Course Catalog


The aim of this course is to introduce students to the multifaceted and dynamic character of Islamic art by focusing on the highest achievements of the major dynasties. The time frame will span over one thousand years and, geographically, will cover lands from the western Mediterranean to the Indian subcontinent. Lectures will concentrate on the most representative monuments and works of art from each period. After examining the distinguishing features of the art and architecture of the principal dynasties, their salient characteristics and their greatest contributions to Islamic art as a whole, it should become evident that the field is both full of striking diversity and overall unity.


Discusses the stylistic and thematic concerns of Manet, Monet, Degas, Pissarro, and Renoir, in the context of artistic theory and practice in mid-19th-century France. Analyzes the art of Gauguin, Van Gogh, CÈzanne, and Seurat as responses to impressionism. Classes at the Musee d'Orsay are scheduled regularly. AH 1020 is strongly recommended as a prerequisite.


Introduces students to the evolution of photography, which is both closely related to modern painting and clearly distinct from it. Focuses on K60major figures such as Atget, Weston, Stieglitz, Steichen, Hine, Brassao, and Man Ray, in an effort to develop the visual skills necessary to understand photographs as specific forms of artistic vision and creation. AH 1020 is strongly recommended as a prerequisite.


From cubist assemblage to multimedia contemporary art installations, from Duchamp’s ready-made to the design departments in prominent art museums, the presence of objects –in the sense of things, everyday utensils–is pervasive in 20th century Art History. Mixing up high and low culture, aestheticizing the common and desacralizing the unique, the object in art has cast into question the traditional definition of art in Western Culture. This course will highlight the different implications of the object as the subject of art, as the material for art, as design product, as a trigger of spatial experience. We will explore how, in the context of a fast developing consumerism, the art revolving around the object, whether conciliating or critical, expresses and clarifies our relation to a complex and sometimes contradictory modern world. Major examples in art and design history from the end of the 19th to end of the 20th century will be discussed in class or during museum/workshop visits, in order to reach an understanding of our object-invested cultural and material environment.


This course examines the cultural and artistic history of Versailles in the 17th and 18th centuries. It traces the development of the palace, garden and city as a total artwork and an expression of changing ideas around the court, the monarchy and the state. From its origins as a hunting retreat and setting for ephemeral courtly entertainments, through to its apogee as the seat of the absolutist state at the end of the 17th century, and then its decline and collapse less than a century later, we will see how architecture, painting and decorative arts articulated evolving ideas around the divinity of the monarch, and the opposition between the private, courtly and public spheres. We will see how artists and architects such as Mansart, LeBrun, Le Nôtre, Gabriel, Mique and Robert created artworks and settings for the amusement and glorification of the king. In addition to class lectures there will be visits to the Louvre, Versailles, and Vaux-le-Vicomte.


Offers students more specialized knowledge of specific aspects of art produced during the Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassical ages. Topics vary. Offerings include: Three Baroque Masters: Rubens, Rembrandt, and Velazquez; Caravaggio and the Caravaggisti; and Princes and Patrons: Art Collecting and Patronage in 17th Century Europe, Taste and Society; Eighteenth Century French and English Art and Art Collecting.


“Every act of creation,” said Pablo Picasso, “is first of all an act of destruction.” In the field of art, the early 20th century is undoubtedly a time of accelerated collapse for the artistic vocabulary, the values and the canon identified with the great Western tradition inherited from the Renaissance. What are the motivations of this breakdown and what kind of creation did it give rise to? This class examines the drastic transformations occurring in the field of visual arts (concentrating on painting and sculpture) from the late 19th century (impressionism, post-impressionism) to the radical passage to abstraction in the mid-1910s. This panorama of a rapidly changing art scene will end on the emergence of post–World War I avant-garde movements such as Dada and Surrealism. Major figures, such as Cézanne, Picasso or Kandinsky will be studied with particular attention, while major movements—including Cubism, Fauvism—will be given specific attention. Readings of related literature, including the critical reception of the art of the time and artists’ writings, will contribute to the understanding of this crucial period.


This course presents the basic stylistic, thematic and theoritical concerns of the major movements in Western art, from WWII to the 1980's. Investigating the diversity of artistic responses to the challenges posed by both aesthetics legacy of the past and the new political, social and economic climate of the post-war period, this course will focus on the relationship between aesthetic theory and artistic practice.


Aesthetic autonomy is the notion that culture is a sphere apart, with each art distinct, and it is a bad word for most of us raised on postmodernist interdisciplinarity. We tend to forget that autonomy is always provisional, always defined diacritically and situated politically, always semi. …” Hal Foster (2002) Pop Art and Pop Culture investigates the relationships between arts (painting, architecture, design, film, music…) and the mass media, with a particular focus on the 1960s. Rather than relying on practical distinctions between high and low, fine arts and applied arts, serious experiment versus entertaining commercial product, the course will consider the intersections and links between the most advanced artistic endeavors and the aesthetics of the commercial and corporate environment.