Art 420: History of Greek Art and Architecture

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ART 420: History of Greek Art and Architecture

Fall 2011 Time: T 2:00-4:45

Assoc. Prof. Owen Doonan Place: SG 103

Office hrs.: Office hrs.: T 5-7; W 5-6; TH 5-6 Office: SG 238

e-mail Tel. 677-6753

Class Syllabus
Catalog description:

Prerequisite: Upper division standing. Art and architecture of the Aegean area from the early Archaic to the end of the Hellenistic Periods.

Art Department SLOs met by this course (see:

1. Acquire a basic knowledge, theories, and concepts about art; communicate ideas and concepts through writing.

2) Broadening knowledge of ancient through contemporary art and to develop an understanding of art within theoretical, cultural, and historical contexts.

3) Analyzing, interpreting, and questioning traditional methodologies and pre-conceived notions of art and art making through the process of generating and solving problems.

5) Promoting an appreciation and tolerance of diverse perspectives dealing with art, culture, teaching and learning.

6. Become involved in both individual and collaborative art experiences with other students, faculty, and community.

Course SLOs:

  1. To identify and characterize the art the Bronze Age, early urban, Classical and Hellenistic cultures of ancient Greece

  2. To interpret the art works of ancient Greeks with an awareness of their cultural contexts.

  3. To characterize the western artistic, intellectual and political roots in ancient Greek culture.

  4. To critique and assess the cultural and political agendas of those who see antiquities as their unique cultural heritage.

  5. To understand how information is generated about ancient Greek material culture and how the process affects our understanding of art, culture and history

Course related activities: how will these goals be achieved?

Readings, lectures and discussions: each week readings will be due from the primary text and supplementary texts on reserve at the library. All readings are required. Whenever appropriate we will be using information from the Internet in support of class activities, so all students should have access to a computer with Explorer/ Netscape or a similar browser program. If you do not have a computer available at home the public computing sites in the library and in other locations around campus will be available. Discussions in class will be based on the readings due each week.
How to study: Learning is a social process and we do it best when we work with other people. If possible I suggest that you meet regularly in small study groups (3-4 people) and go over the material covered in class. Make this fun yet serious – get together over coffee or pizza, in a relaxed but focused session. Come to class prepared and take notes; if you have time rewrite your notes after class or following your discussions with your study groups. Ask questions and participate in discussions- this helps keep you focused during the long evening sessions.
Behavior: Students are expected to behave courteously and pay attention in class. Students who engage in disruptive behavior such as talking, making noise or other actions that distract other students will be given a warning and if the behavior persists, the student will be asked to leave the class for the day. Class-related activities may not be made up if a student has been dismissed from class. Cheating will not be tolerated – use of unauthorized sources of information during an exam or class activity will result in a grade of 0 for the assignment with no make-up option. Plagiarism on a paper or project will be treated in a similar manner (see below). If you have any questions about whether you might be plagiarizing, ASK ME FIRST.
How will student performance be evaluated?
Mastery of Content: you are expected to learn about the works we study in a number of different ways in pursuit of the course goals and department SLOs:

1) Identify images and terms by culture, importance, relevant physical or other properties. (Course goal A, SLO 2).

2) Compose essays on set topics (Course goal B, C, SLO 3)

3) Complete activity assignments (Course goal D, SLO 4, 5)

4) Discussion and analysis of images (Course goal , SLO 3)
Exams (two exams, 25% each): students will complete midterm and final exams as part of the fulfillment of class requirements. These exams can not be made up except by pre-arrangement with the instructor or presentation of a doctor's note or similarly documented serious excuse. I see exams as an opportunity to pull together the information and ideas covered over several weeks. Each exam will consist of half discussion questions (both images from the book and images not previously seen) and half essay. The discussion portion of the exam will be open book, while the essay portion will be closed book on a topic chosen from a set of previously announced alternatives.
Project/Paper (25%): Each student is required to complete a project, either a paper of eight or more double spaced pages in length (including notes and bibliography but excluding illustrations) or a creative project involving a similar amount of research, but presented in a different format. Topics will be chosen in consultation with the instructor by week 2. Projects need not take the form of written essays -- a student might wish to design a web page for an archaeological site, or research and compose a quick time movie on stolen antiquities from some culturally-related country, etc... Each project must involve research by the student, careful documentation of the sources of information used and original thinking. A step-by-step process will be followed by each student in completing this assignment, including initial proposal and bibliography, an abstract, and the final paper. Each step in the process is an important opportunity for feedback that will improve your paper in the end. Late submissions of the final paper will not be accepted without a serious documented excuse (similar to missing an exam).
Class participation (maximum 25%: 10% attendance + 15% class-related activities) is an important component of this course. You are expected to attend class regularly and to contribute in an informed and productive manner to class discussions. Attendance will be taken at five class meetings (at the teacher's discretion) through the course of the term. Attendance at each of these classes is worth 2 points towards your class participation score of 25 points. Discussions and in-class activities will make up the balance of the class participation grade. Readings are expected to be completed before the class in which they are discussed and from time-to-time I will announce a discussion or activity that is worth between 1-3 points. A high quality (demonstrating understanding of the material and the readings) answer provided during such a discussion will be awarded a point. Other in-class assignments include short essays, presentations on pre-arranged topics and a visit to the Getty Museum. Although more than 15 points will be available based on the various class-related activities, no more than 15 points will be applied to your grade (i.e. no "extra credit").
Weighting of class assignments will be as follows:
Midterm Exam 25 %

Final Exam 25 %

Project 25 %

Class Participation (10% attendance + 15% other) 25 %


Total 100%

Schedule of readings and lectures (subject to change)
Week 1: Introduction to the course; History of Greek archaeology; basic concepts in Greek archaeology; Third millennium BCE.

readings: Pedley, Introduction, Ch. 1
Week 2: Minoan art and architecture; the Late Bronze Age; assignment of student papers

readings: Pedley, Ch. 2, 3; Ulu Burun web site (se below)

Class discussion, the masks of the early Mycenaean kings:

Week 3: Troy and the Trojan War; reconstruction of the “Shield of Achilles;” project abstract and preliminary bibliography due.

Readings: Iliad, excerpts (WebCT);

Week 4: The great crash: a Dark Age and the Geometric Period

readings: Pedley, Ch. 4; Osborne Ch. 2 (pdf on-line)
Week 5: Awakening: the Orientalizing Period

readings: Pedley, Ch. 5; Boardman, 1999: ch. 5; Osborne Ch. 3-4 (pdf on-line).
Week 6: Workshop on library research, CSUN Library. Class meets in Computer lab (TBA), Oviatt library. Development of project bibliography during class.
Week 7: Archaic Period

readings: Pedley Ch. 6; Hurwit 1999: ch. 6; Cultural Map of Hellas: Corfu Museum; Delphi, Siphnian Treasury; Athens, Acropolis Museum.
Week 8: Midterm examination

readings: none.
Week 9: Towards a Greater Greece: the early Fifth century; Athenian Agora

readings: Pedley, Ch. 7; Boardman, Diffusion, ch. 5; Miller in Cohen; Cultural Map of Hellas: Olympia.
Week 10: Athens of Perikles; Greek drama

readings: Pedley, Ch. 8 (244-72); Camp 1986: ch. 4; Aylen 41-83.
Week 11: The Athenian acropolis; Elgin marbles (discussion); Greek Religion

Readings: Pedley, ch. 8 (248-69); Hurwit, Acropolis, selections; Simon, 55-72; Elgin marbles internet links (see WebCT).

Week 12: Fifth century art outside Athens; Greek women and the arts

readings: Pedley, Ch 8 (260; 272-285); Oakley in Cohen; film in class, Pandora’s Box
Week 13: The Fourth century

readings: Pedley, ch. 9; Stewart, Desire, selections; Boardman 1994: ch. 6 Focus on: Priene, Didyma (links on WebCT site).
Week 14: Hellenistic Art

readings: Pedley Ch. 10; Pollitt, Hellenistic Age: Introduction; Ch. 1; Ch. 11; Pergamon Homepage
Week 15:; Student presentations. Student papers due.
Week 16: Final Examination DEC 13 3-5 pm.
Main course text (for sale at the bookstore):

Pedley, J., Greek Art and Archaeology, 3rd Edition (Prentice Hall 2002). This is the primary text for the course. It is extremely valuable because it attempts to integrate the study of visual arts with the study of culture, and it takes into the account the incredible geographic and chronological diversity of ancient Greek culture.

Readings available through WebCT or on reserve:
Aylen, L. 1985. The Greek Theater (Cranbury NJ: Associated University Presses). A recent summary of one of the most important expressions of Greek artistic and intellectual life.

PA 3201 .A95 1985

Boardman, J. 1999. The Greeks Overseas: their early colonies and trade 4th ed. (New York, Thames and Hudson). This is the most comprehensive text treating the cultural and economic consequences of Greek colonization.

 DF251 .B6 1999 

Boardman, J. 1994. The Diffusion of Greek Art (Cambridge 1994). A somewhat biased (Helleno-centric) study of how Greek styles were used and adapted by other cultures in Eurasia, the Middle East and the Mediterranean.

N5340 .B59 1994 
Cohen, B. 2000. Not the Classical Ideal (Leiden, Brill). A collection of essays on the representation of marginalized groups in Greek culture.

N 7625.5 .N68 2000

Hurwitt, J. 1985. Art and Culture of Early Greece (Cornell 1985). An important study drawing together mythological, artistic and archaeological sources to synthesize a comprehensive picture of early Greek Art.

NX551.A1 H87 1985 
Hurwit, J. 1999. The Athenian Acropolis : history, mythology, and archaeology from the Neolithic era to the present. (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press). A thorough study of one of th4e most important sites of ancient Greek culture.

DF287.A2 H87 1999    
Lexicon iconographicum mythologiae classicae (Zurich, Artemis 1981-).

Available at LACMA

Fundamental resource for studying images of myths in Greek art.
Palagia, Olga and J J Pollitt. Personal styles in Greek sculpture (Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1996).

Studies of six major ancient Greek sculptors by leading experts.

Pollitt, J. J. 1986. Art in the Hellenistic Age (Cambridge UP). (on reserve). This is a rich exploration of how Hellenistic artistic culture was entangled with contemporary political and philosophical developments.

N5630 .P55 1986    
Pollitt, J. J. 1990. The Art of Greece: Sources and Documents (Cambridge UP). Many of the most important documentary sources relevant to the study of Greek art are collected in this useful volume.

N5630 .P56 1990   

Simon, E. 1983. Festivals of Attica (Madison WI: University of Wisconsin Press). An investigation of the archaeological evidence pertinent to some of Athens’ most important religious festivals.

DF123 .S55 1983
Stewart, A., Greek Sculpture, an Exploration (Yale UP 1990). (on reserve). A rich and sophisticated look at Greek sculpture from multiple standpoints (artists/ producers; viewers/ consumers; political and social contexts).

NB90 .S74 1990 vols. 1-2
Stewart, A., Art, Desire and the Body in Ancient Greece (Cambridge UP 1997). A new look at this controversial topic- did the Greeks represent beautiful bodies in response to rarified aesthetic sensibilities or did they respond to this kind of beauty in a more physical way? Extends the debate about art and pornography into pre-modern art.

N5633 .S74 1997    
Van Keuren, Frances, Guide to research in classical art and mythology (Chicago : American Library Association, 1991).
Articles for review listed on each week’s handout
Internet sites :
J. Rutter's outstanding course on Bronze Age Greece at Dartmouth
Ulu Burun Bronze Age Shipwreck Excavation web page: an engaging introduction to one of the most important monuments for the study of Bronze Age trade.

PERSEUS (preeminent site on Greek art and literature: 1000's of images, excellent searchable database)

Cultural Map of Hellas (clickable map w/ links to many sites & museums) Outstanding site that gives basic introductory information about many of the major monuments, sites and museums of Greece.

Elgin marbles controversy (week 10)
 D. Shapiro, "Repatriation: A Modest Proposal," International Law and Politics 31 (1998): 95-108 available at:
 The Elgin Marbles (Powerhouse Museum, Sydney Australia)
Hellenic Ministry of Culture's position on the return of the Elgin Marbles

Pergamene altar, Telephos frieze (illustrated tour of one of the most important Hellenistic monuments)

Focus on Home Page (Anatolian Civilizations page):
Diotima (Materials for the study of women and gender in the ancient World.)
Grading principles on exams
"A": Outstanding

Well-founded original thinking; well organized; superior understanding of the subject matter leading to strong analysis and synthesis; shows broad and deep knowledge base.

"B": Very Good

Good understanding of the subject matter; some capacity to analyze and synthesize; basic understanding of the relevant knowledge base.

"C": Average passing

Basic understanding of the subject matter; limited ability to analyze and synthesize.

"D": Barely passing

Limited familiarity with the subject matter; little or no ability to analyze or synthesize information.

"F": Failing

Some familiarity with fragments of the subject matter; attempts to synthesize/ analyze show confusion or limited familiarity with the knowledge base.

Grading criteria for written assignments/ projects
Has a clear purpose/ goal that is stated from the outset and fulfilled

Organization, including effective introduction and conclusion

Statements are backed up with well-explained specific examples.

Sources of ideas and information are documented and acknowledged.

Language is well-chosen; spelling and grammar have no errors

Well-founded original and creative approaches to the topic.

"A" papers are nearly perfect in all of these respects

"B" papers do a good job at 1-5; little originality

"C" papers are generally decent but show errors; need revison.

"D" papers show some familiarity with the subject matter but have serious flaws.

"F" papers show little or no understanding of the subject matter; overall weak structure and documentation.

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