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COURSE NAME: "World Art III: Visual Culture of the Early Modern World"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2019

INSTRUCTOR: Laura Foster
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 1:30-2:45 PM

This survey course focuses on the art and architecture of Europe, South and Southeast Asia, China, Japan, and the Americas from the late 1200s to c. AD 1750. The course investigates a range of media including painting, woodcuts, sculpture, and architecture, while considering materials and methods of production. Special attention will be given to the socio-economic and political contexts in which these artifacts were commissioned and produced. The course will also assist students in cultivating basic art-historical skills, in particular description, stylistic analysis, and iconographic and iconological analysis.
The period under consideration was one of new cultural encounter, fostered by religious and economic interests that encouraged travel throughout the world. The first half of the course will concentrate upon the dynamic artistic production of the Renaissance and Baroque in Europe, exploring the concepts and techniques that informed art and architecture. Thursday lectures will focus upon specific artworks, artists, and patrons. The second half of the course will introduce the art of India, eastern Asia, the Americas, and Western Africa, with a critical examination of art-historical notions of tradition and innovation that have affected the way art from non-Western cultures is viewed. The history of colonialism and religious missions to specific regions and the effect these encounters had upon artistic production will also be discussed.

•The ability to analyze and describe material artifacts and built form from different cultural and historical environments using the appropriate art-historical terminology

•Knowledge base of major works of art and architecture that have shaped an understanding of culture in the period under consideration.

•Familiarity with the historical protagonists who produced and commissioned key works of art (artists, patrons and other important figures)

•Knowledge of the stories in which many visual works were based (religious, mythological, biographical) and the ability to see differences in how those stories were represented in different times and geographical regions (iconography)

•An understanding of the historical changes in images and built form based in the matrix of religion, economy, and intellectual discovery.

•The ability to distinguish among different methodological approaches used to interpret works of art and architecture.
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Gardner's Art Through the Ages, A Global History Vol. II 15th International ed.Fred KleinerCengage9781285839394  

2 QuizzesThe two quizzes test for the memorization of works listed on the weekly key monuments lists. Works will be shown on slides and the students are responsible for supplying the artists' or architect's name (when known), the title of the works, and the dates of their creation. 10
3 Writing ExercisesThe 3 short papers (approximately 2 pages each) consist of formal analyses designed to hone skills in observing and explaining works in different media. Students will select one work of painting, one of sculpture and one of architecture and formulate a coherent essay discussing the work in terms of material, style, and composition using terminology acquired in the course. Students may choose to write about a work seen first-hand in Rome or on travels to other parts of Italy or Europe. 30
Midterm ExaminationThe examination will test memorization of key works, an understanding of terminology, and the ability to interpret works according to the themes discussed in class lectures and the textbook. The format of the exam will include a slide quiz, short answer questions, and a short comparative essay.20
Essay: Constructing Histories of ArtIn this essay of 4-5 pages, students will write a critical examination of a well-known work of art or architecture, connecting subject matter and meaning to formal analysis. Students will discuss the content of the work of art and explain its possible meaning, looking closely how it is that art historians arrive their conclusions. If there are disputed interpretations of a work, the problem of the work's ambiguity must be discussed. As a beginning research project, students will provide proper bibliography. Detailed instructions for the assignment will be distributed after the midterm examination.20
Final ExaminationThe format for the final exam will be similar to the midterm, with emphasis on material from the second half of the semester. A final essay question will treat an overarching theme from the semester, permitting the student to select examples to illustrate that theme. 20

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed. The final exam period runs until December 14. 
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


There may be changes to the following schedule and reading assignments. A final syllabus will be distributed in the first class meeting.


Lecture Topic

Reading Assignments

Tests and Assignments

Jan 22

Course Introduction and Overview

Jan 24

European Visual Traditions and the Use of Space

Gardner, “Architectural Basics” and “Religion and Mythology” (pp. xxii-xxxi), and “Introduction: What is art history?” (pp. 1-13)

Jan 29

Late Medieval Italy

Gardner, Ch. 14

Jan 31

Late Medieval Italy

Giorgio Vasari, The Lives of the Artists (Oxford University 1998): EBOOK

Life of Giotto

Feb 5

Late Gothic and Early Renaissance Art in Northern Europe

Gardner, Ch. 20

Feb 7

Late Gothic and Early Renaissance in Northern Europe

Craig Harbison, Jan Van Eyck: The Play of Realism, EBOOK

Ch. 4 “An Italian Courtier’s Story”

Feb 12

Italian Renaissance Art of the 15th Century

Gardner, Ch. 21

Feb 14

Italian Renaissance Art of the 15th Century

Michael Baxandall, Painting and Experience in Fifteenth Century Italy, pp. 1-55


Feb 19

Italian Renaissance Art of the 16th Century: Florence and Rome

Gardner, Ch. 22

Feb 21

Italian Renaissance Art of the 16th Century: Northern Italy and Mannerism

George Hersey, High Renaissance Art in St. Peter’s, Ch. 3, pp. 129-141

Feb 22

The Renaissance in Northern Europe and Spain

Gardner, Ch. 23

University Makeup Day

Feb 26

The Renaissance in Northern Europe and Spain

Feb 28

Review of works and terminology

Mar 5



Mar 7

South Asia

Gardner Ch. 32

Mar 19

South Asia


Mar 21

East Asia: China, Japan and Korea

Gardner, Chs. 33 and 34

Mar 26

East Asia: China, Japan and Korea

Michael Sullivan, The Arts of China, Library Reserves N7340 .S92

Ch. 9 “The Ming Dynasty”

Mar 28

The Baroque in Italy and Spain

Gardner, Ch. 24

Apr 2

The Baroque in Italy and Spain


Apr 4

The Baroque in Northern Europe

Gardner, Ch. 25

Apr 9

The Baroque in Northern Europe

Apr 11

Pre-Columbian and Colonial Latin America

Gardner, Ch. 35

Apr 16

Pre-Columbian and Colonial Latin America


Apr 18

Rococo to Neoclassicism: the 18th Century in Europe and America

Gardner, Ch. 26

Apr 23

The Art of West Africa

Apr 30

The Art of West Africa

Gardner, Ch. 37


May 2

Section overview and exam review