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Courses

Course descriptions listed on this page for the Department of Visual Arts are from the 2018-2019 College Catalog. For more information on the courses offered during the fall and spring semesters, please log in to the course schedule through STAR.

Visual Arts History

Introductory Courses

Visual Arts History 100 - Introduction to The Visual Arts
Fall, spring
Fundamental, introductory course in art history and visual culture. Emphasis is on the acquisition of basic visual skills and an understanding of the major periods in the history of art. Exposure to works of art through the collections of The Worcester Art Museum is an integral part of the course. One unit.

Visual Arts History 105 - Art of Africa and Americas
Alternate years
An introductory course exploring the art of Africa and the Americas. Art is considered within its cultural context (e.g., Benin, Yoruba, Maya, Aztec, Hopi) and within the larger contexts of imperialism, western and non-western ideologies, and practices of collection and exhibition. Deeper questions about the nature and function of art across cultures provide the focus for discussion. One unit.

Visual Arts History 111 - History of Global Architecture 1
Annually, fall
This course is the first part of a year-long survey of the history of architecture from pre-history to post-modernism, examining significant global monuments and their social, cultural, political, environmental and historical contexts. The fall semester focuses on building and cities from pre-history to the European Renaissance and Ming Dynasty. This is an introductory course and stresses the development of basic skills in the formal, spatial, and historical analysis of architecture. Required for the major/minor in architectural studies. One unit. 
 

Visual Arts History 112 - History of Global Architecture II
Annually, spring
This course is the second half of a year-long introduction to the fundamental elements of architecture within a global and historical framework. Lectures and discussions are organized around different monuments from the Ming Dynasty and early modern Europe to the present, and they attempt to balance regional and chronological approaches to the study of architecture and the built environment. 

Visual Arts History 136 - Narrative in Art and Film
Alternate years
Introductory course to narrative structures in both film and the visual arts. Students view a wide variety of films: comedy, silent and drama, from foreign as well as American directors. Film theory is included. One unit.

Visual Arts History 137 - Destruction and Renewal
Alternate years
Years after the collapse of the World Trade Center, we are profoundly aware of the powerful forces of destruction in our society. Yet these are also countered by stories of survival, preservation, and renewal. This course investigates how cities and landscapes absorb and accommodate radical change over time, with Rome as a fundamental point of reference. The Eternal City has earned its name by being continuously inhabited throughout its millennial history, even as its archeological sites continue to be destroyed, transformed, and reused. In the second half of the course, we will expand our investigation outward to consider how other people around the globe—from the United States to Afghanistan—continue to grapple with these complex problems in the present. One unit.

Intermediate Courses

Visual Arts History 150 - Museum Studies
Alternate years, fall
What is the role of the museum in today's hi-tech and multicultural society?  How has that role changed since the rise of the museum among the educated elite in the early modern period?  This course addresses such central questions in the history, mission, and structure of museums.  We also explore the ways in which visual display conveys knowledge and builds broader arguments about cultures and society.  We engage with the ethics embedded in acquiring and displaying irreplaceable and ritual objects from other cultures.  In addition, this course also treats practical issues like funding, organization, and public outreach in museums.  Students participate in field trips to different types of museums and learn about careers as directors, curators, collections managers, and educators in museums and historic houses. One unit.

Visual Arts History 199 - Introductory Topics in Art History
Annually
Topics courses explore various topics in the discipline and the subject and format vary from year to year. Taught by all professors. One unit.

Visual Arts History 201 - Islamic Art
Alternate years
An introductory course exploring the art and architecture dating from the inception of Islam in seventh-century Arabia through the 16th and 17th centuries in Safavid Iran, Mughal India, and the territories ruled by the Ottoman Turks. The religious, and social, cultural, and political significance of Islamic art is analyzed. One unit.

Visual Arts History 204 - Arts of Religion
Fall
Deals with art from the fourth century and the era of Constantine, to the age of the great cathedrals in the 13th century. Architecture, manuscript illumination, stained glass, and sculpture are included. Receives both Arts and Religion Distribution requirements. One unit.

Visual Arts History 205 - Global Commerce in 15th-Century Italy
Annually
Early modern Italy was a commercial hub for the western world, with trade networks radiating across the Mediterranean into Europe, Africa, and Asia. We will consider how conditions in this flourishing economic crossroads favored the development of the unprecedented artistic culture of the early Renaissance. (Formerly Early Renaissance Art.) One unit.

Visual Arts History 206 - Art & Antiquity in 16th-Century Italy
Annually
From “the rediscovery of classical antiquity” in Rome and the outpouring of artistic energy known as the High Renaissance, we will move outward to investigate the role of art and architecture in shaping the political and cultural realignments that defined this critical turning point in European history. (Formerly High Renaissance Art.) One unit.   

Visual Arts History 207 - Art, Science, & Power in the 17th-Century (formerly Baroque Art)
Annually
This course explores the explosive artistic creativity of 17th-century Europe as a process shaped by complex political and economic dynamics as well as by scientific discoveries. We will consider how the emergence of Baroque art was tied to the incipient scientific revolution, as well as the constant need to reinforce rulership, status, and authority. One unit.

Visual Arts History 209 - Art in the Modern World, 1780 to 1940
Annually
Traces major European art movements from the late 18th to the mid-20th centuries (including Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, Expressionism, Cubism, Dada, Surrealism, and others) with a focus on the development of Modernism. One unit.

Visual Arts History 210 - Contemporary Art, 1940 to the Present
Annually
Movements discussed include Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Minimalism, Conceptual Art, performance and installation art, time-based and digital art, activist art, public art, and current art. One unit.

Visual Arts History 220 - Arts of America
Annually, spring
A study of painting, sculpture, architecture, and the decorative arts from the colonial period to the present. Emphasis on such major themes and styles as portraiture, genre painting, American impressionism, and modernism, including Native American and African American traditions and Asian influences. Artworks will be studied in their cultural, social and political contexts. Course requirements include museum visits. One Unit.

Visual Arts History 240 - Modern Architecture
Alternate years
This lecture course explores American and European architecture from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day, interweaving major architectural movements with regional dialogues about political, socio-economic, and technological change. Strong emphasis on critical reading, class discussion, and preparation of research projects. One unit. 

Visual Arts History 250 - Making the Modern City
Alternate years, spring
This lecture course probes the catalysts and implements of urban change around the globe since the Industrial Revolution. Using case studies of major cities, the course will explore how local political, socio-economic, and technical shifts wrought physical changes at the scale of the city. Our scope includes those figures who were agents of, and targets of, urban change; as well as the layers of water, sewer, electric, and transportation infrastructure that empower modern metropolises. We will also explore polarities of public vs. private and city vs. country. The course engages local examples, and when possible, includes a CBL component. One unit.

Visual Arts History 299 - Topics in Art History
Annually
Special topics in art history, architecture and criticism are offered regularly by all professors. Responds to special interests evidenced by students, outgrowths of topics addressed in an intermediate course, or research interests of the faculty. Often interdisciplinary in nature and sometimes offered without prerequisites. Examples of recent Special Topics are: “Catholic Collecting: Catholic Reflection Outreach,” “Art and Contemplative Practice,” “Life and Death in 14th-Century Art,” “The Power of Paint,” “Contemporary Art and Architecture,” “Building on Fragments,” “Architecture, Space, and Time,” “Designing the Built Environment.” One unit.

Advanced Courses

Visual Arts History 310 - Kings & Caliphs: Art of Luxury
Annually, spring
The art and architecture of the medieval Mediterranean region bore vibrant witness to the conflict and cooperation between Christian, Jewish, and Muslim cultures. This course explores how icons, illuminated manuscripts, palaces, mosques, reliquaries, and other objects and sites can reveal the ways in which medieval individuals viewed "others" and themselves. Students with an interest in art history, religion, history, politics, architecture, languages or literature are welcome; we will look at the "long medieval" period from the late classical through the Renaissance. This is a seminar, and students are expected to engage in intensive individual research. One unit.

Visual Arts History 400 - Concentration Seminar
Fall
Designed for majors, this course provides a critical examination of issues and methods in the literature of the history of art. Students also complete a capstone project, often concentrating on the collection of the Worcester Art Museum or other important local sites. Prerequisite: 4th-year majors. One unit

Visual Arts History 420 - Tutorials
Annually
Tutorials relate to all areas covered by Visual Arts History 200 courses. One unit each semester.

Visual Arts History 430 - Internship
Annually
Internships may be arranged at museums, galleries, or other cultural institutions. They consist of a project taking at least 100 hours, meetings with the internship supervisor(s), and a detailed, reflective paper. Internship projects must be proposed and arranged during the semester before the work begins.

Visual Arts Studio

Introductory Courses

Visual Arts Studio 101 - Fundamentals of Drawing
Fall, spring
An exciting introduction to studio art through an exploration of drawing media. Class critiques and discussions, insure the beginning student of a solid introduction to the creative process. Students work with charcoal, ink, graphite, watercolor pencils and other drawing materials. The course includes intensive sketchbook work as well as larger drawings based on observation. In addition, students acquire skill in figure drawing by working from the model. Taught by the studio staff and a prerequisite for many intermediate courses. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio 102 - 3-D Fundamentals
Fall, spring
For students who are interested in an introduction to the physical world of sculptural art. Students explore the basic tools, processes and approaches to 3-Dimensional art through wood, clay, wire, cloth and found objects. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio 105 - Digital Art Studio 1
Fall, spring
A hands-on introduction to digital art making processes on Macintosh computers. Generate and manipulate images and files within an artistic context. Think creatively, work digitally and examine the potential of digital art making as a new form of art. In addition to class projects and critiques in the media lab, students discuss contemporary artists who use the computer in their work. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio 130 - Photography 1
Fall, spring
This course is an introduction to photography, with a particular emphasis on understanding images made through camera-based techniques. Students will learn the rudimentary aspects of the medium through regular assignments culminating in a final portfolio project. Topics include proper camera use (camera settings), exposure, editing, printing, and presentation. Class time will be devoted to lab demonstrations as well as critical discussions of student work. In addition, through lectures and discussion, students will become familiar with aesthetic trends and notable practitioners, both historical and contemporary. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio 140 - Digital Filmmaking
Fall, spring
This course focuses on the techniques and theory of video production. Through a series of assignments, students will learn the basic technical elements of still and moving image productions. A variety of production formats will be discussed; focusing primarily on creative, lens-based documentary-style productions. Class time will be divided between equipment demonstrations, discussions, and critique. Topics include proper camera use, sound recording, editing, and presentation. Through critical readings and selected screenings, students will gain familiarity with the historical and contemporary trends in visual storytelling through moving images. Students will develop a set of production skills that will culminate in a collaborative group project. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio 199 - Introductory Topics in Studio Art
Annually
Introductory Topics in Studio Art are offered by all professors. These courses explore special techniques or concepts outside the current course offerings. Recent courses have included “Painting and Photography: An Introduction,” and “Introduction to Sculpture Projects.” One unit.

Intermediate Courses

Visual Arts Studio 200 - Painting 1
Fall, spring
An introduction to the principles, methods, and materials of oil painting in both historical and contemporary contexts. Emphasis placed on developing an understanding of form and space in pictorial compositions, strengthening perceptual abilities, and increasing knowledge of the use of color as it pertains to painting. Supplemental readings and field trips provide further connection and investigations of the history and process of Painting. Prerequisite: Fundamentals of Drawing or previous drawing course. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio 201 - Painting 2
Alternate years
A continuation and expansion of the skills acquired in Painting 1. Students are introduced to a wider range of experimental painting methods using oil based media, and will be working in large as well as small scale formats. The context of painting in contemporary art will be heavily emphasized in this course. Prerequisite: Painting I. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio 203 - Fundamentals of Color
Alternate years
Color is the most dynamic and complex of all the visual elements. In this course students explore color theory as it applies to a variety of media, including painting, collage, digital media and installation. Discussion of color and its relationships to composition through harmony and contrast is emphasized. In addition, students explore applications of color that are symbolic as well as cultural. Students working in all media will benefit greatly from a solid understanding of color relationships, and will gain the skills to apply their knowledge to any chosen medium. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio 204 - Digital 2: Screen to Space
Spring
An explanatory approach to the next level of using digital processes as a fine art medium. Building upon the skills learned in Digital Art Studio 1, students will examine the impact of digital processes on art and artists, research the work of artists who use digital process to produce art, and create computer-based artworks in formats ranging from large format digital prints to animations and video art. Prerequisite: Digital Art Studio 1 or Photography 1. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio 205 - New Media
Alternate years
New Media radically explores diverse and contemporary methods of digital production and output (including but not limited to computer graphics, computer animation, Internet art, and interactive technologies, on platforms ranging from computer monitors to projections, video game consoles to portable electronic devices), raising issues regarding the nature of the physical art object, the expanding role of emerging digital processes in artistic production, and the role new media art plays in the production and dissemination of contemporary artistic practice. Prerequisite: Digital Art Studio 1. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio 207 - Life Drawing
Fall
Students work from the nude model each session. Emphasis is on a structural understanding of the figure and on expressive approach to drawing. Work in a range of media including charcoal, oil stick, acrylic paint and wash. In addition to class work, work on independent, personal projects in drawing. A prerequisite of Fundamentals of Drawing is required to register for this course. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio 210 - Printmaking 1
Alternate years
Printmaking is closely linked to drawing, but with a different range of marks, textures, and line quality. This course introduces the process of printmaking, including layering, improvisation and working with multiples. The class focuses on screen printing, intaglio printing, or making images on copper plates. Students learn to use the materials and techniques of printmaking to communicate their individual ideas in a contemporary context.This course can be taken in addition to Print Projects. Prerequisite: Any drawing course or Fundamentals of Drawing. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio 213 - Book Projects
Spring
Explores the tradition of handmade artists’ books and more recent experimental book forms. How do images work together in a sequence? What kind of narrative can be created by blinding images and text into a book form? What are the possible physical forms for the book? In addition to making conventional and experimental books in the print studio, students make a digital book in the Millard Media Lab. Through readings and discussions, this course examines the emergence of the “artists’ book” in the 1960s and the work of contemporary artists. Prerequisites: Fundamentals of Drawing or any drawing course. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio 220 - Sculpture 1
Spring
Sculpture 1 explores the elements of 3-Dimensional expression in projects of varied media. Students are exposed to sculptural issues via slide presentations on past and present works in sculpture. Class critiques allow students to refine both concepts and expression to create a personal synthesis. Prerequisite: 3D Fundamentals or permission from instructor. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio 222 - Intermediate Drawing
Spring
This course continues to build basic drawing skills and fosters the development of an individual drawing style. The content of Intermediate Drawing includes drawing from models, drawing in color, and other drawing forms such as collage and sequential drawing. Students are encouraged to explore new content in their work. Course includes readings, sketchbook work, and a visit to an exhibition. Prerequisite: Fundamentals of Drawing or Life Drawing, or by permission. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio 230 - Photography 2
Spring
This is an advanced course on the fundamentals of creative photography. Class time will be devoted to lab demonstrations as well as critical discussions of student work. Through regular lectures and discussion, students will become familiar with aesthetic movements and notable practitioners, with a focus on contemporary trends in the medium. An emphasis will be placed on the development of the student’s own ideas about photography as demonstrated through a multi-week project culminating in a final printed portfolio.
Students will be expected to acquire an intermediate level of technical skill within a digital workflow by refining their image editing skills utilizing Adobe Creative Cloud applications to create inkjet prints. Additional topics will include darkroom processing and large format printing. Students are required to supply their own digital camera with manual controls (DSLR or equivalent), although specialty equipment (such as film-based cameras, tripods, and lighting equipment) will be available for student use. Prerequisite: Photography 1. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio 299 - Special Topics in Studio Art
Annually
Special Topics in Studio Art are offered by all professors. These courses study special techniques or concepts outside the present course offerings, which respond to particular issues in current art. Recent Special Topics courses have included “Installation Art,” “Photo Projects,” “Digital Imaging in Studio Art” and “The Figure: Represented and Revealed.” Prerequisite: Fundamentals of Drawing or 3D Fundamentals. One unit.

Advanced Courses

Visual Arts Studio 300 - Studio Concentration Seminar 1
Fall
Focuses on developing a “subject” or idea that can serve as the basis for a concise body of artwork reflecting the studio major’s individual viewpoint and distinct aesthetic voice. In creating this body of work, students are challenged to take risks and experience both the discovery and failure that is the basis of the creative process. Each student has an individual space in Millard Art Center for intensive work. Students may work in any combination of media that serves their ideas. Critiques, trips, readings and discussion address the process of developing a body of work as well as issues of professionalism as an artist. Student work is evaluated at the end of fall semester for admission into the Studio Concentration Seminar II. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio 301 - Studio Concentration Seminar 2
Spring

The second semester of the Studio Concentration Seminar focuses on completing a cohesive body of work for the Senior Exhibition in the Cantor Art Gallery. In addition to producing and selecting work for the exhibition, students develop their artist’s statements. Involvement in all aspects of mounting a professional exhibition including presentation of work, publicity, installation of the show and presentation of work to the College community. Prerequisite: Studio Concentration Seminar I and 4th-year majors. One unit.

Visual Arts Studio 440 - Tutorials
Annually
Tutorials relate to all areas covered by Visual Arts Studio 200 courses. One unit.