Undergraduate Courses

ART 100 Manet cropped
ART 100

Meanings in the Visual Arts: An Introduction to the History of Art

Carolyn Yerkes

Introduction to the history of art and to the discipline of art history. Not a comprehensive survey but a sampling of arts—painting, sculpture, architecture, photography and prints—and artistic practices from diverse historical periods, regions, and cultures. The course balances consideration of historical developments with attention to individual works of art. Faculty members of the Department of Art and Archaeology lecture in their fields of expertise; precepts facilitate direct engagement with works of art in the Princeton University Art Museum.

MW 10:00-10:50
FRS 101

Drawings Up-Close

Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann
Laura Giles

This seminar introduces students to the practice of museum work in relation to the study of drawings. It will study works of art up-close at first hand. Classes will be taught in the Princeton University Museum, with visits planned to New York City to an auction house, dealer, museum, and collector. The seminar will look at drawings in different contexts, suggesting how they may be treated according to a variety of approaches, including that of art history and scientific examination. No previous knowledge of art history is assumed, but is of course helpful. The class will culminate in an installation to be held in the museum.

The class will consider drawings from various points of view: that of the curator, conservator, scientific investigator, registrar, museum educator, artist, and university professor. It is meant to introduce students both to the direct study of works of art and to the possibilities of careers in universities, museums, galleries, and auction houses, and indeed any occupation (including medicine and the law) that involves close looking and reasoning from what is seen in relation to other data.

Topics included are media and techniques of drawings, function and genres, paper, scientific examination of drawings, and connoisseurship. Some attention will also be given to infrared spectrography as a method of analysis and the role of underdrawings in paintings. Other issues include questions of exhibition, collecting, and the art market.

T 1:30-4:20
FRS 107

Art, Feminism, and Africana Women

Chika Okeke-Agulu

Do Africana women — from Africa and the African Diaspora — have anything in common, an Africana sisterhood, legible in the work of women artists? Did colonial and postcolonial socio-political institutions affect women in Africa in the same way racial conditions impacted women in the Diaspora? Are Africana artists feminists or womanists? And how helpful is race to our understanding of the Africana identity and subjectivity? Reframing the classic question "Why have there been no great women artists?" posed in a 1971 article with that title by American feminist art historian Linda Nochlin, could we now ask: Why have there been no great Africana women artists?


This seminar will take on these questions and will examine the work of leading Africa and African Diaspora women artists (UK, US, and Caribbean especially) in the 20th and 21st centuries. We will explore African models of female subjectivity, as well as their usefulness and limitations, in our analysis of the work of modern and contemporary artists within and outside the continent. We shall consider the problem of medium, style, gender, and racial/sexual politics. We shall juxtapose our art-related readings with theoretical and literary texts on feminism, womanism, Pan-Africanism, and Diaspora. Visits to area museums and in-class encounters with well-known artists are anticipated. 

W 1:30-4:20
Mont Sainte-Victoire
FRS 175

Behind the Scenes: Inside the Princeton University Art Museum

Caroline I. Harris

Would you like to see a Degas pastel or Cézanne watercolor up close and without the frame? Participants in this seminar will go behind the scenes of a major university art museum with an encyclopedic collection of more than 90,000 objects from ancient to contemporary art. Sessions will focus on discussions of connoisseurship and the role of the museum in the 21st century with a special emphasis on collecting practices. Students will study aspects of exhibition planning, from scholarship and education to loans and installations, through the exhibition Cézanne and the Modern: Masterpieces of European Art from the Pearlman Collection. Course readings will introduce students to some of the most compelling practical, theoretical, and ethical issues confronting museums.

A team of curators, the director, and other members of the professional staff of the Princeton University Art Museum will lead the seminar sessions, which focus on particular topics. Students are expected to discuss critically issues in acquisitions, conservation, education, and interpretation based on readings and outside projects. There also will be a trip to New York City to visit museums. 

W 1:30-4:20
Art 208 big
ART 208MED 208

Means, Media and Mode: An Introduction to Western Medieval Art

Beatrice Kitzinger

An introduction to western medieval art, approached primarily through distinctions of technique, materials and media. We concentrate on the importance of attributes in medieval art dependent on specifics of matter, genre, and manufacture. Case studies are chosen that raise particularly complex questions of interpretation derived from mixed-media forms, or cross-genre citation. We work as a class to define concepts of media and artistic mode in the medieval context, with reference to the modern contexts more familiar to us. In precept time, we work with the buildings and artworks on campus. An excursion to an area collection will be arranged.

MW 12:30-1:20
ART 213 music cropped
ART 213

Modernist Art: 1900 to 1950

Hal Foster

A critical study of the major movements, paradigms, and documents of modernist art from Post-Impressionism to the "Degenerate" art show. Among our topics: primitivism, abstraction, collage, the readymade, machine aesthetics, photographic reproduction, the art of the insane, artists in political revolution, anti-modernism. Two lectures, one preceptorial.

MW 9:00-9:50
ART 233
ART 233ARC 233

Renaissance Art and Architecture

Carolina Mangone
Carolyn Yerkes

What was the Renaissance? This class explores the major artistic currents that swept northern and southern Europe from the 14th through the 16th century in an attempt to answer that question. In addition to considering key themes such as the revival of antiquity, imitation and license, religious devotion, artistic style, and the art market, we will survey significant works by artists and architects including Donatello, Raphael, Leonardo, Jan van Eyck, Dürer, and Michelangelo. Precepts will focus on direct study of original objects, with visits to Princeton's collections of paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, books and maps.

TTh 10:00-10:50
ART 245
AAS 245ART 245

Harlem Renaissance and Black Arts Movements

Chika Okeke-Agulu

This course surveys important moments in 20th-century African American art, from the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s to the 1960s Black Arts movement. Our close studies of the work of major artists will be accompanied by examination of influential theories and ideologies of blackness during two key moments of black racial consciousness in the United States. We shall cover canonical artists and writers such as Aaron Douglas, James van der Zee, William H. Johnson, Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, Faith Ringgold, Betye Saar, W. E. B. Du Bois, Alain Locke, James Porter, and Jeff Donaldson.

TTh 11:00-12:20
ART 269LAS 269 / ANT 369

Objects of Andean Art

Andrew J. Hamilton

This course provides an overview of Pre-Columbian Andean art, taught from objects in the University’s art museum and nearby collections. Particular attention will be paid to textiles, organic materials, and their biological origins. Students will have weekly opportunities to examine objects firsthand. Assignments will develop broad art historical research skills of object study, writing about objects, and visual documentation of objects (photography, analytical illustration, etc.). Excursions and demonstrations of materials and techniques, generously supported by the Program in Latin American Studies, will make the course ideal for hands-on and experiential learners.

M W 10:00-10:50
ART 290

The Art and Archaeology of Ancient Egypt

Deborah Vischak

Behind the awe-inspiring monuments, the complex religious cults, and the intimations of wealth and a taste for the good life found in the surviving remnants of ancient Egypt lie real people concerned with spirituality, economics, politics, the arts, and the pleasures and pains of daily life. In this course, we will examine the art and architecture created in the ancient Egyptian landscape over four millennia, as well as the work of archaeologists in the field, including up-to-the-minute finds from ongoing excavations.

MW 12:30-1:20
ART 301HLS 301 / CLA 302

The Art of the Iron Age: The Near East and Early Greece

Nathan Arrington

Survey of the art and archaeology of Greece during the Archaic period, considering social, economic, and political contexts. Topics include monumental architecture; colonization; landscape archaeology; trade and exchange; text and image; vase painting; funerary sculpture; and "orientalizing." Developments in Greece discussed in relation to the material culture of Egypt, the Near East, and the wider Mediterranean. New archaeological discoveries highlighted.

MW 11:00-12:20
REL 308GSS 338 / ART 387 / HUM 338

The Buddhist Individual

Eric Huntington

How does a tradition portray an individual, and how does an individual see themselves within a tradition? From epics of kings to private visionary experiences, the relationship of the individual to the tradition is a central theme of Buddhism. This course examines different conceptions of the individual by looking at numerous examples, including devoted patrons, accomplished masters, and struggling practitioners. Major themes include the structure of early Buddhist society, the roles of women, and autobiography. Topics will be drawn from 2,000 years of literature and artwork from India and Tibet.

Th 1:30-4:20
ARt 321 Da_Vinci_cropped
ART 321

Bodies of Knowledge: Art and Anatomy in Renaissance Italy

Susanna Berger

This course studies the inquiries of Italian "painter-anatomists," including Michelangelo, Leonardo, and Raphael, as well as foreign artists working in Italy, like Dürer. It considers how anatomical knowledge helped artists to perfect their descriptions of the human body and how they collaborated with professors of medicine and printers to design illustrated anatomy books. We will frequently meet in the Princeton Art Museum to view original artworks. We will also visit the Firestone Rare Books Collection and the Morgan Library and Museum to study early editions of anatomical textbooks, including Vesalius's On the Fabric of the Human Body.

TTh 11:00-12:20
ART 357REL 304

Dunhuang: Buddhist Art and Culture on the Silk Road

Dora C. Y. Ching

Located at the crossroads of the ancient Silk Road, Dunhuang is one of the richest Buddhist sites in China with nearly 500 cave temples constructed between the 4th and the 14th century. The sculptures, murals, portable paintings, and manuscripts found in the caves represent every aspect of Buddhism, both doctrinally and artistically. This course will explore this visual material in relation to topics such as expeditions, the role of Dunhuang in the study of Buddhist art and Chinese art in general, Buddhist ritual practices, image-text relationships, politics and patronage, and contemporary attitudes toward Dunhuang.

MW 11:00-12:20
ART 373AAS 373

History of African American Art

Anna Arabindan-Kesson

This course introduces the history of African American art and visual culture from the colonial period to the present. Artists and works of art will be considered in terms of their social, intellectual, and historical contexts and students will be encouraged to consider artistic practices as they intersect with other cultural spheres, including science, politics, religion, and literature. Topics and readings will be drawn from the field of art history as well as from other areas of inquiry such as cultural studies, critical race theory, and the history of the Atlantic world.

TTh 10:00-10:50
ART 400

Junior Seminar

Rachael Z. DeLue

An introduction to a range of art-historical approaches and to the writings of key figures in the history of the discipline. Attention is also given to research and writing skills specific to the history of art.

W 1:30-4:20
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ART 429EAS 429

Visual Japan, Past and Present

Andrew Watsky

This seminar examines the visual arts over the course of Japan's history and, especially, how contemporary Japan makes use of its visual past. The primary focuses are painting, sculpture, architecture, and ceramics, though literature also plays a prominent role. Each week's session is designed to cover an aspect of Japan's visual cultures and build a base of knowledge upon which students will engage Japan, in Japan, over fall break. The seminar will travel to Japan for eight days and, based in Nara, Kyoto, and Tokyo, will visit many of the sites of art studied in Princeton, including temples, museums, and ceramic studios.

Th 1:30-4:20
ART 430HLS 430 / MED 430

Seminar in Medieval Art: Writing on the Image

Charles Barber

This seminar investigates the presence of words on images. It will ask how signatures, titles, epigrams, quotations, names, prayers, graffiti, and other verbal traces on the surface of the work of art challenge our assumptions of representation, introducing speech acts, memorials, frames, possession, and origins into this visual economy. Our focus will be on Byzantine art, using a range of media: icon, ivory, enamel, manuscript, architecture. No previous knowledge of Byzantine art is necessary. Students will be able to write on non-Byzantine topics.

T 1:30-4:20
ART 458ECS 458 / ARC 458 / FRE 458

Seminar in Modern Architecture

Esther da Costa Meyer

This seminar studies the radical forms of urban renewal that altered the city of Paris during the second half of the 19th century. The often violent redistribution of social classes across the urban territory and creation of new forms of infrastructure had a pronounced effect on citizens. So did its expanding colonial empire. Urban mobility, new forms of leisure and consumption, spatial segregation and class antagonisms all helped pave the way for new cultures and counter-cultures. We shall analyze how notions of identity were being forged and reinvented as traditional class and gender roles changed.

Th 1:30-4:20
ART 481REL 481

Egyptian Architecture: The Monumental Landscape

Deborah Vischak

In this seminar we will examine a variety of forms of ancient Egyptian architecture, primarily from the pharaonic period, through the lense of landscape. We will examine god's temples, funerary temples, and burial monuments within the larger context of their settings, including the surrounding landscape and their relationships to other monuments. A number of themes will be addressed, including the sacred landscape, architecture as microcosm, architecture and performance, ancestry and memory, the temporality of landscape and monument, and locality and community.

T 1:30-4:20
ART 497

The Art of Paul Cézanne: In and Out of the Studio

John Elderfield

This seminar takes the contrast of what happened in and outside the studio of the French painter Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) as a structure for gaining focus upon his complex practice. Studying artworks-many in the original-and texts, the course examines analogous contrasts in interpretations of his art. These include: working in a controlled or an uncontrollable space; allegories of experience versus records of experience; the corporeal and the optical; individualistic and convention-based models of artistic creation; the finished and unfinished; the separation and merging of genres; the artist's understanding of his art versus its reception.

M 1:30-4:20
ART 498FRE 498

Theories of Objects in 1920s Paris

Esther da Costa Meyer

This seminar will explore the interwar period in France when architects, painters, musicians, film-makers, and anthropologists articulated new and often conflicting concepts of the object in response to sweeping social, political, and ethnic changes: the return of mass production after WWI, the radical transformation in gender roles, colonization in Africa and Asia, Surrealism, and increased interaction between the social sciences and the visual arts. Topics include Le Corbusier, Léger, Surrealism, Negritude, colonialism within the contexts of art, architecture, film, dance, and music.

T 1:30-4:20