Art in the Western World: From Renaissance to Present

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Art in the Western World: From Renaissance to Present

Art 1B, Fall 2010

Section 2: TuTh 12-1:15 pm

Mariposa 1000
Professor Elaine O'Brien Ph.D.

Office: Kadema 190

Office Hours: Tu 4:30-6;W 12:30-2

Teaching Assistant:

April Brayman

Course Description:
This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the history of the art of the West (Europe and the United States, mostly) from the 15th century – the Renaissance in Italy and the Spanish Conquest – across more than five centuries to the present day. It begins with the transformation of culture that will characterize Western art for centuries: the shift from the medieval era, ideologically dominated by Catholicism, to the “re-birth” of Classical Greco-Roman culture in the Renaissance, emerging first and remaining centered in Italy. Northern Europe and the art of the Protestant Reformation, Spain and the art of Conquest, Counter Reformation and the Baroque are studied. In the 18th and 19th century the center of Western culture shifts to Paris, then to New York City after the Second World War. The course concludes in the 21st century with global contemporary art and its many cultural centers.
Art 1B is a General Education course in Area C-2 (Introduction to the Arts). It is also a required course for Art and Design majors. There are no prerequisites, but it is recommended that Art 1A be taken before Art 1B.

Required textbook: Kleiner, F., C. Mamiya. Gardner’s Art Through the Ages: The Western Perspective, Vol II, 12th edition
Objectives: This course offers you an opportunity to:

  • Gain a body of knowledge of great monuments of post-Medieval Western art

  • Develop an understanding of how art is tied to historical contexts

  • Develop skills and vocabulary for formal analysis

  • Develop critical thinking skills by asking questions such as why an artwork work or artist is famous (canonical) and others are not

  • Develop an appreciation for multiple interpretations of artworks and overcome the mistaken notion that there is one “right” interpretation

  • Make visiting art museums a normal part of your life

  • Develop confidence to evaluate artworks and a sense of the value of art in general outside the academic environment and the bachelor’s degree requirement

  • Develop an understanding of the role of the artist in society

  • Gain some of the worldliness needed for our era of globalization

To help you achieve your learning objectives in this and other courses see:

  • Tips for Successful Students: Guidelines for Academic Success:

  • Dartmouth College Academic Skills website:

  • Note: For an “A” grade college courses require a minimum of 6 hours per week of study outside of class (time for reading, writing papers, preparing projects, and test preparation). Click here for standard academic time requirements and management tips.

Course Requirements and Grade Basis:
Participation 10%

10 Quizzes 50%

Final exam proposal 5%

Final 10%

Points of View paper 25%

Total 100%

Participation: Good participation is how much you help others learn: a positive, questioning, engaged attitude toward the material and the class. This is evident in attendance, arriving on time (and not leaving early), attentiveness (sitting up in the chair, feet on the ground), and note taking.

  • Note taking: Information presented in lecture contains the central concepts of the course and the material likely to be included on exams. We recall only 50% of what we heard and 20-30% of that is incorrect. Therefore, taking good notes is crucial for success in college. Review these directions on note taking:

  • Attendance policy

I will use the quizzes and short response papers to record attendance. Two unexcused absences reduce your grade by half a letter grade; three reduce it by one letter grade; each subsequent absence reduces your grade by a whole letter. Five unexcused absences result in automatic failure. Chronic (more than 3 times) incidents of lateness or leaving early can reduce your grade by one letter. Scheduled appointments, transportation problems, and job demands are not excused. Illness and family/childcare emergencies are excused with a written excuse from your doctor or the student health clinic. Inform me of family emergencies or any situation that will keep you from class. Do not hesitate to come see me during my office hours, by appointment or feel free to email me.

  • Note: Use of cellphones, laptops, all electronic gadgets and communication equipment distracts other students. Please keep everything turned off and out of sight during class. Otherwise I will ask you to leave the class and count you as absent. Laptops for note taking are permitted in the first two rows only.

  • Note: A dark art history lecture room is soporific. Sleeping in class, however, means you aren’t learning. It lowers the class energy level and morale, including mine. If you fall asleep, I will ask you to leave class and count you absent.

  • Note: No eating please.

If you have a disability and require accommodations, you need to provide disability documentation to SSWD, Lassen Hall 1008, (916) 278-6955. Please discuss your accommodation needs with me after class or during my office hours early in the semester.
NOTE: See me during my office hours or by appointment (not before or after class) for discussions that will take time, such as your progress in class, or situations that are affecting your performance. Feel free to email me. Exchange contact information with two students sitting next to you in lecture.

Quizzes: Most Tuesday classes begin with a (timed) 15-minute quiz. Quiz cancellations and format changes are announced in class.

  • Identification of one or two artworks from the previous week’s lectures and possibly one from any previous lecture

  • Format: Identify 1) full name and nationality of artist, 2) title of artwork, and 3) date (the century until 1800; quarter century until 1900; and for the 20th and 21st centuries, know the decade), 4) medium, and 5) historically significant points about the artwork.

  • A few quizzes might be essays on a question given in the previous class. This will be announced in class.

  • Scoring is on a scale from 1-10 points based on how much mastery of the material is demonstrated. Write all the facts (who?what?why?where?when?). Display as much as you can of what you have learned.

  • Points will be totaled and averaged at the end of the semester. After I drop your lowest score, I add up and average the rest of the quiz scores. Students with an overall average of 8 or higher are excused from the final exam. If you are excused from the final exam, your score on the final will be your quiz average. For example, if you got an average of 9.5, your final exam grade will be an A. If you quiz average is 8.5, your final exam grade will be a B. You may take the final exam if you want, but be aware that your score on the final can bring your grade down as well as up.

      • Keep your quizzes for possible discrepancies at the end of the semester.

      • No makeup quizzes will be given, but one “free” quiz (missed or low score) is subtracted from the total.

Suggestions for how to study for an art history quiz:

  • Form a study group or get a study partner

  • Review the description of the quizzes on the syllabus.

  • Go to the Art 1B PowerPoint lectures on the course website

  • Make flashcards – one for every artwork that was shown in lecture.

  1. On the front of the card draw a thumbnail sketch of the artwork with no written information.

  2. On the back, write down information you will need to know about that artwork. Note information from Art Through the Ages and lecture about this work and related works. Write titles and names of related artists.

  3. For essay questions, think about what question you would ask about this work if you were the professor. Use your notes to review the points emphasized in lecture.

Final Exam Proposal: Due December 9, typed, 12-font, double spaced.

Throughout the semester, as you study for quizzes, take notes for your final exam proposal. As if you were the professor, write a final exam for this class following the format below.

  • Final exam proposal has two parts:

  1. A list of the 10 most important works of art presented in lecture. Write a brief explanation of each work’s historical significance to explain why you selected it. Use your class notes and the book.

  2. 2 essay questions, loosely 100 words each, on a theme that runs through the history of Western art from the Renaissance to the present.

  • The final exam proposal is NOT accepted late.

  • For the in-class final review on December 9, small groups will collaboratively write one final exam question derived from individual proposals. Be able to say why it’s an important question. Each group will list on the board the titles and artists of 10 most important artworks and be able to defend their choices.

  • The final exam is written (by me) from the class review. Identification questions are drawn from student lists of most important artworks. I will email the exam essay question(s) and a list of artworks to study for the final to all students via “My Sac State” email.

Final Exam: December 14, 3-5pm

The final is a two-hour cumulative exam consisting of 6 identification questions (using the quiz format) and one or two essay questions derived from student proposals and discussion.

  • NOTE: If you have averaged 8 (B) on the quizzes the final is optional. If you hope to get an “A” in the class and you have earned a “B” on your quizzes, you may take the final exam to raise your course grade, but it can also lower your grade.

Points of View paper:  5 pages (1100 words, typed, double space, 12-font)

Select an art work from the list below and using the CSU Library databases find three scholarly articles that interpret that artwork from different perspectives. 

  • First:

  • 1) insert a picture of the artwork

  • 2) list full citations for each of the 3 articles using correct Chicago style bibliographic format (see link below) =10 points

  • Then summarize and describe the point of view of each of the three articles. 


  • Quote (and cite) each author to prove that each interpretation is correct. 

  • Paraphrase each quote = 30 points

  • Use footnotes or endnotes (citations) correctly and in correct format. = 10 points 

  • Conclude with

  • 1) an overall comparative summary of the three points of view and

  • 2) your own conclusion (point of view) about the meaning of the artwork drawn from the articles = 25 points

  • How well you have followed directions = 10 points

  • Writing: correct grammar, sentence and paragraph structure, composition, spelling = 10 points

  • Note: Use The Writing Center

  • Professional presentation (not creative): Your paper must be clean and well-printed. Print it out in the technology center if your printer isn’t good or your ink is low.

  • Create a Chicago style title page and staple in the left hand corner [For a sample title page and other helpful information: ] = 5 points

Total points: 100-90=A, 89-80=B, 79-70=C, 69-60=D, 59 and below = F

  • Note: Use full-text peer-reviewed articles only (definition: . We will have a class on using library databases from Tamara Trujillo, the university arts librarian.  She is eager to help you and so am I.  You are encouraged to come see me or Ms. Trujillo during our office hours for a one-on-one lesson on using databases and other online sources. Refer to CSUS library art history research resources:

Format for footnotes or endnotes (either one is fine) and bibliographical citations:   

Note: Do not use parenthetical text citation.

For free, one-on-one help with writing in any class, visit the University Reading and Writing Center in Calaveras 128. The Reading and Writing Center can help you at any stage in your reading and writing processes: coming up with a topic, developing and organizing a draft, understanding difficult texts, or developing strategies to become a better editor. To make an appointment or a series of appointments, visit the Reading and Writing Center in CLV 128 or call 278-6356. We also offer real-time online tutoring and small-group tutoring. For current Reading and Writing Center hours and more information, visit the website at
Extra Credit:

  • Extra credit opportunities are activities that will increase your understanding of art and visual culture, such as attending artist lectures, museum reports, reports on art documentaries and artist biography films available in the campus library, etc. You can think up your own art activity, but see me if you aren’t sure it qualifies.

  • Extra credit points (5 or 10) are recorded next to your name in the grade book.

  • Extra credit points are not averaged into quiz or other scores for required assignments, but they can make a significant difference at the end of the semester. If your grade is on the border – between a B+ and an A, for example – extra credit points can move you to the higher grade. They can also make up for an unexcused absence, but you must discuss that intention with me first.

Schedule: subject to changes announced in class

  • Lectures are available on the course website after I give them in class.

August 31: Introduction


  • Look at each of the pictures in your textbook, Gardner’s Art Through the Ages. Each one has a number. Count: 1) total number of artworks in each chapter, and 2) the number of artworks by women in each chapter. Do not count maps or diagrams, only art and architecture. If a woman artist has more than one work illustrated in the book, count both artworks. Some artist’s names are unisex, so read the information about that picture in the text to find out if the author refers to the artist as “he” or “she.”

Read: “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? – an article written by American art historian Linda Nochlin in 1970. Print out the Nochlin essay, underline her thesis statement and supporting points and bring the article to class for discussion.

NOTE: Do not read this essay as if it were written today. In 1970, when Nochlin wrote it, there were relatively few women artists living or dead. Today there are almost as many women artists as men and art historians write about women artists almost as much as they do male artists. What do you think has made the difference?

NOTE: On the first quiz, I will ask you to give 2 numbers: the total number of reproductions in the entire book and the total number by women artists. I will also ask you to write Linda Nochlin’s thesis statement in one or two sentences.
Sept. 2: Discuss Nochlin // watch episode of Guns, Germs, and Steel

Take notes on film. Write down 1) Jarod Diamond’s thesis 2) key points that support his thesis

Sept. 7: Library instruction (after quiz): Tamara Trujillo

Quiz on course requirements (syllabus), the number count of artworks in Gardner by women, total number of artworks, Linda Nochlin’s thesis, and Jarod Diamond’s thesis. How are Nochlin and Diamond’s projects related?

Read: Gardner “Introduction” and Chapter 14

Sept 9: Read: Gardner Chapter 15
Sept 14: No quiz / Renaissance / Homework : Select 3 possible artwork topics from the list below for Point of View paper
Sept 16: Renaissance / Signup sheet will be passed around in class for you to select three Point of View topics. No topic can have more than three students sign up for it.

Read: Gardner Chapter 16

Sept 21: Quiz

Sept 23: Read: Chapter 17

Sept 28: Quiz // 16th Century

Read Chapter 18

Sept 30:

Oct 5: Quiz // Baroque

Read: Chapter 19
October 5 at 6:30pm: Extra Credit Opportunity, Mendocino Hall 1005

Free public film screening of Unveiled Views: Muslim Women Artists Speak Out

A film by Alba Sotorra, 2009, 52 minutes, Bosnian, Turkish, Farsi, Urdu, English subtitles,

Audience response and discussion after the film (film trailer & description of film)
Oct 7: Baroque

Oct 12: Quiz // Late Baroque

Read: Chapter 20

Oct 14: Rococo// Naturalism & Enlightenment

Oct 19: Quiz // Neoclassicism

Oct 21: Romanticism

Oct 26: Quiz // Romanticism

Oct 28:

Read: Chapter 21

Nov. 2: 19th Century Modernism

Read: Chapter 22

Nov 4: 19th Century

Nov 9: Quiz // 19th Century Modernism

Nov 11: 20th Century Modernism

Nov 16: 20th Century Modernism

Nov 18: 20th Century

Read: Chapter 23

Nov 23: Quiz // 20th Century

Nov 30: Point of View paper due/Contemporary

Dec 2: Contemporary

Dec 7: Quiz / Art in the 21st Century - video

Dec 9: Final Exam Proposal Due // Class creates exam from proposals

Final Exam: December 14, 3-5pm

List of Artworks for Point of View Paper

  1. Giotto, Lamentation, Arena Chapel, 1305

  2. Lorenzo Ghiberti, “Gates of Paradise,” Florence Cathedral, 1425-52

  3. Masaccio, Brancacci Chapel 1424-1427

  4. Masaccio, Holy Trinity, ca. 1424-27

  5. Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus, 1484-1486

  6. Filippo Brunelleschi, Florence Cathedral dome, 1420-1436

  7. Jan van Eyck, Giovani Arnolfini and His Bride, 1434

  8. Donatello, David, late 1420s – late 1450s

  9. Andrea Mantegna, Dead (or Foreshortened) Christ, ca. 1501

  10. Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel ceiling,1508-12; Last Judgment, 1536-1541

  11. Michelangelo, David, 1501-1504

  12. Leonardo da Vinci, Mona Lisa, ca. 1485

  13. Leonardo da Vinci, Last Supper, 1495-1498

  14. Raphael, School of Athens (Philosophy), 1509-11

  15. Titian, Venus of Urbino, 1538

  16. Albrecht Durer, Four Apostles, 1526

  17. Hans Holbein, The French Ambassadors, 1533

  18. Peter Bruegel the Elder, Hunters in the Snow, 1565

  19. El Greco, The Burial of Count Orgaz, 1586

  20. Diego Velazquez, Las Meninas, 1656

  21. Gianlorenzo Bernini, Ecstasy of Saint Theresa, 1645

  22. Caravaggio, The Conversion of Saint Paul, 1601

  23. Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith Slaying Holofernes, ca. 1614-1620

  24. Rembrandt, The Night Watch

  25. Jan Vermeer, Allegory of the Art of Painting, 1670-1675

  26. Antoine Watteau, Pilgrimage to Cythera, 1717-1719

  27. Francisco Goya, The Third of May 1808, 1814

  28. Theodore Gericault, The Raft of the Medusa, 1818-1819

  29. Eugene Delacroix, Liberty Leading the People, 1830

  30. Henry Fuseli, The Nightmare, 1781

  31. JMW Turner, The Slave Ship, 1840

  32. Jacques Louis David, Death of Marat, 1793

  33. Thomas Jefferson, Monticello, 1770-1806

  34. Edmonia Lewis, Forever Free, 1867

  35. John Nash, The Royal Pavillion, 1815-1818

  36. Joseph Paxton, Crystal Palace, London, 1851

  37. Julia Margaret Cameron, Ophelia, Study no. 2, 1867

  38. Timothy O’Sullivan, A Harvest of Death, Gettysburg, Pennyslvania, July 1863

  39. Eadweard Muybridge, Horse Galloping, 1878

  40. Gustave Courbet, A Burial at Ornans, 1849

  41. Edouard Manet, Olympia, 1863

  42. Edouard Manet, Le Dejeuner sur L’Herbe (Luncheon on the Grass), 1863

  43. Edouard Manet, Bar at the Folies-Bergere, 1882

  44. Claude Monet, Impression, Sunrise, 1872

  45. Claude Monet, Rouen Cathedral (series), 1890s

  46. Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Le Moulin de la Galette, 1876

  47. Mary Cassatt, The Bath, ca. 1892

  48. Edgar Degas, The Tub, 1886

  49. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, At the Moulin Roughe, 1892-1895

  50. J.A.M. Whistler, Nocturne in Black and Gold (The Falling Rocket), ca 1875

  51. Thomas Eakins, The Gross Clinic, 1875

  52. Vincent van Gogh, The Night Café, 1888

  53. Vincent van Gogh, Starry Night, 1889

  54. Paul Gauguin, Vision After the Sermon, or Jacob Wrestling with the Angel, 1888

  55. Georges Seurat, A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, 1884-1886

  56. Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1893

  57. Gustav Klimt, The Kiss, 1907-1908

  58. Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, Eiffel Tower, Paris, 1889

  59. Paul Cézanne, Mont Sainte-Victoire, 1902-1904

  60. Auguste Rodin, Walking Man, 1905

  61. Victor Horta, The Van Eetvelde House, Brussels, 1895

  62. Antonio Gaudi, Casa Mila, Barcelona,1907

  63. Louis Sullivan, Carson, Pirie, Scott Building, Chicago, 1899-1904

  64. Henri Matisse, Woman with the Hat, 1905

  65. Kathe Kollwitz, Woman with a Dead Child, 1903

  66. Vassily Kandinsky, Improvisation 28, 1912

  67. Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, 1907

  68. Pablo Picasso, maquette for Guitar, 1912

  69. Pablo Picasso, Guernica, 1937

  70. Georges Braque, Le Portuguese, 1911

  71. Marcel Duchamp, Fountain, 1917

  72. Jean (Hans) Arp, Collage Arranged According to the Laws of Chance, 1916-17

  73. Max Beckmann, Night, 1918-19

  74. Hannah Hoch, Cut with the Kitchen Knife …, 1919-1920

  75. Alfred Stieglitz, The Steerage, 1907

  76. Edward Weston, Nude, 1925

  77. Salvador Dali, The Persistence of Memory, 1931

  78. Rene Magritte, The Treachery of Images, 1928-1929

  79. Piet Mondrian, Composition with Red, Blue and Yellow, 1930

  80. Brancusi, Bird in Space, 1924

  81. Dorothea Lange, Migrant Mother, Nipoma Valley, 1935

  82. Grant Wood, American Gothic, 1930

  83. Edward Hopper, Nighthawks, 1942

  84. Jacob Lawrence, Migration of the Negro (series), 1941-1941

  85. Diego Rivera, History of Mexico, Palacio Nacional, Mexico City, 1929-1935

  86. Gerrit Rietveld, Schroeder House, Utrech, the Netherlands, 1924

  87. Le Corbusier, Villa Savoye, Poissy-sur-Seine, France, 1929

  88. Frank Lloyd Wright, Robie House, Chicago, 1907-1909

  89. Jackson Pollock, Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist), 1950

  90. Willem de Kooning, Woman 1, 1952

  91. Louise Bourgeois, Cumul I, 1969

  92. Eva Hesse, Hang-Up, 1963-1966

  93. Jasper Johns, Flag, 1954-1955

  94. Andy Warhol, Marilyn Diptych, 1962

  95. Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still (series), 1970s

  96. Chris Ofili, The Holy Virgin Mary, 1996

  97. Maya Lin, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington, D.C., 1981-1983

  98. Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty, Great Salt Lake, Utah, 1970

  99. Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Surrounded Islands, 1980-83, Florida

  100. Nam June Paik, Global Groove, 1973

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