Visual Arts - History (VAHI)

VAHI 100 —  Introduction To Visual Arts Course count: 1 

Fundamental, introductory course in art history and visual culture. Emphasis is on the acquisition of basic visual skills and an understanding of the major periods in the history of art. Exposure to works of art through the collections of The Worcester Art Museum is an integral part of the course.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

VAHI 111 —  History of Global Arch I Course count: 1 

This course offers a survey of the history of architecture from pre-history to post-modernism. It is introductory and examines the most important structures, monuments, and buildings of western civilization. Although focus is on architecturally great examples, vernacular building will also be included when appropriate. This is a beginning course in architectural history and therefore stresses the development of basic skills.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Fall

VAHI 112 —  History of Global Arch II Course count: 1 

This course is the second half of a year-long introduction to the fundamental elements of architecture within a global and historical framework. Lectures and discussions are organized around different monuments from the Ming Dynasty and early modern Europe to the present, and they attempt to balance regional and chronological approaches to the study of architecture and the built environment.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Spring

VAHI 136 —  Narrative In Art & Film Course count: 1 

An introduction to the visual traditions of film making from its origins to today. Study of a wide range of types including documentaries, comedies, drama, and even science fiction gives student ample choices for their own topics.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Spring

VAHI 137 —  Destruction and Renewal Course count: 1 

Years after the collapse of the World Trade Center, we are profoundly aware of the powerful forces of destruction in our society. Yet these are also countered by stories of survival, preservation, and renewal. This course investigates how cities and landscapes absorb and accommodate radical change over time, with Rome as a fundamental point of reference. The Eternal City has earned its name by being continuously inhabited throughout its millennial history, even as its archeological sites continue to be destroyed, transformed, and reused. In the second half of the course, we will expand our investigation outward to consider how other people around the globefrom the United States to Afghanistancontinue to grapple with these complex problems in the present.

GPA units: 1

VAHI 150 —  Museum Studies Course count: 1 

What is the role of the museum in today's hi-tech and multicultural society? How has that role changed since the rise of the museum among the educated elite in the early modern period? This course addresses such central questions in the history, mission, and structure of museums. We also explore the ways in which visual display conveys knowledge and builds broader arguments about cultures and society. We engage with the ethics embedded in acquiring and displaying irreplaceable and ritual objects from other cultures. In addition, this course also treats practical issues like funding, organization, and public outreach in museums. Students participate in field trips to different types of museums and learn about careers as directors, curators, collections managers, and educators in museums and historic houses.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Annually

VAHI 201 —  Introduction to Islamic Art Course count: 1 

An introductory course exploring the art and architecture dating from the inception of Islam in seventh- century Arabia through the 16th and 17th centuries in Safavid Iran, Mughal India, and the territories ruled by the Ottoman Turks. The religious, and social, cultural, and political significance of Islamic art is analyzed.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts, Cross-Cultural Studies

Typically Offered: Alternate Years

VAHI 202 —  Art of Africa and the Americas Course count: 1 

An introductory course exploring the art of Africa and the Americas. Art is considered within its cultural context ( e.g., Benin, Yoruba, Maya, Aztec, Hopi) and within the larger contexts of imperialism, western and non-western ideologies, and practices of collection and exhibition. Deeper questions about the nature and function of art across cultures provide the focus for discussion.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts, Cross-Cultural Studies

Typically Offered: Alternate Years

VAHI 204 —  Arts of Religion Course count: 1 

Deals with art from the 4th century and the era of Constantine to the age of the great cathedrals in the 13th century. Architecture, manuscript illumination, stained glass, and sculpture are included. Receives both Arts and Religion Distribution requirements.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts, Studies in Religion

Typically Offered: Annually

VAHI 205 —  Global Commerce in 15th Century Italy Course count: 1 

Early modern Italy was a commercial hub for the western world, with trade networks radiating across the Mediterranean into Europe, Africa, and Asia. We will consider how conditions in this flourishing economic crossroads favored the development of the unprecedented artistic culture of the early Renaissance. (Formerly Early Renaissance Art.)

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Alternate Years

VAHI 206 —  Art & Antiquity in 16C Italy Course count: 1 

From "the rediscovery of classical antiquity" in Rome and the outpouring of artistic energy known as the High Renaissance, we will move outward to investigate the role of art and architecture in shaping the political and cultural realignments that defined this critical turning point in European history.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Alternate Years

VAHI 207 —  Art, Science and Power 17C Course count: 1 

This course explores the explosive artistic creativity of 17th-century Europe as a process shaped by complex political and economic dynamics as well as by scientific discoveries. We will consider how the emergence of Baroque art was tied to the incipient scientific revolution, as well as the constant need to reinforce rulership, status, and authority.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Alternate Years

VAHI 209 —  Art in the Modern World, 1780 to 1940 Course count: 1 

Traces major European art movements from the late 18th to the mid 20th centuries (including Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, Expressionism, Cubism, Dada, Surrealism, and others) with a focus on the development of Modernism.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Fall

VAHI 210 —  Contemporary Art, 1940 to the Present Course count: 1 

Movements discussed include Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Minimalism, Conceptual Art, performance and installation art, time-based and digital art, activist art, public art, and current art.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

VAHI 214 —  17C Dutch Art & Society Course count: 1 

The course studies the art the northern Netherlands at a time when maritime trade with North America and the Middle and Far East made it a global cultural center. Painting and printmaking receive particular focus.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Alternate Years

VAHI 220 —  The Arts in America Course count: 1 

A study of painting, sculpture, architecture, and the decorative arts from the colonial period to the present. Emphasis on such major themes and styles as portraiture, genre painting, American impressionism, and modernism, including Native American and African American traditions and Asian influences. Art works will be studied in their cultural, social and political contexts. Course requirements include museum visits.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Alternate Years

VAHI 230 —  American Architecture Course count: 1 

What is "American" about American architecture? What unique patterns can we discern by studying the built environment? This course will trace the evolution of American architecture from the countrys earliest days to recent years. We will explore how national identity, local context, and diverse landscapes have contributed to a distinct American architectural narrative. The course will engage primary source texts and local site visits to illustrate the nuances of important themes.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Alternate Years

VAHI 240 —  Modern Architecture Course count: 1 

This lecture course explores American and European architecture from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day, interweaving major architectural movements with regional dialogues about political, socio-economic, and technological change. Strong emphasis on critical reading, class discussion, and preparation of research projects.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Annually

VAHI 250 —  Making the Modern City Course count: 1 

This lecture course probes the catalysts and implements of urban change around the globe since the Industrial Revolution. Using case studies of major cities, the course will explore how local political, socio-economic, and technical shifts wrought physical changes at the scale of the city. Our scope includes those figures who were agents of, and targets of, urban change; as well as the layers of water, sewer, electric, and transportation infrastructure that empower modern metropolises. We will also explore polarities of public vs. private and city vs. country. The course engages local examples, and when possible, includes a CBL component.

GPA units: 1

Typically Offered: Annually

VAHI 310 —  Kings & Caliphs: Art of Luxury Course count: 1 

The art and architecture of the medieval Mediterranean region bore vibrant witness to the conflict and cooperation between Christian, Jewish, and Muslim cultures. This course explores how icons, illuminated manuscripts, palaces, mosques, reliquaries, and other objects and sites can reveal the ways in which medieval individuals viewed "others" and themselves. Students with an interest in art history, religion, history, politics, architecture, languages or literature are welcome; we will look at the "long medieval" period from the late classical through the Renaissance. This is a seminar, and students are expected to engage in intensive individual research.

Enrollment limited to 2nd, 3rd and 4th year students only

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts, Cross-Cultural Studies

Typically Offered: Alternate Years

VAHI 320 —  The Modern Home Course count: 1 

This seminar will probe the varying philosophical and stylistic definitions of home in the modern period. Is a home always a house? What kind of house? And what defines a modern home? We will explore the roles of patron/architect and developer/resident, definitions of stylistic modernity, modern materiality, and modern settlement patterns. The course will engage issues of race, gender, and power in the home, class and social welfare, as well as the architectural intentions and impacts of iconic buildings from the architectural canon.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Alternate Years

VAHI 330 —  Designing Green Course count: 1 

Green," in color and concept, is a word that has meant many different things to different societies over the centuries. This course will explore the notion of "green" across time and space, focused on the application of this term to the natural and built environment, and mankind's relationship to them. Topics will include color theory, gardens as place-making tools in varying religious and cultural contexts, the protection and commodification of natural landscapes as public parks, the abundance and loss of trees, the history of "the lawn," the birth of modern environmentalism, and recent narratives about sustainable design of products, architecture, and landscapes.

Enrollment limited to 3rd and 4th year students only

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

VAHI 340 —  American Landscapes Course count: 1 

After studying the origins of landscape imagery, this course considers how landscape art was transformed in American culture. Topics include 19th century paintings of the Hudson River school, photographs and paintings of the American west, and the use of landscape motifs by contemporary environmental artists. We will engage in three main activities: 1) reading and discussing scholarly analyses of the history of landscape painting, nature writing and theories of/about the land; 2) working with a range of primary sources, including materials in local archives and museums; 3) trying our hand at creating new accounts of the landscapes around us.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

VAHI 400 —  Capstone Seminar Course count: 1 

Designed for majors, this course provides a critical examination of issues and methods in the literature of the history of art. Students also complete a capstone project often concentrating on the collection of the Worcester Art Museum or other important local sites.

GPA units: 1

Typically Offered: Fall

VAHI 420 —  Tutorial Course count: 1 

Tutorials relate to all areas covered by Visual Arts History 200 courses. One unit each semester.

GPA units: 1