Topic Name Description
Course Syllabus Page Course Syllabus
1.1: Introduction and Definitions Page Defining Art

You probably already have some ideas about what art is or how it can be defined. This first reading introduces concepts such as medium, expression, and culture, which are fundamental to discussions about visual art.

1.2: Form and Content Page Form and Content

Understanding how to identify and think about the form and content of art is a basic first step toward getting the most out of your visual art experience. Read this definition and explanation of the elements of art. Here, we define form and content and begin to understand why they are important.

1.3: Aesthetics Page Aesthetics

Read this short definition of aesthetics and how it relates to works of art. Think about how it is different from a merely personal sense of taste and preferences.

Page What is Art?

Read this section to get a better understanding of aesthetics in fine art. Pay attention to the role of aesthetics as a way of articulating ideas about art from various points of view.

1.4: Subjective and Objective Perspectives Page Subjective and Objective Perspectives

This page will help you differentiate between subjective and objective ways of looking at art. When you think about this difference, focus on how to distinguish aspects related to the medium of the artwork itself, compared to your own reactions and experience of it.

1.5: Artistic Roles Page Artistic Roles

This article gives an overview of the social roles that art can perform. As you read about art's various roles in society and culture, think about concrete examples that you can identify in your own everyday experience.

1.6: Artistic Categories Page Artistic Categories

This article discusses the general categories of art. Note the conditions that define each category and how we distinguish them from each other.

1.7: Artistic Styles Page Artistic Styles

The search for truth in art is not limited to making accurate representations in the classical tradition of mimesis. After you view these examples that use widely-different approaches, you will see how individual artists use general and identifiable styles to communicate their ideas.

1.8: Cultural Styles Page Cultural Styles

Read this text which explores how cultural identity influences and is often shaped by artistic expression. Pay close attention to this theme of art and identity. It recurs throughout this course.

Page Representational, Abstract, and Nonrepresentational Art

Read this article which contrasts representational, non-objective, and abstract styles of art. Make sure you are clear about how these styles differ from each other.

1.9: Perception and Visual Awareness Page Perception and Visual Awareness

Read this article which helps clarify a major theme of this course: subjective versus objective analysis. An acute sense of visual awareness and perception is important to help you understand and enjoy art.

2.1: The Artistic Process Page The Artistic Process

This article introduces the elements involved in creating a work of art. As you read it, think about art as a story with a beginning, middle, and end throughout its creation. What characters are involved in this story?

2.2: The Individual Artist Page The Individual Artist

Artists work in a variety of ways. Read this section to get a sense of the many different work styles we see from individual artists.

2.3: Artistic Training Methods Page Artistic Training Methods

Read this text to learn how people learned to become artists in the past and how artists are trained today. What similarities do you see when comparing past and present forms of art education?

2.4: Art as a Social Activity Page Art as a Social Activity

Read this section which introduces how artists collaborate with other artists (and non-artists) to produce works of art. Think about the demands of different kinds of artwork. What rationales do artists create to go beyond themselves and involve others in their creations?

3.1: Objective vs. Subjective Meaning Page How We See: Objective and Subjective Means

Read this section for more on the differences between objective and subjective viewing. Think about how these factors, as well as other aspects that make us individuals, play a role in shaping our personal and social subjective responses to a work of art.

3.2: The Four Levels of Meaning: Formal, Subject, Context, and Iconography Page First Level of Meaning: Formal

Read this text which explores how the formal qualities of an artwork relate to its material qualities and the way we perceive it. These attributes are inseparable from how we experience a work of art. Some artists emphasize their artwork's formal qualities so they become part of the foreground more than the background – we call this type of art formalist due to how it demonstrates concern for the perceptual and material components in art.

We often group art into specific genres, or patterns of subject matter, that are found over time. Many of these genres are present in some cultures, but never present in others. These differences give us yet another lens for finding meaning when we approach these types and patterns of art.

Page Second Level of Meaning: Subject

We can subdivide what we call content into categories we call subjects. Over time, we say certain artworks show evidence of specific genres (typical subjects of art), such as landscapes, portraiture, or street photography. The popular genres of film are sci-fi, romantic comedy, and mystery. Subjects organize the traditions that express how we create certain artistic pieces and influence our expectations of art.

Page Third Level of Meaning: Context

This text highlights the importance of understanding the context in which art is made. Pay close attention to the context, which is an important theme in this course. The context describes an artwork's interconnections with other pieces of art and other aspects of society.

Page More on Context

Read this short article and watch the video, which explores the key dimensions of context as it differs between artists and viewers. How do the contextual factors differ between viewers and artists?

Page Fourth Level of Meaning: Iconography

Artists incorporate iconography to convey deeper meanings into their work through simple visualizations. Iconography uses symbolism to generate narrative, which in turn develops a work's meaning. Many artworks use common symbols (iconography), which incorporate meanings that a culture widely shares. These individuals recognize the iconography and can decode the symbols.

As you read this text, think about some iconographies you are familiar with. What unifies the iconographies presented in this reading?

3.3: Critical Perspectives Page Critical Perspectives

This article expands on some of the most important perspectives in art criticism: structural, deconstructive, formalist, ideological, psychoanalytical, and feminist.

4.1: The Basic Elements Page The Point

Read this text, which discusses the most basic visual element: the point.

Page The Line

When you put two or more points together, you create a line between them. Put more lyrically, a line is a point in motion. Read this text on the many different types of lines and their functions in art.

Page Shapes and the Figure-Ground Relationship

Read this discussion of shape and how artists use shapes to articulate figure-ground relationships in artworks.

Page Mass

Read this discussion of mass and its significance for two- and three-dimensional works of art.

4.2: Space, Value, Color, and Texture Page The Element of Space

As you read this text, pay attention to the many ways we can articulate space in visual art.

Page The Element of Value

Read this discussion of value or the relative lightness or darkness of shape when you compare it with other elements in the work.

Page The Element of Color

In this article, we discover color theory, which artists use to guide the composition and combination of colors in art.

Page The Element of Texture

Read this discussion of texture or the tactile sense we get from the surface of a shape or volume, such as smooth, rough, velvety, or prickly.

4.3: The Principles of Design Page Artistic Principles

There are many aspects of the formal dimensions of art, what we often consider the rules of composition or the perceptual laws grounded in gestalt psychology. These general principles provide an analytical language and lens which we use to analyze art from any cultural origin. They are grounded in our perception and the materials of the chosen medium. Read this introduction.

Page Balance

Read this article to get a sense of the three kinds of visual balance artists incorporate in their artworks: symmetrical, asymmetrical, and radial.

Page Repetition

Read this text which discusses the dual role repetition plays in art: artists use it to organize and plan the artistic elements and to create interest or command attention.

Page Scale and Proportion

Like repetition, the element of scale and proportion is a planning tool artists use to add an attractiveness that commands the attention of the viewer. Read this discussion.

Page Emphasis

Read this text to see how artists use the element of emphasis to express the main idea of their artwork.

Page Time and Motion

One problem artists face when creating static (singular, fixed images) is how to imbue them with a sense of time and motion. Some traditional solutions to this problem employ the use of spatial relationships, especially perspective, and atmospheric perspective. Artists also use scale and proportion to show the passage of time or the illusion of depth and movement.

For example, as something recedes into the background, it becomes smaller in scale and lighter in value. Also, the same figure (or another form) repeated in different places within the same image gives the effect of movement and the passage of time. Read this explanation of time and motion.

Page Unity and Variety

An artwork is strongest when it expresses an overall unity in composition and form – a visual sense that all the parts fit together; that the whole is greater than its parts. Read this section to learn more.

5.1: Two-Dimensional Media Page Drawing

Read this text about drawing, the simplest, most efficient, and oldest way to communicate visual ideas.

Page Painting

Read this text about painting. Did you know that there are six major distinct painting mediums? Those who live in Western societies tend to think about painting when they first think about art.

Page Printmaking

This article examines three basic techniques of printmaking: relief, intaglio, and planar.

Page Collage

Read this article to understand the development of collage, a relatively new approach to creating 2D media.

5.2: The Camera Page Early Development

Read this text, which describes the historical development of the camera.

Page Effects on Other Media

Read this article to learn how photography changed how artists use two-dimensional media.

Page Form and Content

Photographers must consider form and content just as much as artists in other mediums. Read this text to learn more.

Page Darkroom Processes

This section discusses the difficulties inherent in photography and details of the processes that occur in the darkroom.

Page The Human Element

Read this text to explore how photography can recreate images as the human eye sees them. This human element is an enduring central theme in photography.

Page Color Images

Read this text which explains how color film changed the aesthetics of photography, which had been primarily based on black and white (greyscale) before 1935.

Page Photojournalism

Because it enables artists to replicate and reproduce many copies of reality, photography lends itself to reporting on human events via photojournalism. Read this text to learn more.

Page Modern Developments

Camera technology has changed at a rapid pace. Barely three generations after Edwin Land invented the instant camera in 1947, smartphone companies began putting cameras (sometimes more than one!) in their phones. Read this text to learn more about these technological developments.

Page Time-Based Media: Film, Video, and Digital

Read this article, which introduces the time-based representations film and video brought to art and the impact computers and digital technology have had on the visual arts through software and interactivity.

5.3: Three-Dimensional Media Page Definitions, Processes, and Sculptures

Read this overview of three-dimensional (3D) art, which includes much more than sculpture.

Page Types of Sculpture and Three-Dimensional Media

Read this section on the main types of sculptural media. Make sure you can identify them by name.

Page Methods

This article details the major methods of creating three-dimensional art: carving, casting, modeling, and construction (sometimes called assemblage).

Page Modern Variations of Three-Dimensional Media

Read this text, which explains that installation art and performance art are varieties of three-dimensional art.

Page Decorative Arts

Decorative art is the final kind of three-dimensional art we examine. As you read this text, consider how decorative art is different from other kinds of two- and three-dimensional art we have discussed so far in this course.

6.1: What is Architecture? Page Architecture

Since buildings support human functions, their forms usually demand different approaches to their design of structure. For example, in the past, cathedrals incorporated tall ceilings to maximize the amount of outside light penetrating their interior spaces to create a heavenly presence. Achieving this effect required new inventions, such as vaulted ceilings and flying buttresses. Similarly, central train stations, built with iron trusses and skylights, were designed to accommodate many tracks and trains for the thousands of passengers who use them on a daily basis. Their busy lives required convenient and frequent travel between cities. The forms of architecture typically serve the functions they accommodate, and designers seek out optimal structures that support their function.

6.2: Traditional Methods and Materials Page Methods and Materials

Read this text, which introduces traditional architectural methods and materials.

6.3: Architecture in China and East Asia Page Architecture in China and East Asia

This article is an introduction to Chinese and East Asian architecture.

6.4: Cross-Cultural Influences Page Cross-Cultural Influences on Architecture

We can make verifiable statements about formal qualities, such as materials and methods used or their perceptual effects. Moving beyond this, you might seek patterns, such as when one culture influences another through trade or migration. We often find common archetypes in images and narrative artifacts from a diversity of cultural sources. However, it is important to remain grounded in evidence and not leap to conclusions that may reflect personal or cultural biases.

This article presents several examples of how the migration and interaction of peoples from different cultures have affected architecture.

6.5: Architecture and the Industrial Revolution Page Architecture and the Industrial Revolution

Steel and reinforced concrete meant spans could be larger, loads could be heavier, and more forceful stresses withstood. Contemporary architects and designers wanted to fully embrace new materials and methods. For better or worse, many refused to remain tied to forms based on earlier technologies and deemed traditional styles of ornament and decoration unsuitable.

Read this text, which discusses the changes that took place in architecture during the Industrial Revolution.

6.6: Modern Architecture: A New Language Page Modern Architecture: A New Language

Take your time to reflect on the concepts this article discusses.

6.7: Post-Modern and Contemporary Architecture Page Post-Modern and Contemporary Architecture

Read this introduction to some of today's architectural movements.

6.8: Green Architecture Page Green Architecture

Read this overview of green architecture.

7.1: Identity Page Identity

Read this text for an overview of the theme of identity in art.

Page Art and Identity

Read this chapter for an in-depth discussion on this aspect of art. Make sure you can identify the ways artists use identity as a source for their material.

7.2: Self-Portraits Page Self-Portraits

Read this text for an overview of self-portraits.

7.3: The Natural World Page Nature

Read this article, which introduces how the natural world has inspired artists throughout time.

7.4: Social, Collaborative, and Political Art Page Social and Collaborative Art

Read this text which describes the role art can play in society and how artists often collaborate to amplify and extend the reach of their message.

Page Politics, Conflict, and War

Read this text which explains how artists often depict their experiences in politics, conflict, and war in their works of art. They become documents, signifiers, and symbols of power, remembrance, culture, and national pride.

Page Memorials

Wartime typically gives rise to memorials that serve as vessels of remembrance of those who died. These memorials provide touchstones for families, friends, communities, and entire nations to grieve. As works of art, they offer a public space to honor and remember the lives and sacrifices of those who fought during the war. Read this text to see some examples.

Page Peace

Artworks that engender ideas of peace and tranquility take many forms. View some excellent examples in this text.

8.1: Myths Page Myths

This article discusses art that represents mythic figures and mythological stories.

Page Mythical Meaning in Art

As you read this chapter, focus on the "Symbolism, Iconography, and Visual Literacy" and "Symbolism and Iconography in Mythology and Storytelling" sections to learn more about the role myths play in art. Why do you think artists who live in much later periods find the myths of antiquity so appealing?

8.2: Dreams Page Dreams

Dreams have always had a strong appeal in culture – we can interpret them as divine messages of a deeply spiritual kind or as material psychoanalysts scrutinize for clues about mental disorders. For example, surrealist artists draw on both kinds of ideas. They believe dreams are "the royal road to the unconscious" – they simultaneously invoke art's ancient origins and use more contemporary scientific approaches to explore dreamlike material in their visual works. Read this text for more explanation.

8.3: Spirituality Page Spirituality

The art historical record is filled with works from many cultures that refer directly to spirituality.

Book Art and Ritual Life

Read this chapter. How do practices of ritual and ceremony differ from what we call "religion" in discussions on art?

9.1: The Earliest Art Page Prehistoric Art: Paleolithic Origins

This article will give you a sense of how art and representation have been an inherent part of human activity since the Paleolithic period. Note that many of the paintings we have recovered from this time tend to revolve around the themes of game, hunting, and fertility.

9.2: Art of the Ancient Near East and Egypt Page Cuneiform and the Invention of Writing

Read this article on the significance of the Ancient Near East in the development of the written word and the emergence of figural representation. How did writing technologies change our society and culture?

Page Sumerian Art

Read this essay on the art associated with Sumer's oldest known cities, Ur and Uruk. What do these works say about the importance and role of administrative organizations in these early societies, as is reflected in their artifacts?

Page Victory Stele of Naram-Sin

Watch this video, which describes an important military victory commemorated in the Victory Stele of Naram-Sin. Why do you think military victories were such an important topic in the sculpture of this time?

Page Law Code Stele of King Hammurabi

Read this article, which describes Hammurabi's rise to power and the stele on which his legal code was inscribed. Pay attention to the new ideas that began to emerge during this time and the role this new medium played in shaping society.

Page The History of Ancient Egypt

Read this article, which discusses the emergence and longevity of ancient Egyptian society and culture. Why do you think Egyptian artistic styles were so long-lasting, given what you know about their society and its history?

Page Egyptian Art

Read about the aesthetics and social function of Egyptian art. What were the main social roles of art in Egypt?

Page Materials and Techniques

Read about the methods and materials for producing Egyptian sculpture. Make sure you can describe the different processes involved.

9.3: Art in Ancient Greece and Rome Page Ancient Greece and Rome

This article and video introduce the 900-year period of antiquity. They discuss the emergence of Greece and Rome and their respective arts. Notice how classical themes from antiquity emerged during later eras, such as the Renaissance, Romanticism, and Academicism.

Page Geometric Greek Krater

Watch this video on the Greek krater vase, one of this period's most abundant and well-documented artifacts. Note the different styles of these vases as they evolved over time and their many uses in daily life.

Page The Kouros

Watch this video on the Greek kouros sculptures, which represented ideas of male beauty. What was new in the development of this art form?

Page Polykleitos' Doryphoros

Watch this video on Roman sculpture and its relationship to its Greek precedents. We often compare Greek and Roman art due to the strong influence of Greek artists in Rome. What is similar and different in the styles of the Greeks and Romans?

Page Nike of Samothrace

Watch this video on the sculpture Nike of Samothrace and its reconstruction. How much would a major reconstruction of the art change the original experience and meaning?

Page Augustus of Primaporta

This video and article discuss the sculpture Augustus of Primaporta, its connection to Greek aesthetics, and the Roman political context. What ideas about Roman political culture are manifest in the artwork?

9.4: Art During the Middle Ages Page Early Christian Art

Read this excellent introduction to the art that was created during this time of early Christianity. Can you explain the main difference between the art of this era and the preceding ones?

Page Early Christian Art and Architecture After Constantine

Read this article, which discusses the importance of the legalization of Christianity by Constantine for the development of Christian art. Note the impact of the political realities on developments in art.

Page Byzantine Art: Justinian and His Attendants

Watch this video, which describes a mosaic in the church of San Vitale in Ravenna. Byzantine art refers to art that bears the influence of the Byzantine Empire's Christian art style. Mosaic was one of the preferred mediums of Byzantine art. What are the formal qualities of this art form? Why do you think it was a medium of choice during the early stages of Christianity?

Page Barbarian Art

Read this article on the different populations in Europe during the Middle Ages. What did the word Barbarian refer to?

Page Fibulae

A fibula (the plural is fibulae) is a brooch or pin used to fasten garments, typically on the right shoulder. Read this article on the formal qualities associated with Barbarian art through examples of one of its common artistic objects.

Page Ottonian Art

This article explores the cultural and artistic developments during the Saxon Empire. What forms remind you of Barbarian art, and what forms remind you of Roman art? What historical background can help explain the varied elements of style present in Ottonian art and architecture?

Page Romanesque Architecture

The name gives it away: Romanesque architecture is based on Roman architectural elements. The rounded Roman arch is the literal basis for structures built in this style.

Page Gothic Art

Read this article to understand the role that some forms of sculpture played in Gothic architecture. How does the sculpture of this period differ from earlier ones?

Page English Gothic Architecture

This article discusses the architectural innovations associated with the Gothic style of architecture. Many of the advances in building techniques that took place during the Gothic period were achieved with the goals of building higher structures and creating brighter interiors.

9.5: European Art During the Renaissance Page Cimabue's Trinita Madonna and Giotto's Ognissanti Madonna

Watch this video to understand the new formal qualities that characterized art during this transitional phase between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Page Florence in the Early Renaissance

Read this to learn about the intellectual climate of the Renaissance.

Page Masaccio's Holy Trinity

Masaccio's painting Holy Trinity exemplifies the ideals of the Early Renaissance in Florence, Italy.

Page Flanders

Read this short article about Flanders (an area in Europe that includes today's Belgium and parts of the Netherlands), which was the site of another "renaissance" in European art.

Page Campin's Merode Altarpiece

Watch this video to get a sense of how the ideas and ideals of the Renaissance influenced the artists who lived in Northern Europe.

Page High Renaissance

Read this introduction to the art of the High Renaissance. What distinguishes the art of this time period from that created during the earlier Renaissance? What new ideas were the artists expressing during this time?

Page Raphael's School of Athens

Raphael was one of the masters of the High Renaissance. This article explains why his work is considered so emblematic of this period.

Page Leonardo Da Vinci's The Last Supper

Read this article and watch the embedded video describing Leonardo Da Vinci's famous painting The Last Supper. How does this artwork exemplify High Renaissance values?

Page Michaelangelo's David

Watch this video which describes Michelangelo's sculpture David. How does Michelangelo's work differ from that of Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael, two famous Italian painters of this time?

9.6: Baroque and Rococo Art Page Baroque Art: Holland vs. Flanders

Watch this video, which discusses and compares artworks from Protestant Holland and Catholic Flanders. How did the different religious contexts of these two regions affect the form and content of their artworks?

Page Baroque Art in Italy

This article explains the historical forces at play in the creation of the exuberant Baroque style in Italy during the 17th century.

Page Poussin's Landscape with Saint John and Rape of the Sabines

Watch this video to get a sense of the distinctive classicizing style of French art during the 17th century.

9.7: 18th and 19th Century European Art Page Rococo

Rococo is characterized by a light, erotic, exuberant style that emerged in 18th-century France. Watch this video and read the text to review an example, The Swing by Jean Honoré Fragonard (1732–1806).

Page Neoclassicism

In contrast to Rococo, Neoclassical art is stark, classicizing, and idealistic.

Page Romanticism

Watch this video for a discussion of the Romantic style as it emerged in 19th-century Europe. Pay attention to the distinction between the Romantic style and the Neoclassical style.

Page The Industrial Revolution 1848–1907

This video describes various art styles associated with the rapidly-changing European societies of the second half of the 19th century. Note the innovations associated with Realist, Impressionist, and Post-Impressionist art.

Page Becoming Modern

Read this article, which discusses the forces that helped shape what we call Modernism and some of its characteristics.

9.8: Modern Art: Realism vs. Academic Art Page Realism

Read this article to learn why, how, and when Realism emerged as an artistic movement.

Page Gustave Courbet

Watch this video on an important Realist work by Gustave Courbet (1819–1877). What makes this work an especially good example of the Realist movement in art?

Page The Stonebreakers

Read this article to get a sense of why we consider Realism a socially-conscious artistic movement.

Page Édouard Manet

After Courbet, Édouard Manet (1832–1883) is historically the most significant Realist painter. Watch this video about one of his works.

Page Édouard Manet's Olympia

Watch this video and read the accompanying article, which discusses an important artwork by the Realist painter Manet. Pay attention to the painting's modern characteristics and how its contemporary audience reacted.

9.9: Impressionism Page Impressionism

Read this article on Impressionism, the movement that emerged after Realism. What were the main ideas that drove the development of this new artistic movement?

Page Claude Monet

Watch this video, which discusses a series of paintings done by artist Claude Monet (1840–1926) that are good representatives of the Impressionist movement as a whole.

Page Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Watch this video about a historically-significant painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919). A still image of Moulin de la Galette is provided so you can study the points the video makes more closely.

Page Berthe Morisot

Watch this video, which discusses the artist Berthe Morisot (1841–1895) and her painting The Cradle, which she painted in 1872.

Page Mary Cassatt

Watch this video, which discusses the American painter and printmaker Mary Cassatt (1844–1926) and her painting In the Loge, which she painted in 1878.

9.10: Post-Impressionism Page Paul Cézanne

Watch this video and read the article, which discusses a painting by the Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne (1839–1906). Note Cézanne's relationship to older artistic traditions and how he reflected on visual traditions (including Impressionism) and innovated through form.

Page Vincent Van Gogh

Watch this video, which describes the structure and color in Vincent Van Gogh's (1853–1890) painting Portrait of Joseph Roulin.

Page Paul Gauguin

Watch this video, which discusses artwork by Post-Impressionist painter Paul Gauguin (1848–1903). How is Gauguin's use of color innovative, according to the authors?

Page Georges Seurat

Watch this video, which discusses artwork by Georges Seurat (1859–1891). What characteristics of his famous painting A Sunday on La Grande Jatte (1884) were a reaction to Impressionism?

9.11: The Early 20th Century Page Italian Futurism

Read this article on Futurism in Italy.

Page Fauvism

This article introduces Fauvism, whose painters believed art had become too gloomy and needed a lighter and brighter emotional spirit.

Book Inventing Cubism

Read these materials related to Cubism.

Page Surrealism

Read this article on Surrealism.

Page Dali, The Persistence of Memory

Watch this video, which discusses Dali's famous surrealist painting The Persistence of Memory.

Page Latin American Art

Read this text, which introduces Latin American Art.

Page Mexican Muralism

At the end of the Mexican Revolution, the government commissioned artists to create art to educate their population about Mexican history. Between the 1920s and 1950s, David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896–1974), Diego Rivera (1886–1957), and José Clemente Orozco (1883–1949) – "los tres grandes" – created elaborate Mexican murals to celebrate the Mexican people's potential to craft the nation's history.

Page Geometric Abstraction in South America

Read this article on geometric abstraction from South American artists.

Page American Realism

Read this text on American Realism, a style we see in the art, music, and literature of the time that conveyed social realities and the lives of ordinary people.

Page Winslow Homer

Winslow Homer (1836–1910) was an American landscape painter and printmaker. Watch this video analyzes the message and technique of his painting The Life Line.

Page Thomas Eakins

Thomas Eakins (1844–1916) was an American realist painter, photographer, sculptor, and educator. Read this essay which examines his painting The Champion Single Sculls (Max Schmitt in a Single Scull).

Page Henry Ossawa Tanner

Read this text on Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859–1937), one of the first African-American painters to gain international acclaim.

Page The Ashcan School

Let's explore the Ashcan School, a movement that featured art that was populist, expansive, and committed to documentary realism during this period. These artists focused on the newly-arrived immigrants, dockworkers, nightclub performers, saloonkeepers, boxers, and average workers who lived in New York City's Lower East Side and the Bowery. Read this text which offers an introduction.

Page George Benjamin Luks

Watch this video which details the work of George Benjamin Luks (1867–1933), an American painter.

Page George Bellows

Read this text on the American painter George Bellows (1882–1925). Bellows became famous for his bold depictions of urban life in New York City. He was one of the leading young members of the Ashcan School. The Metropolitan Museum of Art states that "although Bellow's Art was rooted in realism, the variety of his subjects and his experiments with many color and compositional theories, and his loose brushwork, aligned him with modernism".

Page 291– Little Galleries of the Photo Secession

This article describes the gallery of American photographers Alfred Stieglitz (1864–1946) and Edward Steichen (1879–1973) that opened at 291 Fifth Avenue in New York City. According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, these artists created "energized and powerful pictures reflective of a new and exciting modern world". They responded to the "avant-garde art of Europe and stimulating developments in skyscraper construction, industry, machines, transatlantic travel, and widespread urbanization in New York".

Page Alfred Stieglitz

Watch this video, which describes the unique perspective Stieglitz brought to his work.

Page Dorothea Lange

Watch this video, which describes how a powerful photograph by the American photographer Dorothea Lange (1895–1965), Migrant Mother, changed how Americans viewed the Great Depression.

Lange was best known for her work during the Depression era for the Farm Security Administration, which documented and humanized the hardships Americans experienced during this period.

Page Georgia O'Keeffe

Watch this video on the American painter Georgia O'Keefe (1887–1986), who painted The Lawrence Tree in 1929 when she was visiting the British author D.H. Lawrence at his Kiowa Ranch in New Mexico.

Page Franklin Carmichael

Read this text on Franklin Carmicheal (1890–1945), a Canadian artist who was famous for the bold colors of his watercolors.

Page Robert Henri

Read this essay on Robert Henri (1865–1929), an American painter and teacher who was a leader in the Ashcan movement.

Page Jacob Lawrence

Watch this video on Jacob Lawrence (1917–2000). Lawrence was one of the first African-American artists to gain broad recognition in the segregated art world of the 1940s. He is renowned for his serialized projects, including The Migration of the Negro (1940–41) and War Series (1946–47), among other works.

9.12: World War II and Beyond Page Art in Nazi Germany

Read this article on how Nazi Germany influenced the art world and how concepts of decadent art promoted a state-sanctioned view of art.

Page Abstract Expressionism and the New York School

Let's explore Abstract Expressionism and the New York School. Make sure you focus on the ideas that informed the artists associated with this movement.

Page Robert Rauschenberg

Read this article on Robert Rauschenberg (1925–2008), an American painter and graphic artist.

Page Jackson Pollock

Read this article on Jackson Pollock (1912–1956), an American painter who became a central figure in the abstract expressionist movement.

Page The Painting Techniques of Jackson Pollock

Watch this video, which demonstrates the drip-style painting technique Pollock created and championed. He was one of America's most iconic and influential painters.

Page Robert Motherwell

Read this article on Robert Motherwell (1915–1991), an American abstract expressionist painter, printmaker, and editor.

Page Dorothea Rockburne

Watch this video interview of the Canadian abstract painter Dorothea Rockburne (1932– ), where she discusses her art, mathematics, magic, and the materials she uses. She was part of an artistic movement called Minimalism.

Page Thelma Johnson Streat

Watch this video on the American painter Thelma Johnson Streat (1912–1959), who painted Girl with Bird in 1950. Streat was an African-American artist, dancer, and educator who was known for her art, performance, and work to foster intercultural understanding and appreciation during the 1940s.

Page Sullivan, Carson, Pirie, Scott Building

In these final sections of our course, we explore some famous architectural achievements before World War II. Pay attention to the historical periods and geographic contexts. This article describes the Chicago School, which was responsible for the early skyscrapers that graced the Chicago skyline.

Page Le Corbusier, Villa Savoye

Read this article on the Villa Savoye, which Charles-Édouard Jeanneret (1887–1965), the Swiss-French architect known as Le Corbusier, designed and built in Poissy, France, in 1929.

Page Frank Lloyd Wright, Fallingwater

Read this essay on the home Fallingwater, which Frank Lloyd Wright (1867–1959), the famous American architect, designed in Mill Run, Pennsylvania, in 1937.

Page Mies van der Rohe, Seagram Building

Watch this video on the architectural history of the Seagram Building, which Mies van der Rohe (1886–1969), the German-American architect, designed in New York City in 1958.

Page Maya Lin, Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The following materials explore architecture after World War II. Pay attention to the historical periods and geographic contexts. Let's begin by watching this video on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., which Maya Lin (1959– ), an American designer and sculptor, designed in 1982.

Page Venturi, House in New Castle County, Delaware

Read this essay on the Vanna Venturi House, which Robert Venturi (1925–2018) designed for his wife in 1964 in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania.

Page Frank Gehry, Guggenheim Bilbao

Read this essay on the Guggenheim Bilbao, which you can visit in Bilbao, Spain. Frank Gehry (1929– ), the Canadian-American architect, designed this famous museum which opened to the public in 1997.

Page Zaha Hadid, MAXXI National Museum of XXI Century Arts, Rome

Finally, read this essay on the MAXXI National Museum of XXI Century Arts in Rome, Italy. Zaha Hadid (1950– ), a British-Iraqi architect, designed this museum that opened in 2010.

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