FA 0015 History of Western Art 1: Ancient to Medieval
University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
248 Biddle Hall
Section A: T-TH 9:30-10:50 a.m.
Section B: T-TH 2:00-3:20 p.m.
Dr. Valerie S. Grash, Associate Professor of Fine Arts
Office: 230B Biddle Hall
Office Hours: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.; and by appointment.
This course is a penetrating inquiry into the major accomplishments of Western art (architecture, sculpture, painting and the minor arts) from prehistory to the fourteenth century. The sterile museum environment in which we find it today most often shapes our perception of art, and past architecture is frequently viewed merely as romantic ruins. However, both art and architecture were intimately integrated into every facet of the ancient and medieval person's world, actively part of and used in daily life. With that in mind, we will contextually examine the great works of antiquity (including Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and Rome) through the emergence of Christianity and the art and architecture of the European Middle Ages. Religious and philosophical beliefs, historical events, geological and astronomical phenomenon...all will be addressed in order to better understand the context in which ancient and medieval art was created.
At the conclusion of this course, you will:
1. Recognize important works of art and architecture from ancient and medieval history.
2. Have a more thorough understanding of each culture and period that we examine.
3. Understand the various techniques used to create art and build architecture.
4. Be able to appreciate the long-lasting impact of ancient and medieval art and architecture upon Western civilization, including our own time period and culture.
Fred S. Kleiner, Gardner's Art through the Ages: A Concise History of Western Art (2010) ISBN-13: 978-1424069989
Course Web Site:
Additional textual and visual materials for this course (including monuments and terms covered in lecture); original documents and required readings; your grades; and pertinent announcements concerning class meetings and examinations are found at: http://courseweb.pitt.edu
Notice Regarding Course Changes:
I reserve the right to modify the timing, order and content of the course schedule. It is your responsibility to attend class and be aware of any changes. Check with the course web site regarding any class cancellations should they become necessary due to adverse weather conditions or other situations.
My role is to facilitate learning through lecture and clarification of specific points through questioning and discussion, whether in the classroom, during office hours or via electronic correspondence. It is your responsibility to attend class, take accurate notes and approach me with any questions and issues for clarification in a timely manner.
While there is no attendance policy for this course, be forewarned that what you will be tested on is discussed thoroughly in class. Even with the textbook, nothing replaces viewing the images projected on screen. Therefore, regular attendance is necessary to succeed in this course. In addition, as classroom discussion is expected, poor attendance will adversely affect you if it comes down to a borderline decision on your final grade.
Be certain your cell phone ringer is turned OFF, as it is both annoying and disruptive to the entire class. Anyone sending or receiving text messages will be asked to leave-this course deserves your full attention. If you can't do that, drop the class immediately.
Notes and Note Taking:
Under no circumstances do I provide notes for missed classes. It is your responsibility, if you miss a class, to acquire the lecture notes from a classmate. Class assignments and announcements are also available on the course website. You may tape-record lectures as long as you do not disturb others in the class.
I give make-up exams only in cases with legitimate, documented reasons (death in the family, personal hospitalization, required fieldtrips, etc.). In such cases, inform me in advance and provide written confirmation of your absence. Do not assume every absence is excused or warrants special consideration. The alternative make-up exam (all essay questions) must be taken within one week of the scheduled test; only one makeup exam per student will be permitted. No one can make-up the final exam, which must be taken at the scheduled time.
No extensions are granted for class assignments. Due dates are clearly noted on the syllabus at the beginning of the semester. You should start each assignment in a timely manner and even complete assignments early. Illness or any other excuse has no bearing on the fact that your work was not turned in on time. Any assignment not turned in by the due date will not be graded, thus earning 0 points for the work. No exceptions are permitted so do not ask!
Please read carefully the Academic Integrity Guidelines in your student handbook. They will be followed to the letter in this course. There is ZERO tolerance for cheating or plagiarism. Any time that you use another person's words or thoughts as your own without giving them proper credit is plagiarism, including copying and pasting from the Internet. Any instance of cheating or plagiarism will result in an automatic "F" (0 points) for that assignment, and steps will be taken, according to the Academic Integrity Guidelines, to receive an "F" for the course and for action leading to expulsion from the university. I will not permit re-writing any suspected plagiarized assignment.
If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting an accommodation, you are encouraged to contact both your instructor and the Office of Health & Wellness Services (OHWS), G-10 Student Union Building, (814) 269-7119 to schedule an appointment as early as possible in the term. OHWS will verify your disability and determine reasonable accommodations for this course.
Course Examinations and Assignments:
Overall, you can earn 500 points during the semester. On this scale:
500-490 (A+) 489-465 (A) 464-450 (A-)
449-440 (B+) 439-415 (B) 414-400 (B-)
399-390 (C+) 389-365 (C) 364-350 (C-)
349-300 (D) 299 and below (F)
Your grade will be determined in the following manner:
Examinations (500 points):
There will be four examinations (September 18, October 16, November 8, and during Finals Week) during the semester, each worth 125 points. The format will comprise mostly of multiple choice and essay questions drawn from class notes and readings, with some use of matching terms to architectural plans and elevations. The final will not be comprehensive, but will cover only the material since the previous exam.
August 28 Introduction
August 30 Pseudo-Magical Images and Ritual Structures in Prehistoric Europe
September 4 Mesopotamia: The Foundations of Political-Religious Art
September 6 Old Kingdom Egypt
September 11 Old Kingdom Egypt: Evolution of the Burial Tomb
September 13 New Kingdom Egypt: Temples and Pharaohs
September 18 Exam I
September 20 Early Aegean Civilization: Cycladic, Minoan, and Mycenaean
September 25 Greek Architecture: The Akropolis, Athens
September 27 Humanism in Greek Sculpture
October 2 The Etruscans
October 4 Early Roman Life and Architectural Developments
October 9 No Class-due to Fall Break, Monday classes meet on Tuesday
October 11 Imperial Roman Art as Propaganda
October 16 Exam II
October 18 Early Christian Art and Architecture
October 23 The Byzantine Empire
October 25 Northern European Migratory Art
October 30 Celtic Art and Irish Christianity
November 1 Carolingian and Ottonian Art and Architecture
November 6 Islam and the Crusades
November 8 Exam III
November 13 Pilgrimage Road Romanesque Architecture
November 15 Anglo-Norman Romanesque
November 20 No Class-Thanksgiving Recess
November 22 No Class-Thanksgiving Recess
November 27 Theology and the Origins of Gothic Style in France
November 29 High Gothic and Rayonnant Architecture
December 4 Gothic Outside of France
December 6 Late Gothic and the Impact of the Bubonic Plague
9:30 a.m. class: Tuesday, December 11, 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.
2:00 p.m. class: Friday, December 14, 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.