AH 201 Syllabus

Renaissance to Modern Art

Whistler, Nocturne in Black and Gold
Fall 2018

Monday and Wednesday 8 to 10:15 AM

Instructor: Denise Johnson
Office Hours by appointment


click here for a printable syllabus



Course Description

AH 201 - Renaissance to Modern Art is an introduction to the development of the visual arts in Europe, Britain, and America from the Renaissance to the 20th century.

In this course, we will consider the western canon as established in Italy during a period of significant cultural shift, follow its influence, then trace multiple challenges to this academic order as the modern world emerges. We will cover more than 500 years of social, cultural, political, and material history in Europe and the United States, while building 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. Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the major artists, movements, and events that shaped Renaissance to Modern art;
    2. Identify and compare the aesthetic and philosophical characteristics associated with major periods of art from the Renaissance to the emergence of Modernism;
    3. Describe and discuss the formal, stylistic, technical, and conceptual qualities of works of art produced from c. 1300 to the early modern era utilizing vocabulary relevant to the discipline of art history;
    4. Apply appropriate art historical methodologies to the understanding of works of art, with a demonstration of growing understanding of these methods over the semester;
    5. and Analyze the relationships that existed between innovations in artistic practice and the social, cultural, and political changes that took place in Europe during the Renaissance and through the modern era.
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, www.theslideprojector.com. 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 201 Assignments page at www.theslideprojector.com and exams will be taken outside of class on Blackboard at blackboard.chapman.edu.

Required Textbook

Fred S. Kleiner and Christin J. Mamiya, Gardner’s Art through the Ages: The Western Perspective, Volume II, 13th-15th ed. (Boston, Massachusetts: Thomson Wadsworth, Cengage Learning). ISBN 978-1305645059

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.
• Context of the Renaissance

• Rococo

• Medieval faith and innovation

• French & American Revolutions

• Ancient discoveries

• Neoclassicism

• Humanism and rebirth

• Romanticism

• Early Renaissance

• Realism

• Northern Europe

• Photography

• Italy

• Industrial Revolution

• Making “Art” during the Renaissance

• Emerging middle class

• Patronage & artist guilds

• Impressionism

• Materials & tools

• Post Impressionism
• Quattrocento Italy

• Symbolism

• High Renaissance

• Modernism

• Mannerism

• Expressionism

• Cinquecento Italy

• Fauvism

• Northern Europe & Spain

• Cubism

• Baroque


• Italy & Spain


• Northern Europe



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 - 10%

Students may earn up to 50 participation points by completing two of the following activities:

    • Actively and consistently contributing to in-class discussions and applying theoretical ideas to works to earn up to 25 participation points;
    • Report on at least five assigned readings through a post on the class blog that outlines three main points or “take aways” from the reading. Your challenge is to avoid repeating the comments made in previous posts. Each post may earn up to 5 points; 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 - 60%

Students may earn up to 75 points by completing four of the following assignments:

    • Iconographic analysis through an infographic;
    • Analysis of a work using a given art historical methodology;
    • Analysis of work on view at a relevant art venue
    • Architectural analysis through poster, diagram, or model; and
    • Timeline considering key historical events and characteristic works.

Exams - 30%

Students will take two exams worth 50 points each on the course Blackboard page at https:// blackboard.chapman.edu. 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.


A final examination in the form of a Socratic Circle will be worth 50 points and will be conducted in class during our scheduled final exam period.


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. The highest Passing grade is a C-.
(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 sleeping, texting, emailing, and completing out-of-class or other class assignments during AH 201 class meetings. Distracted students may be asked to leave class until their full attention can be directed to our course.
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 intent and a commitment to understanding diverse perspectives and histories. When this is difficult for us, we agree to keep an open mind and to respect all views and identities, even those with which we do not personally agree. While engaging in class activities, we agree to refrain from using derogatory, inflammatory, or otherwise disrespectful language. We do so, fully committed to the principles of academic freedom outlined in the 2016 Chapman University Faculty Manual, holding “that the widest possible scope for freedom of expression is the foundation of an institution dedicated to vigorous inquiry, robust debate, and the continuous search for a proper balance between freedom and order,” “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.”

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.

Letting the instructor know that you will be absent by email is always appreciated! Please understand, due to the large number of emails received, the instructor may not be able to reply. The instructor will maintain a simple record of attendance that will not distinguish between excused and unexcused absences. If you are not present, you are not able to participate. The circumstances that prevented you from being able to attend class do not change this.


Please submit all coursework on Blackboard before class begins, on the day the assignment is due, whether you will be absent or in attendance. If you encounter a problem submitting on Blackboard, please notify the instructor via email as soon as possible and attach the completed assignment.

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 www.chapman.edu/academics/academic-integrity/index.aspx
Students with Disabilities Policy
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 www.chapman.edu/faculty-staff/human-resources/eoo.aspx. 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 tutor@chapman.edu 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 maeda@chapman.edu.
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
14th edition
15th edition
August 27
August 29
Writing Art History
What Is Art History?
September 3
Labor Day - No Class
September 5

Setting the Scene

September 10
Early Renaissance Italy
Chapter 14
Chapter 14
September 14
Early Northern Renaissance
Chapter 20
Chapter 15
September 17
Deconstructing Flemish Symbols

Arnolfini Portrait & The Life of Jesus in Art (in textbook)

September 19
Rennaisance Innovation
Chapter 21
Chapter 16
September 24
High Renaissance in Italy
Exam 1 Due
September 26
Renaissance Mastery
Chapter 17
pages 503 - 530
October 1
Venetian Exuberance
Chapter 22
Chapter 17
pages 530 - 553
October 3
Northern Renaissance
Infographic Due
October 8
Chapter 23
Chapter 18
October 10
Baroque Italy
Chapter 24
Chapter 19
October 15
New Realism
October 17
Baroque Spain
Visual Analysis 1 Due
October 22
Northern Baroque
Chapter 25
Chapter 20
October 24
French Academy
Page 661
October 29
Exam 2 Due
October 31
The Enlightenment
Chapter 26
Chapter 21
November 5
November 7
Chapter 27
Chapter 22
November 12
Realism & Other Assaults
November 14
The Avant-Garde
Visual Analysis 2 Due
November 19
Thanksgiving Recess
November 21
November 26
November 28
Chapter 28
Chapter 23
December 3
Modern "Isms"
Chapter 29
Pages 761 - 780
December 5
Architectural Analysis or Timeline Due
December 10
Final Exam to be taken in class 8 to 10:30 AM



Important Dates
Late Registration
The last day to add courses is Friday, September 7.
Drop Deadline
Students wishing to drop the course without record must do so by Friday, September 7. The last day to change grading option to P/NP is Friday, September 28, and to withdraw from a course is November 2.
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 Thursday, December 13 from 8 to 10:30 AM.
Grades must be submitted by the instructor by January 1.