History of Art I

1051:
Discipline: Art History
Instructor: Maki
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 0800
End: 0915
Field Work: Day 1 | Vietnam Download Syllabus

In this class we will examine various art forms of the cultures we will visit—Japan, China, India, Southeast Asia, and Africa—dating from ancient to modern times. We will treat works of art as artifacts expressing human values within their respective cultural and historical contexts. Using illustrated lectures and classroom discussions, we will learn by means of visual analysis how to identify formal methods and materials of artistic expression based on culturally specific definitions of beauty.

Field Work

Country: Vietnam
Day: 1

The dynamism and diversity of Ho Chi Minh City will allow us to engage their artistic and visual cultures in light of multiple religious, social and cultural contexts that exist in Viet Nam. We will visit three temples in Ho Chi Minh city, each of which reflects a particular cultural symbiosis or distinct religious affiliation. The Emperor Jade Pagoda (Chua Ngoc Hoang) is based on the Tao (Dao) tradition, which we first encountered in our study of Chinese art.  To explore a Japanese-style ritual environment in Vietnam, we will go to the Vinh Nghiem Pagoda. Thirdly, we will witness the symbiosis of Buddhism with pre-Buddhist Vietnamese beliefs at the Thien Hau Pagoda, where images of Thien Hau Thanh Mau (Holy Mother) sit aside those of the historical Buddha, surrounded by silk paintings.   During the course of the day, students will be expected to document works of art within their environment and to be able to perform comparative visual analysis with what we’ve seen previously. Special attention may also be paid to how people interact with “art” at the various sites. Our main objectives are to examine the placement, style and functions of art in three different temple environments; note points of intersection with and divergence from the arts of Eastern Asian tradition; and, analyze the ways in which art is perceived and understood differently in the ritual environment in comparison to the museum setting.  

Students will produce a paper at least 6-8 pages in length, in which they articulate their understanding and analysis of the different environments, their benefits and drawbacks, the way(s) in which locals engage the works in any contexts, and how their experience in Vietnam was impacted through the material covered in this course. Students are encouraged to keep notes and photograph throughout their entire stay in Vietnam and incorporate analysis of pertinent experiences in the body of their papers.
Academic Objectives: 1. Study first hand art from Vietnam in museum settings, noting points of intersect with and divergence from arts of Eastern Asia. 2. Examine the placement, style and functions of art in three different temple environments. 3. Analyze the ways in which art is perceived and understood differently in the ritual environment in comparison to the museum setting.