An Introduction to the History of Art: Meanings in the Visual ArtsDeborah Vischak
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; all precepts are held in the Princeton University Art Museum to facilitate direct engagement with works of art.
Roman ArchitectureMichael Koortbojian
This course will examine the architecture of the Romans, from its mythic beginnings (as recounted, for example, by Vitruvius) to the era of the high empire. Topics will include: city planning; the transformation of the building trades; civic infrastructure; and the full breadth of Roman structures, both public and private.
Modernist Art: 1900 to 1950Hal 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.
Ten Essential Topics in Chinese Art and CultureCheng-hua Wang
What was the role of women in Chinese art? How did Chinese people think about this life and the afterlife? Why and how is calligraphy considered an art form in China? These are but three of the questions this course asks and endeavors to explore. Focusing on ten important and provocative topics, this course aims to provide a comprehensive but spotlighted picture of Chinese art and culture. Together the ten point to the interrelated nature of the visual and Chinese philosophical thought, aesthetic values, religious beliefs, social life, political expression and commercial practices.
Introduction to 20th-Century African American ArtChika Okeke-Agulu
This surveys history of African American art during the long 20th-century, from the individual striving of late 19th century to the unprecedented efflorescence of art and culture in 1920s Harlem; from the retrenchment in black artistic production during the era of Great Depression, to the rise of racially conscious art inspired by the Civil Rights Movement; from the black feminist art in the 1970s, to the age of American multiculturalism in the 1980s and 1990s; and finally to the turn of the present century when ambitious "postblack" artists challenge received notions of black art and racial subjectivity.
Photography and the Making of the Modern WorldElizabeth Anne McCauley
Photography exploded on the world stage in 1839 and transformed how we think about truth, reality, and the past. This course traces the multiple changes in photographic processes, styles, and functions from the invention to the present, in which photography is more a behavior than a way of generating permanent records. Topics will include photographs as scientific evidence; the portrait and family imagery; ethnographic and travel photography; photojournalism; the market for fine arts photographs; and the construction of celebrity. Each week we will examine original photographic prints in the P.U. Art Museum and Firestone Library.
The Formation of Christian ArtCharlie Barber
Art in late antiquity has often been characterized as an art in decline, but this judgment is relative, relying on standards formulated for art of other periods. Challenging this assumption, we will examine the distinct and powerful transformations within the visual culture of the period between the third and sixth centuries AD. This period witnesses the mutation of the institutions of the Roman Empire into those of the Christian Byzantine Empire. The fundamental change in religious identity that was the basis for this development directly impacted the art from that era that will be the focus of this course.
The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Art of the Golden AgeThomas DaCosta Kaufmann
Celebrating Rembrandt Year, this class surveys painting, sculpture, architecture and the graphic arts of the Low Countries (Belgium and the Netherlands) from 1580-1750 in relation to art elsewhere in Europe and the world. Dutch art is seen in relation to its historical circumstances, including cross-cultural developments in Europe, Asia and Americas. Extensive use of the Princeton University Art Museum with visits to New York.
Neo Architectures, from the Renaissance to PostmodernismBasile Baudez
Was Clio Hall built by the Ancient Greeks? McCormick by the Venetians of the Renaissance? Princeton Chapel by English masons of the Middle Ages? Some of the most recognizable architectural landmarks of Princeton's campus were built in reference to past architectural styles. This class will focus on the concept of "neo-styles" in the history of Western architecture, decoration and furniture, from the Renaissance to Postmodernism, interrogating the complex relationships between present needs and past dreams. Each week, students will confront the theoretical context of neo-styles with a series of American architectural case studies.
Seeing To Remember: Representing Slavery Across the Black AtlanticAnna Arabindan-Kesson
The class explores the historical representation of slavery and its contemporary manifestations in art of the Black diaspora. It pays particular attention to the different ways that art objects, institutions and monuments narrate these histories and considers why slavery remains relatively invisible in public art, in public monuments, and as a subject for national institutions in the US. Students will have the opportunity to work closely with objects held in collections at Princeton, go on field trips and learn from visiting artists and curators.
The Artist at WorkIrene V. Small
What are the environments, fictions, fantasies, and ideologies that condition the artist at work? This course takes as its investigative locus the artist's studio, a space of experimentation and inspiration, but also of boredom, sociability, exhaustion, and critique. Structured around visits to the studios of multiple practicing artists in New York City, the course tracks the trope of "the studio" from the Renaissance to the present, with emphasis on the concept's reconfiguration and reanimation in contemporary art. Lecture with discussion and field trips.
The Art of the Print: From Dürer to WarholElizabeth Anne McCauley
Printmaking, which allows multiple images and texts to be generated from a single matrix, revolutionized the spread of information and pictures throughout the world. Through close examination of works in the Princeton University Art Museum and Firestone Library, this seminar considers the origins, evolution of techniques, and impact of prints on religion, popular culture, politics, science, and the fine arts from the 15th century to the present. Influential printmakers such as Dürer, Rembrandt, Goya, Picasso and Warhol will be explored in depth. The class will also visit dealers in New York and purchase a print for the Museum's collection.
What is Black Art: Art History and the Black DiasporaAnna Arabindan-Kesson
This course introduces students to the art and visual culture of the Black diaspora 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. Topics and readings will draw 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, and the course will incorporate regular museum visits and dialogue with artists and curators in the field.
Junior SeminarNathan Arrington
The Junior Seminar is an introduction to the myriad subjects, methods, and strategies of art history. The course examines the different kinds of evidence and methodological tools that have been used to identify, explain, and contextualize works of art as well as other kinds of objects, artifacts, and cultural phenomena. In other words, this seminar considers what art historians do, and how and why they do it. In addition, majors will learn how to use resources such as the library and the museum, and how to undertake substantive written research projects.
Europe in the Making of Early Modern Chinese ArtCheng-hua Wang
Direct and regular contact between China and Europe in the early modern period brought new artistic forms and expressions to China and reconfigured the entire picture of Chinese art. Even though China appeared to have been the recipient of European art, it did not play a passive role; in fact, Chinese agents, including emperors, artists, literati, and merchants, appropriated European artistic resources according to their own agendas. This seminar will tackle the multiple dimensions of how European art worked at the Chinese imperial court and in local societies from the late sixteenth to the early nineteenth century.
Seminar. Medieval Art: Emperors, Angels, and Martyrs: Bodies in ByzantiumCharlie Barber
This course will explore the modes and meanings of representations of different types of bodies in the art of the East Roman Empire (ca. 700 to 1453). Weekly meetings will center around a group of readings and images that focus on a particular type of body within the Byzantine world. The course will begin with the imperial body, cover Christ, martyrs, and saints, and conclude with the bodies of Byzantine and modern viewers. The textual and visual material in discussion will prompt students to think critically about the relationship between historical and represented bodies and the kinds of signification the body was and is made to bear.
Art and Politics in Postcolonial AfricaChika Okeke-Agulu
This seminar examines the impact of the International Monetary Fund's Structural Adjustment Program, military dictatorships, and political crises on artistic production in the 1980s, and the dramatic movement of African artists from the margins of the international art world to its very center since the 1990s. How familiar or different are the works and concerns of African artists? What are the consequences, in Africa and the West, of the international success of a few African artists? And what does the work of these Africans at home and in the West tell us about the sociopolitical conditions of our world today?
Proseminar in the History of ArtHal Foster
A course concerned both with the theoretical foundations of Western art history as a modern discipline and with the methodological innovations of the last few decades.
Ancient Egyptian Kingship in Image, Architecture & PerformanceDeborah Vischak
The institution of kingship was central to the ancient Egyptian worldview. Kings and their administrations sought to express the complex nature of a strong leader with access to the gods and secret knowledge, exceptional skill as a warrior and diplomat, and unrivaled power over and sacrifice to his people by using both mystery and overwhelming display. In this seminar we consider the nature of Egyptian kingship and how a vast body of material and visual culture shaped and expressed this essential concept from its origins in the beginning of the 4th millennium to the era of Roman rulers.
The Geography of Art: World Art HistoryThomas DaCosta Kaufmann
This seminar considers the possibilities of global art history: theory, method, and practice. Issues are treated in relation to the historiography and geography of art.
The Modern History of AxonometryYve-Alain Bois
This seminar explores the discontinuous history of axonometric projection in art, architecture, mathematics, and science from the Renaissance to the present day. We consider different uses of axonometry in descriptive geometry, mechanical drawing, and crystallography, and we take up various practitioners such as Auguste Choisy, El Lissizky, Theo Van Doesburg, Le Corbusier, Peter and Alison Smithson, the Minimalists, and the New York Five Architects.