Toward a Rigorous Art History (AH2109.01)

J. Vanessa Lyon

A “rigorous study of art” became the goal of Philosopher and Cultural Critic Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) when his growing distaste for the outlook and methods of his art history professor—the famous and foundational Heinrich Wölfflin—caused him to consider publishing an account of “the most disastrous activity I have ever encountered at a German university.”

Striking a balance between Benjamin’s histories of the marginal and Wölfflin’s big picture formalism, this wide-ranging introductory course requires the serious, if necessarily fast-paced, analysis (and memorization) of a broad constellation of paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, architecture, monuments, and examples of material and visual culture across both time and place. Along the journey students will acquaint themselves with various art historical methodologies, critical terms, and disciplinary controversies. Mid-term/Final/Short papers.


Learning Outcomes:
close-looking; critical analysis; proper citation; art history methodologies; writing skills


Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 4
T/F 10:30AM - 12:20PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 18
Course Frequency: Once a year

Categories: Art History , All courses , Fully In-Person
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