In making their course selection, students should be aware that the Department offers courses in two broad areas: Western art and Asian art. While students are free to choose a mixture of courses from both areas, they should be aware of the general course structure within each regional area, and the ways in which certain courses interrelate.
2019-2020 First semester (tbc)
2019-2020 Second semester (tbc)
- FINE1001. Introduction to western art historyLecturer:
This course surveys the history of western art from ancient Greece and Rome to the 21st century. Focusing primarily on painting and sculpture, it explains how art communicates ideas and values that have shaped western civilization and how art has developed in relation to changes in historical context, including politics, religion, science, economics, and society. Students will learn about major artistic movements, common techniques of western art, and methods for interpreting visual culture both visually and historically. No previous knowledge of art history is assumed.
- FINE2020. American art
This course surveys painting, sculpture, photography, and architecture in the United States from European settlement to 1945. The underlying theme is how art in the United States has helped project various new ideologies and values associated with this young and unique nation. Issues to be considered in relation to art include Protestant values, democracy, wilderness, racial conflict, capitalism, popular culture, and America’s gradual rise to power.
- FINE2026. The age of revolution: Art in Europe, 1770-1840Lecturer:
This course examines the radical transformation in European art from the age of kings to the age of revolutions, c.1770-1840. Painting, sculpture, and printmaking will be discussed in relation to various historical developments, including the decline of aristocratic culture and Christianity; the rise of science, industry, and democracy; and the emergence of modern notions of nature, individuality, and primitivism. The movements of Neoclassicism and romanticism are treated in depth.
- FINE2053. Beauties and the beasts: Song and Yuan paintingLecturer:
The course explores the formations of Chinese figure painting or the painting of people in the Song and Yuan dynasty. It begins by investigating the types of portrayals of Tang-dynasty aristocrats and other social worthies to establish the forms of normative portraiture. The course moves on to consider changes in figure painting and its subject matter. The class also investigates a related development in the painting of animals as substitutes for representations of people. Topics discussed include the portrayal of the non-Chinese who lived in frontier areas from the Tang to the Yuan, the Song dynasty’s re-appraisal of the common person and his or her depiction, and the motivations for the use of animals to represent people. The course concludes by evaluating the impact of Mongol rule on figure painting.
- FINE2055. Crossing cultures: China and the outside world
This course will begin with the 16th century and the arrival of the Jesuits and continue to the present. It will examine artists’ responses to the outside world and investigate how cultural exchanges were formed, merged, and clashed. Topics covered will include Western science and local culture in the Ming dynasty, Manchu identity and Qing expansionism, export trade art, Western impact on prints, intra-Asian paintings, and visions of the “East” in the global art world.
- FINE2056. Museum studies workshop
This course aims to give students an introduction to the principles and practices of working in an art museum. It will be conducted by curatorial staff of the University Museum and Art Gallery. Students majoring in Fine Arts are given first preference, but other students fulfilling the prerequisite may apply. Students wishing to apply for admission to FINE4005 (Fine Arts internship (capstone)) are strongly urged to take this course first, ideally in their third year.
- FINE2070. Introduction to ancient Egyptian art and architecture
Ancient Egyptian civilisation endured for more than 3,000 years and the many monuments, objects, and hieroglyphs that have survived are testimony to the splendour of ancient Egyptian culture, the beauty of its art, astounding accomplishments in its architecture, and the richness of its religious traditions. This course provides a general introduction to ancient Egyptian art and architectural forms (e.g. pyramids, tombs, temple complexes, wall paintings, sculpture, hieroglyphs), beginning with the period of unification (3100 BC), through the Old, Middle, and New Kingdom dynasties, and continuing to the beginning of the Ptolemaic period in 332 BC. Key political, military, cosmological, and socio-cultural developments in Egypt’s history will be examined in relation to artistic and architectural practices.
- FINE2072. Western architecture from Antiquity to EnlightenmentLecturer:
The course examines the development of Western architecture from Classical Antiquity to the eighteenth century. We will begin by studying the buildings of the Greek and Roman civilizations, and those of the Middle Ages, before shifting our focus to Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo architecture in Early Modern Europe, and its offshoots around the world. While the course is, in part, a survey of buildings and architectural styles, we will emphasise the relation of architecture to its social, historical and intellectual contexts, and will also focus on particular buildings, architects and architectural theorists in greater depth.
- FINE3020. Women making art after 1960Lecturer:
Issues of sexuality, subjectivity, gender, and domesticity have been central to women making art since the 1960s. In response to the urgent need for reconsidering women’s contribution to the constitution and representation of sociocultural and geopolitical realities within the international art world beyond Euro-American centers this module grounds the historical discussion of these concepts in a broader global context. The first half of the course reviews key issues and debates in western feminist art movements between the 1960s and 1980s. The inclusion of case studies on the works of women artists, including Mona Hatoum, Nikki S. Lee, Yin Xiuzhen, Shen Yuan, and ON Megumi Akiyoshi in the second half of the course aims at introducing new artistic contents, and alternative cultural formats and theoretical paradigms to the on-going construction of a feminist history of art within the increasingly interconnected, yet unevenly developed globalizing contemporary society.
- FINE3024. Angels, demons, and beasts: Romanesque and Gothic art [new]Lecturer:
The medieval imagination produced some of the most tender images of Western art as well as the most grotesque. Images of a sainted mother cradling her child existed within the same milieu, if not the same artistic program, as those of a monstrous Hellmouth. This course examines the imaginative, playful, frightening, and sometimes contradictory art and architecture of the Romanesque and Gothic periods in Western Europe, from around the year 1000 to 1500. We will consider and discuss a number of issues relevant across art history—such as the role of the artist, theories of vision and color, marginal art, materiality, and cross-cultural interaction—within a medieval context.
- FINE3025. Pious worldliness: Buddhist art and material culture [new]
This course explores Buddhism and its art from ancient times to the present. Rather than portraying Buddhist art as a timeless ideal, the class deploys case studies to foreground the dynamics of its development. In particular, it examines how styles, iconographies, and media have been purposefully selected and reconfigured in varying contexts across and beyond Asia. The class also explores contemporary art inspired by Buddhist concepts, and the role of collecting and curatorial practices in shaping the interpretation of Buddhist artifacts.
- FINE4002. Perspectives in Asian art [capstone]
This seminar will focus in depth on one area of Asian art and visual culture, with an emphasis on art historical strategies. Students will prepare a seminar paper drawing on knowledge of a certain area, but will further be encouraged to demonstrate a critical approach to broader methodological and theoretical issues.
- FINE1008. Introduction to the arts of Asia: past and present
This survey course introduces major themes in art from early formations of Asian civilizations to the twenty-first century. Students investigate the various forms of art production in China, Japan, India and Southeast Asia with an emphasis on the means by which art creates meaning in diverse Asian cultures. Themes include issues such as patronage, personal style, artistic autonomy, art institutions and collecting practices.
- FINE2025. The art of the Baroque ca. 1560-1720Lecturer:
This course will examine the art of the 17th century in Italy, Flanders, Spain, the Netherlands and France. The emphasis will be on painting, although sculpture will be studied as well. Particular attention will be given to the impact of the Counter Reformation, the features of Baroque naturalism, the use of allegory, and attitudes towards the antique by artists of this period.
- FINE2030. Towards the global
Paris has been described as the capital of the 19th century, and indeed one can talk of a European cultural hegemony that lasted until the outbreak of the Second World War. The postwar period, however, saw a migration of cultural authority across the Atlantic to the United States, and with the ending of the Cold War American cultural dominance seemed to become even more deeply entrenched. If the close of the colonial era did not then eliminate the asymmetry of power between Western and non-Western cultures, it did at least alter the conditions for artistic production in the latter. Furthermore, with an increasing pace of globalization at the end of the century, the opportunities for non-Western artists to reach new audiences have expanded enormously. This course will begin with a consideration of Pollock and Abstract Expressionism, and later developments in American art will be a major focus of the course, which will also be concerned to document the contribution of non-Western artists. A thematic approach will be adopted, with tendencies such as Pop Art, Minimal and Post-Minimal art, Environmental and Installation Art, Performance Art, Conceptual and Neo-Conceptual Art being amongst those which may be considered. A wide variety of artworks dating from 1945 to the present day will be discussed.
- FINE2061. Contemporary Chinese art: 1980 to the presentLecturer:
This course examines the burgeoning development of contemporary Chinese art in relation to its shifting socio-political and cultural realities since the end of the Cultural Revolution. Structured around a series of thematic studies on major exhibitions and artworks made and displayed at different stages, this course addresses issues relating to art criticism, institutional censorship, public engagement and art market, investigating unprecedented transnational flows and cross-cultural exchanges within the increasingly interconnected, yet unevenly developed contemporary art world. This course draws particular attention to the practices of Chinese women artists, including Shen Yuan, Lin Tianmiao, Yin Xiuzhen, Lu Qing, Xing Danwen, Kan Xuan, Cao Fei and others, interrogating and challenging the unacknowledged, unquestioned marginalised status of women in the mainstream discourses of Chinese avant-garde art.
- FINE2081. Art history & its methodsLecturer:
This course introduces students to art history as an academic discipline. It surveys the development of the study of art and familiarises students with a range of methodological approaches and their applications, from early traditions of art historical writing, through the emergence of art history as a distinct field of study, to its transformation and development up to the present. The course also instructs students in the writing and study skills specific to art history.
- FINE2091. Foundations of literati art and cultureLecturer:
This course examines how some of the objects we find in museums and collections came to be regarded as art. More specifically some objects and styles of painting are associated with the literati, a highly educated group of scholars who established certain forms of culture as their own from the Tang and Song to Yuan dynasties. By looking at the contexts of when ceramics, bronzes, calligraphy and some forms of painting were first assigned as art we can see the literati mind guiding the process in the construction of these objects as literati art.
- FINE2095. Venerated vessels: the history of Chinese ceramicsLecturer:
This course surveys the history of ceramics in China from the Neolithic era to contemporary times. It focuses on the production, consumption, collection and theoretical aspects that have shaped the legacy of Chinese ceramics. Central to the survey is the role of social, political and historical forces on the styles and shapes of various types of ceramic objects. Special attention will be given to the development of porcelain and the construction of its cultural value or veneration in Chinese social practices.
- FINE2097. Arts of Korea
This course surveys Korean visual arts from ancient times to the present. It examines a diverse range of materials including painting, print, sculpture, architecture, and decorative art. Lectures are chronologically arranged and explore issues such as funerary culture, cross-regional exchanges, politics and religion, gender and social differences, art market and patronage, and the questions of modernity. Students will acquire a solid foundation of Korean art history and the critical perspectives in analyzing its development across times.
- FINE2102. The connecting sea: an introduction to Mediterranean archaeology [new]
Situated between three continents, the Mediterranean Sea has always enabled the flow of people, things, and ideas. From the advent of cities in the ancient Near East, to the cultural developments of Greece and Rome, we can trace the impacts of interaction and exchange on the material remains of this region’s past. This class introduces the archaeological methods and theories that help us contextualize and interpret material culture. The things people made, used, and discarded tell us about how they lived, so we will examine a wide range of material evidence, including art, pottery, technology, architecture, and landscapes. Our focus will be the Bronze and Iron Ages of the 3rd through 1st millennia BCE. We will also discuss cultural heritage and the impact of archaeology in our contemporary world.
- FINE2103. Saintly bodies and holy shrines: the art and architecture of medieval pilgrimage [new]Lecturer:
Throughout the Middle Ages, millions of travelers traversed hundreds of kilometers of unfamiliar, foreign lands to venerate the bodies of saints. From England to the tip of the Iberian Peninsula, from Scandinavia to Rome, medieval pilgrims embarked on months-long journeys to seek spiritual favor, perform penance, or simply escape quotidian life. Art served as the mediator of these experiences. This course will examine the four major medieval Christian pilgrimages—Jerusalem, Rome, Compostela, and Canterbury—and the artistic production associated with each. We will study a range of artworks, from monumental basilicas to gleaming body-part reliquaries to miniature pilgrim’s badges, while considering the spiritual, physical, and social aspects of pilgrimage.
- FINE3013. Hong Kong art workshop
This course will introduce Hong Kong art and related aspects of Hong Kong visual culture. It will be taught in a workshop format, and will provide the opportunity for students to develop skills in art criticism as well as an understanding of Hong Kong art history.
- FINE4003. Perspectives in Western art [capstone]Lecturer:
This seminar will focus in depth on one area of Western art and visual culture, with an emphasis on art historical strategies. Students will prepare a seminar paper drawing on knowledge of a certain area, but will further be encouraged to demonstrate a critical approach to broader methodological and theoretical issues.
- FINE4007. Sites of representation: Artistic practices from colonial to independent India [capstone]
This class is a thematic investigation into Indian art from the late colonial period through Independence in 1947. Over this span of roughly fifty years the politics of style sat at the hub of many debates about modern art. Given that India has a rich tradition of artistic expression, many asked whether modern art should look to India’s past or to the international for inspiration. Topics will include the rejection of European-style oil painting, the advance of a “new Indian” aesthetic, and how various social and political changes impacted artistic production.