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FA 0016 History of Western Art 2: Renaissance-Modern (Spring 2013)

FA 0016 History of Western Art 2

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.

Spring 2013


Dr. Valerie Grash, Associate Professor of Fine Arts

Office: 230B Biddle Hall

Phone: 269-7164


Office Hours: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 12:30-2:00 p.m., and by appointment.



This course is a penetrating inquiry into the major accomplishments of Western art (painting, sculpture and architecture) from the Renaissance through the Modern era. The sterile museum environment in which we find it today most often shapes our perception of art; however, both art and architecture were intimately integrated into every facet of the pre-modern person's world, actively part of and used in daily life, reflecting and shaping the culture for which it was created. With that in mind, we will examine not only great monuments and artists, but also contextual issues concerning the creation of art, including religious, political, economic and social conditions that existed in specific societies at specific moments in time.

At the conclusion of this course, you will:

  1. Recognize important works of art and architecture from the Renaissance to Modern period.
  2. Possess a critical understanding of each artistic style and historical period we examine.
  3. Comprehend the various techniques used to create art and build architecture.
  4. Be able to appreciate the long-lasting impact of past art and architecture upon western civilization, including our own time period and culture.

Recommended textbook:

  • Fred S. Kleiner and Christin J. Mamiya, Gardner's Art Through the Ages: A Concise History of Western Art  ISBN-13: 978-0534605117

Course Web Site:

Additional textual and visual materials for this course (including monuments and terms covered in lecture); additional required readings; your grades; and pertinent announcements concerning class meetings and examinations are found at:

Cell Phones:

Be certain your cell phone is put away and turned OFF, as it is both annoying and disruptive to the entire class when it rings. 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.

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.


Course Policies

Faculty Statement:

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 and participation is expected, poor attendance will adversely affect you if it comes down to a borderline decision on your final grade.

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 available on the course website. You may tape-record lectures as long as you do not disturb others in the class.

Makeup Exams:

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.

Late Assignments:

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!

Academic Integrity:

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 University's 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.

Grading and Course Requirements

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 total):

There will be four examinations (January 31, February 21, March 26, and during Finals Week) during the semester, each worth 125 points. The format will comprise of multiple-choice and essay questions drawn from class notes and readings. The final will not be comprehensive, but will cover only the material since the previous exam.


Course Schedule 

January 8         Course Introduction

January 10       Prelude to the Renaissance

January 15       Early Renaissance in Florence

January 17       Patrons and Themes in Early Renaissance Art 

January 22       High Renaissance in Italy: Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael

January 24       High Renaissance in Rome: Michelangelo

January 29       Renaissance and Mannerism in Sixteenth Century Venice

January 31       Exam I

February 5       Northern Renaissance Painting

February 7       Counter-Reformation Ideals in Italian Baroque Art 

February 12     Baroque Art in Spain and Flanders

February 14     Dutch Baroque Art

February 19     Baroque and Rococo in France and England

February 21     Exam II

February 26     Neoclassicism and Romanticism

February 28     Realism and Photography

March 5           Manet, Monet, and Impressionism

March 7           American Expatriate Impressionists, and Post-Impressionism

March 12         No Class-Spring Recess                

March 14         No Class-Spring Recess

March 19         Quest for the Primitive: Van Gogh, Gauguin and Symbolism          

March 21         Art at the Turn of the Century           

March 26         Exam III                    

March 28         Cubism and Its Influence

April 2             Dada and Surrealism              

April 4             American Art: Coming of Age                      

April 9             Mid-Century Art and Architecture                

April 11           The 1960s: Pop Art and More                       

April 16           The 1970s:  Looking Back in Art History                 

April 18           Contemporary Issues in Art

Final Exams:

  • Section A (9:30 a.m. class): Tuesday, April 23, 3:00-5:00 p.m.
  • Section B (2:00 p.m. class): Friday, April 26, 9:00-11:00 a.m.
Last Reviewed: January 7, 2008