AH 200 - Ancient to Medieval Art

King Tut's Coffin Mask
Fall 2017
Tuesday and Thursday 4 to 5:15 PM
Instructor: Denise Johnson
Phone: 714.289.3569
Moulton Center 217 A

Office Hours by appointment:
1 to 3:30 PM
1 to 2 PM
1 to 3:30 PM


click here for a printable syllabus



Course Description

AH 200 - Ancient to Medieval Art is an introduction to the development of the visual arts from the Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) period to the Middle Ages.

In this course, we will consider the cultural expressions and creative products of the western world from the earliest artifacts of prehistoric peoples to the founding principles of what we define as “art” during the medieval period. In just fourteen weeks, we will not only cover more than 30,000 years of social, cultural, political, and material history, but also build an understanding of the very study of art history - its methods, purposes, restrictions, and what the discipline can tell us about our world today and tomorrow.

During our investigations, a conversational approach will be prioritized during class discussions. Students will be encouraged through assignments and readings to bring a critical eye that is actively engaged in questioning through a shared learning experience. Think of the classroom as your lab, the textbook as your guide, and writing assignments as an adventurous expression of what you’ve learned, and what that means to your sense of humanity!

Objectives & Outcomes
Course Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
    1. Identify and compare the aesthetic and philosophical characteristics associated with major periods of art from the prehistoric period to the Middle Ages;
    2. Compare, apply and synthesize theoretical texts with material evidence to analyze complex visual expressions;
    3. and Conduct scholarly research that informs and supports their own insights and theses.
Art History Program Learning Outcomes
Students will be able to:
  1. Develop the writing competencies used in the discipline of art history;
  2. Locate works of art and visual culture within the context of world art history and articulate the relationship between intended meaning/function and audience response in specific cultural and historical contexts;
  3. Conduct advanced art historical research using the full range of scholarly resources;
  4. Recognize the theoretical concerns of art history and its allied disciplines, and discuss and apply specific theoretical perspectives to a given art historical context and to their own research projects.
General Education Learning Outcomes
7AI Artistic Inquiry: Students compose critical or creative works that embody or analyze conceptually an artistic form at a baccalaureate/pre-professional level.
7SI Social Inquiry: Student identifies, frames and analyzes social and/or historical structures and institutions in the world today.



Instructional Websites

This class will be taught from the instructional website The Slide Projector at, Lecture presentations, assignments, and other course materials will be available for you at this site and you will need to access it regularly.

Additional essays will be posted to the AH 200 Assignments page at and exams will be taken outside of class on Blackboard at

Required Textbook

Fred S. Kleiner and Christin J. Mamiya, Gardner’s Art through the Ages: The Western Perspective, Volume I, 13th-15th ed. (Boston: Thomson Wadsworth, Cengage Learning). ISBN 978-1305633940

Gardner's Art Through the Ages
Recommended Textbook
Sylvan Barnet, A Short Guide to Writing About Art, any edition, 10th or 11th preferred (Boston: Pearson Education Inc.). ISBN 978-0205708253


Instructional Strategies
Students will work toward course objectives through: lecture presentations; student reports on readings, active participation in class discussions; in class partner exercises; reading assignments; writing assignments; exams; viewing images, videos, and audio representations of art from the prehistoric era to the medieval period; and viewing of an off-campus exhibition that will require a commute, and may entail a parking fee, and/or entrance fee.
• What is art history?

• Minoan Civilization

• Collections and museums

• Mycenaean Civilization

• Development of printing technologies

• Greek Civilizations
• Ideas on art making

• Geometric Style

• Culture vs. artistic expression

• Orientalizing Style

• Evidence of early peoples

• Archaic Period

• Tools and mark making

• Classic Period

• Animism

• Hellenistic Period

• Neolithic shift
• Etruscan Civilization

• Agriculture as impetus vs. spirituality

• Roman World
• Mesopotamia

• Ingenuity

• Ancient Babylonia & Persia

• Issues of appropriation

• Ancient Egypt
• Early Christian

• Predynastic Period

• Medieval Period

• Tomb architecture and iconography

• Byzantium

• Mummification

• Celtic-Germanic & Hiberno-Saxon Styles

• Canon of forms

• Carolingian Art

• Middle and New Kingdoms

• Ottonian Art

• Amarna Period

• Romanesque

• Prehistoric Aegean
• Gothic Period


Methods of Evaluation

Students will be evaluated on the presentation of evidence that they have achieved the course objectives; the frequency and quality of their contributions to in-class discussion; their ability to make oral and written critical observations about the works of art, artists, movements, and concepts presented in the course; on the quality of the writing they present in written assignments; and on their ability to demonstrate growth in their understanding and application of the history and methodologies for studying prehistoric to medieval art.

There are 500 points possible, which will be earned through the following graded components:

Class Participation - 15%

Students will earn up to 75 participation points through the following activities:

  • Actively and consistently contributing to in-class discussions and applying theoretical ideas to works to earn up to 25 participation points;
  • Voluntarily reporting on assigned readings during class to earn up to 25 participation points through meaningful contributions to multiple conversations over the semester;
  • and Attending one lecture in the Visual Thinker Lecture Series and submitting a VTLS Report worth 25 points within two weeks of attending the event. Please be reminded that Art and Art History majors are required by the department to attend all Visual Thinker Lectures.

Writing Assignments - 55%

Students will earn up to 50 points each through the following assignments:

  • Analysis of work on view at relevant art venue, called the “Museum Analysis”;
  • Two essays considering key concepts and iconography;
  • Architectural analysis through infographic or model;
  • and a Timeline composed of key cultures and characteristic works.
Additionally, on at least one occasion, students will form small groups to collaboratively write a short essay responses to writing prompts given during class. This essay may earn 25 points for all participating students and cannot be made up.

Exams - 30%

Students will take two exams worth 50 points each on the course Blackboard page at https:// In addition. Due to the nature of online testing, and the multi-day duration offered to submit, exams may not be made up. Please use the online class schedule to plan accordingly. The Final Exam, worth 50 points, will be taken in class during our scheduled Final Exam period.


Make-up exams cannot be accommodated, except under extenuating circumstances!


Extra Credit

Students are limited to earning a maximum of 25 points, 5% of the total points possible in extra credit points during the semester. Any points earned above this cap will NOT be applied to the final grade.


*Twenty-Five points of extra credit may be earned by creating a dictionary of at least 50 new terms encountered during the semester.




Points on writing assignments will be earned through committed consideration of the material, demonstration of learned concepts and language, and evidence of critical thinking. In addition to the individual requirements, each writing assignment will earn points based on rigorous analysis, demonstrated comprehension of assigned readings, critical reflection, thoughtful response to questions posed, and active engagement with the material.

(100 to 90%)
Writing demonstrates excellence in both articulation and critical thinking. Art historical methodologies are used thoughtfuly and with exceptional skill. All questions are answered thoroughly, and disussion points carry beyond basic responses with sophistication. Credible academic sources were employed to support the author's positions, and Chicago Manual of Style citation rules were carefully followed. The written assignment leaves little to no room for improvement, and demonstrates committed interest in the discipline.
(89 to 80%)
Writing demonstrates clear focus and an above average consideration of the subject matter. While all questions have been answered, there is room for improvement in carrying the analysis and discussion beyond a basic response. The work exhibits potential for excellence however, a clearer application and understanding of the art historical methodologies is needed. Author has met the requirements for research and citations, but the stated positions could be significantly served by additional research.
(79 to 70%)
Most of the material is understood, but the focus is not entirely clear, and analysis is cursory. Question responses could be more fully realized, and the material, more thoroughly examined. Citation issues are present, little research was executed in support of the author's positions, and/or sources are not credible or academic. There are issues with language that make the writing somewhat difficult to understand.
(69 to 60%)
Writing demonstrates little understanding or connection with the material and is flawed in content and form. Question responses do not provide evidence of critical thinking. Citation issues are present, no research was executed in support of the author's positions, and/or sources are not credible or academic. There are issues with language that make the writing very difficult to understand.
< 59%
Work fails to meet any requirements satisfactorily.



Assignment is incomplete but shows potential. Student is offered one additional class day to revise, add to, and resubmit the assignment.



Instructor Policies
Commitment to the Conversation
Conversation and debate will be central to the learning experience this semester. Art historians do not work in secluded spaces that are entirely disconnected from the world around them. Given the importance of engagement, students will be expected to fully commit to in-class dialogues and will agree to refrain from texting, emailing, and completing out-of-class assignments during lecture. Laptop, tablet, and smart phone use will only be permitted when the devices are being used for the purpose of understanding AH 200 material. Seriously!!! Students found to be using laptops and tablets during class for activities other than those related to our undertaking may be asked to leave class until their full attention can be directed to our course.

Regular attendance is mandatory. You are permitted two unexcused absence without damage to your grade. More than two missed classes will potentially lower your grade, and missing four or more classes will put you at risk of failing the class.

Please also be punctual! Students arriving 15 or more minutes after class begins should expect to be marked absent for the entire class session.

Respect is Key
We may consider provocative, challenging, even vulgar subject matter in this class. It is assumed that each of us undertakes this learning endeavor with honorable intention and a commitment to understanding diverse perspectives and histories. When this is difficult, we agree to keep an open mind and to respect all views and identities, even those with which we do not agree. While engaging in class activities, we agree to refrain from using derogatory, inflammatory, or otherwise disrespectful language. We do such, fully committed to the principles of academic freedom, holding “that censorship is always suspect, that intimidation is always repugnant, and that attempts to discourage constitutionally protected expression are antithetical to the central focus of the university's mission: education and discovery of new knowledge,” and that these principles are “accompanied by a corresponding principle of responsibility.” (from the Chapman University Faculty Manual, 2016)

Please submit coursework that is due on Blackboard by the beginning of class whether you will be absent or in attendance.

Late Assignments
You may submit one assignment, one class day late. The late assignment will not be marked down, however any assignments turned in more than one class late, or in addition to the one accepted assignment, will only receive credit at the discretion of the instructor.



Chapman University Policies
Academic Integrity Policy
Chapman University is a community of scholars which emphasizes the mutual responsibility of all members to seek knowledge honestly and in good faith. Students are responsible for doing their own work, and for submitting coursework completed this semester, for this class. Academic dishonesty of any kind will not be tolerated anywhere in the university. Academic dishonesty of any kind will be subject to sanction by the instructor/administrator and referral to the university's Academic Integrity Committee, which may impose additional sanctions up to and including expulsion. Please see the full description of Chapman University's policy on Academic Integrity at
Students with Disabilities
In compliance with ADA guidelines, students who have any condition, either permanent or temporary, that might affect their ability to perform in this class are encouraged to inform the instructor at the beginning of the term. Upon recommendation of the Center for Academic Success, adaptations of teaching methods, class materials, including text and reading materials or testing may be made as needed to provide for equitable participation.
Equity and Diversity Policy

Chapman University is committed to ensuring equality and valuing diversity. Students and professors are reminded to show respect at all times as outlined in Chapman’s Harassment and Discrimination Policy: at Any violations of this policy should be discussed with the professor, the Dean of Students and/or otherwise reported in accordance with this policy.



Writing Center
All Chapman students are welcome to meet with Writing Center tutors, who can help you with any part of the writing process, from understanding the assignment and finding a significant topic to editing your final drafts. The Writing Center is located in DeMille Hall 130. To guarantee time with a tutor, call (714) 997-6828 or email to schedule an appointment.
Food Pantry
Students in need of access to the food pantry should contact Sherri Maeda-Akau in the Office of Residence Life and First Year Experience at
Sexual Assault

If you have been sexually assaulted, make sure you are in safe place. Call 911 in an emergency, Chapman University Public Safety at (714)997-6721 and, Chapman University ’s Sexual Assault Information Line at (714) 744-7000. Contact Orange PD at (714) 744-7444.

Student Psychological Counseling
If you are in need of help or support immediately you can contact:
CU Student Psychological Counseling - (714) 997-6778
Suicide Prevention Hotline - (800) 273-8255
Drug and Alcohol Abuse Hotline - (800) 662-HELP
National AIDS/STD Info Hotline - (800) 458-5231



Class Schedule and Required Reading
This is a tentative schedule that may change. Assignment directions and due dates will be posted on The Slide Projector. Updates will be announced in class, on lecture presentations, and modified on the Syllabus page of The Slide Projector.
Discussion Topic
Assignment & Reading Due
August 29
August 31
What is art history?
September 5

Prehistoric Beginnings

Chapter 1
September 7
Neolithic Advances

September 12
Ancient Mesopotamia
Chapter 2
September 14
Ancient Babylonia & Persia
Essay 1 Due
September 19
Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt
Chapter 3
September 21
Middle and New Kingdoms
September 26
Form & Meaning
Exam 1 Due
September 28
Prehistoric Aegean
Chapter 4
October 3
Geometric and Archaic Periods
Chapter 5
October 5
Classic Sculpture & Vessels
Essay 2 Due
October 10
Classic Temples
October 12
Hellenistic Period
October 17
Ancient Etruria
Chapter 6
October 19
Republican Rome
Chapter 7
October 24
Imperial Rome
October 26
Roman Ingenuity
Museum Analysis Due
October 31
Fall of Rome
Exam 2 Due
November 2
Early Christian
Chapter 8
November 7
Chapter 9
November 9
Animal Style
Chapter 10
November 14
Early Medieval Europe
Chapter 11
November 16
Carolingian & Ottonian
November 21
Thanksgiving Recess
November 23
November 28
Romanesque Architecture
Chapter 12
November 30
Romanesque Narrative
Architectural Analysis Due
December 5
Gothic Light & Space
Chapter 13
December 7
Late Medieval Italy
Timeline Due
December 12
Final Exam to be taken in class 4:15 to 6:45 PM



Important Dates
Late Registration
The last day to add courses is Friday, September 8.
Drop Deadline
Students wishing to drop the course without record must do so by Friday, September 8. The last day to withdraw from a course, or change grading option to P/NP is Friday, November 3.
Final Exam
The in-class final exam for this course is mandatory, and will not be offered at an alternative date, except under extenuating circumstances. The instructor understands that the holidays and holiday travel come with much urgency and pressure. Nonetheless, the hours set aside for the final exam are a part of your earned credit and as such, are an important component of your grade. Our final exam will be held on Tuesday, December 12 from 4:15 to 6:45 PM.
Grades must be submitted by the instructor by January 1.