History of Art (HSAR)

* HSAR 016a / EAST 016a, 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. Preregistration required; see under First-Year Seminar Program.  HU
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

* HSAR 019a, Matters of Color/Color MattersJae Rossman and Cynthia Roman

Color is a powerful element of visual representation. It can convey symbolic meaning, descriptive content, aesthetic values, and cultural connotations. This seminar seeks to explore practical, aesthetic, and conceptual facets of “color.” A series of weekly modules are structured around the strengths of the rich special collections at Yale libraries and museums. Students are introduced to Yale librarians, curators, and conservators whose expertise will be an invaluable resource throughout their undergraduate years. The course incorporates hands-on sessions in keeping with making as a learning tool.  Enrollment limited to first-year students. Preregistration required; see under First-Year Seminar Program.   HU
MW 1pm-2:15pm

* HSAR 021a, Twelve Works of Western ArtCarol Armstrong

This course consists of close encounters with twelve works of art from the Western tradition. Instead of a Renaissance-to-modern survey, we delve deeply into each of the twelve works that form our “canon,” chosen both for their extraordinariness and for their capacity to represent different times and places, as well as different media and themes.  We ask what makes these works extraordinary and/or representative, and debate whether or not they properly belong in our “canon.” We also address the changing notions of what art is and what functions it fulfills. Each of these twelve works of art are looked at in relation to relevant art objects in Yale’s collections (and in the Metropolitan Museum in New York), as well as corollary works of poetry, literature and film. This is done through readings, seminar discussions, presentations in the galleries, and three research papers. By the end of the semester, each of the students in the class will form their own canon of six to twelve works, and argue for it according to their own values, reasoning and judgment.  Enrollment limited to first-year students. Preregistration required; see under First-Year Seminar Program.  HU
TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm

HSAR 110a / ARCG 110a, Introduction to the History of Art: Global Decorative ArtsStaff

Global history of the decorative arts from antiquity to the present. The materials and techniques of ceramics, textiles, metals, furniture, and glass. Consideration of forms, imagery, decoration, and workmanship. Themes linking geography and time, such as trade and exchange, simulation, identity, and symbolic value.  HU0 Course cr

HSAR 219a / AMST 197a / ARCH 280a / URBN 280a, American Architecture and UrbanismElihu Rubin

Introduction to the study of buildings, architects, architectural styles, and urban landscapes, viewed in their economic, political, social, and cultural contexts, from precolonial times to the present. Topics include: public and private investment in the built environment; the history of housing in America; the organization of architectural practice; race, gender, ethnicity and the right to the city; the social and political nature of city building; and the transnational nature of American architecture.  HU0 Course cr
TTh 11:35am-12:25pm

HSAR 237b / EAST 237b, Arts of ChinaQuincy Ngan

Arts of China is a window to the nation’s history, culture, society, and aesthetics. This course introduces the visual arts of China from the prehistoric period to the twentieth century. We look at the archaeological findings (including pottery, jade, and bronze vessels) as well as ancestor worship and belief in posthumous souls and immortal mountains. We look at the art and architecture inspired by Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. We investigate the place of Chinese painting and calligraphy in court and elite cultures and explore how these arts intertwine with politics, printing culture, and popular culture. Lastly, we investigate the decorative arts, like ceramics, textiles, and furniture, as well as the art and architecture that reflect foreign tastes.    HU0 Course cr
TTh 11:35am-12:25pm

HSAR 240b, London Art Capital: Black Death to BrexitTimothy Barringer

Today London is a great art city—a cosmopolitan center for the making, display, and collecting of works of art. How did that come to be? This course answers the question through an intense engagement with the rich collections of the Yale Center for British Art, offering an introduction to British Art across six centuries and to the lively debates it generates. The course links the development of art and the art market with the origins and progression of capitalism. It traces London’s artistic and architectural development from medieval origins through the courtly spectacle of Tudor and Stuart eras to the emergence of a recognizably modern economy and society around 1750, the time of William Hogarth. After 1800, Londoners William Blake and JMW Turner, and their Victorian successors, vividly chronicled the transformation of the industrial and imperial city. From 1910 British art entered a complex relationship with European modernism epitomized in the work of sculptor Barbara Hepworth. London was shattered by bombing during the Blitz: from the ruins emerged Pop Art, followed by Op-Art, led by Bridget Riley. By the 1990s the prominence of artists of color such as Yinka Shonibare prefigured the dynamic and cosmopolitan art scene of the present day. After Brexit, after Covid, what is the future for British art and for London?  HU0 Course cr
TTh 1:30pm-2:20pm

HSAR 243a / ARCG 243a / CLCV 160a, Greek Art and ArchitectureMilette Gaifman

Monuments of Greek art and architecture from the late Geometric period (c. 760 B.C.) to Alexander the Great (c. 323 B.C.). Emphasis on social and historical contexts.  HU
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

HSAR 252a, The Mexican Codices: Art and KnowledgeAllison Caplan

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.   HU
MW 2:30pm-3:45pm

HSAR 257b, Modernism's Social LifeJoanna Fiduccia

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
MW 11:35am-12:25pm

* HSAR 266a / ARCH 271a / MMES 126a / SAST 266a, Introduction to Islamic ArchitectureStaff

Introduction to the architecture of the Islamic world from the seventh century to the present, encompassing regions of Asia, North Africa, and Europe. A variety of sources and media, from architecture to urbanism and from travelogues to paintings, are used in an attempt to understand the diversity and richness of Islamic architecture. Besides traditional media, the class will make use of virtual tours of architectural monuments as well as artifacts at the Yale University Art Gallery, accessed virtually.  HU0 Course cr

HSAR 283b, Leonardo, Michelangelo, RaphaelNicola Suthor

This lecture course is an introduction to High Renaissance art with emphasis on painting and sculpture. The story of its rise is told through the artistic development of the three main protagonists: Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael. Their life-long competition with one another opened up three different avenues for reaching excellence in the visual arts. Each course meeting focuses on one work (or two) in order to unfold in detail their particular visual language and explain their iconic status in art history.  HU
MW 1:30pm-2:20pm

HSAR 293a, Baroque Rome: Painting, Sculpture, ArchitectureNicola Suthor

Analyses of masterpieces by prominent artists in baroque Rome. Caravaggio’s “baroque” differentiated from the path of the classicist artists. Works by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who dominated the art scene in Rome as sculptor and architect half a century after Caravaggio’s death.  HU
MW 1pm-2:15pm

HSAR 312b / ARCH 312b, Modern Architecture in a Global Context, 1750-presentCraig Buckley

Architects, movements, and buildings central to the development of modern architecture from the mid eighteenth century through to the present. Common threads and differing conceptions of modern architecture around the globe. The relationship of architecture to urban transformation; the formulation of new typologies; architects' responses to new technologies and materials; changes in regimes of representation and media. Architects include Claude Nicolas Ledoux, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, John Soane, Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Lina Bo Bardi, Louis Kahn, and Kenzo Tange.   HU0 Course cr
TTh 10:30am-11:20am

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

* HSAR 350a / HUMS 425a / LITR 399a / RLST 431a, Reality and the RealisticNoreen Khawaja and Joanna Fiduccia

A multidisciplinary exploration of the concept of reality in Euro-American culture. What do we mean when we say something is "real" or "realistic?" From what is it being differentiated−the imaginary, the surreal, the speculative? Can we approach a meaningful concept of the unreal? This course wagers that representational norms do not simply reflect existing notions of reality; they also shape our idea of reality itself. We study the dynamics of realism and its counterparts across a range of examples from modern art, literature, philosophy, and religion. Readings may include: Aimé Cesaire, Mircea Eliade, Karen Barad, Gustave Flaubert, Sigmund Freud, Renee Gladman, Saidiya Hartman, Arthur Schopenhauer. Our goal is to understand how practices of representation reveal something about our understanding of reality, shedding light on the ways we use this most basic, yet most elusive concept.   HU
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* HSAR 351b, Making, Picturing, and Marking Space: American Art and Material Culture in the Long 19th CenturyEdward Cooke

This introductory course to American material culture and art in the long nineteenth century takes “space” as its defining principle. From the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1788 to the outbreak of the First World War, the long nineteenth century was a formative and tumultuous period during which the nation consolidated its continental control and fashioned itself as an imperial power. Manifest destiny, expansionism, revolutions in transportation, and debates over land, labor, race, and national identity are defining features of the period. Progressing thematically and chronologically, this course considers how American artists and craftspeople navigated, contributed, and responded to these spatial politics. The class explores how the study of visual and material cultures offers nuanced insight into how the space of the nation is affirmed, contested, and negotiated. How and for whom is “space” made, and at whose expense? How do things emerge from, travel across, and define spaces? What role do artists and craftspeople play in transforming space into place?  HU
T 9:25am-11:15am

* HSAR 352b / EAST 406b, Introduction to Central Asian Art and ArchitectureStaff

Overview of the art and architecture of Central Asia including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, in addition to Afghanistan and Xinjiang, from the Late Antiquity to the modern day. Examination of artistic, architectural-urban transformations as a reflection of the broader societal and cultural change. Through readings, we challenge ourselves 1) to reconsider some of the prevailing understandings of Central Asian history/art & architectural history and 2) to perceive the built environment as an artifact that uncovers secrets and affirms political, social, cultural, and economic aspects of the human past. Throughout, we focus on interactions across the Eurasian continent among Sogdians, Turks, Persians, Arabs, Chinese, Mongolian nomads, and Russians during the last millennium and a half, to understand how these cultures shaped Central Asian urban landscapes, art, and architectural styles. Previous knowledge of Central Asian history is helpful but by no means necessary. Previous knowledge of Art & Architectural history is helpful but by no means necessary.    HU

HSAR 364b, Survey of Japanese Art IIMimi Yiengpruksawan

Continuation of HSAR 363a, covering the fourteenth through the twentieth centuries.  HU
TTh 9:25am-10:15am

* HSAR 384a, Curating the Pre-RaphaelitesTimothy Barringer

The course examines the first British artistic avant-garde, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. It is timed to coincide with a major loan exhibition, The Rossettis, at the Delaware Art Museum and includes a trip to view the exhibition. The purpose of the course is to examine the visual and literary works of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, their associates and followers in the context of the cultural context of Victorian Britain, and to engage with and critique changing curatorial approaches to this work in the museum sector. New literature, published within the last few years, has identified Pre-Raphaelitism as a major avant-garde movement of the mid-nineteenth century, the approach that informed the exhibition Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde at Tate Britain in 2012. New thinking about gender has brought women and queer artists, previously overlooked, to the fore. Having learned how to create catalogue entries, labels, and room texts for a museum display, students produce their own exhibition proposal on an aspect of the Pre-Raphaelites as their final project for the class. Permission of the instructor is required.  HU
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

* HSAR 398a, Making Monsters in the Atlantic WorldCecile Fromont

This seminar introduces students to art historical methodologies through the charged site of the “monster” in the Atlantic World. How and why are monsters made? What can visualizations of monsters tell us about how Otherness is constructed, contested, and critiqued? What do monsters tell us about human oppression, agency, and cultural encounters? Analyzing visual and textual primary sources as well as different theoretical approaches, students leave the course with sharper visual analysis skills, a critical awareness of the many-sided discourses on monstrosity, and a deeper understanding of Atlantic history.    WR, HU

* 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 406b, Photography and Sculpture in ModernityJoanna Fiduccia

Photography and sculpture are peculiar, yet consistent bedfellows in the modern world. This course pursues the history of their entanglements through concerns central to art and visual culture in the modern era up to the present day: reproduction and mass-production; testimony and embodiment; authorship and appropriation; intimacy, sexuality, and privacy; race and representation; cultures of pedagogy and display; and fragmented and virtual images of the body. The seminar meets in Yale’s museums and special collections, foregrounding close analysis of primary materials and works of art.  HU
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* HSAR 410b / AMST 332b, Humbugs and Visionaries: American Artists and Writers Before the Civil WarStaff

This course examines American literature and visual culture in the years before the Civil War, focusing on the ways that writers and artists not only anticipated but helped construct the modern era. We look in particular at outliers, prophets and self-promoters, from the radical Puritan poet Anne Bradstreet to popular entertainers like P. T. Barnum. Topics include: visuality and the public sphere; landscape and politics; genre painting and hegemony; race and identity; domesticity and sentimentalism.  HU
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* HSAR 415a / EAST 411a / WGSS 412a, Women and Art in Premodern East AsiaStaff

For over a thousand years, women in East Asia profoundly influenced the development of the visual arts, yet their formidable presence remains largely hidden. This seminar explores the critical roles women played as patrons, artists, and collectors of the arts in China, Korea, and Japan. We cover periods from the sixth through the nineteenth centuries and discuss a wide array of mediums including bamboo paintings, bijinga woodblock prints, bronze Buddhist sculptures, bojagi textiles, and even embroidered lotus shoes. This seminar focuses particularly on art objects made by anonymous women as a means to rethink and problematize the traditionally elite and male-dominated art historical canon. We also contextualize artistic production in light of emergent theorizations and readings on femininity, feminism, and the sexual politics of representation. Major themes of inquiry include subjectivity and intentionality; representations of women and the male gaze; and postcolonial definitions of female agency.  No prior knowledge of East Asian art history is required or assumed.  HU
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

* HSAR 418a or b, Seeing, Describing, and InterpretingNicola Suthor

Study of select works of art from the period between 1500 and 1800, all on display in the Yale Art Gallery. Required readings of articles and theoretical text are meant to encourage discussion in front of the artwork. The importance of both visual and written information to better understand how artists communicate messages and engage imagination.  All sessions held at the Yale Art Gallery.  HU

* HSAR 426a, American SilverStaff

Objects made of silver as important markers of taste and social position in America from the beginning of colonial settlement to the present. The progression of styles, associated technologies, uses, political meanings, and cultural contexts of American silver. Use of objects from the American silver collection of the Yale University Art Gallery.  HU
M 9:25am-11:15am

* HSAR 427a / EAST 427a, Chinese Skin ProblemsQuincy Ngan

This seminar uses artwork as a means of understanding the various skin problems faced by contemporary Chinese people. Divided into four modules, this seminar first traces how the “ideal skin” as a complex trope of desire, superficiality, and deception has evolved over time through the ghost story, Painted Skin (Huapi), and its countless spin-offs. Second, the course explores how artists have overcome a variety of social distances and barriers through touch; we look at artworks that highlight the healing power and erotic associations of cleansing, massaging, and moisturizing the skin. Third, we explore the relationship between feminism and gender stereotypes through artworks and performances that involve skincare, makeup and plastic surgery. Fourth, the course investigates the dynamics between “Chineseness,” colorism, and racial tensions through the artworks produced by Chinese-American and diasporic artists. Each module is comprised of one meeting focusing on theoretical frameworks and two meetings focusing on individual artists and close analysis of artworks. Readings include Cathy Park Hong’s Minor Feelings, Nikki Khanna’s Whiter, and Leta Hong Fincher’s Leftover Women.     HU
T 9:25am-11:15am

* HSAR 440a, Issues in Nineteenth-Century SculptureChristina Ferando

Survey of nineteenth-century European and American sculpture using concrete visual examples from Italy, France, England, and the United States to examine the formal structure of sculpture and contextualize the social and political circumstances of its production and reception. Focus on representation of the human figure and examination of issues of idealism and naturalism, as well controversies surrounding the use of color and gender/class signifiers. Use of collections in the Yale University Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art. Some familiarity with art history is helpful.  HU
Th 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 463a / ER&M 378a, Material Histories of PhotographyJennifer Raab

While we often see photographs mediated through screens, they are singular objects with specific material histories. Through Yale’s collections, this course explores these histories from the nineteenth century to the present and how they intersect with constructions of class, race, gender, and the non-human world; the ongoing processes of settler-colonialism; and both modern environmental conservation and ecological crisis.  HU
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

* HSAR 466a, The Technical Examination of ArtIrma Passeri and Anne Gunnison

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 476b, 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
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* 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

* HSAR 499a or b, The Senior EssayStaff

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.