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Course Syllabus

ART H 124 Understanding World Art


Ancient Egyptian Art

Egyptian Three Kingdoms

Old Kingdom c. 2,649-2,150 B.C.E

Middle kingdom c. 2,030-1,640 B.C.E New Kingdom c. 1,550-1070 BCE  


Ancient Roman Art

Roman Art is a very broad topic, spanning almost 1,000 years and three continents, from Europe into Africa and Asia. The first Roman art can be dated back to 509 BCE, with the legendary founding of the Roman Republic, and lasted until 330 CE. Roman Art also encompasses a broad spectrum of media including marble, painting, mosaic, gems, silver and bronze work, and terracotta's, just to name a few. 

Rome's Timeline: 800-500BCE: Etruscan 700BCE - 500BCE: Monarchy 500BCE-48 BCE: Republic Senate established. 48BCE Dictatorship Julius Caesar (made into a god, Augustus’s uncle) 27BCE: Empire established Peace Augustus


Medieval, Gothic and Renaissance Art 

Medieval and Gothic Art came to the western world for 1000 years. Within Europe, Middle East and North Africa. It includes major art movements and periods, genres, the artists crafts, and the artists themselves.  

Time: 400 -1300 AD  

Medieval Art had different types of movements: Byzantine, Islamic, Viking, Celtic, Carolingian, Romanesque and Gothic.

The Renaissance, the French word for rebirth, marks the period of European history at the close of the Middle Ages and the rise of the Modern world.   It represents a cultural rebirth from the 14th through the middle of the 17th centuries. The Medici Family were great patrons of the arts and of classical learning in Florence, they were the most powerful rulers during the Renaissance, mainly bankers.


Rococo, Neoclassicism 
and Romanticism  

The French Academy was established in 1648 to achieve the highest quality in all the arts. The Idea of an educated artist was formalized under the Louis XIV in 1648. Divided along classical-baroque and line color differences, which were not only aesthetic but also political. Rococo art is an exceptionally ornamental and theatrical style of decoration which combines asymmetry, scrolling curves, gilding, white and pastel colors to create the illusions of surprise, motion and drama. Neoclassicism: started from 1750 to 1820, given to Western movements in the decorative and visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture that draw inspiration from the "classical" art and culture of Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome.


Realism and Impressionism

What is Modern Art?: The birth of modernism and modern art can be traced to the Industrial Revolution. This period of rapid changes in manufacturing, transportation, and technology began around the mid-18th century and lasted through the 19th century, profoundly affecting the social, economic, and cultural conditions of life in Western Europe, North America, and eventually the world.    


Postwar European Art

and Pop Art

Postwar European Art: Though necessarily broad, in general this group of artists attempted to re-establish identity and cope with the trauma of the war, the onset of the Cold War, and the shift in the art world center from New York to Paris. Pop art is an art movement that emerged in the mid-1950s in Britain and the late 1950s in the United States. Pop art presented a challenge to traditions of fine art by including imagery from popular culture such as advertising and news. 


Art21 Artist Responses 

Throughout the quarter students will be given an opportunity to review global artists from all over the world and write their own personal responses to their Art work. Students can describe what they physically recognize through observation (ex. paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, ceramics, found objects, videos, installations, etc.).


Minoan and Greek  Art 

The Minoan civilization was the first great European civilization; during the Bronze age located near the Aegean sea. Also known as modern day Santorini. They are the ancestors to modern Persia. The Minoans were destroyed by a tsunami wave followed by a large volcanic eruption around 1627 BCE on the Island of Thera.

The Art of ancient Greece is usually divided stylistically into four periods: the Geometric, Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic. Geometric Period, Archaic Period, Classical Period, Hellenistic Period.


Art Assignment 2
Marble Roman Bust Drawing

Roman art was mainly used for practical realism, art with a political and social purpose. The art is a combination of propaganda and information directed towards the purposes of power. Compared to Greek culture, which was based upon the concept of Humanism, the celebration of the individuality of the human being is idealized and perfected. The Romans copied Greeks and adapted it for their own purposes; Roman art mainly had a political purpose. Greek idealism became Roman Realism. Using graphite pencil on Bristol paper, students will redraw the “Marble Bust of a Man” as accurately as possible. Students will understand the formal composition from studying the human qualities of the marble bust. Mainly working with representation, students can also utilize the grid to, a fairly time-intensive process and redraw the bust with a ruler, the grid adds the benefit of helping to improve your drawing and observational skills.


Art Assignment 3
Linear Perspective

Linear perspective is a system of creating an illusion of depth on a flat surface. All parallel lines, also known as orthogonals, in a painting or drawing using this system converge in a single vanishing point on the composition’s horizon line. 


Art of India, China and Japan Lecture 

Northern Buddhism, also called Mahayana Buddhism (collective project) China, Japan, Korea, Tibet, Vietnam. Southern Buddhism, also called Theravada Buddhism (individual project) Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand. Hinduism and Buddhism, the two major religions originating in Asia, developed in the late centuries BCE and the early centuries CE. Hinduism, unlike most other religions, recognizes no founder or great prophet. It means the religion of the Indians, both India and Hindu have a common root in the name of the Indus River. Tang Dynasty is considered a golden age of Chinese arts and culture 618 to 906 CE, where ink and wash painting was invented by the artist Wang Wei.


Fauvism, Cubism, Futurism and Dada

Fauvism: the first twentieth-century movement in modern art. The Fauves meaning "wild beasts”, were a loosely allied group of French painters with shared interests. Cubism: was the first abstract style of modern art. A Cubist painting ignores the traditions of perspective drawing and shows you many views of a subject at one time.  

Futurism: was an artistic and social movement that originated in Italy in the early 20th century. It emphasized speed, noise, technology, violence. Objects such as vehicle and the industrial city. Dada: was an art movement formed during the First World War in Zurich in negative reaction to the horrors and folly of the war. The art, poetry and performance produced by dada artists is often satirical and nonsensical in nature, an anti-art movement, was coined by Marcel Duchamp around 1913 when he created his first ready-mades.  


Feminist Art, Identity and Photorealism

Feministart movement refers to the efforts and accomplishments of feminists internationally to produce art that reflects women's lives and experiences, as well as to change the foundation for the production and reception of contemporary art. Identity is the way we perceive and express ourselves. Photorealism is a genre of art that encompasses painting, drawing and other graphic media, in which an artist studies a photograph and then attempts to reproduce the image as realistically as possible in another medium.


Prehistoric Art / Ancient Near Eastern Art/ Cradle of Civilization

Paleolithic period, Neolithic period, Lascaux and Altamira Caves. 

Empires: Sumerians, Akkadians, Assyrians, Babylonians.

Birthplace: Mathematics, Language Written, First Cities, Government  


Art Assignment 1
Egyptian Hieroglyphics  

Using Egyptian hieroglyphics symbols from the graph provided below, as a starting point, students will begin to create a work of art when using symbols with graphite pencil as your primary medium, on Bristol paper. Students will investigate each symbol and/or letters beyond its literal meaning, try to think about what each individual symbol could mean and how we can read each image from your letters. Side profile figures and or animals are also encouraged within your drawings. Be expressive and creative, symbols can explore any subject, scale is up to the artist using large or small symbols throughout your drawings.


Early Christian Art / Byzantine Art

Christian/Byzantine Timeline:

Crucifixion of Christ 30-33 CE

Crucifixion of St. Peter, died as a martyr for his faith. 64 CE

Nero was the emperor 54-68 CE

Constantinople founded by the Roman emperor Constantine in 324 on the site of an already-existing city, Byzantium, which was settled in the early days of Greek colonial expansion.

In 313 CE, the Constantine issued the Edict of Milan, accepting Christianity becoming the official religion of the Roman Empire.

Sack of Rome by the Visigoths 410


Mannerism, Italian and Northern Baroque Art

Baroque period is a highly ornate and often extravagant style of architecture, music, dance, painting, sculpture and other arts that flourished in Europe from the early 17th until the 18th. Iconography was in the service to the Catholic Church. An increasingly secular society based on trade and commerce. The aristocracy viewed the dramatic style of Baroque art and architecture as a means of impressing visitors by projecting triumph, power, and control.

Periods: Early 1500’s, Baroque 1600’s and Rococo 1700’s.   


Art Assignment 4
Ink-Wash Landscapes  

Originating its history from China, Ink Wash paintings of images and/or text generally don’t express actual representation but capture its spirit as the subject. Mainly using Ink in various concentrations, artist use this technique to recreate their landscapes onto a sheet of drawing paper, trying to see beyond what is in front of them. Students will explore ink medium, as a tool to create their own landscape, drawings can reference symbolism, how do these landscapes represent a personal meaning beyond what we can see through observation. Because the medium is wet when it is applied, students need to consider ink wash as a painting technique. Student’s will utilize their ink and brushes as a way of developing value throughout the surface of the paper. Students will use highlights and darker values by mixing off the ink with water and slowly dilute the viscosity of the ink, moving it across their sheet of paper.


Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism 

Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for its visual artworks and writings. The aim was to "resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality”. Abstract Expressionism is a post World War 2 art movement in American painting, developed in New York in the 1940’s. As the term suggests, their work was characterized by non-objective imagery that appeared emotionally charged with personal meaning. 


Conceptual and Contemporary Art

Conceptual Art, sometimes simply called conceptualism, is art in which the concepts or ideas involved in the work take precedence over traditional aesthetic, technical, and material concerns. Contemporary Art: is the art created today, produced in the late 20th century or in the 21st century. Contemporary artists work in a globally influenced, culturally diverse, and technologically advancing world. Their art is a dynamic combination of materials, methods, concepts, and subjects that challenge traditional boundaries and defy easy definition.  

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