This course traces the trajectory of European and Western Art from roots in ancient cultures to the 19th Century and it includes examples of contemporary art for comparison. Art can reveal to its audience the morals and priorities of a culture or simply allow us a glimpse into their fantasies. Onlookers may feel understood, inspired, or excluded. We will contextualize works of art and artists in social and political context to better understand the tensions or harmonies therein, incorporating in-depth coverage of select artworks, periods, and artistic movements. The focus of our study is to critically engage with works of art with considerations of material, historical context, artist, and audience. Students will hone skills of visual analysis through close observation of artworks. In support, readings in art theory and art historical analysis from primary sources will be shared and students will be asked to synthesize ideas in essay writing. Insight into processes of various disciplines of artmaking will be gained through short hands-on studio assignments, as well as local field trips to Boston-area museums and galleries; and the course will also include an introduction to curatorial and editorial practice in Milton’s Nesto Gallery.
This guide created by Laura Pearle; updated March 2022