A survey of architectural history, from ancient Egypt to contemporary America, that includes comparative material from around the world. This course stresses a critical approach to architecture through the analysis of context, expressive content, function, structure, style, building technology, and theory. Discussion will focus on key monuments and readings that have shaped the history of architecture.
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 possibly in New York.
A survey of postwar art from an international perspective, focusing on the major artistic movements in their historical contexts, including the Second World War, the Cold War, decolonization, the civil rights movement, feminism, globalization, and economic boom and recession. Lectures explore several themes including art's relationship to popular culture, the mass media, consumer society, historical memory, and political and social activism. Throughout, we account for the startling formal metamorphoses of art itself, as it is transformed from traditional painting and sculpture into new forms that challenged the very nature and limits of art.
In this thematic introduction to the role of painting in Chinese cultural history, we will attend to the critical questions discussed within the field of Chinese painting in particular and art history in general. These questions, revolving around the dynamic between aesthetics and politics, include the influence of class, gender, political changes, and social behavior on painting; the formation of painting canons and lineages; and how local and global elements interacted in early modern, modern and contemporary Chinese painting. Students will have the opportunity to study Chinese painting first hand.
This course examines the comic book as an expressive medium in Japan. Reading a range of works, classic and contemporary, in a variety of genres, we consider: How has the particular history of Japan shaped cartooning as an art form there? What critical approaches can help us think productively about comics (and other popular culture)? How can we translate the effects of a visual medium into written scholarly language? What do changes in media technology, literacy, and distribution mean for comics today? Coursework will combine readings, written analysis, and technical exercises. All readings in English. No fine arts experience required.
The course explores how art worked in politics and religion from ca. 300-1200 CE in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Students encounter the arts of Catholicism and Orthodoxy, Judaism and Islam, great courts and migratory societies; dynamics of word and image, multilingualism, intercultural connection, and local identity. We examine how art can represent and shape notions of sacred and secular power. We consider how the work of 'art' in this period is itself powerful and, sometimes, dangerous. Course format combines lecture on various cultural contexts with workshop discussion focused on specific media and materials, or individual examples.
The course will focus on the Romans' development of painted decoration for architectural spaces - and how they employed such painted forms to aggrandize those spaces illusionistically, so as to produce a visual world for the imagination.
This seminar explores the relationships between artists and their subjects in European art of the long nineteenth century. How were these relationships visualized artistically? How did they change over the course of the century with the rise of Neoclassicism, Realism, Impressionism, and Post-Impressionism? We will examine a diverse group of artists and sitters (ranging from professional models to patrons to close relations) to consider questions of intersubjectivity and the representation of identity. Artists include Ingres, Courbet, Manet, Cézanne, Valadon, and Seurat. The seminar includes two field trips to museums in New York.
This course surveys Olmec and related material culture spanning roughly 2000-500 B.C., including architecture and monumental sculpture, ceramic vessels and figurines, and exquisite small-scale sculpture in jade and other precious materials. Of central theoretical importance is the question of how we understand and interpret art from a distant past, especially without the aid of contemporaneous written records. We will focus on original works of art, including works in the Princeton University Art Museum and in regional collections. Issues of authenticity, quality, and provenance related to these works will also be considered.
Using the 1920s as its starting point, this course explores how women photographers have variously responded to the political upheavals of their times. How have female practitioners challenged and/or contributed to the rise of fascist regimes in their respective contexts? What can examining and reevaluating their work teach us about the aesthetic force of complacency, complicity, and resistance? Alongside key texts on race, gender, colonialism, and exile we will consider a diverse range of work by women and attempt to think critically about the unique roles they played in crafting and critiquing fascist visual culture in Europe and abroad.
An introduction to the history, methodologies, and theories of archaeology. The seminar discusses topics and problems drawn from a wide range of cultures and periods. Issues include trade and exchange; the origins of agriculture; cognitive archaeology (the study of the mind); biblical archaeology (the use of texts); artifacts in their cultural contexts; and the politics of the past. Emphasis on what constitutes archaeological evidence, how it may be used, and how archaeologists think.
The conquest of Asia from Anatolia to Afghanistan by Alexander the Great brought far-reaching changes in both the East and the West of the ancient world. Powerful new visual styles and techniques interacted with local ideas and visual cultures in complicated and unpredictable ways. The seminar aims to describe this vital period of ancient visual history and its complex, multi-stranded artistic cultures. It also aims to embody a method of investigating cultural history through material and visual evidence. The classes follow the material on the ground and its archaeological and historical contexts closely.
Before the suppression of non-Christians in Spain and Portugal after 1492, three vibrant medieval cultures inhabited the peninsula: Muslims based in Al-Andalus, Christians based in the northern Spanish kingdoms, and Sephardic Jews throughout both realms. Their coexistence transformed their visual culture in ways that resonated well beyond Iberian borders, from Atlantic colonialism to modern identity politics. This course asks how the contacts, conflicts and compromises provoked by "living with" each other shaped artistic traditions and cultural identity in a land both enriched and destabilized by its own diversity.
The emphatic sensuality of Bernini's women--sculptures of historical, allegorical, biblical and mythological females--has endured from their 17th-c creation through their reception in the Me Too era. This course explores Bernini's transformation of insensate stone into seemingly carnal existence and its controversial impact on viewers. We will situate the interplay of touch, desire, erotics, and violence that animates his female bodies in early modern contexts, including notions of gender. Moving into modernity, we will study the imitations his women inspired and the critiques that revisit them from aesthetic, theoretical and feminist lenses.
Siegecraft was an art more complex than painting, more powerful than sculpture, and more monumental than any building in the early modern world. This seminar confronts the discomfiting reality that the period long known as the Renaissance was defined as much, if not more, by brutal and collective warfare than it was by the rise of the individual. The class has no prerequisites and is open to all, including students of architecture, engineering, art, history, media, and literature. Seminar sessions will include hands-on study of original artworks in campus collections.
This seminar examines the radical possibilities of collaboration as fundamentally a process of radical composition through which collaborators bridge different modalities of creative expression - textual composition, artistic composition, speculative composition, among others - that span multiple media, forms and practices. By modeling and exploring collaboration as radical composition, this course seeks to reframe it as more than a dynamic of participation and coordination, and to recognize it as a generative methodology for producing critical scholarly and creative work.
The museum traces its origins to the cabinet of curiosities and to princely collecting, and took form during the European Enlightenment as a way of ordering knowledge, often advancing nationalistic purposes. Today's museums draw deeply on these traditions while facing essential challenges: How must it respond to the digital age and to a world of increasingly porous borders? What must it do to assure its continuing relevance and survival? Through a series of case studies, this course will grapple with the ways in which museums look to the past and posit new, more "activist" ways of being.
This course is intended to ensure a continuing breadth of exposure to contemporary art-historical discourse and practices. It requires attendance and participation in the department lecture/seminar series. Students must take the course sequentially in each of their first four semesters and take the appropriate letter version of the course (A,B,C,or D) based on their semester of study. The course is taken in addition to the normal load of three courses per semester and is for first- and second-year graduate students only. Topics discussed cover all fields of Art History and address current questions and practices.
This seminar focuses upon two aspects of mimesis, relational likeness and the participation in forms, that have shaped quite different ways of understanding the implications of artistic representation in Byzantium. As well as considering "naturalism" and "abstraction" in the visual arts of the Medieval period, the course examines rhetoric, theater, and liturgy as performative sites for an animated and ethical visual culture.
This year the seminar studies art and architecture in what are now the Czech Republic and Austria from c. 1340-1918. Depending on student interests, emphases are placed on particular periods and places.
If the future is, or was, female, whither feminist art history? Taking its name from the anthropologist Marilyn Strathern's 1974 book, this seminar revisits major approaches to feminist art history from the 19th century to the present while considering how queer, trans, masculinity, and decolonial studies have transformed the landscape of art historical analysis. What does it mean, now, to write art history under the sign of gender? How is gender assigned to works of art? How have art historians applied contemporary thinking about gender to the art of the past, and how might historical works and archives inform art history in the present?
The seminar takes as its starting point that Black life consists of among other things a series of discontinuous frequencies. Understanding Black life's frequencies as both complexly material and deeply abstract, we ask: What can frequency offer us as a way of understanding Black life? What insights does it provide for responding to anti-Blackness? How might it help us to see, hear, and feel the power of Black life's irrepressible desire and drive toward creating a different kind of present and future? Lastly, how might attending to Black frequencies offer us new sites of possibility?
This seminar teaches PhD students how to develop research topics and exhibition themes from their first hand experiences with actual art objects. It makes extensive use of PUAM's excellent collection of Chinese art, which includes diverse genres and categories of paintings that span more than one thousand years. The course also incorporates new scholarly trends that tackle how to interact with art objects and contemplate their visuality and materiality.
To distance architecture from the "war machine," architects called for the reintegration of the arts after WW2. The resulting post-war Gesamtkunstwerk accompanied the development of ever larger corporations and corporate architectural practices integrating new kinds of agents into their increasingly complex wholes, from women designers and computing services to global environmental and economic models. By exploring how corporations--Olivetti in Ivrea, Hilton in Havana, JUMEX in Mexico City--operated architecture across all scales and mediums, students in this seminar will uncover the questions post-war integration was designed to answer.
This seminar investigates discourses and techniques of environmental governance addressed to the so-called "Third World," those seeking to regulate not only economic production but spatial arrangements, social reproduction, and forms of subjectivity in the decades after World War II. It does so by interrogating the intersection and co-constitutive realms of architecture, media, and development aid. To this end, an important task of the course is to ask how to identify, recognize, and attend to the many techno-social forms of designing and managing environments, with their distinctly northern epistemologies and imperial dispositions.
Protagonists of great literary works in the tradition of the Künstlerroman (artist's novel) are typically young men--from Goethe's Wilhelm Meister to Joyce's Stephen Dedalus and beyond. Countless readers and writers have seen in those characters possible models for self-fashioning in art and life. This course focuses on works of literary fiction in which the aspiring artist is not a young man, even sometimes not a human being. Reading and discussing texts that challenge our assumptions about individuality, creativity, and humanity at large, we will explore how ideas about art can matter to how we live.