History and Art History
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

ARTH 399: Special Topics in the History of Art

ARTH 399-001: Aesthetics for ARTH
(Fall 2011)

09:00 AM to 10:15 AM MW

Section Information for Fall 2011

We often say we are “moved” by great art—why, then, don’t we laugh or cry in front of paintings? If the artwork voted “most beautiful ever” by a panel of connoisseurs is a depiction of great suffering, what does this say about our definition of beauty? Can an elephant produce a meaningful work of art? Can an 11-year-old? Can a machine? Aesthetics is the systematic investigation of “big questions” in the arts: questions about how and why we fall in love with, value, make, study, collect, and talk about art. In this course, we will consider important and challenging questions in aesthetics that art historians confront in their research and writing, as well as in practical contexts as curators, conservators, museum educators and art critics. By reading both classic and contemporary statements, we will consider such issues as the meaning of visual pleasure; criteria for evaluating artworks; beauty and ugliness; the relative standing of the artist and others in interpreting works of art; the influence of art worlds and art markets; and the respective roles of subjective experience and objective qualities in our responses to art. We will take a problem-focused approach, challenging ourselves with real and hypothetical problem cases to ground our inquiries. Class will include short lectures and lots of discussions based on reading and viewing assignments.

View 2 Other Sections of this Course in this Semester »

Course Information from the University Catalog

Credits: 3

Topics vary. Notes: May be repeated when topic is different. May be repeated within the term.
Schedule Type: Lecture

The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes.

Print Friendly and PDF