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Course Listings

For the days and times that the following classes meet, please refer to the Schedule of Classes at:!input.action

Click here for detailed information as to how these courses apply towards requirements for the History of Art major or minor.

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Note that courses are arranged by Subject Area:  Introductory survey courses, Freshman Seminars, 1000W courses, then courses in Global/Non-Western, Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque, and Modern Art, followed by Elective courses and Advanced Seminars.


HART 1105: History of Western Art: Renaissance to Modern Art.
An introductory survey of Western art history from the Renaissance to the Modern period, considering primarily painting, sculpture, and architecture. Please note that the chronological and thematic range of material covered will vary somewhat depending on the instructor. HART 1105 is intended to provide a historical understanding of the major artistic movements within the Western visual tradition, and to encourage students to develop a literate and critical eye. Attention is given to works of specific artists, as well as cultural factors that affect the visual arts from production to reception. Counts toward HART Major, Minor, and ARCH Major, Minor as a 1000-level course. [3] Rebecca VanDiver. (AXLE: HCA). 


HART 1122: History of Western Architecture II.
In this course,various buildings, urban schemes, landscapes and other architectural subjects from 1700 to the present will be considered in relation to their aesthetic, cultural, social, and political contexts at the time of their construction and in their later reappraisals by historians and designers. This course, in addition to providing a survey of prominent as well as some obscure but significant designs and styles, will investigate projects’ relevance to contemporary practice and discourse. Among the architects we will consider are Perrault, Piranesi, Wren, Viollet-le-Duc, Corbusier, Wright, and Gehry. Counts toward HART Major, Minor, and ARCH Major, Minor as a 1000-level course. [3] Matthew Worsnick. (AXLE: INT).


HART 1205: Arts of South and Southeast Asia. 
This survey course provides an introduction to the arts of South and Southeast Asia from the second millennium BCE to the present, including countries such as India, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Burma, and Malaysia.  We will look at selective artifacts and sites from these regions to understand the development of artistic traditions in response to cultural exchange and political dynamics.  We will also explore the formation of political and social identities as reflected in the artistic production of South and Southeast Asia. The main goals of the course are two-fold: 1) to learn the basic vocabulary and concepts for discussing different artistic traditions of South and Southeast Asia, and 2) to develop skills in analyzing Asian arts critically, using vocabulary and concepts acquired throughout the course. Counts toward HART Major, Minor, and ARCH Major, Minor as a 1000-level course. [3] Heeryoon Shin. (AXLE: INT).


HART 1400: U.S. Icons and Monuments. 
The chronological scope of this course ranges from 1776 to the present, and will cover important North American icons and monuments such as George Washington, the U.S. Capitol, the Statue of Liberty, and Mount Rushmore, among many others. A special focus of this course will be important landmarks in Nashville, and we will make outdoor field trips to the Parthenon, the Tennessee State Capitol, the Ryman, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and more, Covid-19 guidelines permitting. We will consider how and why images of people, historical events, and symbols are revered, and the associated implications for national identity, historical memory, consumerism, and political ideologies. No credit for students who have completed the similarly titled Freshman Seminar HART 1111-13 due to overlap in content. Counts toward HART Major, Minor, and ARCH Major and Minor as a 1000-level course. [3] Kevin Murphy. (AXLE: US).


HART 1285W: Introduction to Medieval Art. 
The period we call the Middle Ages was once considered the murky space between antiquity and modernity, but it includes a variety of distinctive cultures and their achievements in works as diverse as tiny illuminated manuscripts, massive stone cathedrals, tapestries woven with gold, fine metalwork for devotion and adornment, and sculpture for the dead.  This course looks primarily at the art of Western Europe, with attention to Byzantine and Islamic art, from about the third to the fifteenth century.  The visual arts are our primary focus, but we will also consider the religious, political, and social forces that shaped them, and the people who created and used them.  Although we will be using works of art and art-historical articles as subjects, students will become familiar with forms and conventions that will be useful for academic writing in general, especially in the humanities. Will count toward the HART Major or Minor as an elective with departmental permission. (Note: the “Medieval” requirement for the HART major requires a 2000-level course or above). [3] Elizabeth Moodey. (AXLE: INT).


HART 2100: Architecture and the Mapping of Empire in Asia.
Empires in Asia were built through military and economic conquest. But after the dust settled, architecture, as the most visible and persistent public art, was used to sustain imperial identity and authority.  Why did emperors, empresses, and aspiring officials sponsor monumental architectural constructs, including cities, palaces, temples, tombs, universities, and museums, to display their imperial aspirations, social stations, and/or spiritual inclinations in Asia? Once established, how was visual culture used to expand the reach of those individuals and the corporate structures they represented? This course examines methods of mapping empire through the construction of highly visible, highly potent monuments.  Major themes to be covered include cosmology in the construction of cities, temples, and gardens; physical manifestations of divine kingship and royal divinities, appropriation of ancient models to enhance legitimacy; architecture and the expression of ethnic/state identities across Asia from the 3rd century BCE through the 20th century CE. This course will count toward the “Global/Non-Western” area requirement or as an Elective for the HART Major; HART Minor, and ARCH Major, Minor. [3] Tracy Miller and Heeryoon Shin. (AXLE: P).


HART 2130: The Arts of Japan. 

This course is an introduction to artistic culture created within the territory of Japan. The main goal of the course is to familiarize the student with the complexities in visual form present in this region from the Neolithic period through the nineteenth century.  As such we will touch on ceramics; tombs and the objects contained within them; the temples, sculpture, and paintings inspired by religion; the art and culture of tea; gardens, castles, and palaces; and the pictorial arts of the Floating World.  The course is structured chronologically, but within each time period emphasis will be placed on the cultural context of the works discussed, be it practical, political, or spiritual. This course will count toward the "Global/Non-Western" area requirement or as an Elective for the HART Major; HART Minor, and ARCH Major, Minor. [3] Tracy Miller. (AXLE: HCA).


CLAS 2250: Roman Art and Architecture. 

Sculpture, architecture, and painting from the tenth century B.C.E. to the early fourth century C.E. Daily life of the Romans as seen in excavations of the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum. This course will count toward the "Ancient" area requirement or as an Elective for the HART Major; HART Minor, and ARCH Major, Minor. [3] Joseph Rife. (AXLE: HCA).


HART 2290: Gothic Paris.
The area around Paris, the Île de France, sponsored some of the chief examples of Gothic architecture.  But as the largest city in the West, the seat of power for the Church, the University, and the Capetian and Valois dynasties (987-1529), Paris also excelled in the so-called minor arts—ivories, manuscripts, textiles, and precious metalwork.  We will examine some of the outstanding achievements of the city’s artists and artisans, considering the social and political background to the efflorescence of artistic patronage in later medieval Paris.  Lectures, readings, and discussions will consider the construction of a mythical past, traditions of gift-giving and patronage, building the churches of Saint-Denis, Notre Dame, Chartres Cathedral, and the Sainte Chapelle, the conventions of heraldry and portraiture, models for male and female behavior, trends in fashion, and a newly literate middle class anxious about appearances and hungry for their own books. This course will count toward the “Medieval” area requirement or as an Elective for the HART Major; HART Minor, ARCH Major and ARCH Minor. [3] Elizabeth Moodey. (AXLE: INT).


HART 2320W: The Italian Renaissance Workshop.  
A consideration of Italian Renaissance artists' workshops and the collaborative artistic process, covering material from the 14th into the 16th century, but with a focus on the fifteenth-century in Florence. We will study the organization, structure, and production of shops, painting and sculpture techniques, and the role of artists in society. Case studies will include artists such as Lorenzo Ghiberti, Donatello, Fra Angelico, Andrea del Verrocchio and the young Leonardo da Vinci, and Sandro Botticelli. This course will count toward the "Renaissance and Baroque" area requirement or as an Elective for the HART Major; HART Minor. [3] Sheri Shaneyfelt. (AXLE: HCA).


HART 2390: Seventeenth-Century Art. 
This lecture course provides a survey of the major developments in Western Art, including painting, sculpture, and architecture, from the later sixteenth through the seventeenth century, circa 1580-1700. Our focus this semester will be "Baroque" painting and sculpture, with the inclusion of several key architectural monuments. Our study will be organized geographically by artistic school and will begin in Italy, followed by Spain, France, Flanders, and Holland. The goal of this course is to introduce each student to the pivotal movements and masters, and to enable them to analyse and understand a variety of works and monuments, considering their subject and meaning, style, patronage and audience, as well as relate works of art to their respective cultural and historical contexts, including their connection with certain religious, social, and political issues. This course will count toward the "Renaissance and Baroque" area requirement or as an Elective for the HART Major; HART Minor. [3] Sheri Shaneyfelt. (AXLE: HCA). 


HART 2720: Modern Architecture.
An in-depth study of developments in the history of architecture from the early 19th century to the present. Works of architecture will be considered as objects of intellectual and physical labor that can be studied for information about the historical period of their production. In addition to buildings, we will take architecture to include theory, drawings, unbuilt architecture, city planning, and ways in which architectural ideas are used in non-architectural media. Formal analysis and a social historical approach will address questions such as: Why was this building constructed? Whose purpose did it serve? How was it received in its own time? How does a consideration of its style help to answer the previous questions? Emphasis will be placed on relationships between style and content, and in turn to general historical conditions. The course intends to demonstrate that architectural production, as other forms of human behavior, can yield meaningful information about the historical process. This course will count toward the “Modern” area requirement or as an Elective for the HART Major; HART Minor, and ARCH Major, Minor. [3] Leonard Folgarait. (AXLE: HCA).


HART 3753W: Imaging the “Other” in Art. 
Constructions and displays of difference and “otherness” in American and European art from the 19th to the 21st centuries.  How has art and the display of art shaped ideas of racial difference? In this class we will consider the role and display of visual art in inscribing and at times challenging racial hierarchies. Focusing on representations of bodies, we will examine prints, paintings, performances, films, and photographs that contributed to the construction of Black, Native American, Latino/a identities, and interwoven issues of class, gender, and sexuality. As a discussion-based seminar, we will examine the relationship of art and “otherness” through topics including Orientalism, colonialism, primitivism, anthropology, the use of racial and ethnic stereotypes in art, as well as the politics of display and censorship. This course will count as an Advanced Seminar or as a “Modern” area requirement or as an Elective for the HART Major; HART Minor. [3] Rebecca VanDiver. (AXLE: P).


HART 3810W: Exhibiting Historical Art: Curating the Vaughn Home.
HART 3810W is a course in which students research, design, and curate an exhibition. 
In Spring 2021, this course will focus on the Vaughn Home, one of Vanderbilt University's seven original faculty houses and thus among the oldest buildings on our campus, dating to 1875. For the rich history of the house, see:  Today, it is the location of the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities. This Victorian house is architecturally and culturally important. Students will develop and design an exhibition that will focus on the home’s institutional and architectural history. Exhibited objects will cover a wide range, from documents and photographs to furniture and other decorative arts. This course will count as an Advanced Seminar or as a “Modern” area requirement or as an Elective for the HART Major; HART Minor; and ARCH Major, Minor. [3] Matthew Worsnick. (AXLE: HCA).


Updated 10/20/2020