ARH 260 Survey of Western Art I

This course is an introduction to the language and processes of Art History. We will ask the questions: What does art do? What has art meant to people throughout human history, and how has it contributed to ideas of the “West”? What kinds of messages can art convey, and how do we in the present day interpret meanings in images and objects made long, long ago. Focus will be placed on an understanding of historical periods—their social, political, and aesthetic values—through the interpretation of the visual arts. Our emphasis this semester is on the art of the prehistoric world through the European Middle Ages. While the focus is mainly on “Western” art, we will look at contemporaneous visual arts production in “non-Western” contexts as cross-cultural points of comparison and contrast.