Art History

Lisa Lantz (department head)

Art history has historically been a core aspect of humanities curricula, as it emphasizes the analysis and contextualization of images and objects utilizing strategies from such diverse fields as history, psychology, physics, and cultural studies. Although allied, the discipline of art history is distinct from studio art. Simply put, in studio courses students are primarily engaged in the making of art, while students in art history courses are primarily engaged in the study and research of art made by others. Art history courses allow students interested in art, but who are not necessarily interested in making art, a chance to explore visual production.

For students interested in graduate work in art history, a study abroad experience is highly recommended. Past students have participated in the Luther College Nottingham program and Malta program, or the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) Florence, Italy program. Students should also consider pursuing language study beyond the 201 level.

A total of 22 credit hours are required for the art history minor. These credits are primarily housed in the art history program, but other credit bearing courses from related disciplines that have a distinct material culture focus or deal with critical theory and aesthetics are also included.

Required for a minor: Six courses (22 credits) are required. This includes the art history core: ARTH 251, 252, 379, plus one course selected from the following ARTH 362, 364, 368, and two of the following ARTH 262, 264, 362, 364, 368; CLAS 270, 275; ART 320; HIST 226; PHIL 240.

Art Management Concentration: To complete the art management concentration a student is required to complete a major in management and a minor in art history.

Art History Courses

ARTH 251 Survey of Western Art I

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression—Primary Texts, Historical

This survey course will introduce students to the different styles and functions of art from the Paleolithic to the Gothic age, giving students the background and tools for understanding the visual culture of each period against the cultural background of their times. Attention is paid to the analysis of the art objects alongside historical texts to allow for a historical interpretation of the past.

ARTH 252 Survey of Western Art II

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression—Primary Texts, Historical

This course will introduce students to the different styles and functions of art in the Western world, from Renaissance to the present day. Our approach will be selective rather than comprehensive, and therefore we will examine the major monuments and artworks from 1400 to 2012. The course will be a combination of lecture and discussion, prompted by various in-class activities designed to help students critically engage the art, our readings, and the techniques of art history.

ARTH 262 American Art

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression—Primary Texts, Historical

This course will survey the history of art in the United States from the colonial period through the 20th century. The class will address the meaning of and controversy surrounding the idea of a strictly "American" art. We will discuss ways in which our relatively new country sought to define itself through visual media.

ARTH 264 Pre-Columbian and Native American Art

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression—Primary Texts, Intercultural

This course will examine the diverse artistic traditions of the Americas from the pre-contact period to the present day. Emphasis will be placed on situating artistic production within its cultural context and examining how pre-contact practices continue to inform contemporary artistic production. (Same as ANTH 264)

ARTH 362 19th Century Art

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression—Primary Texts, Historical
  • Prerequisites: ARTH 252

This course will examine the major artists and artistic movements of the nineteenth century. In particular we will be concerned with how artists both participated in and responded to larger cultural and historical events.

ARTH 364 20th Century Art

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression—Primary Texts, Historical
  • Prerequisites: ARTH 252

This class examines a selection of the major art movements since 1880, including Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Cubism, Dada, Expressionism, Abstract Expressionism, Pop, Minimalism, Conceptual art, and art of the Postmodern era. In this endeavor we will be primarily focused on the works of art themselves and on the writings of artists and critics.

ARTH 368 Gender in Art

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression—Primary Texts
  • Prerequisites: ARTH 252 or WGST 130

Taking Linda Nochlin's seminal essay, "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?" as our starting point, this course will explore the place of gender in the history of art. We will explore both images of men and images of women, as well as the differing roles afforded to male and female artists across time. We will examine assumptions we and others make about women, gender, art, culture, queer theory, and feminism

ARTH 379 Art History Methods

  • 2 hours
  • Prerequisites: ARTH 252

This course will offer advanced students the opportunity to explore methods of art historical research and analysis, as well as historiography.