The various sections of Art History Topics focus on different and more narrowly defined themes, rather than a broad historical survey. Topics may include the Art of Egypt, the meeting of Eastern and Western Art, 20th-Century American and European Art, and others. Periodically, a visiting scholar may teach a section on the art, architecture, and archeology of cultures such as those of pre-Columbian Central and South America; the indigenous peoples of North America; and the various societies of Africa, Asia, or the Middle East. The focus of these special sections would include the material artifacts and the interpretations, debates, and methodological approaches to these objects within the literature of the field. All sections of this course present individual topics. Individual course descriptions are available to registering students at http://www.berklee.edu/liberal-arts/courses/liberal-arts-topics-courses.
This course covers the prehistoric to the Gothic period. It is a survey of painting, sculpture, and architecture from prehistory, the ancient Near East, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Byzantium, the early Middle Ages, and the Romanesque and Gothic periods. Slide lectures are supplemented by works viewed at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
This course covers the late Gothic period to the early 20th century. It is a survey of European art from the end of the Middle Ages through the Renaissance, mannerism, the baroque, rococo, neoclassicism, romanticism, realism, impressionism, postimpressionism, and early abstraction; also American art from the colonial period to the early 20th century. Slide lectures are supplemented by works viewed at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
This course is designed to introduce students to a comprehensive study of the principal thoughts, concepts of beauty, and aesthetics in the art of Japan. The articulation of Japanese art reveals the relevance of the philosophies of Buddhism, Zen tradition, and Daoism. Students explore a sociohistorical approach to the understanding of Japanese art and culture. Students also examine brief histories of Eastern civilizations as frameworks for the understanding of their aesthetic and philosophical concepts as presented in works of art. Students will also compare Japanese works with the Western tradition. In addition, students will relate Japanese art to their own creative practice.
This course exposes students to the dynamic world of theft, forgery, destruction, and the restoration of works of art. Through readings and museum visits, students engage questions of authenticity, ownership, commercialism, and the cultural role of works of art in the world today and throughout history. Students learn how works of art are forged; they also learn the history and theories of museum collection building. In addition, they explore concepts of artistic expression and authenticity. When is a work of art real? What does it mean for art to be forged? Does restoration of art works affect authenticity? Students also explore concepts of and the complex history of art ownership.
This course explores the critical and theoretical approaches to understanding the meanings we make of images, icons, and visual representations. Visual culture refers to what has traditionally been thought of as the fine arts as well as more popular forms of visible media such as comics, advertising, television, film, decorative arts, video, installations, performance art, and digital and new media art. Assignments will be both analytical and creative, incorporating writing, drawing, and collage. Readings and classroom discussions will be supplemented by viewings of Boston art collections. Note: LAHS-231 or LAHS-232 are also recommended as prerequisites but are not required.
This course explores the changing and multiple roles of art and the artist in society as these have evolved from classical antiquity to the contemporary period. We begin by exploring how the Greek and Medieval ideas of the artist as imitator and craftsman were questioned and altered during the Renaissance and later periods, when the Modern idea of the artist as individual creator, and avant-garde figure, began to take hold in Western artistic, philosophical, and political culture. The course places special emphasis on the role of the artist today, by locating a key moment of change in the late eighteenth century, when the French and American revolutions altered the political landscape of the West in fundamental ways by questioning the authority of the church and the monarchical state, and by establishing democratic institutions that, in theory at least, stressed the equality of all individuals. It is out of this crux of political and social change that the avant-garde—and our modern notion of the artist as a kind of free agent, pursuing his/her own creative, social, and political impulses—was born. The texts we will read, and the examples of visual art and music we will explore, span the period from Greek antiquity to contemporary times, and include works by Plato, Aristotle, Leonardo da Vinci, Descartes, Kant, Hegel, Gustave Courbet, Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, Cindy Sherman, and others.
In this course, students will explore and expand their understanding of musical composition, improvisation, and performance by responding musically to works of painting, photography, sculpture, and hybrid works of art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Thoroughly interdisciplinary in approach, this course is conducted as a series of guided conversations centered on existing works of visual art the MFA, in conjunction with in-class discussions of relevant examples drawn from the history of music. These conversations will form a springboard for student musical explorations, to be conducted in a workshop setting in class, and based on works of art at the MFA. Over the course of the semester, each student will have the opportunity to workshop two pieces, based on specifically chosen works from the MFA's collections. Specific composers and artists to be discussed and studied include Franz Liszt, Hector Berlioz, Modest Mussorgsky, Guillaume Dufay, Arnold Schoenberg, John Cage, van Gogh, Rembrandt, Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, and others.