Bowdoin College Catalogue and Academic Handbook

Art History (ARTH)

ARTH 1011  (c, FYS)   Why Architecture Matters  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 16.  

Architecture is unavoidable: we spend our lives in and around buildings and in spaces and landscapes defined by them. Too often we take the built environment for granted, oblivious of how it affects us and shapes our lives. Explores architecture’s critical role in creating a sense of place, settings for community, symbols of our aspirations and fears, cultural icons, and political ideals. Investigates the fundamental principles of architecture and studies closely some of history’s great buildings and spaces. Students learn how to talk about architecture and write about it. (Same as: ENVS 1011)

Previous terms offered: Fall 2015.

ARTH 1012  (c, FYS)   Ghastly Beauty: Images of Mortality and Their Lessons for Living  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 16.  

Drawing fromThe Ivory Mirror exhibition on view at Bowdoin College Museum of Art , examines how artworks help people confront profound questions about mortality: What happens to the “self” at death? What is the relationship between the body and the soul? What responsibilities do the living have to the dead? Primary focus is pre-modern Europe, but also considers examples from other times and places, from the ancient world to today. Frequent visits to the exhibition allow investigation of the spectacular objects on display. Readings include poems, literary texts, and argumentative essays dealing with the history of the theme and its present-day resonance.

Previous terms offered: Fall 2017.

ARTH 1013  (c, FYS)   Ideas on the Move: Travel, Trade, and the Visual Arts  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 16.  

In our increasingly global world, it’s easy to forget that people have been traveling and exchanging ideas throughout history. The visual arts have been one of the most effective ways to share ideas, and ‘material culture’ – the ‘stuff’ of our everyday lives – is a profound marker of the ongoing exchange of ideas between cultures. Students in this course use works of visual art and written texts to explore the ways in which people and ideas have moved and developed across cultures. Subject matter focuses on the pre-modern world (before c. 1800), with some consideration of more recent material.

Previous terms offered: Fall 2018.

ARTH 1014  (c, FYS)   Matisse and Picasso  

Pamela Fletcher.
Non-Standard Rotation. Fall 2019. Enrollment limit: 16.
  

Examines the painting of Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, in the context of modern painting, philosophy, and history. Particular attention is paid to the creative exchanges and rivalries between the two artists, as well as their role in the popular understanding of modern art and the role of the artist in society.

ARTH 1015  (c, FYS)   Becoming American: The Immigrant Journey in Art and Culture  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 16.  

Explores histories of immigration, assimilation, and the revival of cultural distinctiveness in the United States across the twentieth century .Designed to frame the complex processes of becoming American as both an achievement and as a painful loss of difference. Engages with legacies of rupture and resettling--and questions about shifting constructs of national identity--through a careful study of film, literature, curatorial practices, art, and visual culture.

Previous terms offered: Fall 2017.

ARTH 1016  (c, FYS)   Art and the Environment: 1960 to Present  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 16.  

Since the 1960s, artists in Western Europe and the United States have used the environment as a site of visual exploration, discussion, critique, and action. From Robert Smithson and his ever-disintegrating “Spiral Jetty,” to Agnes Denes’s “Wheatfield” growing alongside Wall Street, to Mierle Ukeles’s installation and performance art in conjunction with the New York Department of Sanitation, to Eduardo Kac’s “GFP Bunny,” artists have explored the ways in which art objects are in dialogue with the environment, recycling, and biology. Works engage with concepts such as entropy, the agricultural industry, photosynthesis, and green tourism encouraging us to see in new ways the natural world around us. Visits to the Bowdoin College Museum of Art’s collections complement the material studied. Writing-intensive course emphasizes firm understanding of library and database research and the value of writing, revision, and critique. (Same as: ENVS 1016)

Previous terms offered: Fall 2018, Fall 2017, Fall 2016.

ARTH 1020  (c, FYS)   That's Not Art!  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 16.  

Contemporary art can be challenging. Black squares, white cubes, appropriated advertising images, activist posters, street art, and performances all pose to viewers questions of intention, interpretation, and evaluation. Why did twentieth- and twenty-first-century artists redefine traditional media and invent new forms of artistic practice and experience? How do we know when something is “art?” How do we know if it is good art? Topics covered include: abstraction, appropriation, performance, activism, the workings of the contemporary art market, and theories of value and taste.

Previous terms offered: Fall 2018.

ARTH 1100  (c, VPA)   Introduction to Art History  

Every Year. Enrollment limit: 75.  

An introduction to the study of art history. Provides a chronological overview of art primarily from Western and East Asian traditions. Considers the historical context of art and its production, the role of the arts in society, problems of stylistic tradition and innovation, and points of contact and exchange between artistic traditions. Equivalent of Art History 101 as a major or minor requirement.

Previous terms offered: Fall 2018, Fall 2017, Fall 2016, Fall 2015.

ARTH 1300  (c, IP, VPA)   Introduction to the Arts of Ancient Mexico and Peru  

Susan Wegner.
Non-Standard Rotation. Fall 2019. Enrollment limit: 50.
  

A chronological survey of the arts created by major cultures of ancient Mexico and Peru. Mesoamerican cultures studied include the Olmec, Teotihuacan, the Maya, and the Aztec up through the arrival of the Europeans. South American cultures such as Chavín, Nasca, and Inca are examined. Painting, sculpture, and architecture are considered in the context of religion and society. Readings in translation include Mayan myth and chronicles of the conquest. (Same as: LAS 1300)

Previous terms offered: Spring 2019, Spring 2018, Spring 2017, Spring 2016.

ARTH 1500  (c, VPA)   African Americans and Art  

Dana Byrd.
Non-Standard Rotation. Fall 2019. Enrollment limit: 50.
  

Investigates the intersection of African American life and art. Topics include the changing definitions of “African American Art,” the embrace of African cultural production, race and representation in slavery and freedom, art as source of inspiration for social movements, and the politics of exhibition. Our mission is to develop art-historical knowledge about this critical aspect of American art history, while facilitating ways of seeing and writing about art. (Same as: AFRS 2660)

ARTH 2090  (c, VPA)   Greek Archaeology  

Ambra Spinelli.
Every Other Fall. Fall 2019. Enrollment limit: 50.
  

Introduces the techniques and methods of classical archaeology as revealed through an examination of Greek material culture. Emphasis upon the major monuments and artifacts of the Greek world from prehistory to the Hellenistic age. Architecture, sculpture, fresco painting, and other “minor arts” are examined at such sites as Knossos, Mycenae, Athens, Delphi, and Olympia. Considers the nature of this archaeological evidence and the relationship of classical archaeology to other disciplines such as art history, history, and classics. Assigned reading supplements illustrated presentations of the major archaeological finds of the Greek world. (Same as: ARCH 1101)

Previous terms offered: Fall 2017, Fall 2015.

ARTH 2100  (c, VPA)   Roman Archaeology  

Every Other Fall. Enrollment limit: 50.  

Surveys the material culture of Roman society, from Italy’s prehistory and the origins of the Roman state through its development into a cosmopolitan empire, and concludes with the fundamental reorganization during the late third and early fourth centuries. Lectures explore ancient sites such as Rome, Pompeii, Athens, Ephesus, and others around the Mediterranean. Emphasis upon the major monuments and artifacts of the Roman era: architecture, sculpture, fresco painting, and other minor arts. Considers the nature of this archaeological evidence and the relationship of classical archaeology to other disciplines such as art history, history, and classics. Assigned reading supplements illustrated presentations of the major archaeological finds of the Roman world. (Same as: ARCH 1102)

Previous terms offered: Fall 2018, Fall 2016.

ARTH 2110  (c, IP, VPA)   Sacred Arts of Japan  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

Introduces religious artworks of Japan from the sixth century to the present day. Following a chronological sequence, examines artwork from Buddhist, Shinto, and Christian belief systems. Investigates two-dimensional works, sculpture, and architecture. Explores topics such as the relationship between ritual practice and the visual arts, images of heaven and hell, hidden icons, relics, and sacred and secular interactions in the visual realm. Readings taken from primary sources and scholarly articles in the field. (Same as: ASNS 2292)

Previous terms offered: Spring 2017.

ARTH 2120  (c, VPA)   Medieval Foundations: The Beginnings of Western Medieval, Byzantine, and Islamic Art  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

Explores the art and architecture produced across Europe and the Mediterranean region in the late antique and early medieval periods (c.250-c.1050), with attention paid to how the artistic practices of a number of cultures grew out of the Roman imperial tradition. Students explore the visual characteristics of the art and architecture from this period, and the relationship between early medieval art and the social, religious, and political history of the earlier Middle Ages. Topics include Anglo-Saxon, Byzantine, Carolingian, early Islamic, and Viking art.

Prerequisites: ARTH 1100 or Placement in above ARTH 1100.

Previous terms offered: Fall 2018.

ARTH 2130  (c, VPA)   Art of Three Faiths: Christian, Jewish, and Islamic Art and Architecture, Third to Twelfth Century  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

Examines ways images, objects, and buildings shaped the experiences and expressed the beliefs of members of three major religious traditions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) in Europe and the Mediterranean region. Deals with artworks spanning the third century through the twelfth century from Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and the Byzantine Empire. Includes thematic sessions, dealing with issues that cut across geographic and chronological boundaries. Topics include the embrace or rejection of a classical artistic heritage; the sponsorship of religious art by powerful figures; the use of images and architecture to define community and to reject those defined as outsiders; forms of iconoclasm and criticism of the use of images among the three religions; theological justifications for the use of images; and the role of images in efforts to convert or conquer members of another faith.

Prerequisites: ARTH 1100 or Placement in above ARTH 1100.

Previous terms offered: Fall 2015.

ARTH 2140  (c, VPA)   The Gothic World  

Kate Gerry.
Non-Standard Rotation. Fall 2019. Enrollment limit: 35.
  

Introduces students to art produced in Europe and the Mediterranean from the twelfth though the early fifteenth century. Following a general chronological sequence, investigates the key artistic monuments of this period in a variety of media, including architecture, painting, manuscript illumination, stained glass, sculpture, and the decorative arts. Explores a particular theme in each class meeting through the close analysis of a single monument or closely related set of monuments, as well as those that students may encounter in future studies.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2016.

ARTH 2145  (c, VPA)   Gold, Paint, and Stone: The Arts of the High Middle Ages  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

The High Middle Ages, or Romanesque period (c. 1000-c.1200), was a moment of enormous cultural and technological development, as people, goods, and ideas moved throughout Europe and the Mediterranean Basin. This course introduces students to the visual arts and architecture produced in western Europe with some comparative material from further afield. Topics will include the pilgrimage and the cult of saints, the development of narrative art, Islamic Spain, and the balance between conceptual art and naturalism that marks the style of this period.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2019.

ARTH 2150  (c, VPA)   Illuminated Manuscripts and Early Printed Books  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

Surveys the history of the decorated book from late antiquity through the Renaissance, beginning with an exploration of the earliest surviving illuminated manuscripts in light of the late antique culture that produced them. Examines uses of books in the early Middle Ages to convert viewers to Christianity or to establish political power. Traces the rise of book professionals (scribes, illuminators, binders, etc.) as manuscript production moved from monastic to urban centers, and concludes with an investigation of the impact of the invention of printing on art and society in the fifteenth century, and on the “afterlife” of manuscript culture into the sixteenth century. Themes to be discussed include the effect of the gender of a book’s anticipated audience on its decoration; the respective roles of author, scribes, and illuminators in designing a manuscript’s decorative program; and the ways that images can shape a reader’s understanding of a text. Makes use of the Bowdoin Library’s collection of manuscripts and early printed books.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2017.

ARTH 2180  (c, IP, VPA)   Gender in Japanese Art  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

Uses gender as a point of departure for examining works of art in the Japanese tradition. Addresses a variety of theoretical approaches and considers the varying interpretations of gender through time and across cultures, as well as issues associated with applying contemporary gender theory to pre-modern works. Chronological topics from the thirteenth through twentieth centuries CE include Buddhist ideas of the feminine, voyeurism in early modern woodblock prints, modern girls of the early twentieth century, and contemporary art. (Same as: ASNS 2291, GSWS 2180)

Previous terms offered: Fall 2016.

ARTH 2190  (c, IP, VPA)   Culture and Crisis in Modern and Contemporary Japanese Art  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

In the late nineteenth and throughout the twentieth century, as Japan transitioned from a feudal society to a modern nation-state, Japanese art was mobilized by the avant-gardes and government alike. Examines the wide variety of formats and mediums encompassed in competing claims for modernization, including ink painting, oil painting, photography, ceramics, woodblock prints, and performance art. Interrogates art's complicit role in ultra-nationalism, Pan-Asianism, Oriental Orientalism, colonial ambitions, US military occupation, and post-war reconstruction. Themes covered include: reinventions of tradition, East-West relations, colonialism, trauma, and renewal. (Same as: ASNS 2330)

Previous terms offered: Fall 2015.

ARTH 2200  (c, IP, VPA)   Art and Revolution in Modern China  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

Examines the multitude of visual expressions adopted, re-fashioned, and rejected from China's last dynasty (1644-1911) through the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). Major themes include the tension between identity and modernity, Westernization, the establishment of new institutions for art, and the relationship between cultural production and politics. Formats under study include ink painting, oil painting, woodcuts, advertisements, and propaganda. Comparisons with other cultures conducted to interrogate questions such as how art mobilizes revolution. (Same as: ASNS 2200)

Previous terms offered: Spring 2018.

ARTH 2210  (c, IP, VPA)   From Mao to Now: Contemporary Chinese Art  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

Examines the history of contemporary Chinese art and cultural production from Mao’s Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) until today. Traces experiments in oil, ink, performance, installation, video, and photography and considers these media and formats as artistic responses to globalization, capitalist reform, urbanization, and commercialization. Tracks themes such as art and consumerism, national identity, global hierarchies, and political critique. Readings include primary sources such as artists’ statements, manifestoes, art criticism, and curatorial essays. (Same as: ASNS 2201)

Previous terms offered: Fall 2018.

ARTH 2220  (c, VPA)   The Medici's Italy: Art, Politics, and Religion, 1300-1600  

Susan Wegner.
Non-Standard Rotation. Fall 2019. Enrollment limit: 35.
  

An exploration of the painting, sculpture, and architecture from Giotto's revolutionary paintings in 1300 through the fifteenth century with masters such as Donatello and up to High Renaissance giants, Leonardo da Vinci, Titian, Raphael, and Michelangelo. Examines art-making and function within the society that used it, including the role of women as patrons, artists and subjects of art. Readings in translation of sixteenth-century artists’ biographies, art criticism, and popular literature. Class will make use of collections in the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

Previous terms offered: Fall 2017.

ARTH 2230  (c, VPA)   The Arts of Venice  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

Venice is distinctive among Italian cities for its political structures, its geographical location, and its artistic production. This overview of Venetian art and architecture considers Venice’s relationships to Byzantium and the Turkish east; Venetian colorism in dialogue with Tuscan-Roman disegno; and the role of women as artists, as patrons, and as subjects of art. Includes art by the Bellini family, Giorgione, Titian, Veronese, Tintoretto, Tiepolo, Canaletto, and Rosalba Carriera, and the architecture of Palladio.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2018, Spring 2016.

ARTH 2240  (c, VPA)   Mannerism  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

Mannerism in art and literature. Artists include Michelangelo, Pontormo, Rosso, Bronzino, El Greco. Themes include fantasy and imagination, ideal beauty (male and female), the erotic and grotesque, and the challenging of High Renaissance values. Readings include artists’ biographies, scientific writings on the senses, formulas for ideal beauty, and description of court life and manners. Uses the Bowdoin College Museum of Art’s collection of sixteenth-century drawings, prints and medals.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2019, Fall 2015.

ARTH 2260  (c, VPA)   Northern European Art of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

Surveys the painting of the Netherlands, Germany, and France. Topics include the spread of the influential naturalistic style of Campin, van Eyck, and van der Weyden; the confrontation with the classical art of Italy in the work of Dürer and others; the continuance of a native tradition in the work of Bosch and Bruegel the Elder; the changing role of patronage; and the rise of specialties such as landscape and portrait painting.

Prerequisites: ARTH 1100 or Placement in above ARTH 1100.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2018, Fall 2016.

ARTH 2320  (c, VPA)   Art in the Age of Velazquez, Rembrandt, and Caravaggio  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

The art of seventeenth-century Europe. Topics include the revolution in painting carried out by Caravaggio, Annibale Carracci, and their followers in Rome; the development of these trends in the works of Rubens, Bernini, Georges de la Tour, Poussin, and others; and the rise of an independent school of painting in Holland. Connections between art, religious ideas, and political conditions are stressed.

Prerequisites: ARTH 1100 or Placement in above ARTH 1100.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2017.

ARTH 2360  (c, ESD, VPA)   Art and Politics in Africa  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 16.  

In the 2018 Marvel film Black Panther, a provocative scene depicts Erik Killmonger talking with a curator about the acquisition of objects at the fictional Museum of Great Britain. The curator identifies an axe from seventh-century Benin. Killmonger disagrees. “It was taken by British soldiers in Benin,” Killmonger claims, “but it’s from Wakanda,” the fictional nation portrayed in the film. This scene presents a starting point for this course’s inquiry into issues of politics and African art. The course examines the impact of colonial relations on museum collections and displays of African art today, and the roles of art as political discourse in Africa. Materials analyze how leaders and institutions have used objects to articulate authority and navigate conflict during precolonial and colonial periods, nationalist movements, and the years since countries in Africa gained political independence. Topics address broader theoretical issues of power, appropriation, resistance, and heritage. (Same as: AFRS 2251)

Previous terms offered: Spring 2019.

ARTH 2370  (c, IP, VPA)   Traveling Textiles: Cultural Encounters from Trade Routes to the Runway  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 16.  

Examines the histories and roles of textiles and clothing in crosscultural exchanges. Course material explores how textiles traveled between Africa, Asia, and Europe through precolonial trade routes to how nineteenth-century African textile designs are transformed on European and American fashion show runways today. The course asks questions about how colonial empires, institutions, artists, and other individuals have used textiles to mediate exchanges with other societies. Textiles from Africa represent dynamic visual expressions to investigate issues relating to cultural representation and constructions of identity and power. From tapestries and quilts to ceremonial cloths and everyday dress, we will explore the making, circulation, and use of textiles and their designs to understand what ideas and beliefs textiles carry and communicate. The course focuses on interactions between societies in Africa and other parts of the world, especially Europe, Asia, and the Americas. (Same as: AFRS 2241)

Previous terms offered: Spring 2019.

ARTH 2380  (c, IP, VPA)   African Art and Visual Culture  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

What makes an object or artwork “African?” What meanings does this labeling carry? In short, what is Africa? These questions grapple with how to explain, understand, and represent the arts and visual cultures of an entire continent. Explores the complexities and dynamics of artistic practices in Africa—from masquerades, ivories, architecture, and urban mural paintings to the works of blacksmiths, studio photographers, and contemporary artists. Studying the arts and visual cultures of Africa leads also to an exploration of the political systems, social practices, religious beliefs, and everyday life of many different historical and contemporary societies that sharpen understandings of the diversity across the continent. (Same as: AFRS 2250)

Previous terms offered: Fall 2018.

ARTH 2390  (c, IP)   Sacred Icons and Museum Pieces: The Powers of Central African Art  

David Gordon.
Non-Standard Rotation. Fall 2019. Enrollment limit: 16.
  

Seminar. The art of Central Africa inspired European avant-garde artists from Pablo Picasso to Paul Klee. This course explores art as a historical source. What does the production, use, commerce, and display of art reveal about politics, ideology, religion, and aesthetics? Prior to European colonialism, what was the relationship between art and politics in Central Africa? How did art represent power? What does it reveal about gender relations, social divisions, and cultural ideals? The course then turns to the Euro-American scramble for Central African art at the onset of European colonialism. How did the collection of art, its celebration by European artists, and display in European and American museums transform patterns of production, cultural functions and aesthetic styles of Central African art? The course ends with current debates over the repatriation of African art. Note:This course is part of the following field(s) of study: Africa. This course meets the non-European/ US History requirements. (Same as: HIST 2823, AFRS 2823)

Previous terms offered: Spring 2017.

ARTH 2420  (c, VPA)   Realism and Its Discontents: European Art, 1839-1900  

Pamela Fletcher.
Non-Standard Rotation. Fall 2019. Enrollment limit: 35.
  

A survey of European art from the advent of photography to the turn of the century. The nineteenth century witnessed an explosion of urban growth, increasing political and economic power for the middle and working classes, and revolutionary scientific and technological discoveries. How did the visual arts respond to and help shape the social forces that came to define Western modernity? Questions to be addressed include: What was the impact of photography and other technologies of vision on painting’s relation to mimesis? How did new audiences and exhibition cultures change viewers’ experiences and expectations of art? How did artists respond to the new daily realities of modern urban life, including the crowd, the commodity, railways, and electric light? Artists discussed include Courbet, Frith, Manet, Ford Madox Brown, Julia Margaret Cameron, Whistler, Ensor, Gauguin, and Cézanne.

Previous terms offered: Fall 2017.

ARTH 2430  (c, VPA)   Modern Architecture: 1750 to 2000  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

Examines major buildings, architects, architectural theories, and debates during the modern period, with a strong emphasis on Europe through 1900, and both the United States and Europe in the twentieth century. Central issues of concern include architecture as an important carrier of historical, social, and political meaning; changing ideas of history and progress in built form; and the varied architectural responses to industrialization. Attempts to develop students’ visual acuity and ability to interpret architectural form while exploring these and other issues. (Same as: ENVS 2431)

Previous terms offered: Fall 2018, Spring 2016.

ARTH 2440  (c, VPA)   Shoot, Snap, Instagram: A History of Photography in America  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

A survey of photography made and experienced in the United States from the age of daguerreotypes until the era of digital image processing. Addresses the key photographic movements, works, practitioners, and technological and aesthetic developments while also considering the social, political, cultural, and economic contexts for individual photographs. Photographers studied include Watkins, Bourke-White, Weegee, and Weems. Readings of primary sources by photographers and critics such as Stieglitz, Sontag, Abbott, and Benjamin bolster close readings of photographs. Builds skills of discussing, writing, and seeing American photography. Incorporates study of photography collections across the Bowdoin College campus.

Prerequisites: ARTH 1100 or Placement in above ARTH 1100.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2018, Fall 2016.

ARTH 2450  (c, VPA)   American Furniture by Design  

Dana Byrd.
Non-Standard Rotation. Fall 2019. Enrollment limit: 12.
  

A scholarly inquiry into furniture produced and used in the United States from the seventeenth century through the twentieth century. Students learn traditional woodworking skills and build their own objects. Through hands-on examination of American furniture in local collections, students develop the language, methodology, and interpretive skills for object analysis. Both typical and exceptional forms of furniture from each era are studied and historicized, including those for domestic, ecclesiastical, and presentation purposes.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2015.

ARTH 2470  (c, VPA)   The Bauhaus and its Legacy: Designing the Modern World  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 20.  

The centennial of the Bauhaus—the school of modern design opened in 1919 in Weimar, Germany, and closed by the Nazis in 1933—is being celebrated around the world. More than just a school, the Bauhaus gave modernity a distinct physical form by connecting art to nature and industry in new ways. The Bauhaus also advanced the radical notion that modern design had a key social role to play: to improve the lives of all people. The course investigates the social mission, arts, vibrant way of life, and prominent figures at the Bauhaus, many leaders in fields of modern architecture, urbanism, and the arts of design. The course also explores the Bauhaus legacy that flourished throughout the twentieth century, focusing on US and Europe. The Bauhaus changed the world and even today we feel its impact, in the smallest of objects, our built environments, and the cities in which we live. Students will work closely with the Bauhaus exhibition that opens March 1, 2019, at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art and will carry out their own research projects. (Same as: ENVS 2470)

Previous terms offered: Spring 2019.

ARTH 2520  (c, VPA)   Modern Art  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

A study of the modernist movement in visual art in Europe and the Americas beginning with post-impressionism and examining in succession: expressionism fauvis, cubism, futurism, constructivism, Dada, surrealism, the American affinities of these movements, and the Mexican muralists. Modernism is analyzed in terms of the problems presented by its social situation; its relation to other elements of culture; its place in the historical tradition of Western art; and its invocation of archaic, primitive, and Asian cultures.

Prerequisites: ARTH 1100 or Placement in above ARTH 1100.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2018.

ARTH 2540  (c, VPA)   Contemporary Art  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

Art of Europe and the Americas since World War II, with emphasis on the New York school. Introductory overview of modernism. Detailed examination of abstract expressionism and minimalist developments; pop, conceptual, and environmental art; and European abstraction. Concludes with an examination of the international consequences of modernist and contemporary developments, the impact of new electronic and technological media, and the critical debate surrounding the subject of postmodernism.

Prerequisites: ARTH 1100 or Placement in above ARTH 1100.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2019, Fall 2016.

ARTH 2560  (c, VPA)   Women, Gender, And Sexuality in Western European and American Art, 1500 to Present  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

Provides an introduction to the history of women as creators, patrons, and audiences of art in Western Europe and the United States from the Renaissance to the present, and explores methods and approaches to visual art that focus on questions of gender and sexuality in an intersectional context. Artists considered may include Artemisia Gentileschi, Angelica Kauffman, Edmonia Lewis, Mary Cassatt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Claude Cahun, Frida Kahlo, Lee Krasner, Judy Chicago, Adrian Piper, Shirin Nashat, and Kara Walker. (Same as: GSWS 2258)

Prerequisites: ARTH 1100 or Placement in above ARTH 1100.

Previous terms offered: Fall 2018.

ARTH 2620  (c, ESD, VPA)   American Art I: Colonial Period to the Civil War  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

An investigation of American architecture, sculpture, painting, and decorative arts from their contact-era origins until the Civil War. Emphasis is placed on American art as a distinct tradition shaped by the movement of people and things across the Pacific and Atlantic oceans to a continent populated by indigenous people. Explores how artists engaged and interpreted the world around them in material form, as well as the ways that this production served a host of ideological and aesthetic needs. Methods of art historical interpretation are analyzed and discussed using primary and secondary source readings. Studies original art and artifacts in the Bowdoin College Museum of Art and buildings on the Bowdoin campus and beyond.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2019, Spring 2016.

ARTH 2640  (c, VPA)   American Art from the Civil War to 1945  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

A survey of American architecture, sculpture, painting, and photography from the Civil War and World War II. Emphasis on understanding art in its historical and cultural context. Issues to be addressed include the expatriation of American painters, the conflicted response to European modernism, the pioneering achievements of American architects and photographers, the increasing participation of women and minorities in the art world, and the ongoing tension between native and cosmopolitan forms of cultural expression. Works with original objects in the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2017.

ARTH 2710  (c, IP, VPA)   Power and Politics in Pre-modern Chinese Art  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

Introduces students to Chinese art from the First Emperors terracotta warriors in the third century BCE to the waning of the country’s dynastic history in the nineteenth century CE. Following a chronological sequence, explores key mortuary spaces, religious objects, court art, and landscape painting with focus on themes of power and politics. Emphasis is placed on understanding changing art formats and functions in relation to socio-cultural contexts, such as shifts in belief systems, foreign imperial patronage, and the rise of literati expression. Readings include primary sources such as ancestral rites, Buddhist doctrines, imperial proclamations, and Chinese painting treatises. (Same as: ASNS 2020)

Previous terms offered: Spring 2019, Spring 2016.

ARTH 3130  (c, VPA)   Bosch  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 12.  

Seminar. Examines the works of the famously idiosyncratic Netherlandish painter, Jheronimus Bosch (c. 1450-1516), investigating their artistic methods and cultural context. Also considers their reception by contemporary and subsequent generations of artists, scholars, and viewers

Prerequisites: ARTH 1100 or Placement in above ARTH 1100.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2018, Spring 2016.

ARTH 3160  (c, VPA)    Memory, Mourning, and the Macabre: Visualizing Death in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 12.  

In pre-modern Europe, people lived in the shadow of death. This was true in literal terms -- mortality rates were high -- but also in terms of art; the imagery of the period was saturated with images of death, dying, and the afterlife. Examines how images helped people confront profound questions about death. What happens to the self at death? What is the relationship between the body and the soul? What responsibilities do the living have to the dead? Addresses these issues through study of tomb sculptures, monumental paintings of the Last Judgment, manuscripts containing accounts of journeys to the afterlife, prayer beads featuring macabre imagery, and other related items.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2017.

ARTH 3180  (c, IP, VPA)   Japanese Prints  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 12.  

Introduces students to the breadth of Japanese print culture, from early Buddhist images to twentieth-century artworks. Explores early modern landscapes, “beautiful women,” and actor prints, as well as modern political, creative, and revival prints. Uses the collection of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art to investigate relevant artworks. Emphasis is placed on issues of economy, production, and socio-cultural contexts such as the masculine culture of early modern urban Japan, and globalization in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Chronological topics focus on the seventeenth through twentieth centuries. (Same as: ASNS 3260)

Previous terms offered: Fall 2016.

ARTH 3200  (c, VPA)   Historicizing the Contemporary: Topics in Recent Chinese Art  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 12.  

Identifies and explores key topics in recent publications of contemporary Chinese art. Alongside of subject matter, students analyze usages of socio-political context and methodologies for framing different narratives of contemporary Chinese art. Through studies of individual artists and larger contemporary art trends, students unpack current art histories while also proposing alternative approaches. Readings include monographs, exhibition catalogs, interviews, and systematic reviews of journals. Questions include: What are the challenges of historicizing the present? How does the global art world reconcile the existence of multiple art worlds? How have artists intervened in narratives of contemporary Chinese art? (Same as: ASNS 3070)

Previous terms offered: Spring 2019, Spring 2016.

ARTH 3210  (c, IP, VPA)   Art for the People: Between Propaganda and Protest in East Asia  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 12.  

Examines manifestations and mobilizations of “art for the people” from the early twentieth century to today. Focuses on ideological imperatives in modern and contemporary Chinese art and invites cross-cultural examples from East Asian democracy movements and global pop spectacle. Asks “Who are the people?” and how art has been used to define and serve them. Discussions call attention to the implication of art in politics as well as the use of art in protest. Considers artists’ tactics for intervening in institutional and ideological claims on “the people” and limitations of national and class boundaries. Topics include publicness, mass media, art school pedagogy, and social art practice. (Same as: ASNS 3811)

Prerequisites: ARTH 1000 - 2969 or ARTH 3000 or higher or ASNS 1000 - 2969 or ASNS 3000 or higher.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2018.

ARTH 3240  (c, VPA)   Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo: Science and Art through Drawing  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 12.  

Both Leonardo and Michelangelo produced hundreds of drawings in the service of their imaginative processes in creating great architecture, sculpture, and painting. In addition, both studied the human body through anatomical drawings, while Leonardo expanded his investigations to the bodies of animals, the movement of water, the flight of birds, and countless other natural phenomena. Exploring the theory of disegno (drawing and composing) as a divinely granted power, considers biographies, letters, and notebooks in translation, as well as scholarly literature on the Sistine Chapel frescoes, “The Last Supper,” and other monuments now known to us only through drawings. Makes use of works from the collections of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. Opportunities for hands-on learning of drawing techniques—chalk, pen and ink, wash, metal point—support investigations of these artists' accomplishments.

Prerequisites: ARTH 1100 or Placement in above ARTH 1100.

Previous terms offered: Fall 2018, Fall 2015.

ARTH 3320  (c, VPA)   Painting and Society in Spain: El Greco to Goya  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 12.  

Focuses on painting in Spain from the fifteenth century to the early nineteenth century, with special emphasis on the works of El Greco, Velázquez, and Goya. Examines art in the light of Spanish society, particularly the institutions of the church and Spanish court. Considers Spanish mysticism, popular custom, and Enlightenment ideals as expressed in or critiqued by art. Readings in the Bible, Spanish folklore, artistic theory, and artists’ biographies.

Prerequisites: ARTH 1100 or Placement in above ARTH 1100.

Previous terms offered: Fall 2016.

ARTH 3330  (c, VPA)   Studies in Seventeenth-Century Art: Caravaggio and Artemisia Gentileschi  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 12.  

Contrasts two artists -- one male, one female -- whose powerful, naturalistic styles transformed European painting in the seventeenth century. Starting with a close examination of the artists’ biographies (in translation), focuses on questions of the their educations, artistic theories, styles as a reflection of character, and myths and legends of the their lives. Also examines the meanings of seventeenth-century images of heroic women, such as Esther, Judith, and Lucretia, in light of social and cultural attitudes of the times.

Prerequisites: ARTH 1100 or Placement in above ARTH 1100.

Previous terms offered: Fall 2017.

ARTH 3350  (c, ESD)   Desire and Difference: Exploring Gender, Sexuality, and Race in Ancient and Medieval Art  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 12.  

Gender, sexuality, race, and other aspects of identity have come to play a huge role in our public and private lives, and these same issues can be key to understanding how people lived and understood their lives in the past. Through in-class discussion and individual research projects, students in this seminar examine intersections of these concerns with the visual arts produced in the ancient Mediterranean region and medieval Europe (c. 500 BCE–c. 1500 CE), gaining a deeper and richer understanding of how people in the past described themselves and their lives and made sense of individual identities. Specific topics covered will include representations of women and minorities, the roles played by women as makers and patrons of art, and the usefulness of modern categories of sexuality and gender in the context of ancient and medieval art. (Same as: GSWS 3350)

Prerequisites: ARTH 1100 or Placement in above ARTH 1100 or ARTH 2000 - 2969 or GSWS 1000 - 2969 or GSWS 3000 or higher.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2019.

ARTH 3370  (c, IP, VPA)   Medieval Art and the Modern Viewer: Building an Exhibition with Wyvern Collection  

Kate Gerry.
Non-Standard Rotation. Fall 2019. Enrollment limit: 06.
  

The long-term loan of the Wyvern Collection of medieval art to the BCMA offers an opportunity for hands-on research in a museum setting. Students work directly with medieval works of art to conduct object-based research, develop some of the components of an exhibition, and explore specific aspects of medieval art history. As a group, students develop an exhibition concept and consider questions related to the display of objects. Individually, students research works of art and their cultural context and write museum labels, wall text, and essays. Topics for research and discussion might include religion, gender, and globalism in the Middle Ages or history and theory of collecting and display.

Prerequisites: ARTH 1000 - 2969 or ARTH 3000 or higher.

ARTH 3530  (c, VPA)   Painted Fictions: Narrative and British Art  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 12.  

Is a picture worth a thousand words? If so, why? Questions whether pictures appeal more directly to our emotions or imaginations, or if they need words to be comprehensible. Examines the complex and sometimes competitive relationship between visual images and the texts that surround and support them -- including literary sources, invented narratives, titles, captions, art criticism, and catalogue entries -- in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British art. Artists considered include: William Hogarth, Joshua Reynolds, the Pre-Raphaelites, James McNeil Whistler, and Walter Sickert; texts may include writings by Charles Dickens, Henry James, Oscar Wilde, and Virginia Woolf.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2018.

ARTH 3590  (c, VPA)   Manet's Modernism  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 12.  

Examines the work of Manet and its critical reception from the nineteenth century to the present. Manet has been considered the paradigmatic modern artist, and the reception and interpretation of his work elucidates both a contested history of modernism’s meaning, and the critical historiography of the discipline of art history itself. Authors may include Baudelaire, Zola, T.J. Clark, Michael Fried, Pierre Bourdieu, and Griselda Pollock.

Prerequisites: ARTH 1100 - 2969 or ARTH 3000 or higher.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2017.

ARTH 3600  (c, ESD, VPA)   Race and Visual Representation in American Art  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 16.  

Explores the visual construction of race in American art and culture from the colonial period to the late twentieth century. Focuses on two racial "categories"--blackness and whiteness--and how they have shaped American culture. Using college and local museum collections, examines paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs, film, and the spaces in which they have been displayed and viewed. Approach to this material is grounded in art history, but also draws from other disciplines. Artists under study include those who are well known such as Homer and Walker, as well as those who are unknown or have been forgotten. (Same as: AFRS 3600)

Prerequisites: ARTH 1100 or Placement in above ARTH 1100.

Previous terms offered: Fall 2016.

ARTH 3620  (c, VPA)   Winslow Homer and American Art  

Every Other Year. Enrollment limit: 12.  

During his extensive career, Winslow Homer (1836-1910) worked in multiple modes, including woodcut prints for the popular press, watercolors, and paintings. In his depictions of freedmen, maimed Civil War veterans, and untamed nature, he provided a penetrating and often disturbing view of post-Civil War America. Over the past fifty years, interpretations of Homer's work have changed dramatically and broadened to include such themes and lenses as race, social class, and intertextuality. Exploration of Homer's oeuvre doubles as an inquiry into the historiography of American Art. Homer topics under consideration are: Civil War paintings, illustrations of leisure, depictions of women and children in the Gilded Age, and landscape and seascape paintings of the Caribbean and Maine. Close study opportunities include sessions at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Bowdoin College Special Collections, the Portland Museum of Art, and the Winslow Homer Studio in Prouts Neck, Maine.

Prerequisites: ARTH 2000 - 2969.

Previous terms offered: Fall 2018, Spring 2016.

ARTH 3690  (c, VPA)   Art and Catastrophe: Visual Responses to Trauma  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 12.  

Explores visual responses to loss, trauma, and cultural catastrophe. Considers how artistic traces of suffering offer insight into ruptures so painful that they linger beyond the limitations of linear narrative and along the fringes of cognition. Structured to bring together disparate works of art—including film, photography, video, sculpture, performance, the graphic arts, and curatorial practice—as a means of exploring the possibilities and limits of representation. Engages works of art that frame questions about the collisions between cultural catastrophe and more ordinary forms of suffering.

Prerequisites: ARTH 2000 - 2969.

Previous terms offered: Fall 2017.

ARTH 3840  (c, VPA)   Bad Art: An Alternative History of Modern Art  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 12.  

What is the difference between good art and bad? Why do categories of value change over time? Since the last decades of the nineteenth century, a modernist aesthetic valuing formal innovation and absorptive autonomy has been a powerful force in making these distinctions. Examines the modernist evaluation of good art by attending to its opposite: those visual qualities, forms, and media that modernist criticism labeled bad art and cast out of the canon. Topics covered may include narrative and sentimental art, early popular cinema, comic strips and graphic novels, outsider art, regional art, relational aesthetics, and the self-conscious creation of bad art.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2019.