History of Art (HSAR)

* HSAR 016b / EAST 016b, Chinese Painting and CultureQuincy Ngan

This course focuses on important works of Chinese painting and major painters from the fourth century CE to the twentieth century. Through close readings of the pictorial contents and production contexts of such works of art, this course investigates the works’ formats, meanings, and innovations from social, historical, and art-historical perspectives. In this course, students become familiar with the traditional Chinese world and acquire the knowledge necessary to be an informed viewer of Chinese painting. Discussions of religion, folkloric beliefs, literature, relationships between men and women, the worship of mountains, the laments of scholars, and the tastes of emperors and wealthy merchants also allow students to understand the cultural roots of contemporary China.  Enrollment limited to first-year students.   HU
MW 1pm-2:15pm

* HSAR 022a / CLCV 022a, Imagining the Invisible in the Roman WorldAlexander Ekserdjian

Ancient Mediterranean people were surrounded by images of ‘invisible’ things—the gods, the dead, and even a few ghosts. Seeing the gods themselves ‘in the flesh’ happened only rarely for the Romans, but images of those same divinities were everywhere—at home, in the marketplace, and at colossal scale in temples and sanctuaries. This course analyzes the ways in which Romans imagined these ‘invisible’ beings, excavating their imaginings through texts and objects. The material covered traces ancient imagination of invisible beings from Celtic cauldrons to Roman poets, and marble statues to painted synagogues. By looking at how the ‘invisible’ was represented we may discover much about how these unseen beings were understood, but also something about how Roman art worked as a representational system. Enrollment limited to first-year students.   WR, HU
TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm

HSAR 150a / ARCH 272a / RLST 262a, Introduction to the History of Art: Art and Architecture of the SacredStaff

A wide-ranging, cross-temporal exploration of religious images, objects, and architecture in diverse cultures, from ancient Mesopotamia to modern Manhattan. Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and various polytheistic traditions are represented. Thematic threads include the human body; transformations of nature; death, memory, and afterlife; sacred kingship and other forms of political engagement; practices of concealment and revelation; images as embodiments of the divine; the framing and staging of ritual through architecture.    HU0 Course cr

HSAR 160b, Art and TechnologyPamela Lee

This global introductory course broadly surveys the relationship between art and technology from parietal art (the art of prehistoric caves and rock art) to the rise of NFTs (“non-fungible tokens”) within contemporary digital culture. Departing from the notion of “techne” as craftsmanship or art, we consider the ways in which the history of art is always informed by histories of technology; and that histories of technology are often advanced through practices of art making. Topics include technologies for representing space in European and Asian painting and the centrality of Arab science in the development of linear perspective during the Renaissance; histories of textiles as data storage before the advent of the computer; the cybernetic revolution and the rise of computers; biometrics and surveillance; machine learning and art without artists. Objects include textiles, sculpture, painting, prints, photography and video, as well as sound, digital platforms and AI-generated artifacts. The course aims to de-center triumphal and universalist notions of technological achievement and ideologies of “progress” that inform contemporary cultures of media and technology. We pay special attention to the interests of race and gender throughout the semester. This course is open to all, including those with no prior background in art history. Sections may include visits to collections and sites across Yale campus.  HU0 Course cr
MW 10:30am-11:20am

HSAR 210a / EAST 119a, Asian Art and CultureStaff

This introductory course explores the art of India, China, Japan, and Korea from prehistory to the present. We consider major works and monuments from all four regions. Themes include the representation of nature and the body, the intersection of art with spirituality and politics, and everything from elite to consumer culture. All students welcome, including those who have no previous experience with either art history or the study of Asian art. This class makes frequent visits to Yale University Art Gallery.  HU0 Course cr

* HSAR 217a / AMST 117a, American Art to 1900Staff

This course offers a survey of American art from European colonization of the continent to the establishment of a US overseas empire circa 1900. Through paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, photographs, and material culture, we consider the role of the visual arts in settler colonialism and nation building, in the invention of race and enforcement of its categories, and in the construction of citizenship. Throughout the term we think about how American art is shaped within wider Atlantic, Pacific, and Caribbean worlds. We look at plantation and “frontier” landscapes, the art of natural history, the cult of presidential images, the emergence of photojournalism, the creation of the modern museum, and the politics of public monuments. The aim of this course is three-fold: to acquire a foundational understanding of the art and visual culture of the United States, to situate the visual in the context of a historical and cultural framework, and to learn how to think and write about objects.  The course is open to students at all levels, including those with no prior background in art history.  HU0 Course cr

HSAR 220a, Introduction to Contemporary ArtStaff

Introduction of the pivotal figures, tendencies, and criticism of the art of the last three decades, exploring questions of material, form, media, process, and aesthetics relative to social, political, and economic issues. Popular media depict contemporary art as luxury goods for celebrities, oligarchs, and elites. This class provides a historical and theoretically nuanced picture of recent art and its critical reception.  Some art history recommended but not required.  HU0 Course cr

* HSAR 230a / LAST 230a, Illustrating Andean History: The Work of Guaman PomaCatalina Ospina

One of the most famous manuscripts to survive from the Spanish colonial Americas is the 1615 El primer nueva corónica y buen gobierno (The First New Chronicle, and Good Government, often called Nueva corónica or New Chronicle). The author was Indigenous Andean Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala (c. 1535–c. 1616). This work is one of the most important sources for understanding Inka culture and colonial rule from an Indigenous perspective. It consists of 1,189 pages with 398 full-page ink line drawings. Few illustrated manuscripts survive from this period, and Guaman Poma’s has no rival. The New Chronicle was written in Peru in Spanish, Quechua, Aymara, and Latin. But one might even consider the many images a fifth, purely visual language that combined Andean and European representation systems. Its images have become the most common illustrations of Andean history. In this course, we delve into the work’s history and many-layered subtleties of its images to understand its import and the legacy of this Indigenous author.   0 Course cr
TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm

HSAR 247a / ARCG 161a / CLCV 161a, Art and Myth in Greek AntiquityStaff

Visual exploration of Greek mythology through the study of ancient Greek art and architecture. Greek gods, heroes, and mythological scenes foundational to Western culture; the complex nature of Greek mythology; how art and architecture rendered myths ever present in ancient Greek daily experience; ways in which visual representations can articulate stories. Use of collections in the Yale University Art Gallery.  HU0 Course cr

HSAR 252a, The Mexican Codices: Art and KnowledgeStaff

This lecture course examines painted manuscripts (or codices) among the Nahua, Mixtec, and Maya people of Mexico, from the 15th through 16th centuries. We explore the Mexican codices as carriers of social, historical, and divinatory knowledge; the role of painted almanacs, histories, and maps in Mesoamerican thought and societies; and how Indigenous and European book traditions shaped the colonial encounter.   HU0 Course cr

HSAR 257a, Modernism's Social LifeStaff

What was the social life of modernism? What might it still be today? This course is an introduction to European and North American modern art through its social networks and structures: gathering spaces, salons, schools, and stomping grounds, along with political solidarities and coalitions. We meet key figures from the history of modernism and the avant-garde (artists such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Marcel Duchamp, Augusta Savage, and Isamu Noguchi) in the context of their pedagogical, political, and intimate associations. Along the way, lectures introduce a fresh cast of characters whose vision, labor, or material support made possible more familiar narratives of art history. We focus on artworks that ask us to think anew about modern art’s collective purpose as well as its communal pleasures.    HU0 Course cr

HSAR 282b / HSHM 237b / WGSS 282b, Renaissance Bodies: Art, Magic, ScienceMarisa Bass

An introduction to issues surrounding the representation of the body in both art and science, spanning from the late Middle Ages to the seventeenth century, and with a particular focus on the Northern Renaissance. Topics include medicine, reproduction, witchcraft, the gender spectrum, torture, race, disability, desire, dreams, and theories of imagination and invention. Sections and assignments will make ample use of the Yale collections. Previous experience with art history welcome but not required.  HU
TTh 11:35am-12:25pm

HSAR 286a / ARCH 302a, Renaissance Architecture: A Global HistoryStaff

The period known as the Renaissance (1400–1600) witnessed the rise and spread of ambitious new forms of architecture. During this era, builders pushed an earlier tradition of gothic design toward unprecedented heights of structural daring and ornamental expression. At the same time, they found inspiration in ancient pagan and non-European monuments, which offered alternative models of technical virtuosity, material splendor, and magnificence. Engineers invented fortifications of colossal scale to combat powerful gunpowder weapons, while new media such as print transmitted architectural designs across the globe. This course explores such developments across Europe and its cultural and colonial networks in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. It surveys a wide range of Renaissance building types, from palaces and gardens to churches, civic buildings, and urban infrastructure. Lectures consider how buildings and cities were reshaped by urban elites, absolutist monarchs, religious warfare, paper and print, and global expansion. Along the way, the course equips students with critical visual-technical skills and language to describe and interpret the built environment. Majors and non-majors of all years are welcome. Graduate students may register with advanced coursework.  HU0 Course cr

HSAR 315a, Nineteenth-Century French ArtStaff

European art produced between the French Revolution and the beginning of the twentieth century. Focus on French painting, with additional discussion of Spanish, English, and German art. Some attention to developments in photography, printmaking, and sculpture.  HU0 Course cr

HSAR 326a / ARCH 260a, History of Architecture to 1750Staff

Introduction to the history of architecture from antiquity to the dawn of the Enlightenment, focusing on narratives that continue to inform the present. The course begins in Africa and Mesopotamia, follows routes from the Mediterranean into Asia and back to Rome, Byzantium, and the Middle East, and then circulates back to mediaeval Europe, before juxtaposing the indigenous structures of Africa and America with the increasingly global fabrications of the Renaissance and Baroque. Emphasis on challenging preconceptions, developing visual intelligence, and learning to read architecture as a story that can both register and transcend place and time, embodying ideas within material structures that survive across the centuries in often unexpected ways.  HU0 Course cr
TTh 10:30am-11:20am

HSAR 348a, Arts of Japan IMimi Yiengpruksawan

Survey of major monuments in the visual arts of ancient and early medieval Japan with attention to the conditions and thought worlds of cultural production. Emphasis on the arts practices and philosophies of Buddhism and Shintō in juxtaposition with the courtly arts from narrative handscrolls to integrations of poetry and painting in landscape screens and picture albums.  HU0 Course cr
TTh 11:35am-12:25pm

* HSAR 354a / RSEE 309a / RUSS 309a, Art and the ArcticMolly Brunson and Emily Cox

This seminar asks how the arctic took shape as an aesthetically contested ground in the visual art, literature, material culture, and popular media of the nineteenth century. How did national styles make claims on a stateless landscape? In what ways was the circumpolar region gendered and racialized? And how did these questions shape the emergence of a northern modernism too often neglected in histories of art? Questions of whiteness, exploration, and exploitation will be considered in the works of Russian, Nordic, and Sami artists from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.   HU
MW 1pm-2:15pm

* HSAR 373b / FREN 405b / HIST 204Jb / HUMS 453b, Notre-Dame de ParisR Howard Bloch, Jacqueline Jung, and Paul Freedman

Against the background of Gothic cathedral building in the High Middle Ages, we study from multiple perspectives the building of Notre-Dame within the teaching and preaching culture of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, with special focus on medieval Paris.  Interdisciplinary materials include religious, literary, historical, and philosophic works alongside of music and the visuals—stained glass and sculpture—that are such an integral part of Gothic architecture.  We also consider the history of Notre-Dame de Paris since the Middle Ages, especially Viollet-le-Duc’s nineteenth-century restoration, to be read alongside Victor Hugo's Notre-Dame of Paris, and in the context of the rebuilding and reopening after the fire of 2019.  WR, HU
MW 2:30pm-3:45pm

* HSAR 401a or b, Critical Approaches to Art HistoryStaff

A wide-ranging introduction to the methods of the art historian and the history of the discipline. Themes include connoisseurship, iconography, formalism, and selected methodologies informed by contemporary theory.  WR, HU

* HSAR 420a / LAST 420a, Techniques of the Body in Latin American ArtCatalina Ospina

In a 1934 article titled “Techniques of the Body,” anthropologist Marcel Mauss argued that culture defines the ways bodies are used and trained. Mauss’s insight has sprung a series of studies on embodiment that examine how bodies are culturally construed. Engaging literature on embodiment from diverse disciplines—including philosophy, anthropology, and cognitive science—this course investigates how cultural understandings of the body inform the meaning of artmaking and art-experiencing practices. Discussions center on artworks from Latin America from the Pre-Hispanic to the Contemporary period—including Nazca lines, Maya ceramics, colonial-era mopa mopa, the early 20th-century Anthropophagy movement in Brazil, Hélio Oiticica’s and Lygia Clark’s works from the 1950s and 1970s, and the works of Beatriz Gonzales and Doris Salcedo from the 1980s and 1990s. Discussing these works, students address questions ranging from super-human scale to the diverse strategies artworks use to invoke bodies metonymically. Comparative artworks from other cultures and periods show the applicability of this methodology beyond Latin American art. The course incorporates hands-on components and employs artifacts from Yale’s museums.  HU
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

* HSAR 447b / AMST 310b, The American West: Art, Land, PoliticsJennifer Raab

The American West holds a powerful place in the cultural and political imagination of the United States. This seminar considers changing conceptions of the land across media—from maps and guidebooks, to paintings, panoramas, and photographs, to earth art and satellite imagery. We examine the politics of water rights; artists’ engagement with ecological questions; the representation of railroads, National Parks, ghost towns, and highways; the mythology of the frontier; and the visual construction of settler colonialism and indigenous resistance. The course emphasizes close attention to works of art, archival research, and developing term papers that engage with the Beinecke’s extraordinary Western Americana Collection. Classes are held at the Beinecke as well as the Yale University Art Gallery, the Yale Center for British Art, and the Peabody Museum.  HU
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

* HSAR 455b, Conceptualization of SpaceCraig Buckley

Introduction to the discipline of architecture through the elusive concept of space. This course traces key shifts in the conceptualization of space in aesthetics and architectural theory from the eighteenth century through to the present.  HU
Th 9:25am-11:15am

* HSAR 456a / MMES 456a, Art and Politics in the Modern Middle EastKishwar Rizvi

Political ideologies have either unified the modern Middle East, such as Pan-Arabism of the 1960s and Islamism of the 1980s, or caused deep ruptures, such as Zionism and sectarianism. Examination of the art and architectural productions that have gone hand-in-hand with these political developments from the nineteenth century until present day. Poetic, visual, and urban interventions document the profound changes that have defined the countries of this region, while connecting them to political movements throughout the world.  WR, HU
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* HSAR 457a, Japanese GardensMimi Yiengpruksawan

Arts and theory of the Japanese garden with emphasis on the role of the anthropogenic landscape from aesthetics to environmental precarity, including the concept of refugium. Case studies of influential Kyoto gardens from the 11th through 15th centuries, and their significance as cultural productions with ecological implications.  HU
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

* HSAR 460a / ENGL 419a / HUMS 185a, Writing about Contemporary Figurative ArtMargaret Spillane

A workshop on journalistic strategies for looking at and writing about contemporary paintings of the human figure. Practitioners and theorists of figurative painting; controversies, partisans, and opponents. Includes field trips to museums and galleries in New York City. Formerly ENGL 247.  WR, HU
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

* HSAR 466a, The Technical Examination of ArtAnne Gunnison and Irma Passeri

The primary aim of this course is to develop the skills to closely examine the physical nature of a range of art objects in order to recognize the materials and techniques used at the time of their creation and their layered histories (e.g. use, display, degradation, restoration, and conservation). Understanding techniques and materials can assist in both placing the object in its broader historical context and, in turn, informing that historical context. Students come away from this course with an appreciation for close looking to understand, question, and interpret materials and technique. In seminars taught by conservators from the Art Gallery (YUAG) and other institutions, students examine paintings and objects selected from the Gallery’s collections and made available for examination in the Gallery’s classrooms, learning about artists materials from ancient to modern. Appropriate methods of examination including microscopy, ultraviolet radiation, infrared imaging, x-radiography, and non-destructive methods of analysis are introduced by instructors, as well as scientists from the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (IPCH). 
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* HSAR 467b, Environmental Relations in Pre-Hispanic and Colonial South American ArtCatalina Ospina

This seminar reflects on the diverse ways in which different groups in South America, from the pre-Hispanic to the colonial period, articulated their relationship to the landscape. Many distinct cultures adapted to lush Amazonian forests, extreme altitudes of the Andes Mountains, parched desert coasts in the Pacific, and freezing Pacific waters. In order to survive, these civilizations developed unique relationships with the landscape and its resources, such as potatoes, coca leaves, marine life, cotton, alpaca, and metals like silver, gold, and copper. These relationships were significantly transformed by the arrival of the Spanish, resulting in social upheaval, religious conversion, new economies, the development of hybrid artistic styles, and ecological catastrophes. Our goal is to think critically about the kinds of objects and discourses we have to interrogate Andean relationships to the landscape.
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

* HSAR 469b / EAST 469b, Contemporary Art and Culture in ChinaQuincy Ngan

This course is an introduction to the art and culture of contemporary China, covering the period from 1960s to the present day. It focuses on art objects, performances, propaganda, and exhibitions produced by the government, the business sector, curators, and avant-garde artists in Mainland China. We also look at China’s Olympic stadiums, the Three Gorges Dam, and skyscrapers (including those in Hong Kong and Taiwan). Class meetings discuss the required readings and investigate artworks, films, and events that speak to China’s political ideologies, society, and economy, as well as its role in globalization and international conflicts. To establish a cross-cultural interpretation, this class also explores how Euro-American artists and filmmakers used their arts to express their views on contemporary China.
M 9:25am-11:15am

* HSAR 474b, Histories and Critiques of the Art MuseumTim Barringer

The art museum is an institution with an active ideological and social role, which has a decisive impact on the formation of art historical knowledge. Urgent questions in contemporary museology include: Can we decolonize the museum? How can museums become more inclusive? Should collections be returned to communities of origin? This course examines the recent literature on the history of art museums, opening up theoretical and methodological as well as substantive and historical issues. It also provides a broad survey of the development of the art museum from the French Revolution to the present day. Issues under investigation include: the formation of histories for art through the hanging of collections; questions of representation of women, ethnic and cultural groups in museum collections; the definition and promulgation of nationalism and ‘schools’ of art; the relationship between the art museum and Modernism; contemporary artists and the museum gallery spaces and the making of publics for art; the processes of acquisition, cataloguing and display by institutions; the social and educational role of the art museum; the relationship between art museums and colonialism; museums in the post-colonial world; museums and race today. Permission of the instructor is required.  HU
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

* HSAR 476a, Energy Cultures of Modern ArchitectureCraig Buckley

It is estimated that the construction and operation of buildings accounts for nearly 40% of carbon emissions globally. If a radical decarbonization of architectural practice stands as the discipline’s central challenge today, this calls not only for new solutions, but for different engagement with architecture’s history. This discussion seminar reinterprets histories of modern architecture through the concept of “energy cultures.” An energy culture (Sheller, 2014; Szeemann and Diamanti, 2019) can be defined as the specific assemblage of fuel, matter, practice, labor, and meaning that have informed architecture’s conceptualization and construction. In contrast to approaches that stress quantitative, technical, and instrumental approaches to energy accounting and energy efficiency, this course looks at how different representations, concepts, and behaviors emerged in response to historic shifts in energy production and consumption. The first portion of the course surveys a range of historical approaches to concepts of energy and environmental justice within and adjacent to architecture. The bulk of the course then turns to case studies, examining particular buildings and projects in order to develop new interpretations and questions about these monuments based on an energy cultures approach.  HU
W 9:25am-11:15am

* HSAR 489b / CLCV 305b / GMAN 489b, Pathos-Figures: Affection-Images in the Visual ArtsNicola Suthor

Images with high pathos inform our perception of human life and define our stance in the world. The seminar wants to foster a critical awareness of the formative power that pathos figures exert on our moral beliefs concerning human behavior. The course covers the timespan from Antiquity to Modernity in Western culture and deals with historical moments that reflect different attempts to cultivate and temper strong emotions. We discuss the transfer of pathos and how the dissemination of eminent pathos figures of antiquity have shaped the imagery of the Western canon; we tackle with one of the most far-reaching concepts of art history, Aby Warburg's Pathos formula that encourages us to draw in broad strokes connecting lines of affection over centuries and different cultures; we look into the discourse on human suffering in Medieval times and how it has defined the Christian doctrine of the affective image; we have a close look at treatises of the 17th century that worked on theorizing human passions and discuss the Enlightenment perspective that aimed at interiorizing pathos by dint of the discourse of beauty; we discuss the Modern "close-up" and how it unfolds the moment of pure bodily presence as highly affective entity. We ask if we are in need of new pathos images that reflect our current emotional stakes, and how they might look.  HU
T 9:25am-11:15am

* HSAR 490b / FILM 320b, Close Analysis of FilmOksana Chefranova

Close study of a range of major films from a variety of periods and places. Apart from developing tools for the close analysis of film, we consider such topics as genre and mode; the role of sound; cinema as a structure of gazes; remakes and adaptations; approaches to realism; narration and resistance to narration; film in relation to other moving image media; and the relationship of close analysis to historical contextualization and interpretation more generally. Prerequisite: FILM 150.  WR, HU
W 1:30pm-3:20pm, M 7pm-9pm

* HSAR 496b / AMST 376b, Art and the American Civil WarJennifer Raab

The military battles of the American Civil War may have been fought between 1861 and 1865, the Emancipation Proclamation issued in 1863, but the pain, injustice, structural inequalities, and state-sponsored violence that are the legacies of chattel slavery remain. One might say that the Civil War has never really ended. This course looks not only at the visual and material culture produced during the conflict but also its far-reaching future effects. We explore the emergence of photojournalism and the illustrated newspaper; African American activism and the use of photographic portraiture; radical shifts in religious and cultural rituals surrounding death and mourning; the material culture of disability; the absence of traditional history paintings and the surge of white supremacist sculptures after Reconstruction; and how the violence and trauma of war and enslavement pose distinct ethical and representational challenges for visual media. We visit collections across campus and think about the memorialization of the war at Yale, in New Haven, and beyond.  HU
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

* HSAR 499a, The Senior EssayCraig Buckley

Preparation of a research paper (25-30 pages in length) on a topic of the student's choice, under the direction of a qualified instructor, to be written in the fall or spring term of the senior year. In order to enroll in HSAR 499, the student must submit a project statement on the date that their course schedule is finalized during the term that they plan to undertake the essay. The statement, which should include the essay title and a brief description of the subject to be treated, must be signed by the student's adviser and submitted to the DUS. All subsequent deadlines are also strict, including for the project outline and bibliography, complete essay draft, and the final essay itself. Failure to comply with any deadline will be penalized by a lower final grade, and no late essay will be considered for a prize in the department. Senior essay workshops meet periodically throughout the term and are also mandatory. Permission may be given to write a two-term essay after consultation with the student's adviser and the DUS. Only those who have begun to do advanced work in a given area and whose project is considered to be of exceptional promise are eligible. The requirements for the one-term senior essay apply to the two-term essay, except that the essay should be 50-60 pages in length.