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ARTH 200 Assignments

Fall, 2008

Friday, August 29: review material included on webpage entitled Art and Politics. Pay careful attention to David's Oath of the Horatii, and respond in your journal to the questions raised on this page concerning the David painting.

Wednesday, September 3: review the material on the webpage entitled Images of Authority I. Pay special attention to the Palette of Narmer and the Victory Stele of Naram-Sin. Articulate the ways the artists have constructed the power of the principal figures in these images. Consider the nature of their authority.

Friday, September 5: Images of the pharaoh are central to any examination of Egyptian art. Images like the seated statue of King Khafre (Chephren) and the standing statue of King Menkaure (Mycerinus) with his Queen are typical of Egyptian art. Examine these statues and articulate their common characteristics. In a consideration of the materials and treatment of the forms, how are they effective as ruler images? How do they conform to your expectations of what a portrait should be? Write your responses to these questions in your journals.

Khafre (Cheprhen) from Gizeh, Dynasty IV, c. 2520-2494 BCE. Diorite.

Menkaure (Mycerinus) and Queen Khamerenebty (?), from Gizeh, Dynasty IV, c. 2490-2472 BCE.

Wednesday, September 10: we will look at Greek Art. Review the webpage entitled the Greeks and the Other. Pay particular attention to the comparison between the so-called "snake goddess" from Minoan Crete and the images of Medusa from Archaic Greek art.

"Snake Goddess", Minoan Crete, c. 1600 B.C.

Medusa from the pediment of the Temple of Artemis at Corfu, c. 600-580 B.C.

Monday, September 15: Consider the Adam and Eve image of the Fall of Man found on the webpage Greeks and the Other.Review the webpages entitled Images of Authority II: The Greek Example and Polyclitus's Canon and the Idea of Idea of Symmetria. Also consider the page entitled Man the Measure of Things.

Polyclitus, Doryphoros, Roman copy of an original from c. 440 B.C.

Praxiteles, Aphrodite of Knidos, Roman copy of original from about 350 B.C.

Wednesday, September 17: The Parthenon, the most famous Greek Temple, was constructed between 447-432 BCE under the patronage of Pericles. It can be seen as a response to the great victory over the Persians in the Second Persian War (480-479 BCE), and as a statement of Athens as the supreme Greek city-state. Review the page dedicated to the Parthenon.

In your journal, I would like you to respond to the following question: The Parthenon is one of the most identifiable symbols of western culture. We glorify it as a symbol of the democratic traditions in the west. The building becomes a symbol of rational order and moderation and balance. I would like you to consider how a non-Athenian from a different city-state would feel about the building. Remember that during this period Athens was asserting its position as the dominant city-state. Scholars talk about the Athenian Empire in the middle of the fifth century. In your discussion, pay special attention to the statue of Athena Parthenos. This work can be seen as a symbol for fifth century Athens. What messages does this statue convey?

Wednesday, September 24: we will examine the relationship between art and politics in Roman Art. Review carefully the webpages entitled Roman Power and Roman Imperial Art and Panel Reliefs of Marcus Aurelius and Roman Imperial Iconography. As a way of giving focus to our discussion, consider how the Augustus of Primaporta is an effective representation of his power?

Monday, September 29: I want to say a little more about the Ara Pacis and the the Aurelian panels, but we will examine the political implications of Roman Architecture and its influence on the tradition of Western architecture. Review the webpage entitled Roman Power / Roman Architecture.

Friday, October 3: We have discussed how the Augustus of Primaporta expressed the ideology of the Roman Empire under the Principate. What we will discuss today is the continuity and transformation of the imperial image under the Dominate. Review page entitled Late Antique Imperial Image. Also review the page entitled Imperial Panegyrics. Pay careful attention to the comparison between the Augustus of Primaporta and the so-called Colossus of Barletta.

Monday, October 6: Rough drafts due. We will workshop the drafts. We will consider the critical moment in western history when the Emperor Constantine accepts Christianity. We will consider the implications of the coming together of Roman Imperial power with Christian monotheism. Review the webpage The Christianization of Rome and the Romanization of Christianity In this webpage I ask you to respond in your to the political implications of the Nicene Creed. I would also ask you to consider the implications of alliance between Imperial power and the Church for us today in a society that constitutionally separates Church and State.

First Paper Assignment: rough draft due on October 6 and final draft due on October 13.

Monday, October 13: First Paper Due. When Constantine became the patron of Christianity, he needed to have a form of church design that would reflect the new status of Christianity. He developed the form what we know as the Christian Basilica which he adapted from Roman architecture. This is still the form of many of our Christian churches. Review the webpage I have constructed discussion the Early Christian Basilica for my Medieval Art class. In reviewing this page see how the form of the basilica is an effective stage for the new status of Christianity. Compare it to the attitudes expressed in the Nicene Creed that we discussed in last Wednesday's class. I would like you to respond in your journal to how this architectural form provided Constantine with an ideal space for the celebration of Christian ritual in his conception of Christianity. How does the architectural form construct our experience of Christian ritual. Consider how the conception of space shown here has influenced our conception of authority. I want you to consider where authority comes from.

Wednesday, October 15: In Monday's class, I showed the following image which is a frontispiece for a 15th century anatomy text:

Compare this to the apse mosaic from Sta. Pudenziana from the early fifth century:

Consider how this tradition has constructed our idea of authority in education.

Also reread the Nicene Creed that I have quoted on the web page entitled The Christianization of Rome and the Romanization of Christianity and consider how the conception of Christ and the church articulated by the creed is effectively expressed in the structure of an Early Christian church like the Church of Sta. Sabina in Rome from the early 5th century:


Also for Wednesday, October 15: review page entitled Medieval Images of Power.

Monday, October, 20: review the page dedicated to the Royal Portals of Chartres Cathedral.

Wednesday, October 22: The Très riches heures or the Very Rich Hours was a manuscript made for Jean de Berry, the Duke of Berry. The manuscript begins with a Calendar showing full-page miniatures or pictures of the so-called Labors of the Months. The sequence of Calendar scenes can be seen as a representation of Jean de Berry's world view and his notion of political authority. Review the webpage that I have created for the Très riches heures (note that this webpage was constructed for my Northern Renaissance course).

Wednesday, October 29: A major change in royal images that occurs at the end of the fourteenth century is the development of individualized representation. Compare the following three images and their approach to portraiture:

Coronation of an English King, 14th century

Life of St. Denis (detail of the presentation)

Bible Historiale of Jean Vaudetar: Vaudetar presenting manuscript to Charles V, 1371.

How do we explain the shift to the individualized representation as exemplified by the Vaudetar image? Review the webpage entitled Court Culture: Representations of Intimacy.

Friday, October 31: the class will focus on the career of Christine de Pizan. The focus of our discussion will be on how she as a woman author established her literary authority within the context of a very patriarchal world. Review the web-page entitled: Christine de Pizan and Establishing Female Literary Authority. The dedicatory poem introducing the copy of Christine's collected works given to Isabeau de Bavière. For the primary images we will be discussing see page entitled Images of Charles V, le Sage and Christine de Pizan and Establishing Female Literary Authority: A Gallery of Images. A useful comparison can be made between Christine's images and those included in the texts of Pierre Salmon.

Monday, November 3: With the images we have looked at from late 14th and early 15th century French art, we have seen the importance of court culture for defining status and relationships. The court artist and author are defined social roles that individuals can take on to gain status. To show the historical continuity of this, I want to jump ahead to the 17th century to consider one of the most famous Spanish paintings of the period, Las Meninas by Velazquez.

Friday, November 6: review page entitled Renaissance Conception of Man. Pay special attention to the comparison of the Donatello St. George and the Michelangelo David to the Jamb figures from thae Royal Portals of Chartres. Also review page entitled the Ideology of Discovery. Consider the ideological implications of the print entitled Amerigo Vespucci Discovering America. Compare the image of Amerigo Vespucci to the Albrecht Dürer image of the Artist Drawing the Nude. Also consider both works in relationship to the binaries articulated on the page entitled Greeks and the Other.

Monday, November 10: Deadline for Selecting Topic for Second Paper.

Friday, November 14: Examination of any of the traditional surveys of Western Art reveals that a good number of the "masterpieces" of sixteenth and seventeenth century art focus on the subject of rape. In a web-page entitled Authoritative and Disciplined Discussions of Masterpieces, I have included excerpts from some of these surveys discussing some of these images of rape. Read these texts and consider how the art historian deals with or does not deal with the subject of rape. These images have been reexamined from a feminist perspective. Scholars have shown that the rise in popularity of the subject matter of rape in Western art coincides with the claims of European monarchs to more absolutist rule and the creation of national states. Read the excerpt from the article by Margaret D. Carroll entitled "The Erotics of Absolutism: Rubens and the Mystification of Sexual Violence" and from the book by Diane Wolfthal entitled Images of Rape: the "Heroic" Tradition and its Alternatives. I realize that this assignment entails a fair amount of reading, but I remind you that the success of our discussion depends on your careful reading and consideration of this material. My intention is to both become aware of a particular category of subject matter in western art and to critically examine how traditional art history has approached this subject.

Monday, November 17: Bring Draft of Second Paper to class to workshop.

An almost continuous theme in Western Art since the beginning of the historical period of Greek art has been the equestrian image. The relationship between "man" and horse has been a powerful symbol for the relationship of humans to the physical world and a symbol of status. Review the webpage dedicated to Horse/Power.

Wednesday, November 19: History Painting was the dominant category of painting at the end of the 18th century and the early 19th century. Review the gallery of history paintings and think about how history is "made" in these images.

Friday, November 21: Deadline for submitting Second Paper.

Monday, December 1: I want to consider the political implications of the museum as a modern institution begun in the eighteenth century. As a way of giving focus to this discussion I want to return to a work we briefly considered at the beginning of the semester and examine a late nineteenth century painting by Tissot entitled London Visitors. It shows a group of English schoolboys exiting the National Gallery of Art in London with their families. It has the semblance of a fragment of nineteenth cemtury life in London, but I think if we consider it seriously it has implicit cultural codes that speak about the relationship of different facets of life to form a sense of the place of the British Empire at the the end of nineteenth century. Consider the web page I have constructed focusing on London Visitors.

Wednesday, December 3: As I said in class on Monday, I would like you to take a virtual tour of a major "national" museum. I would like you to examine how it is organized. Consider what is included and what is excluded; what is being given emphasis. Make sure to include your responses in your journals and be prepared to give your observations in class. Although I expect you to only one in detail, I would encourage you to look at least at two. The museum choices are: the Louvre ; the National Gallery in London ; the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC ; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. As I discussed in class, the placement of the museum within the space of the city is significant. Compare the Google Earth Maps of Paris and Washington to what we said about London.

Friday, December 5: Respond to the webpage dedicated to Rodin's Burghers of Calais and the modern war memorial.

Monday, December 8: we will consider probably the most significant political image from the Twentieth Century, Pablo Picasso's Guernica. Pay special attention in reviewing this image to the parallels between Guernica and the Napoleonic history paintings included on the Horse/Power page. Also consider Guernica in relationship to our discussion of the Burghers of Calais.

Wednesday, December 10: It is obvious to look at a painting like Guernica and see it as a public political image and a critique of the tradition of the genre of history painting and of modern culture. But the personal is also political. As a way of getting at that I want to look at a painting by Edward Hopper entitled Office at Night.

Friday, December 19: Third Paper due.


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