Fall 2022 Undergraduate Courses
This course focuses on the networks, the imaginaries and the lives inhabited by Black artists, makers, and subjects from the 18th through 19th centuries. It revolves around the Caribbean (particularly the Anglophone Caribbean), North America and Europe. We will reflect on how pre-twentieth century Black artists are written into history or written out of it. We will explore the aesthetic innovation of these artists and the visionary worlds they created, and examine their travels, their writings, along with the social worlds and communities they formed. The course incorporates lectures and readings and, if possible, museum visits.
As articulated by Thelma Golden, postblack refers to the work of African American artists who emerged in the 1990s with ambitious, irreverent, and sassy work. Postblack suggests the emergence of a generation of artists removed from the long tradition of Black affirmation of the Harlem Renaissance, Black empowerment of the Black Arts movement, and identity politics of the 1980s and early 90s. This seminar involves critical and theoretical readings on multiculturalism, race, identity, and contemporary art, and will provide an opportunity for a deep engagement with the work of African American artists of the past decade.
This seminar explores how writers and artists--alongside scientists and activists--have shaped American environmental thought from 1980 to today. The seminar asks: How do different media convey the causes and potential solutions to environmental challenges, ranging from biodiversity loss and food insecurity to pollution and climate change? What new art forms are needed to envision sustainable and just futures? Course materials include popular science writing, graphic narrative, speculative fiction, animation art, documentary film, and data visualization along with research from anthropology, ecology, history, literary studies, and philosophy.
This course introduces a history of architectural theory by way of architectural production in the "western" world from antiquity through 20th century modernism. While we will examine an evolution of architectural thought through architectural developments that occurred primarily in Europe and the Americas, those architectures will be contextualized within a broader global history of built environment traditions and practices, and framed around recurring themes in the history of architectural production.
Introduction to the histories of art and the practice of art history. You will encounter a range of arts (including painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, prints) and artistic practices from diverse historical periods, regions, and cultures. Faculty members of the Department of Art and Archaeology lecture in their fields of expertise; precepts balance hands-on work, readings, and student projects. Coursework is designed to encourage students to apply the methods and questions of art history to explore the Princeton community. We pay particular attention to the various forms of art and engagement.
It can be remarkably easy to take the process of looking for granted. Each day, humans contend with an onslaught of visual information. Education primarily focuses on teaching people how to read, write, and deal with numbers. But what about learning how to look closely and critically at images, at the world around us, and at ourselves? In this transdisciplinary course, we will question common assumptions and our own about looking; interrogate the anatomy and physiology of vision; develop our looking muscles; practice visual problem-solving strategies; and together design new tools to help people engage with the visual world.
An introduction to the architecture of the Romans from the 8th century BCE through the 4th century CE. This course will provide an historical overview of the subject, analyzing how new building designs and technologies became, over time, standard Roman practice, alongside close studies of exceptional monuments in the city of Rome. Topics will include: city planning; engineering technique; acquisition of building materials; the transformation of the building trades; and the full breadth of Roman structures from houses to temples.
A broad study of European painting and sculpture from the French Revolution to 1900 with special attention to social, political, and cultural shifts. Themes include art and political turmoil, imperial conquest, the rise of landscape painting, the politics of the nude, and the birth of modernism. Emphasis on major movements, including Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, and Post-Impressionism, and artists including David, Canova, Goya, Vigée-Lebrun, Turner, Courbet, Manet, Monet, Degas, Rodin, Van Gogh, and Cézanne. This class was formerly known as "Neoclassicism through Impressionism."
This course focuses on key issues of 20th and 21st c. Latin American art. A thematic survey and general methodological introduction, we will treat emblematic works and movements, from Mexican muralism and Indigenism to experiments with abstraction, pop, conceptualism, and performance. Questions discussed include: What is Latin American art? What is modernism in Latin America? What is the legacy of colonialism? How do Latin American artists engage transnational networks of solidarity under conditions of repression? How can postcolonial, decolonial, and feminist theory illuminate the art and criticism produced in and about Latin America?
What was the Renaissance, and why has it occupied a central place in art history? Major artistic currents swept Europe during the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries, an age that saw the rise of global trade, the development of the nation state, and the onset of mass armed conflict. To explore the art of this period, we consider themes including religious devotion, encounters with foreign peoples and goods, the status of women, and the revival of antiquity. We study artists including Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci as well as some who may be less familiar. Precepts visit campus collections of paintings, prints, drawings, and maps.
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.
This class surveys painting, sculpture, architecture and the graphic arts of the Low Countries (Belgium and Holland) 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. Use of the Princeton University Art Museum with visits to New York.
This course introduces the student to the art of the Byzantine Empire from ca. 800 to ca. 1200. Byzantine art has often been opposed to the traditions of western naturalism, and as such has been an undervalued or little-known adjunct to the story of medieval art. In order to develop a more sophisticated understanding of our visual evidence, this course will stress the function of this art within the broader setting of this society. Art theory, the notions of empire and holiness, the burdens of the past and the realities of contemporary praxis will be brought to bear upon our various analyses of material from all media.
Photography and violence have been entwined for as long as there have been photos. These images pose questions about the past and present: What are the ethics of global representations of war, so-called natural disasters, and other atrocities? How have violent pictures particularly shaped US culture? What does it mean to bear witness through photographs? Grounded in visual analysis of complex and disturbing images such as photographs of enslaved people and photographs of victims of the Holocaust, this class will engage in rigorous conversations about the meaning, circulation, and power of photos.
In China, denizens of the imperial court--emperors and entertainers, mighty and low-class, and the ministers who administered the realm in the middle--populated the court praxis of the arts. This course studies the courtly arts, from the rule of the first emperor Qin Shi Huang to the Empress Dowager Cixi in the early 20th century. It will show how these artworks were made and used in changing historical contexts and became an important legacy of Chinese culture. It particularly emphasizes the archaeology of early imperial tombs.
Monsters, imagined as occupying the margins of reality and patrolling its borders, teach us about the cultures that engendered them. This seminar investigates the kinds of monsters represented in premodern art and literature and asks what these texts and objects do, how they work, and what relationships they generate with their readers and beholder. It considers how different societies aligned monstrosity with excessive creatures, unwanted persons, and aberrant behaviors to establish order: natural, social, religious and political. By examining the historical formation of cultural categories, it probes the mechanisms that define otherness.
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. Students begin their Junior Independent Work in this seminar.
This seminar will explore ethical issues in the study and practice of archaeology, cultural resource management, museum studies, and bioarchaeology. Students are expected to substantively contribute to class discussions on a weekly basis, as well as to lead the discussion of one set of readings. Weekly seminars will be accompanied by a group midterm debate on an assigned ethical issue and an individual final research project (with a class presentation and 20-minute final conversation with Prof. Kay).
The topic for this class will be the icon, a medium that developed in Late Antiquity and that continues to be a major and influential form of painting. Although, in theory, the term is broad, we will understand it to mean the panel painting of a religious subject. In this class we will examine the history, function, theory and meaning of the icon. We will also examine the icon's influence upon the discourses of Modernism. A more practical aspect of this class is that participants in the course will work with icons and drawings in the Princeton University Art Museum and with the Sinai Archive.
Course examines recent scholarship and exhibitions that have shifted understandings of French impressionist and post-impressionist art. Artists include Monet, Manet, Degas, Cassatt, Morisot, Van Gogh, Seurat, Cézanne, and Valadon. Topics include the global diffusion of impressionism, intersubjectivity and collaboration, women artists, pop culture spectacles, technical analysis of materials, the blockbuster, and revisionary approaches to museum displays. Students have the opportunity to converse with scholars and curators whose work is breaking new ground in this field. Course includes two field trips to museums in New York.
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.
The goal of this class is to develop focus exhibitions that might be mounted in the new Princeton University Art Museum, slated to open in 2024. Taking the 17th-century Flemish paintings in the collection as our point of departure, we will examine and research the works selected for exhibition; discuss the types of exhibitions we want to pursue; meet with PUAM colleagues to glean information and guidance in our planning; and write loan letters, wall texts and label copy. By the end of the semester, we should have viable projects to present for consideration to the Museum's administration.
This class explores the relationship between visual and verbal media. How is poetic vision not only given shape in words, but also in painting? Conversely, how is the beauty of women, a staple of portraiture, captured in words? How can a still picture express narrative in a medium that develops over time, and conversely how can words capture the spectacle of a martial arts action scene? We will answer these questions by investigating some of the most famous novels, paintings, poems, and prints, beginning with didactic paintings preaching Confucian values and ending with the birth of modern media such as animation and computer graphics.
Entwined with power and capital, architecture is inseparable from coloniality. In colonized lands, architecture concretized the European claim and facilitated systems of domination. But coloniality also influenced architecture of the metropole and catalyzed the international expansion of modernization. Tracing various phases of coloniality--from bureaucratic colonialism to postcolonial recovery--and scales of architectural design--climate, city, monument, and ornament--the course interrogates sites where European architecture colluded with colonial power, and reflects on the resistances that condition its legacy in colonialist expansion.
The students will pursue inquiry beyond the conventional boundaries of the two respective disciplines (ART and CEE): to learn and master relevant elements of structural engineering and to understand, appreciate, and solve myriad problems of realization of large structural works, including their design, structural analysis, and construction; and, concomitantly, to pursue a fully historical contextualization of architectural structures, including the technological developments, sociological aspects, and aesthetic traditions in which these monuments find their place. Students will work in mixed groups and collaborate on their course projects.
Co-taught with renowned artist Josephine Meckseper, this seminar will explore the dynamics of creative collaboration through case studies of utopian communities of artistic practice in 20-c. Europe and the US (Worpswede, Bauhaus, Black Mountain) and the architecture of modern cities planned and imagined. We'll consider how utopian and dystopian ideas emerged historically, and bring critical perspectives to bear on concepts of utopia in relation to colonialism and capitalism. We'll not only study but also practice collaborations across disciplines and media. Seminar guests will include artists and writers. Enrollment by application; see below.
This course aims to help students elaborate a critical and historical perspective on transformations, taking Latin American art as its case of study. Considering the archive as a historical apparatus, it focuses on understanding the complexity of archives in the contemporary art world. The course will provide students with a knowledge that will help them in their own use of archives. This course is developed for students interested in the Latin American region including those focusing on art history, literature, politics, and students from additional fields interested in pursuing comparative perspectives to conduct their research.
A required seminar for Art and Archaeology Practice of Art majors and Program in Visual Arts certificate students emphasizing contemporary art practices and ideas. The course addresses current issues in painting, drawing, sculpture, film, video, photography, performance and installation. It includes readings and discussions of current contemporary art topics, a visiting artist lecture series, critiques of students' work, and an artist book project.
Fall 2022 Graduate Courses
Bachelorhood is at the center of diverse forms of architectural programs, assuming massive connotations and demographic significance. It has shaped much of what we know about dormitories, boardinghouses, hostels, studios, garçonnières, penthouse apartments and minimum housing experiments. Despite its pivotal role in the history of domestic architecture, it has been neglected as an exceptional or temporary status. The seminar explores multiple meanings of singleness and its typological responses as a key for understanding and rethinking modern household paradigms, housing policies and residential design in Latin America and elsewhere.
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.
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 searches for a pivotal figure in the history of Greek architecture, Pytheos, designer of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus and the temple of Athena at Priene. This sculptor turned architect, theorist and critic offers a foothold for exploring trends of the late classical and early hellenistic world, including revivals and canons, grid-designed Rasterarchitektur, and colossal sepulchers in an age of emergent kingship. This course also reflects on the afterlife of Pytheos' theories on architectural education and the reception of the Mausoleum from early modern Europe to post-Civil War America.
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.
This seminar explores the intersection of scientific inquiry and fiction manifested in image-making within the arts and sciences in Europe and North America, ca. 1750-1915. This includes fictions to which science or pseudo-science gave rise, such as the fantasy of polygenesis or the hollow earth theory; fictionalized accounts of scientific practice, such as exploration narratives or the genre of science fiction; and fiction as an essential mode of knowledge within scientific inquiry and visualization, as with natural history illustration or scientific models. Visits to area collections and institutions will be an integral part of the seminar
Historically Japanese painters worked in modes based on previous paintings: idioms associated with subject matter, national source, and formal qualities. Yamatoe, or "Japanese painting," first identified paintings depicting indigenous landscapes and came to be associated with an array of formal characteristics and native subjects. Karae, or "Tang painting," indicated styles and subjects associated with China. A mode often endured for centuries, even as new ones appeared (such as Yoga, or "Western painting"). This longevity and concurrence had many consequences, including the creation of hybrids that remade meaning.
A seminar covering the basic methodology of numismatics, including die, hoard and archaeological analysis as well as a survey of pre-modern coinages. The Western coinage tradition is covered, from its origins in the Greco-Persian world through classical and Hellenistic Greek coinage, Roman imperial and provincial issues, Parthian and Sasanian issues, the coinage of Byzantium, the Islamic world, and medieval and renaissance Europe. Students research and report on problems involving coinages related to their own areas of specialization. Open to undergraduates by permission of the instructor.
This seminar explores turns to psychoanalysis in the history, theory, and criticism of art and literature. In reading psychoanalytic writings by Freud, Lacan, Klein, Laplanche, and others, paths and detours lead to problems of terminology, translation, mediation. In addressing works of art and literature, questions arise about how some might be understood as instances of psychoanalytic criticism and/or critiques of psychoanalysis. A need for critical reflection on the meaningfulness of psychoanalytic theories for current scholarship in the humanities is a guiding concern of this seminar. Seminar guests include practicing psychoanalysts.