VAFA194 American Art History

Department of The Arts: Art History

I. Course Number and Title
VAFA194 American Art History
II. Number of Credits
3 credits
III. Minimum Number of Instructional Minutes Per Semester
IV. Prerequisites
Writing Placement Test score of 6 or better or COMP107 (C or better)
V. Other Pertinent Information
Museum trip is mandatory.
VI. Catalog Course Description
This survey course covers the history of American painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, and other significant arts and crafts from the settlement period to the present. Students gain a formal understanding of American art. Students examine American art from cultural, social, and economic perspectives.
VII. Required Course Content and Direction
  1. Learning Goals:

    1. Course
    2. Students will:
      1. recognize the major art historical periods and styles of American Art from the seventeenth century to the present;
      2. describe the forms of American art using appropriate art historical vocabulary (i.e., perform a formal analysis);
      3. identify and explain the subject matter of a work of art;
      4. interpret the possible meaning of a work of art within an appropriate and arguable context (e.g., historical, religious, political, economic, social, racial, gender roles, etc.).; and
      5. apply research skills using library resources and/or scholarly Internet sites.

    3. Core (if applicable)
    4. Category I
      Cultural Perspectives

      Students will:
      1. demonstrate knowledge and awareness of some components of our society’s cultural heritage such as artistic, historical, linguistic, literary, and philosophical foundations. (1,2)
  2. Planned Sequence of Topics and/or Learning Activities:

    This course examines American art of the seventeenth century, the eighteenth century (mezzotint-inspired portraiture and Palladian pattern books), the Federal period (Neoclassicism and the Grand Manner), the nineteenth century prior to the Civil War (Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Picturesque styles, and the rise of landscape and genre painting), the nineteenth century after the Civil War (Gilded Age and Eclecticism), and major monuments of the twentieth century (e.g., Frank Lloyd Wright, Ash Can School, Modernism, Regionalism, Abstract Expressionism). Students study in class and through museum visits and learn basic terminology used in the study of visual art forms and apply this vocabulary to American art. Students examine art as a reflection of its cultural origin and explore how art can be interpreted in the context of history, religion, politics, economics, social hierarchies, race relations, gender roles, etc.
  3. Assessment Methods for Core Learning Goals:

    1. Course
      1. required exams that include essay questions
      2. required museum paper with proper use and citation of research materials
      3. optional quizzes
      4. optional writing assignments

    2. Core (if applicable)
    3. A departmentally-developed writing assignment fulfills the Core Learning Goals in Cultural Perspectives.
  4. Reference, Resource, or Learning Materials to be used by Students:

    Slides, video, digital technology, and supplementary readings are selected by instructor. Departmentally-selected textbook. See course format.
VIII. Teaching Methods Employed
Section VIII is not being used in new and revised syllabi as of 12/10/08.

Review/Approval Date - 3/07; Core Goals/Objectives added 10/06; Revised 6/09; Revised 1/2010; Pre-req added 12/2014