IT-51 Art History. Academy to Avant-garde

The Faculty of Architecture / Architecture
4th Year, sem 1, 2023-2024 | Optional Course | Hours/Week: 2C | ECTS Credits: 2
Course Leader:
conf.dr.arh. Celia Ghyka
Teaching language:
Learning outcomes:
This course will survey art from the late 18th century to the pre-war avantgardes, organized around key issues that shaped artistic practice and its reception. Necessarily selective, the course will stress the key moments in the history of modern art that have proven to have decisive influences on the production and reception of art. The survey is chronological and thematical, following in parallel a possible survey of the reception and experience of art exhibitions (from the Royal Academies to the 19th-century Salons and finally the white cube of the modern art gallery). The course will proceed chronologically, but the organization, readings, discussions, and assignments will have thematic stakes in order to understand the intersections and divergences among the artistic practices of a time and the respective cultural, political, social context.
Learning objectives:
- understanding the historical and contextual development of visual arts in modernity
- developing a critical and advised sensibility about the language of visuality
- building a basic art history vocabulary and using this vocabulary in conducting a „close looking“ formal and visual analysis of a work
- developing the critical and analytical abilities through museum/gallery visits. Format and structure a response paper after the museum visit
- demonstrate the ability to critically analyze artworks in their appropriate contexts: historical, cultural, social, political etc.
• Introducing modernity. Towards a history of experience
• Methods and approach. Vocabulary and elements of visual analysis
• End of the 18th c, Early and mid-19th century. Neoclassical and Romantism.
• Modernity. Realism. The Barbizon School
• Manet
• Early photography
• Second half of the 19th century. Impressionism and postimpressionism.
• Early 20th century avant-gardes. Cubism, Italian Futurism
• The Great War and its aftermath. Dada
• Epilogue: the exhibition as experiment (Documenta, the Venice Biennale etc.)
Teaching Method:
Lectures and discussions of images and texts. Film screenings. The course will comment key-works that have shaped the current understanding of Western art history. Group and individual visits at museums and art galleries.
15% - Attendance and participation. Students are expected to attend class prepared to discuss the required readings and actively engage in discussions. The required bibliography covers only partially the topics discussed in class, as we will watch films, discuss text fragments, comment images. The course is fast-paced and thus attendance is mandatory, and taking notes is an important skill that must be practiced throughout the semester. If a class is missed, students should get notes from fellow students. More than two missed classes might negatively affect the grade. More than five absences mean the course is dropped. Please do not be late at class. Being late repeatedly will count as absences. Laptops and electronic devices are not allowed (this decreases concentration on the course and note-taking).

30% - Short assignments. Based on reading or viewing assignments given in class, students will be asked to answer short questions either for the next class or during class. These assignments suppose that students maintain a rigorous reading/individual study schedule at home. Assignments cannot be retaken and must be submitted according to the schedule.

15% - Field trips. We will have at least one major fieldtrip to a museum during the semester. Some other trips may be organised or indicated. During this museum visit, students will be asked to answer some questions that test their abilitiy for direct and careful observation of the showcased works. The answer to these questions will be submitted during the class following the visit.

40% Written assignment. Teamed in groups of 2, students will compose a short paper based on the in-depth study of some works viewed during individual visits to the National Museum of Art. The detailed topic of this paper will be discussed further during the first classes and will be based on comparative analysis of several works, and a critical and curatorial approach. The paper will be submitted on December 13th.

The writing assignment will carefully respect all the academic integrity and honesty guidelines. Any assignment failing to respect these guidelines will be declared failed. This is equally valid for all the assignments.

Students are asked to purchase Will Gompertz´s book (any edition), and excerpts from
Stockstad&Cothren și Foster & Krauss or other readings discussed in class will be provided along the semester. Course synopsis will be provided for each lecture, indicating the works discussed in class. It is the student’s responsibility to find any images discussed in class that are not present in the bibliography.
Will Gompertz, What are you looking at?150 Years of Modern Art in the Blink of an Eye, Penguin Books (any edition)
Kleiner, Fred S., Gardner’s Art through the Ages. A Global History, 13th edition, Thomson & Wadsworth, 2009
Stokstad, Marilyn, and Michael Cothren, Art History. Combined volume 4th ed., Pearson, 2011 (excerpts)
Foster, Hal, Rosalind Krauss, Yves-Alain Bois, Benjamin Buchloch, Art since 1900. Thames & Hudson, 2004 (excerpts)
The Illustrated Story of Art, DK Editions, London, 2013
Edwards, Steve, and Paul Wood, Art & Visual Culture. 1850-2010: Modernity to Globalisation, The Open University, Tate Publishing 2012
E.H. Gombrich, The story of art (different editions)
Charlotte Klonk, Spaces of Experience, Yale University Press, 2009