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Art History Courses

These are the courses currently being offered in the Art History program at TCNJ. Click on the course name to open its description.

AAH 105 – Art History I: Caves to Cathedrals

An introduction to the history of art through the examination of major monuments of western architecture, painting, sculpture, and minor arts from prehistoric times to the beginning of the Renaissance.  Emphasis is placed on art created for or by the dominant cultural centers of civilizations falling within this timeframe.

AAH 106 – Art History II: Renaissance to Revolution

An introduction to the history of art through the examination of major monuments of Western architecture, painting, sculpture, and minor arts from the beginning of the Renaissance to the 1848 French Revolution.  Emphasis is placed on art created for or by the dominant cultural centers of civilizations falling within this timeframe.

AAH 201 – The Art of Greece

The course will deal with major monuments of Greek architecture, painting, sculpture, and minor arts from the Late Bronze Age through the Hellenistic Period. The emphasis will be on developments in Athens, the Peloponnesos and the mainland but monuments of art and architecture in Magna Graecia, Asia Minor, and the Greek islands will be included as well. Major emphasis will be placed on the principal forms of Greek art and architecture, with their stylistic development and social context. Students will also be introduced to questions of production and trade, as well as the religious, political, and social roles of Greek art. Different archaeological theories and interpretations and their relationship to Greek art and architecture will also be included. Slide lectures, museum trips, and critical and theoretical texts will be used to illustrate and illuminate the meanings and purposes of Greek art and architecture of this important period.

AAH 202 – Art of Rome

The course will deal with major monuments of Roman architecture, painting, sculpture, and minor arts.  The emphasis will be on developments in Rome, Pompeii, and central Italy.  Monuments of art and architecture of the European, Eastern, and African provinces of the empire will also be included.  Major themes will include the development of Rome from a primitive village to a world capital; the revolution in architectural form made possible by the Roman use of concrete and of arch and vault construction; Pompeian and Roman wall painting; Roman portrait and historical relief sculpture; and the political and social roles of Roman art.

AAH 215 – Arts of South Asia

An introduction to the visual arts of South and Southeast Asia, including architecture, sculpture, and painting, particularly as they relate to religious practices (Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Islam) and to the historical, political, and social contexts of the region.  Emphasis will be on the Indian subcontinent from circa 3000 BC to the present.  Key monuments in Cambodia, Indonesia, Tibet, and Nepal will also be included.

AAH 216 – Arts of East Asia

An introduction to the visual arts of East Asia, including architecture, sculpture, painting and decorative arts, particularly as they relate to religious and philosophical practices (Buddhism, Shintoism, Daoism, and Confucianism) and to the historical, political, and social contexts of the region.  Emphasis will be on China and Japan from the Bronze Age to the present.  Key monuments in Korea will also be included.

AAH 217 – Arts of the Islamic World

An introduction to the visual arts of the Islamic world, including architecture, painting, ceramics, textiles, metalwork, photography, and prints.  Emphasis will be placed on understanding individual works of art within their historical, social, and religions contexts.  The course will provide a firm understanding of both the Islamic faith and the development of Islamic cultures around the world.  Issues to be addressed include regionalism versus universalism in Islamic art, the use of art to express political power, and Western views of Islam.

AAH 232 – Arts of Medieval Europe

This course, combines lectures, reading-based discussions, museum experiences, and out-of-class research.  It will deal with major monuments of Western architecture, painting, sculpture, and minor arts from Late Antiquity to the beginning of the Renaissance. The emphasis will be on the impact of religious beliefs on the art and architecture produced in the dominant cultural centers of the time.  Major themes will focus on the roles of art and architecture in both sacred and secular contexts; technical skills required to produce works of art, and the interpretation of works of art by examining purpose, meaning, and context.  There will be an interdisciplinary focus on the religious, social, political, philosophical, and cultural context of the era.

AAH 242 – Arts of Renaissance Europe

This course, combining lectures and discussion, is intended for students who may have no prior experience in the study of art history.  The course will be concerned with the major monuments of architecture, painting and sculpture in Italy and Northern Europe from the fourteenth through the mid-sixteenth centuries.  Major areas of study will include formal analysis of art; the training and intellectual life of artists; the nature of the arts and society as reflected in contemporary texts; the impact of religious beliefs on the art and architecture of the dominant cultural centers; distinctions and mutual influence between Italy and the North; the functionpatronage; the representation of gender and sexuality; and the interpretation of works of art through the investigation of purpose, meaning, and context.

AAH 248 – American Art

This course will focus on artistic production in the American colonies, and later, the United States.  The approach is historical and contextual and all mediums are covered, including photography and architecture.  Principally, the course is organized chronologically, although the material for weekly classes may center on specific artists, genres, themes, or critical issues.  The visual aspects of looking at art will also be emphasized.  Throughout the course, students will be continuously learning and refining skills that will allow them to analyze and appreciate works of art in their proper context.

AAH 252 – 20th Century Art

Twentieth Century Art is an introductory art history course, combining slide lectures and class discussions. This course is organized chronologically and will focus on artistic production in the twentieth century in Europe and the United States, including Fauvism, Expressionism, Cubism, Futurism, Constructivism, Dada and Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Post-Painterly Abstraction, Pop, Surrealism, Neo-Expressionism, Post Modernism, and Deconstructivism. The approach is historical and contextual and all mediums are covered, including architecture, photography, and new media. Developments such as feminist art, socio-political art, conceptual art, and performance art will also be discussed. The visual Aspects of looking art will be emphasized; throughout the course, students will be continuously learning and refining skills that will allow them to analyze and appreciate works of art in their proper context.

AAH 270 – Topics in Art History

This course will be offered as a lecture/discussion course. Topics in Art History focuses on a different topic with each offering (e.g., current trends in art history, special offerings). May be repeated as topic changes.

AAH 280 – Histories of Photography

This course is an introduction to the multiple investigations of the history of photography. Emphasis will be given to the diverse cultural uses of photography from its invention to the present day.  Such uses include: ethnography; political and social propaganda; educational and documentary photography; amateur photography; studio, advertising, and fashion photography; and photography as a medium of artistic expression.  Field trips are required.

AAH 316 – Early Modern Asian Art

This course explores the visual arts of four countries¿Iran, India, China, and Japan¿from 1600 to 1750. This century-and-a-half falls in the middle of what many historians classify as the ¿early modern period¿ because of the many economic, political, technological, and travel advances taking place during that time. In this course, we will examine how specific artistic developments in these four Asian countries may (or may not) relate to the larger global trends perceived to be taking place.

AAH 317 – Arts of Iran

This course explores the visual arts of Iran and Central Asia (the greater Persian realm), including architecture, sculpture, painting, decorative arts, and film, from the earliest archaeological evidence up to the present day. In addition to covering the historical development of the art, the course also explores whether or not there is such a thing as a specifically ¿Persian¿ culture manifest in the arts. Other themes to be covered include the use of art as political propaganda, the role of religion in the creation and reception of art, the relationship between literature and visual arts in Iran, and finally, the impact of modernity and global culture in Iran.
This is an upper-level course, and while students need not have any previous knowledge of the specific subject, students must be able to engage in independent research, as well as be able to read and write critically and understand the basic principles of art historical engagement.

AAH 320 – Women, Art & Society

This course will focus on women, art, and society.  It will cover representations of women in art, works by women artists, and feminist criticism.  The approach is historical and contextual. Principally, this course is organized thematically, rather than chronologically, examining works by women artists in specific media and genres.  Works of art by male artists and women artists on common subjects are also examined, as are feminist revisions of popular subjects in the history of art.  The visual aspects of looking at art will be emphasized thorughout the course.  Students will be continuously learning and refining skills that allow them to analyze and appreciate works of art in their proper context.

AAH 343 – Looking at Women: Representation, Feminism and Film

This course is an exploration of the impact of feminism on film theory, criticism, and production.  Emphasis is placed on issues of representation, spectatorship, questions of ethnicity, and hybrid sexualities.  Hollywood, independent films, and new media forms will be investigated through screenings and readings.

AAH 344 – Art of the Italian Renaissance

This course investigates the major monuments of the Italian Renaissance, from the early fourteenth century to the late sixteenth century.  This period produced a concentration of artistic personalities who worked in an atmosphere that encouraged the production of art and architecture for religious, political, and personal enhancement.  Field trips may be required at student expense.

AAH 347 – 19th Century Art

This is an upper-level course combining slide lectures, discussion, and student-led analysis of scholarly articles. It will focus on artistic production in the nineteenth-century United States and Europe, where there will be a particular emphasis on France and Spain. The approach is historical and contextual, and all media is covered, including photography and architecture.  Principally, the course is organized chronologically, although the material for weekly classes centers on a specific artist or artists, a theme, or a contemporary critical issue.  The visual aspects of looking at art will also be emphasized.  Throughout the course, students will be continuously learning and refining skills that will allow them to analyze and appreciate works of art in their proper context.

AAH 348 – Baroque & Rococo Art

This is an upper-level course, combining slide lectures, discussion, and student-led analysis of scholarly articles. The years between 1600 and 1750 were characterized by tremendous social, political, and creative ferment which provided the foundations of the modern world.  Largely created in Italy by the needs of the Counter-Reformation church, the Baroque may be seen as oscillating between the quest for classical order (The Carracci, The Academy, and Poussin) and the exuberant expression of feeling (Caravaggio, Bernini, Rubens).  This period also saw the rise of the art market, with patronage gradually shifting from the traditional hegemonic powers of church and state to  private individuals, whether aristocratic (The Fete Galante) or middle class (genre painting).

AAH 349 – Cities & Sanctuaries of Ancient Greece

An exploration of the major cities and sanctuaries of the Greek world from their foundations through the end of Roman rule.  The course will examine various topographical, political, and religious aspects that shaped the foundation, growth, and development of these important ancient places. Various media, particularly architecture and decorative sculptural programs, will be examined in context with regard to their cultural, historical, religious, political, and/or artistic value.

AAH 350 – Contemporary Art

Contemporary Art is an in-depth analysis of art movements and styles around the world from 1970 to the present, with particular focus on experimental mediums and processes as well as contemporary issues in art theory and criticism. It is designed for art history majors and minors, studio art majors, and non-majors. No prerequisites.

AAH 353 – Rome of the Caesars, Rome of the Popes

Rome of the Caesars, Rome of the Popes is a 3 week study abroad course that will be taught in Italy. The course focuses on Rome and two different, though related, systems of imperial-style rule associated with the city. Students will investigate the relationship between art and the aesthetic, political, social, and religious forces that shaped it during the reigns of the ancient Caesars and  those of the Renaissance and Baroque Popes. Students will research and view major monuments of architecture, painting, and sculpture on site in the city and in its collections. Themes will include formal analysis of works of art, the impact of religious beliefs and practices on art and architecture, patronage, the training and intellectual life of artists, constructions of gender and sexuality, and the interpretation of works of art by examining purpose, meaning and context. Students will become familiar with key monuments of Roman art from the beginning of the Empire through the era of Constantine and from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. They will explore the meaning and practice of the classical tradition  in art, drawing parallels between ancient Roman stylistic elements and their revival and adaptation by sixteenth and seventeenth century artists and architects. Students will develop historical and art historical consciousness through an understanding of Roman civilization, the beliefs and ideals of Roman culture, the wide-ranging influence of the Papacy, and the role of high profile artists in the shaping of public art in Rome.

AAH 370 – Topics in Art History

This course may be offered as a lecture and/or seminar.  Topics in Art History focuses on a different topic with each offering (e.g., current trends in art history, special offerings).  May be repeated as topic changes.

AAH 391 – Independent Study in Art History

Independent study is for students engaged in advanced work only, and is an opportunity to develop personal interests and strengths within the major field.  Emphasis is on individual, self-guided work under the supervision of a faculty adviser and/or committee.  May be repeated.

AAH 393 – Art History – Student/Faculty Research

Independent research is for students engaged in advanced work only, and is an opportunity to develop personal interests and strengths within the major field.  Emphasis is on individual, self-guided work under the supervision of a faculty adviser and/or committee.  May be repeated.

AAH 399 – Internship in Art History

The primary purpose of the college-level internship experience is the development of occupational or professional competence in the actual occupation setting after the student’s education has been completed.  Other purposes (income, career exploration, learning-by-doing, on-the-job training, etc.) cannot be the primary purpose, although they may occur as a secondary result of the internship experience.

AAH 404 – Women in Classical Art

This course is designed for upper-level students.  We will be investigating the representation of women in ancient sculpture, painting, and the minor arts, as well as the architecture and structure of ancient houses and other spaces used by women.  In addition, the roles of women as patrons of the arts will be examined.  Emphasis will be placed on the interpretation of art and architecture in relation to the social and cultural roles that women fulfilled in the Greek and Roman worlds.

AAH 415 – Photography in India

This course traces the development of photography in India from its introduction by the British in the 1840s through to the present day.  It explores how photography has reflected and influenced the major historical and social changes of the last 150 years in South Asia.  It also explores some of the theoretical issues surrounding photography as a medium, including the tension between photography as documentation versus photography as fine art, the politics of representation, and the role of the photographer as agent of social change.  Emphasis is placed on discussion of weekly readings and on a semester-long research project.

AAH 450 – Art in the Classical Tradition

This course will explore the varied responses of artists, poets, collectors, travelers, critics, and political leaders to the stimulus of the material remains of ancient Greece and Rome.  We will consider the subject chronologically — from antiquity through the Renaissance, Neoclassical, and Modern periods — and also thematically, investigating interpretations and uses of classical art and architecture up to the present day.  Major themes will include fragments and ruins; the discovery, collection, and display of antiquities; antiquities as political and cultural capital; art and Eros.  Readings will be drawn from a variety of sources in order to sample the great range and richness of the scholarly literature on this subject.

AAH 498 – Junior Research Seminar

The course will focus on the history, methodology, and critical development of the discipline of art history and the history and contemporary implications of the museum.  Students will develop their skills in writing and thinking like art historians.  During the first half of the course, selected scholarly essays will be read and discussed.  In the second half, students will substantially rework a paper written for a past course, with the aim of significantly improving its quality through the application of enhanced research and writing skills. Students will also develop a proposal for a paper to be written in the fall semester of the senior year; that paper will be the Senior Capstone project and will be presented orally to the art history faculty and students.

AAH 499 – Art History Senior Thesis

This course serves as second part of the Senior Capstone experience for Art History majors. This course is writing intensive and open only to senior art history majors. Students will refine their skills in writing and thinking like art historians. Students will work independently with an art history faculty on a topic approved in AAH 498, producing a 25-30-page paper and an oral report, which will be delivered in a public presentation to the art history faculty and students. A final exit exam will also be given.

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