Period
(Prerequisites: Consent of Instructor.)
This course explores the artistic movements that developed in France and Germany during the Interwar Period. European visual artists' reactions to the carnage of WWI influenced their approach to art: some favored a return to realism and to the classical ideals of order, harmony, and rationality whereas others, drawing their inspiration from the irrational trends within European civilization, called for the total upheaval of tradition and everyday life. Nevertheless, these artists shared some common ground: all felt that they had to take a stand regarding both tradition and the avant-gardes from before WWI, and they all consciously reflected upon the role of art in society and art's relationship to technology. It was within this historical and cultural context that the discourse of Modernism gained strength.
An in-depth analysis of particular artistic movements and key artists' oeuvres will provide students with tools for understanding the wealth of artistic manifestations produced in the Interwar Period. The course will also bring into focus contemporary developments in design and the decorative arts.


Summer I 2017
Art History Schedule & Course Descriptions

ARTH 2302.001 Art History Survey II [M-F 10:00-11:50 AH01 Dr Chua]
Survey descriptions are available [HERE]. 

ARTH 4340 Art of the Renaissance [M-F 10:00-11:50 B-01 Dr Steele]
Topic: Art & Life in 15th-century Florence
(Prerequisites: ARTH 2302 or ART 1309, or consent of instructor. Writing Intensive)
A study of aesthetic and intellectual directions in the age of Humanism. Repeatable for credit in different emphasis: this session emphasizes Art and Life in 15th Century Florence.

The purpose is to introduce students to culture in 15th-century Florence, within which patrons and artists developed distinctive means of expressing ideas and values that we characterize as Renaissance art. Individual works are presented in the context of themes and issues rather than as a series of artists' biographies. Knowledge of these representative themes, in turn, offers the means to explore works of art in terms of relationships to such factors as religious ideology; patrons' concerns & artists' interests; humanism, civic identity, & religion; interplay between "scientific" attitudes and emergent art theory; and issues of gender.

Spring 2017
Art History Schedule & Course Descriptions


ARTH 3320 Medieval Art of Europe [TR 3:30-4:50 B-01 Dr Elliott]
Topic: Text, Image and Ritual in the Middle Ages
(Prerequisites: ARTH 3303 or consent of Instructor. Writing Intensive)
The Middle Ages has been called, commonly but erroneously, the "Dark Ages". As Christianity stepped in to fill the void left by the fall of the Roman Empire, it marshaled the arts of various pictorial traditions to spread the Word of God. Manuscripts with biblical texts and images, portable icons with images of Christ and the saints, and mysterious rituals invoking the resurrection of Christ, were created and distributed to convert pagan illiterates across Europe. In this course, students will study art and architecture in Europe from approximately 400-1200 as expressions of Christian faith and culture. Major themes include: the heritage of the ancient world; text & image; ritual & space; the cult of relics; pilgrimage; church decoration as the "Bible of the illiterate"; and the cult of the Virgin Mary. Students will have the opportunity to handle medieval manuscripts in facsimile at the Southwest Collection.

ARTH 3360 18th & 19th Century Art [TR 12:30-1:50 AH01 Dr Chua]
Topic: Black Atlantic: Art & Global Empire 1650-1850
(Prerequisites: ARTH 1301 and 2302 or consent of Instructor. Writing Intensive)
For much of the modern history of the Atlantic, slavery was very much an unstated fact – quietly assumed, rarely questioned. Only during the long 18th century did it become a problem for the French and British empires; only then did it glaringly contradict the promise of freedom and equality offered up by the Revolution. During this period, the Atlantic economy – what had been a largely unblemished system of circulating commodities like sugar and tobacco – took on a color: black. This upper-level undergraduate course will examine this complicated and conflict-ridden historical period through art and visual representation produced in France, Britain, the Carribean, and the American colonies. We will look at the diverse ways in which the Atlantic economy was given visual form, and try to put "capitalism" and "empire" back into the problem of slavery. How do we understand the geographical basis of artifacts produced in the various countries that make up the Atlantic region, including the culturally betwixt and between? And, if representation presumes a notion of publicness, subjecthood, even citizenship – to "represent" is to stand in for someone or something – how was representation as such challenged by the colonial encounter?

ARTH 4389 Topics in 20th & 21st Century Art [MW 3:30-4:50 AH01 Dr Cortez]
Topic: Chicano/Chicana Art
(Prerequisites: ARTH 3303 or consent of Instructor. Writing Intensive)
This course introduces students to the formal, technical & thematic characteristics of Chicano/a visual culture from the mid 19th century to the present. While the class presents the overall historic context of Chicano/a art, particular emphasis will be placed on art produced during the Chicano Movement & on contemporary work. Topics covered include: Southwest Santos & Altars; the impact of Mexican artists in the U.S.; representation of the Pachuco/a; Protest art & self-affirmation (Chicano Movement); iconic transformations; and, Chicano/a art and border politics. The course is designed to expose students to the major developments, critical writings, social issues, and debates in Contemporary Chicano/a Art.


ARTH 5309 Theories of Contemporary Art [M 3:00-5:50 B-02 Dr Orfila]
(Prerequisite: consent of instructor)
Advanced survey of contemporary art theory and critical methods, with emphasis on the impact of the post-structuralist critique of representation. How important is art theory for an artist today? This course will familiarize students with the writings of the most influential theoreticians of the XXth century and with the way their ideas influenced the creation and interpretation of contemporary art. The study of the intersection between contemporary theory and art will allow students to incorporate theoretical ideas in their work and to use theory for the interpretation of contemporary art.

ARTH 5340 Renaissance Art TR 9:30-10:50 B-02 Dr Steele
Topic: Renaissance Venice: Sacred, Secular, Spectacular
Spectacle, splendor, and sensuous appreciation constitute essential components of Venetian civic ideology, private and communal devotion, and pictorial style and content. Discover ways in which these components intertwined to distinguish Renaissance Venice from Florence and Rome, to promote patrician and citizen ideals, to mark genders and virtues that defined Venetian propriety, etc. In the process, we will see that Renaissance Venetians indeed loved the good life but worried about moral limits & divine retribution for transcending them. The visual arts, legal system, and religious doctrine promoted concepts that defined the ideal family of Venice with Doge as its head as a terrestrial model based upon the divine prototype in which the devout constitute family and Christ its head. Consequently, delight in splendor, magnificence, and sensuous pleasure, so easily justified in secular subjects, was distinctively modulated in their application to sacred subjects in Venice during an era of religious reform, heterodox beliefs, and Counter Reformation.

Readings introduce major themes in Venetian art, methods & research strate¬gies, and important topics in recent and "classic" research. You will choose a related topic to examine, learn basic art historical research skills, and eventually produce a finished paper. Smaller projects lead to this final goal.

ARTH 5382 Modern and Contemporary Art [W 3:00-5:50 B-02 Dr Orfila]
Topic: Art of the 60s
In the 1960s, American and European artists reacted against the discourse of modernism institutionalized at the end of the Second World War. The main artistic movements of this decade (Pop Art, Minimalism, Conceptual art, Performance art, Happenings), and the theoretical debates they spurred, established the foundations of contemporary art.

This course will examine the art and critical reception of the work of artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Yayoi Kusama, Robert Morris, Gerhard Richter, and Andy Warhol. It will also explore the intersection of high art and popular culture, fashion and design during "the Fab 60s."

For Art History course descriptions, go [HERE].