Undergraduate Courses

ART 103 S17
ART 103LAS 215 / ANT 233

Arts of Americas: The First 5,000 Years


You live in the Americas: do you know about the prolific cultures who lived here before the European conquests? Are you curious about art, but wish you had a more hands-on understanding instead of seeing it behind glass? Do you wonder how a Eurocentric academic discipline might construct knowledge differently if considered from a non-European point of view? This course will provide both an introduction to art history through the ancient Americas, and to ancient American cultures, thoughts, and beliefs through their arts. Precepts will meet in the study room of the Art Museum, where we'll study up close its world-class Americas collection.

TTh 10:00 am - 10:50 am
ART 209 A
ART 209

Between Renaissance and Revolution: Baroque Art in Europe

Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann

This course surveys major changes in European Art from the end of the Renaissance until the Age of Revolution c. 1800. Paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, and architecture by such artists as Caravaggio, Rubens, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Velazquez, and Bernini will be considered in their political, religious, social and intellectual context. Extensive study of works of art at first hand in the Princeton University Art Museum, and in New York.

MW 10:00 am - 10:50 am
ART 214 E
ART 214

Contemporary Art: 1950 - 2000

Irene V. Small

A critical study of the major movements, paradigms, and documents of postwar art--abstract-expressionist, pop, minimalist, conceptual, process and performance, site-specific, etc. Special attention to crucial figures (e.g., Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Robert Smithson) and problems (e.g., "the neo-avant-garde", popular culture, feminist theory, political controversies, "postmodernism").

TTh 11:00 am - 11:50 am
ART 215 S17
ART 215EAS 215

Arts of China (10th Century to the Early 20th Century)

Cheng-hua Wang

This course will examine significant artistic developments through the study of paintings, calligraphy, ceramics, prints, architecture, and photography, and will relate them to political and sociocultural transformations in China. Students will gain an understanding of how to analyze Chinese art and its art-historical discourse as well as how to situate the arts within Chinese culture and history. The course is organized chronologically and will focus on the three arenas of art that motivated artistic creation during this period: the court, the sociocultural and political elites, and the commercial world.

MW 11:00 am - 11:50 am
ARt 250 S17
ART 250ARC 250 / ENV 250

Architecture, Globalization, and the Environment

Esther da Costa Meyer

This course analyzes contemporary architecture and its relation to climate change, urbanism, and consequent social problems. Special attention will be paid to the erosion of public space, whether due to gentrification, gated communities, outright segregation, or to the devastating impact of war in urban zones in many parts of the world. We will study issues of sustainability, as well as climate justice and environmental racism. Architecture's complicities with regard to global warming and its squandering of fossil fuels are central to our approach.

MW 11:00 am - 12:20 pm
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 4 millennia, as well as the work of archaeologists in the field, including up-to-the-minute finds from on-going excavations.

MW 12:30 pm - 1:20 pm
ART 326 S17
REL 306ART 326 / SAS 306 / HUM 306

Creating the Universe: Buddhist Science, Ritual, and Art

Eric R. Huntington

Much of Buddhist art can usefully be thought of as ritual technology-physical pieces that, when arranged systematically, make a given ritual effective. This class is about the Buddhist scientific perspectives underlying the production of such visual art in Tibet, Nepal, and India. The course is organized around cosmological and biological topics such as physical models of the universe, the types of beings that dwell in the world, and the cycles of life and death. Within these topics, we will investigate the relationships between sacred texts, ritual practices, and visual arts as the material culture of religion.

Th 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm
ART 314 C cropped
ART 314ARC 314 / MED 314

Gothic Architecture


This course examines Gothic architecture in late medieval Europe (ca. 1140-1500), examining the term as a stylistic, chronological, and methodological designator for buildings. In addition to analyzing the historiography of Gothic architecture, including an examination of neo-Gothic architecture on campus, topics will include the construction, economics, and social/political contexts of Gothic church and domestic construction. A truly European phenomenon, this course will examine the origins of Gothic architecture in and around Paris as well as its reception in the British Isles, the Mediterranean, and Central and Northern Europe.

TTh 11:00 am - 12:20 pm
ART 316 B
ART 316HLS 316 / CLA 213

The Formation of Christian Art

Charlie 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.

MW 1:30 pm - 2:50 pm
ART 342 S 17
ENV 330ART 342

The Ecocritical Exhibition: Pursuing Sustainability at the Princeton University Art Museum


The course will examine environmental sustainability as a practical goal and critical framework for display in connection with an upcoming exhibition titled "Nature's Nation: American Art and Environment," to be held at the Princeton University Art Museum (PUAM) in 2018. Students will learn about sustainability initiatives at other museums and contribute to the creation of an art installation in "Nature's Nation" that engages the exhibition's own environmental impact as a form of institutional eco-critique.

W 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm
ART 341ENV 344

Art History in the Anthropocene


This course examines art history-its methods, assumptions and political ecology-in light of the Anthropocene, our new geological epoch of human making that began with the Industrial Revolution and roughly coincides with the history of the discipline. In addition to problems of representation (concerning landscape painting or pictures of ecological devastation affecting particular communities, for example), the course will consider emerging ecocritical approaches to interpretation, the decline of anthropocentric "humanities", the environmental implications of art materials, and various forms of artistic eco-activism.

Th 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm
ART 345 S17
ART 345HUM 345

Art and Knowledge in the Nineteenth Century

Bridget Alsdorf
Rachael Z. DeLue

The 19th century in Europe and America saw the rise and fall of empires and unprecedented innovation in industry, technology, science, and the arts. Through a series of topics, including history, science, medicine, perception, and time, this course considers how intellectual revolutions in diverse disciplines, such as biology and philosophy, and the invention of new fields of knowledge, such as ethnography and psychology, shaped art-making. The work of David, Cole, Church, Eakins, Manet, Courbet, Tanner, Inness, Van Gogh, and Cézanne will offer unique perspectives onto the modes of seeing and knowing that defined 19th-century culture.

TTh 10:00 am - 10:50 am
AAS 349ART 364

Seeing To Remember: Representing Slavery Across the Black Atlantic

Anna 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. Their final assignment will be the construction of a digital exhibition.

M 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm
ART 353 S17
ART 353

Warriors, Deities, and Tea Masters: The Arts of Sixteenth-Century Japan

Andrew Watsky

This course examines the arts in Japan during the sixteenth century, when artists and patrons in the newly reunified country explored several--often contrasting--aesthetic ideals. We will survey developments in a range of mediums, including painting, architecture, ceramics, lacquer, and gardens. Themes treated include: the workshop in Japanese art; the art of tea; the impact of the first arrival of Europeans on Japanese visual culture; the synchronic cross-fertilization of mediums in Japanese art; and the role of the sacred. Emphasis will be placed on the study of actual objects with frequent visits to the Princeton University Art Museum.

TTh 11:00 am - 12:20 pm
ART 368 S17
ART 368AMS 368

American Museums: History, Theory, and Practice

Elizabeth Anne McCauley

Museums are places where material artifacts from the manmade and natural world are preserved, shown, studied, classified, and refashioned into narratives about our past, amusements for our leisure hours, and models for our future. Why did these institutions appear and what do they say about our values and selective/collective memories? Through readings, field trips, meetings with museum staff, and practical exercise, students will explore the history of American museums (art, ethnographic, natural history, material culture) and the challenges that they confront in an increasingly multi-cultural and digital age.

F 9:00 am - 11:50 am
ART 386 S17
ECS 376ARC 376 / ART 386

The Body in Space: Art, Architecture, and Performance

Spyros Papapetros

An interdisciplinary investigation of the status of the human body in the modern reinvention of space within the overlapping frames of art, architecture, and the performing arts, from the fin-de-siècle to the present. Works by artists, architects, theater designers, and film makers who address the human figure in space will be supplemented by readings on architectural theory, intellectual and cultural history, psychoanalysis, anthropology, and aesthetics. Course will address issues of bodily empathy, the relation between bodily perception and space, as well as the animation and mechanization of bodies and things inside modern enclosures.

TTh 11:00 am - 12:20 pm
ART 412 S17
ART 412CLA 412 / HLS 412

Attic Vase-Painting: Style, Subject and Social Context


Attic black-figure and red-figure vases constitute the largest surviving body of ancient Greek pictorial imagery. Diverse in shape, style, and subject, they provide an important but imperfect window on Athenian society. This class explores a range of issues in Attic vase-painting, with particular emphasis on red-figure pottery, ca. 530-460 B.C. The class will meet in The Art Museum, and will make full use of the exhibition, The Berlin Painter and his World. Students will handle and learn from actual vases in a context of guided discussions and shared insights, and produce a final research paper on an agreed topic.

M 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm
ART 427 S17
ART 427EAS 427

Portraiture in China

Cheng-hua Wang

This course focuses on the genre of portraiture in China, examining different types of pictures, sitters, ideologies, and representations. Portraiture in China has largely been ignored or dismissed in modern critical scholarship. The tradition of portraiture, however, is both rich and varied, as evidenced by the writings of early Chinese critics and theorists as well as by the numerous terms for 'portrait' and 'portrait making' that they used. We will consider the problem of defining what a portrait is, the formal aspects of portrait making, and the questions of individuality, likeness, authenticity, and function.

Th 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm
ART 433 S17
MUS 432MED 432 / ART 433

Art and Music in the Middle Ages

Jamie Reuland
Beatrice Kitzinger

In the liturgical and courtly culture of the Middle Ages, music and the visual arts were inseparable. To examine art and music together is the aim of this course, integrating these two fields of study as they were integrated in their historical context. Working through case studies from the ninth through the fifteenth centuries--including the mystic plays of Hildegard of Bingen, the scurrilous satire of the Roman de Fauvel, and Jan van Eyck's Ghent altarpiece--we focus on rich sites of intersection between art and music. Final and midterm projects creative and collaborative in nature.

T 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm
ART 448ECS 448

Seminar. 17th- and 18th-Century Art

Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann

In 2017, the seminar will survey art and architecture in the Czech Lands (Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, Lusatia) ca. 1500-1800 in relation to those elsewhere in Central Europe and more generally on the continent (e.g Italy, Germany, Low Countries). Focus on the "magic city" of Prague. Some attention will be paid to previous and subsequent time periods. Trip to Prague, Brno, and Olomouc during Spring Break by application only.  

T 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm
ART 454ECS 454

Topics in the History of Photography - Pre-Raphaelite Painting and Photography

Elizabeth Anne McCauley

Darwin and Lancelot, suffragists and sibyls, dungeons and factories - the Pre-Raphaelite movement combined the latest scientific realism with utopian escapes from poverty and social unrest. Through close readings of paintings by Rossetti, Millais, and Holman Hunt; writings by Ruskin, Wilkie Collins, and Tennyson; and photographs by Julia M. Cameron, Oscar Rejlander, and Lewis Carroll (among others), this seminar addresses themes such as the gendering of work and leisure; the construction of Victorian childhood; machinism and the Great Exhibition of 1851; and Victorian narrative strategies and amusements.

M 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm
ART 466 S17
ART 466SPA 466 / ARC 466 / URB 466

Havana's Architecture: Recent Past and Possible Features

Esther da Costa Meyer

A study of modern architecture and urbanism in Havana. It will focus on Art Deco, the International Style, the American presence (from the sugar mills to Guantanamo), the foreign modernists (Mies, Sert, Neutra, Philip Johnson), the Cuban Revolution and the Soviet period, Critical Regionalism, the role of the environment, historical preservation, ruins and gentrification. It concludes with an analysis of the problems and potentials facing a post-Castro Havana.

T 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm
ART 468LAS 468

The Art and Politics of Ancient Maya Courts

Bryan R. Just

This course explores royal Maya courts of the 7th and 8th centuries, with particular attention given to art and writing. We will consider in depth several of the most impressive Maya courts. Regular decipherment assignments will complement assigned readings. There will be a trip to Chiapas, Mexico over spring break, funded by Princeton. Students will conduct independent research on a topic of their choosing, presenting their findings both as an oral presentation and as a term paper.

W 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm
GER 480 / ART 480 / ECS 480ART 480 / ECS 480

Art Against Culture?

Brigid Doherty

What are we to make of art that presents itself in opposition to culture? German art of the 20th century compels us to reckon with that question. The first part of this course will do so through close readings of literary and philosophical texts from Nietzsche to Beckett. Our approach to reading will be collaborative and experimental. The second part of the course will pursue a case study of the multimedia art of Hanne Darboven (1941-2009), which we will explore in person at Dia in New York City, in the collections of the Art Museum and Marquand Library, and in conversation with contemporary artists to whom Darboven's work has been important.

Th 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm