Course Overview

Instructor:  Jeremy Bleeke

  • Semester:  Fall 2019
  • E-mail:
  • Office Location:  5307 Boylan
  • Office Hours:  MW 3-4 PM
  • Class Location:  Boylan Hall, Room 5145
  • Class Meeting Times: Monday & Wednesday, 12:50 – 2:05 PM   

Course Description:

This course will examine the history of visual art across world cultures from the fourth millennium BCE to the twentieth century CE. Starting with the early civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia, we will explore the ways in which art has shaped, and been shaped by, the development of empires, cities, religions, politics, and social life through history. Our focus will be on major monuments and artworks that are exemplary of their time and place, but we will also look at lesser known objects to nuance and deepen our historical understanding. Classes will be primarily lecture-based, with time for discussion and questions as we explore the issues raised by both the artworks and the required readings.

Learning Objectives:

This course focuses on the development of visual literacy, close looking, critical thinking, and precise, analytical writing. Learning objectives include:

  • Building a foundational art historical vocabulary
  • Understanding how to perform attentive visual analysis
  • Practicing descriptive writing
  • Expressing visual observations in clear and cogent language
  • Drawing connections between text and image
  • Speaking knowledgeably and confidently about art and its history from the ancient world to the present

As these objectives demonstrate, the course aims to develop skills that will be widely applicable across academic disciplines, in and out of the classroom. It is my hope that even if you don’t plan to pursue a degree or career in art history, you will benefit from the deductive and analytical reasoning that we practice during the semester.