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ARTH 109

Survey of the Visual Arts I

Ancient through Medieval Art


Classes: Tuesday and Thursday: 11:30-12:45, IRC 4.

Dr. Allen S. Farber

303 Fine Arts Center (436-2558); E-Mail:

Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 10:00-11:00, Wednesday 1:00-3:00, or by appointment. Notes can be left in my mailbox in 222 FAC, or messages can be left through Voice-Mail at 436-2558. I would also encourage you to communicate with me over E-Mail.

Course Description: ARTH 109 Survey of the Visual Arts I 3 s.h. A survey of the visual arts from the Paleolithic to the Gothic period.

General Education Outcome for AA2: Students will demonstrate: Understanding of at least one principal form of artistic expression and the creative process inherent therein.”

Purposes of the Course:
The visual arts ( painting, sculpture, and architecture) represent one of the principal vehicles of human expression. One purpose of this course is to acquaint you with the basic skills and vocabulary of critical and technical terms that will enable you to talk intelligibly and intelligently about art. Another purpose of this course is to introduce you to some of the major monuments of Ancient and Medieval art. It is hoped that you will leave the course with an awareness of the basic artistic periods of Ancient and Medieval art and an understanding of the variety of ways humans have expressed themselves in the visual arts.


1) You will be responsible for material presented in class and for the readings in the text book.

2) Classes will be conducted in a lecture/discussion format. I want to involve you as directly as possible into the discussions of the works of art. I expect you to come to class prepared to participate in the class discussion.

3) You are expected to review the web site connected to this course. Here you will find electronic versions of the class hand-outs. The Slide Lists are supplemented with pictures of as many of the images in the course as possible. You are also encouraged to explore the supplementary material and links that are included on many of these slide lists. The dates for quizzes and exams and other assignments will be posted at "ARTH 109 Assignments"

4) Although no fixed grade will be given for attendance, your success in the course is dependent on regular attendance. I expect you to arrive promptly at the beginning of the class and I will do my best to end class on time. I also expect your attention in class. There should be no extraneous conversations, texting, etc. during class. If I become aware of this type of activity, I will call attention to it, and I hold out the option to ask you to leave the class.

5) Your final grade will be based on the best 3 of 4 grades: a cumulative quiz grade, two exams, and an optional short paper.

6) Your cumulative quiz grade will be based on your performance on a series of quizzes. I plan to give a total of 5 quizzes over the course of the semester, 4 of these will be announced in advance, while the remaining one will be a "pop" quiz. Your cumulative quiz grade will be based on the average of your 4 best quizzes.

The quizzes will be multiple choice questions based on material presented in previous classes, in your reading, and on the web-site.

6) There will be two examinations. The exams will be composed of short answers plus one short essay. The short answers will consist of slide identifications and multiple choice questions based on material presented in class and/or your readings. The essay will consist of a comparison of major works of art chosen to document major issues in Art History. Your answers will be evaluated primarily on the basis of your assessment of the art historical significance of the comparisons. Demonstration of a mastery of the language of art history and the coherence of your essays will also be significant factors.

The essays will be based on review questions which will appear on the slide lists for each topic. These questions are intended to review major issues discussed in the lectures, and you are strongly recommended to prepare your answers to these questions shortly after each class. Pictures of the works included in these review questions will appear on the web-site. If you conscientiously study these review questions, you should be adequately prepared for the examinations.

7) The Optional Short Paper will be about 3-5 pages in length. The paper can be focused on any of the Questions for Review that we have had since the beginning of the semester.

See more specific instructions on the page entitled Guidelines for Optional Short Paper.

You are not required to do this short paper as long as you are comfortable with basing your final grade on the other three grades. By giving this optional paper assignment, I am effectively giving you an extra credit option. This Optional Short Paper is due on the penultimate day of classes, December 10.

No make-up quizzes or exams will be given, unless you have received my permission prior to the exam or quiz.


The text for this course is Gardner's Art Through the Ages, A Global History(13th or 14th editions), vol. 1. You are advised to spend as much time looking at the illustrations as reading the text. Remember that what Gardner or I have to say about a work should be considered as a secondary source; the illustrations are the primary source. An understanding of a work of art can be gained only from intense and intelligent looking at the work itself. Do not memorize the illustrations, but try to understand them. It is difficult to cram for an Art History exam, although many students insist on doing so. You are advised to spend a little time every day studying the illustrations, and you should use the review questions as a guide to your looking and thinking about the works.

If you want to get an electronic version of the book, go to the Cengage website.

You are also encouraged to explore Gardner's web site, and the Art History link page. Slide Lists will also include web links specific to a particular topic.

List of Topics:

 Topic  Readings in Gardner 13th edition Readings in Gardner 14th edition
 Introduction  pp. 1-13 pp. 1-13
 Egyptian Art and Architecture  
 Early Egyptian  pp. 53-56. pp. 55-58
 Egyptian Architecture I  pp. 56-61. pp.58-63
 Egyptian Architecture II  pp. 66-71; pp. 68--73
 Egyptian Sculpture and Painting  pp. 62-65; 71-77. pp. 64-68;74-82.
 Greek Art from the Geometric through the Early Classical Period  
 Early Greek Art: from Geometric to Archaic  pp. 99-109. pp. 105-115
 Early Greek Architecture  pp.109-113; 117-120. pp. 115-119;123-128.
 Early Classical Sculpture  pp. 121-125. pp. 128-133
 The Parthenon pp. 125-134. pp. 133-142.
1st exam (approximately the first week of October.)    
 Greek Art: Classical -Hellenistic  
 Late Classical  pp. 137-140. pp. 145-153.
 Hellenistic Art  pp.145-154. pp. 153-162.
 Roman Art  
 Roman Republican Art and Architecture  pp. 237-253. pp.176-196.
 Art and Architecture from the time of Augustus  pp. 254- 258. pp. 197-202
 Architecture of the Early Empire  pp. 260-270. pp. 203-218.
 Imperial Sculpture of the Early Empire  pp. 262-265. pp.205-207, p.208
 Late Antique and Early Christian Art  pp. 276-286; 289-308; 316-320. pp. 219-230;233-270.
 Insular / Hiberno-Saxon Art  pp. 407-415. pp.307-315.
 Carolingian Art  pp. 415-421. pp.317-324.

Romanesque Architecture   pp. 452-465; 453-455. pp.333-341;357-359
 Romanesque Sculpture  pp. 431-439. pp.341-346
 Gothic Architecture  pp. 461-464;467-471; 474-478. pp.365-381.
 Gothic Sculpture  pp. 465-466; 472-477. pp. 369-370; 377; 379-381
 2nd exam (will be held according to the Final Week schedule)  

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