ARTH 110: Introduction to Art History

Teaching Global Arts In Context.

Our core introductory art history course breaks from the tradition of the western survey course that emphasizes chronology, style, slide tests, and European art.  Rather, this class focuses upon issues and problems in the arts, particularly how the arts express cultural, religious, and social ideas and issues.

Individual sections will examine a variety of broad themes such as the human body, archaeological investigation, and religious architecture. Each class will have several distinct learning units with associated assignments.  Rather than emphasizing memorization and slide tests, these classes will focus upon papers and oral presentations and assignments that seek to solve problems involving the arts.

The content of individual sections will vary considerably according to the expertise of the instructor. Click on the instructor's name below to see a synopsis of the content for each of the five learning units in her or his sections.

All sections of 110 meet the fine arts requirement and the human diversity requirement of the core curriculum. All sections are also Writing To Learn courses.

Unit 1:  Visual Mechanics: How Art Works

Unit 2:  Four Great Cultures of Ancient Mesoamerica

Unit 3:  Roman Architecture in St. Paul?

Unit 4: Survivor: Asmat

Unit 1: Buon Fresco Painting: From Pompeii to the University of St. Thomas

Unit 2: Contemporary Native American Artists and Exhibitions

Unit 3: Beyond the -isms: Modern Art and Ideas

Unit 4: Environmental Art

Unit 5: Arts of the Pacific Islands


Unit 1:  The Ancient World

Unit 2:  Arts Of China, Korea & Japan

Unit 3:  Creating The 19th Century Landscape

Unit 4:  The Rise Of Modernism: Cubism, Primitivism & Expressionism

Unit 5:  After Modernism: Postmodernism, Multiculturalism, Feminism

Unit 1:  Landscape Painting and Land Art

Unit 2:  The Iconography of Buddhism

Unit 3:  Class Structure, Religious Strife, & European Baroque Painting

Unit 4:  Contexts of West African Art

Unit 1: Art Before History

Unit 2: The City as Theatre from the Ancient Near East to the Italian Renaissance

Unit 3: Paradise: The Idea of the Garden in the Islamic World

Unit 4: In Our Image and Likeness: Portraits of/by Women

Unit 5: Light and Meaning from Plato to Us

Unit 1: European Renaissance and Baroque era art and architecture
Unit 2: Mesoamerican art and the impact of the Spanish Conquest on artistic traditions
Unit 3: Colonial Latin American art and culture
Unit 4: Asian artistic traditions along the Silk Road and beyond

Unit 1: Formal Analysis:  The Portrait: From Ancient Akkad to the Digital Selfie

Unit 2: Contextual Analysis: Patronage, Emotion, and Illusion in Baroque Art

Unit 3: Primary Research: Illuminated Manuscripts

Unit 4: Power, Design, and the Spiritual:  Highlights of Islamic Art and Architecture

Unit 5: Orientalist Art: Eugène Delacroix to Henri Matisse


Unit 1: Buddhist Art: the Silk Road, India, China, and Japan  

Unit 2: Architecture of the Gods: Temples, Palaces and Castles

Unit 3: The Tale of Genji: Gender and Art in Japan

Unit 4: East and West: Artistic Intersections


Unit 1: Exhibitions & Power

Unit 2: Graffiti & Street Art

Unit 3: South African Art & Cultural Landscape

Unit 4: Monuments & Memorials

Unit 1: Power in African Arts

Unit 2: Identity in Contemporary Art of the African Diasporas

Unit 3: Gender in Art

Unit 4: Monuments & Memorials

Unit 1:  Art and Architecture of the Ancient Near East and Egypt

Unit 2:  Mesoamerican Art and Architecture

Unit 3:  The Art and Architecture of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome

Unit 4:  Renaissance and Baroque Art and Architecture

Unit 5:  The Early Art of India, China, and Japan

Unit 1: Power and Identity in Ancient Egypt

Unit 2: Ancient Greek Art and its Legacy

Unit 3: Ancient Roman Art and the Greco-Roman Inheritance

Unit 4: The Politics of Plunder: Looting, the Antiquities Trade and the Destruction of Cultural Property



Unit 1: The Art of Memory

Unit 2: Sacred Art and Architecture

Unit 3: Domestic Architecture

Unit 4: Engineered Landscapes