Art History Program

Art history explores the historical connections between cultural production and society and engages in the critical analysis of art and visual culture. The Art History Program offers training in the perception, analysis, and understanding of art and images. It uses critical approaches to investigate their aesthetic, cultural, historical, political, and theoretical impact within and beyond a particular society. Housed in the Ames School of Art but inherently transdisciplinary in nature, the Art History Program draws on faculty expertise in several Illinois Wesleyan departments.

The Art History Minor

The art history minor is open to all undergraduates and requires a minimum of five course units. One of these units must be ART 115 and two of the remaining four units must be at the 300-level. Students must earn a C or higher in courses applied toward the art history minor.

 

Course Descriptions   

115 Introduction to Art History

This course explores the relationship between artistic production and audience in a historical and global context. Students will focus on select works of art to develop the ability to engage visual texts in an analytical and critical manner. Course includes visits to campus galleries and collections. The course fulfills the General Education requirements for The Arts category (AR). Offered each spring.  

 

116 Survey of Asian Art

Designed to give an overview of the history of Asian Art, with concentrated study on the artistic traditions of India, China, and Japan. Offered occasionally.

 

307 In Search of Troy: The Art and Archaeology of Bronze Age Greece

A slide-illustrated examination of the archaeology of Greece in the Bronze Age (c. 3000-1100 B.C.), focusing on the art, architecture, and other physical evidence of the Minoan and Mycenaean cultures on the mainland, cycladic islands, Crete, and Asia Minor (Troy). Do the heroic myths of the Greeks cloud or enrich our understanding of early Greek culture? How far has the profession come since 1868 when wealthy amateur archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, believing the accounts of Homer, found Troy at Hissarlik, Turkey? The course is cross-listed with GRS 307 and fulfills the General Education requirements for The Arts category (AR). Offered occasionally.

 

309 Greek Art from Homer to Alexander

A survey of cultural artifacts and monuments of ancient Greece from the “Age of Homer” (Bronze Age) to the “Age of Alexander” (Hellenistic Period). The goal is to develop an understanding and appreciation of Greek artistic expression, its influences, and its impact on Western art and thought. Course includes a field trip. The course is cross-listed with GRS 309 and fulfills the General Education requirements for The Arts category (AR).  Offered in alternate years, fall.

 

311 Art And Architecture Of The Roman World

This course follows the development of the forms and ideologies of Roman art from the republic to late antiquity. The issues to be discussed will include public and private and civic and religious art and architecture, urban planning, and the interaction of Roman art forms and provincial cultures in the forging of identity. The course is cross-listed with GRS/HIST 311 and fulfills the General Education requirements for The Arts category (AR).  Offered occasionally.

 

316 European Art, 1750-1900

An examination of the visual arts and critical ideas shaping Europe from the Enlightenment to the beginnings of Modernism. The course explores the visual culture of the French Revolution, art and colonialism, the major artistic movements, and the rapid technological and societal changes associated with modernity. Familiarity with art history is not required. The course fulfills the General Education requirements for The Arts category (AR). Offered occasionally.

 

320 Modern Art

The course surveys the major developments in international art and design from the late nineteenth to the mid twentieth century. Key topics include medium specificity, mass-produced design and consumer culture, avant-gardism, abstraction, the movements and trends of postimpressionism and expressionism, cubism and futurism, constructivism and the bauhaus, dada and surrealism, and international developments following World War II. Familiarity with art history is not required. The course fulfills the General Education requirements for The Arts category (AR). Offered each fall.

 

322 Contemporary Art

A critical survey of art since the 1960s with particular emphasis on the strategies of artistic practices and art’s social engagement. Course themes will address minimalism, conceptual art, postminimalism, happenings, critical theory, feminist art theory, institutional critique, postmodernism, multimedia, collaborative, and ephemeral projects, cultural globalism and transnational artists. The course fulfills the General Education requirements for The Arts category (AR). Offered each spring.

 

355 African Expressive Arts

This course introduces students to a variety of African expressive art forms in historical particularist and cross-cultural perspective. Artists, scholars, and performers, who specialize in specific African media will share their expertise in lecture-demonstrations and workshops, providing students with hands-on learning experiences. The course is cross-listed with ANTH 355 and fulfills the General Education requirements for the categories of The Arts and Encountering Global Diversity (AR, G). Offered alternate years in May Term.

 

370 Special Topics in Art History

May vary in content with each offering. The central focus may be on one or more art movements, particular artistic problems or concepts, time periods or geographical locations which are more or less narrowly defined, or on the work of an individual artist. Each course offering under this title bears a subtitle which indicates the specific subject matter and the type of course experience that is planned. May be repeated for credit if course content is not duplicated. Offered occasionally.

 

450 Advanced Studies in Art History

The seminar topic varies with each offering and may include a specified historical moment or group of artists, methodological trends or conceptual problems in the field. The seminar combines discussion and presentation, research and writing. The course fulfills the General Education requirements for a Writing Intensive course (W). Offered occasionally.

 

490 Senior Seminar

An intensive study of a particular topic, artists or problem in a class combining discussion and writing. Required of art majors; open to art minors and others with consent of the instructor. The seminar fulfills the General Education requirements for a Writing Intensive course (W). Prerequisite: 320 and 322. Offered each fall.