Art history

WINTER 2011 

Art History 20

Art of Ancient Egypt & the Ancient Near East
Steve Kangas

A study of painting, sculpture, architecture, and occasionally minor arts in the Near East and Egypt from prehistory through approximately the first millennium BCE. The course aims at a parallel treatment of the Egyptian and various Near Eastern civilizations, especially those that developed in Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Syria/Palestine, and Iran. Special attention is paid to the cultural contacts among different ancient centers at key moments in history, as conjured up by individual monuments.

Professor Kangas’ students were assigned a paper on a selection of four ancient Greek ceramic vessels on loan from Yale University Art Gallery.  He asked the students to research as thoroughly as possible what scholars have written on the type of vessel and the decoration. He emphasized the importance of describing the formal properties of objects, i.e.  discussing their style and composition. Also, when analyzing content or subject-matter, he asked them to take into account the cultural/historical context.  He also asked his students to find comparanda to expand on the subject/theme of their choice.

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SPRING 2011

Art History 17.2 = Jewish Studies 41

Art and Archaeology of Israel: From Prehistory to the Roman period
Steve Kangas

This course examines the archaeology of Israel from prehistory through the early Roman period, with emphasis on cultural interactions and their material manifestations. Ancient Israel was a crossroads where many different cultures met. Home to Canaanites and Israelites, Israel successively experienced the cultural and artistic impact of Egyptians, Assyrians, Greeks, and Romans, who either invaded this region or came into contact with it through a variety of more peaceful processes.

Professor Kangas assigned the students two artifact research papers on the objects in the loan: female figurine (1912.440) and pillar figure (1986.100.2). The students were asked to research each object as thoroughly as possible to find out what scholars have written on these types of objects. He also required the students to visit the study-storage to observe the objects in detail during designated times. He emphasized the importance of describing the formal properties of the work, and analyzing their content or subject-matter, as well as cultural and historical context.

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FALL 2011

Art History 1

Introduction to Art History I
Kathleen Corrigan & Steve Kangas

A study of the basic problems in the understanding and criticism of architecture, sculpture, the graphic arts, and painting in Western and non-Western cultures. The course introduces the student to the basic terminology of the arts, the language of stylistic criticism, and the relationship of the arts to each other and to their historical background.

Students were given two opportunities to work with the Yale objects.  Early in the term they wrote a short analysis of either the red-figure column krater by the Agrigento Painter or the red-figure bell krater by the Hearst Painter.  For their final paper they could choose from among a number of works on campus, including the two Fayum portraits.

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Art History 21

Greek-Prehistoric to Classical
Ada Cohen

The course treats chronologically the history of Greek art from its beginnings to the end of the fifth century BCE. The principal monuments of architecture, sculpture, and painting will be examined in terms of style, theme, and context. The question will be posed as to how Greek art came to serve Greek society, while some attention will also be given to the ways in which the classical tradition has persistently served later cultures.

ICONOGRAPHY

In recent decades, art historians, along with other scholars in the humanities, have expended much thought and discussion on the processes and effects of canon formation. How do works of art become “masterpieces” and their makers famous? Thanks to questions like these, the art historical canon, at least, has become more inclusive. Yet students still encounter a relatively limited repertoire of art objects, those that have been most widely studied and restudied, as well as written about from a variety of perspectives.

What happens, then, when we confront a work that stands without master narratives and extensive bibliographies to elucidate it? The five Greek vases presently on loan from the Yale University Art Gallery came to the museum without a rich pedigree of research, and the Dartmouth students of Art History 21 were largely left to their own devices to describe, analyze, and interpret the imagery.

They brought to this task a basic understanding of ancient Greek vase production techniques, which largely depend on careful control of the firing process to generate surface compositions in red and black. Having studied more “canonical” examples in class, students were encouraged to employ a comparative approach in their research papers on the iconographies and meanings of the Yale vases. In the process, they came to understand that all works of visual art rehearse fundamental questions in their own individual ways.

For instance, the red-figure column krater engages with the protocols of male-to-male courtship but also problematizes what we think we know from textual sources. How is the idea of courtship visually communicated when the participants are simply standing quietly, and what does it mean for an image not fully to observe the ancient protocols of age and sex?  Furthermore, how do we approach an image that contradicts the dominant cultural and societal norms of our own era?

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Video

Dartmouth students  Brendan Dooley ’12 (Art History 21) and Elizabeth Neill ’13 (Classical Studies 22) discuss their coursework on a red-figure column krater from the fifth century BCE.

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Art History 85

Senior Seminar in Art Historical Theory and Method
Ada Cohen

This course constitutes the Culminating Experience in the Art History major.

Professor Cohen and her class came to Bernstein Study-Storage Center to observe several ancient Greek ceramic vessels included in the loan from Yale University Art Gallery. The class discussed these objects in conjunction with their study of the practices of connoisseurship and attribution. Students talked about the various techniques used to distinguish styles and attribute works to particular artists such as the Agrigento Painter (Red-figure column krater), Hearst Painter (Red-figure column krater), or Heidelberg Painter (Black-figure Siana cup).

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WINTER 2012

Art History 25

Roman Art
Kathleen Corrigan

A study of architecture, sculpture, painting, and decorative arts in Rome and the Empire from the Republican period through the second century CE Such issues as the influence of the Etruscan and Greek traditions, stylistic change and its determinants, and the role of art in Roman society will be considered in relation to both the great public monuments of Republican and Imperial Rome and the works made for private individuals.

The class made two visits to the Hood to study the Yale objects. The first visit focused primarily on the elements of the classical style in Greek and Roman sculpture and on questions of technique.  The second visit made use senior intern Amanda Manker‘s A Space for Dialogue exhibition, Center and Periphery: Cultural Hybridity in the Funerary Arts of the Roman Provinces.   Students could also choose to write their term paper on one of the Yale objects.

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FALL 2012

Art History 1

Bodies and Buildings: Introduction to the History of Art in the Ancient World and the Middle Ages
Ada Cohen & Steve Kangas

A study of the basic problems in the understanding and criticism of architecture, sculpture, the graphic arts, and painting in Western and non-Western cultures. The course introduces the student to the basic terminology of the arts, the language of stylistic criticism, and the relationship of the arts to each other and to their historical background.

Students studied objects from the Yale loan in preparation for their final paper.  During open hours they had the opportunity to view three Greek pots: a hydria, a lekythos, and a krater.

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WINTER 2013

Art History 17.1

Ancient Art and Myth
Steven Kangas

Rich and suspenseful, ancient mythology holds a central place in our imagination. One thinks of myths as a series of definitive plots, but art reveals all sorts of interpretive disagreements. Ancient art did not just illustrate mythology but participated in its construction. This course considers the notions of myth and visual story-telling from a theoretical perspective; briefly explores mythological narrative in the ancient Near East and Egypt; and focuses on myth-making in Greece and Rome.

For their second writing assignment, students visited the Bernstein Study-Storage Center to examine the Sarcophagus fragment with Eros and Nereids. Professor Kangas asked his class to describe the iconography of the object and reflect on how the scene related to ideas of death and afterlife in the ancient world.

Art History 30

Early Christian Art
Kathleen Corrigan

Professor Corrigan and students examine the Lazarus glass cup in the Bernstein Study-Storage Center

This course involves a study of painting, sculpture, architecture, and the minor arts in the Mediterranean from the third through seventh centuries and emphasizes the role of art in late antique society, especially in the process of transformation from the classical to the medieval world.

As part of their final project, Professor Corrigan asked her students to perform an in-depth analysis of the Lazarus glass cup, an object on loan to the Hood Museum of Art from the Yale University Art Gallery. Throughout the term, Professor Corrigan and her students made multiple visits to the Bernstein Study-Storage Center to examine the cup and discuss various elements of its physical appearance, including its color and state of preservation.

Students closely examining the Lazarus glass cup

The four students in this class concentrated their research on individual topics, which presented them with the opportunity to gain a greater holistic understanding of the glass cup in its original artistic and cultural settings. Their areas of focus included: iconography, artistic style, production technique, and function.

As a conclusion to the course, the students created a short film about the Lazarus cup based on their research and observations. Students had the opportunity to help film the vessel in the Bernstein Study-Storage Center, allowing them to select desired angles and details for their final project. At the end of the term, Professor Corrigan and her students also skyped with Karol Wight and William Gudenrath of the Corning Museum of Glass to receive feedback on their film.

Professor Corrigan and her students skyping with Karol Wight and William Gudenrath from the Corning Museum of Glass

This report was prepared by student intern Katelyn Burgess.

Spring 2013

Art History 16.1

The Mediterranean City: Second to Sixth Centuries
Kathleen Corrigan

This course focuses on selected Eastern Mediterranean and Near Eastern cities, 2nd–6th centuries. We will look at how public and private space was organized and experienced; how Roman city planning was adapted to local circumstances in Greece or Syria; how communities (Pagan, Christian, Jewish, Roman, Greek, Syrian) used art and architecture to establish their place in the city. Cities will include: Antioch, Aphrodisias, Constantinople, Dura Europas, Ephesus, Jerash, Jerusalem, Palmyra, and Rome.

Art History 20

Art of Ancient Egypt & the Ancient Near East
Steve Kangas

Students in ARTH 20 observing the Pillar figure in the Bernstein Study-Storage Center

A study of painting, sculpture, architecture, and occasionally minor arts in the Near East and Egypt from prehistory through approximately the first millennium BCE. The course aims at a parallel treatment of the Egyptian and various Near Eastern civilizations, especially those that developed in Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Syria/Palestine, and Iran. Special attention is paid to the cultural contacts among different ancient centers at key moments in history, as conjured up by individual monuments.

 

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    Figure 3. Hearst, Obverse
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    YUAG_geniuscucullatus_thumbnail
    Cup with wheel-cut decoration, view with Raising of Lazarus
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    Standing figurine of Jupiter, detail
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    Red-figure squat lekythos, detail A
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    Sarcophagus fragment with a reclining Nereid
    S.977.201, Nilotic relief thumbnail
    Head of a man, front view B
    Lamp in the form of a head (1)
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    Vase in the form of a bust
    Draped figure of Dionysos
    Black-figure Siana cup
    Portrait of a bearded man
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    S.977.21_Sarcophagus_thumbnail
    Head of a man, possibly reworked from a portrait of Nero, front view
    Black-figure hydria
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    Denarius of Julius Caesar
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    Sestertius of Hadrian, reverse
    Denarius of Hadrian, reverse
    Denarius of Hadrian, reverse
    Denarius of Hadrian, reverse
    Denarius of Hadrian, reverse
    Denarius of Hadrian, reverse
    Denarius of Hadrian, reverse
    Denarius of Hadrian, reverse
    YUAG 1938.1999, "VOTA PUBLICA"
    Sestertius of Hadrian, reverse
    Dupondius of Hadrian, reverse
    Sestertius of Hadrian, reverse
    Denarius of Trajan, reverse
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