Course Descriptions

J-Term 2021

ARTH 2470 Art Now

Taught by: Robbins

3 credits

This is an introductory art history survey, designed to familiarize you with the major themes, issues and questions being pursued in today’s art world. Focusing on the last twenty years, the class is organized around five themes that define the majority of art being made today: portraying, experiencing, situating and agitating. Covers studio major's requirement in art history.

ARTS 2000 Introduction to Studio Art

Taught by: Chan

3 credits

An introductory course that gives students an overview of the concepts, materials and practice of studio art.  ARTS 2000 is the prerequisite to all upper level Studio Art courses.
Drawing will cover the basics of observational drawing and how visual thinking connects with the hand.  Emphasis will be on learning new materials, hand to eye awareness and construction of the 2-dimensional image.
Conceptual Practices will introduce the student to concepts intrinsic to contemporary studio practices. It will approach these issues in two ways; 1) creating assignments that challenge the student’s ideas of art, esthetics and visual cultural preconceptions and 2) creating assignments that are concept driven with the student choosing whichever material or method best expresses his/her idea. The goal of this segment is to exercise the student’s critical thinking skills and expand the student’s ability to engage in discourse around visual and creative concerns.  
Digital Skills is an overview of the digital processes and tools referenced across all media of contemporary visual art.   This workshop aims to give students the basic technical skills, including still and moving image and sound, to facilitate the use of digital tools in whatever concentration or practice they pursue.


ARH 3103  On Haj with Ibn Jubay: Reconstructing the 12th Century Mediterranean

Taught by: Reilly

3 credits

Our seminar will embark on a journey around the Mediterranean with Ibn Jubayr, a twelfth century Spanish Muslim who recorded his experiences during his pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina in a remarkably lively and detailed  account.  From his shipwreck on the coast of Sicily to his performance of the rituals associated with his visit to Mecca, Ibn Jubayr provides an unusual perspective on the built environment, culture and people he encounters throughout his travels.  We will read the translation of his travels as a class with background lectures provided on the visual culture of the sites he visits, such as Palermo, Damascus, Alexandria and Mecca. We will develop virtual exhibits related to Ibn Jubayr's travels.

Spring 2022

Course Descriptions

Undergraduate students can also register for ARAH 5000 level courses.

Art History


ARTH 1500 - Art and Experience

Taught by Turner

Where does Art come from?  How do we come to know it?  Experience!  Using John Dewey’s Art as Experience as a theoretical launching point, this class will contextualize the masterpieces of modern art in the Phillips Collection such as Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party, Braque’s Round Table, Pierre Bonnard’s Open Window, Matisse’s Quai St. Michel, Thomas Eakins, Mrs. Van Buren, Georgia O’Keeffe’s Ranchos Church, Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series, Mark Rothko’s Room, as well as Cezanne’s Bathers and Matisse’s Joy of Life at the Barnes Foundation.

ARTH 1503 - Art and Astronomy

Taught by Ramirez-Weaver

Looking outward and upward at the starry sky, artists, philosophers, and scientists have throughout history consistently sought to situate themselves within the cosmos and to comprehend its heavenly machinery.  Creative efforts at understanding or harnessing the significance of the planets and the stars have resulted in architectural wonders such as Stonehenge, zodiacal floor mosaics in late antique synagogues, star pictures in medieval manuscripts, Islamic celestial globes and astrolabes, illustrations for medical treatment, alchemical intervention, observation or imagination of the heavens, and more modern treatments ranging from Star Trek to Sigmar Polke.  This seminar traces the development of scientific, political, spiritual, magical, and intellectual technologies of power that have tied individuals to their views and uses for astronomy. Topics include: stars and rule, astronomy, astrology, Ptolemy’s universe, Christian reinterpretation, Arabic or Islamic contributions, alchemy, magic, medicine, Galileo, science fiction, Chesley Bonestell, Remedios Varo, and Sigmar Polke. 

ARTH 1507 - Art and the Silk Road

Taught by Wong

This course introduces the art forms, trade objects, and religions that flourished along the historical Silk Road.  

ARTH 1559 - What Art Can Do for You

Taught by Fiorani

An overview of art from the perspective of both its history and the many ways it operates in the world today. Topics include museum studies, cultural appropriation and International Law, art markets, the science of conservation, methodologies of art history, including public art, art and justice, art and psychology.

ARTH 2052 - Ancient Egypt

Taught by Dakouri-Hild

Survey of Egyptian art and architecture (Predynastic-New Kingdom, 4000-1100 BC). The course introduces students to the great monuments and works of art, and to the beliefs that engendered them. While the focus is on pharaonic 'visual' culture, neglected 'others' (women, cross-gendered persons, foreigners, commoners) and their material/visual cultures are brought to attention to provide a nuanced understanding of Egyptian society and culture. 

ARTH 2054 - Roman Art and Archaeology

Taught by Rogers

Following an overview of Etruscan art, the course examines the development of Roman architecture, urbanism, sculpture and painting from the Republic to Constantine. A focus is Rome itself, but other archaeological sites, such as Pompeii, in Italy and throughout the empire are also considered. Themes, such as succession, the achievements of the emperor, the political and social role of art, and the dissolution of classical art, are traced. 

ARTH 2055 – Introduction to Classical Archaeology

Taught by Smith

Introduces the history, theory, and field techniques of classical archaeology. Major sites of the Bronze Age (Troy, Mycenae) as well as Greek and Roman cities and sanctuaries (e.g., Athens, Olympia, Pompeii) illustrate important themes in Greek and Roman culture and the nature of archaeological data.

ARTH 2281 - The Age of Caravaggio, Velázquez, and Bernini

Taught by Goedde

Studies the painting, sculpture, and architecture of the seventeenth century in Italy, the Low Countries, France, and Spain. Focuses on Caravaggio, Bernini, Velazquez, Rubens, Rembrandt, and Poussin.

ARTH 2559 - Queer Histories of American Art, 1950s to 1990s

Taught by Getsy

In the wake of the Second World War, demographic shifts fostered new concentrations of lesbian, gay, and otherwise non-heterosexual people in U.S. cities starting in the 1950s. Visual art that addressed these increasingly visible communities began to flourish in these decades, and this course will track the shifts in the queer production of art during this time. We will examine the transition from highly coded and covert registrations of queer lives in the 1950s to the forthrightness and activism that emerged after the Stonewall uprising in 1969 to the rage of the 1980s spurred by government inaction on the AIDS crisis. The course will be structured around case studies that examine changing attitudes toward the politics of visibility, the question of assimilation, the need for radical refusal, and the disruption of norms and naturalized roles. Throughout, our examinations will be focused on larger questions for the history and historiography of U.S. art, including the erasure of non-white subjects from queer art historical narratives, the relationship of transgender histories to queer art and politics, and the continuing institutional censorship of queer art.

ARTH 2961 - Arts of the Islamic World

Taught by Phillips

The class is an overview of art made in the service of Islam in the Central Islamic Lands, Egypt, North Africa, Spain, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and South and Southeast Asia.

ARTH 3494 - Individual Research Experiences

Taught by Dakouri-Hild

This course focuses on building and improving undergraduate research and writing skills in preparation for larger research projects through a sandbox process. We will cover a variety of topics, such as why research is useful and how it can be personally satisfying. The course helps students build skills using a groundwork of essays, papers etc. from other courses, or experimenting with new topics, and expanding them into viable research projects. 

ARTH 3525 - Michelangelo and His Times

Taught by Parker

Michelangelo’s name conjures genius and a nearly superhuman achievement in the arts. Contemporaries elevated him as the supreme sculptor, painter and architect of the age. His work offers a window on a deeply personal vision and rich artistic culture. Michelangelo’s creativity extends to many media—sculpture, painting, architecture, and writing in poetry and prose. This course focuses on all these pursuits.

ARTH 3559 - Abstraction: Theory and Practice

Taught by Robbins/Rock

In this jointly taught course, between studio and art history, students will explore a range of theories of abstraction in discourse and practice from the early twentieth century to today. Course work and responses to class material are open, to be negotiated collectively and individually, in order to arouse curiosity and discussion around the potential for abstraction today. Class time will be divided between lecture, discussion, and lab work.

ARTH 3254 - Contagion and Culture

Taught by Dobryden          

From plagues, vampires, and zombies to mobs, laughter, and memes, contagious phenomena have long fascinated writers, artists, filmmakers, and cultural theorists. What role has contagion played in reflections on history and culture? How do stories and images of infection intersect with constructions of class, race, gender, and sexuality? How have cultural objects tried to make sense of contagion, or used contagion to make sense of the world?

ARTH 3591 - Degas Past/Present

Taught by Betzer

This colloquium examines critical aspects of the life and work of Edgar Degas (1834-1917) with special attention paid to important recent scholarship and exhibitions devoted to the artist. Long embraced as a radical innovator and modernist visionary, Degas poses challenges to the heroic narratives of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. How have Degas's ties to art's “past” featured in accounts that stress his modernity, the novelty of his vision, and the innovations of his artistic practice? Key issues for investigation will include: Degas's relationship to the female nude, his art collection, his relationship to reproductive technologies of printmaking and photography, his "scientific" vision, and his study of the body in motion.

ARTH 3591 - Medieval Manuscript Illumination

Taught by Ramirez-Weaver

This course examines the development of manuscript illumination following the birth of the codex in ca. 300. Each manuscript studied exemplifies aspects of changing period styles, scientific beliefs, and spiritual identities. The myriad ways that books manifest crafted confessions of medieval ideas and reveal a sensual appreciation for beauty and value will be interrogated through a set of case studies ranging roughly 450-1450. Students in this course will learn the fundamental research skills required to undertake original study of medieval manuscripts. 

ARTH 3591 - Race, Ethnicity, and Antiquity

Taught by Rogers

This course explores the critical concepts of race and ethnicity in the ancient Mediterranean by examining the art, archaeology, and literature of the Greek and Roman worlds. In understanding how the Greeks and Romans conceptualized their own racial differences—we will make connections with later periods of history, including our own. By the end of the course, we will be able to identify the difference between the way ancient peoples and modern societies think about race and ethnicity, and to demonstrate how contemporary discussions of these topics have been shaped by our relationship with antiquity.

ARTH 3591 - American Modernisms: Prophecy, Protest and Propaganda

Taught by Turner

Have you ever wondered whether Art can change you or the world? How did American artists become Liberators? Historians? Propagandists? Psychologists? In our American Modernisms class, you will encounter revolutionary artistic movements such as photo secession, futurism, synchromism, precisionism, New York Dada, social realism, the prairie style, regionalism and the New Negro and Pueblo watercolorists and Abstract Expressionists. Among the highlights of this class is the opportunity to curate an exhibition at the Special Collections Library. By identifying and exploring artists, institutions and publications and how they intersect with economies of exhibitions and audiences, you will be able to recognize and explain how and when artistic images change and create new channels of perception and communication over time. We will call out institutionalized power structures as well as acknowledge individual and collective actions of artists and critics who challenge those structures, including peoples of color with agency as well as anti-racists black and white. In so doing we will focus upon the practice and theories of a range of artists from William Merrett Chase and Robert Henri and Edward Hopper, Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O’Keeffe, Joseph Stella and Katherine Dreier, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, Jacob Lawrence and Gwendolyn Knight, Stuart Davis and David Smith, Romare Bearden and Norman Lewis, Thomas Hart Benton and Jackson Pollock working and exhibiting in the United States between 1900 and 1950.

ARTH 3863 - East Asian Art, Landscape, and Ecology

Taught by Wong

This course introduces the concepts on nature in East Asian traditions--Daoism, Shinto, Buddhism, Confucianism, their impacts on the relationship between human and their natural environment, and the art forms in which the theme of nature predominates, from landscape paintings to religious and garden architecture. It also explores how these ideas can contribute to the modern discourse on environmental ethics and sustainability.

ARTH 4051 - Art History: Theory and Practice

Taught by Robbins, Stylianopoulos

This course introduces art history majors to the basic tools and methods of art historical research, and to the theoretical and historical questions of art historical interpretation. The course will survey a number of current approaches to the explanation and interpretation of works of art, and briefly address the history of art history.

ARTH 4591 - Antiquity and Film

Taught by Dakouri-Hild

The seminar introduces students to perceptions of antiquity in the silver screen, from silent films to 3D ones, looking at a wide variety of cultures (the earliest prehistory to ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, and from the Greeks and Romans to the genesis of ancient Israel).

ARTH 4591 - Recent Debates in Contemporary Art and Performance

Taught by Getsy

This reading-intensive, discussion-based seminar will respond to current conversations in the scholarship on contemporary art and performance. Sessions will focus on recently published books, exhibition catalogues, and articles as a means to examine the history and future of art historical writing. A central question will be that of methods for research and writing, and we will compare and contextualize authors’ research practices and modes of argumentation.  Readings for the seminar may also include discussions of art, performance, and theory from interdisciplinary perspectives (such as performance studies, queer studies, literature, or American studies), and we will evaluate the priorities of these different disciplinary perspectives. The selection of readings varies from year to year and will include important new scholarship in the arts as well as respond to rapidly changing events and debates in the art world. 

ARTH 4591 - Up Close and Personal with the Old Masters

Taught by Goedde

Working with original works of art in the collections of the Fralin Art Museum, this seminar explores the fundamental issues of the history, connoisseurship, evaluation, and care of prints and drawings from about 1450 to 1850. Each student presents in class four reports on individual drawings or prints.  These reports are also revised and submitted as five-to-seven-page research catalogue entries for the Museum curatorial files.

ARTH 4591 - Museum Collecting Strategies

Taught by McLendon/Reilly

This course will interrogate the process of museum acquisition and provide real-life experience in the development of a proposal for object acquisition by The Fralin Museum of Art. Recent events have unexpectedly put museum collecting strategies in the news and placed the process under close scrutiny. It will include a visit to New York to examine objects under consideration through visits to leading auction houses, art dealers, and galleries.

ARTH 4952 - University Museums Internship

Taught by Love & Handler

This is the second semester internship at either UVA Art Museum or Kluge Ruhe. Students will work approximately 100 hours per semester in the museum, and will participate in three training sessions and three academic seminars. By application; deadline May 1.  Please see information at


ARAH 9525 - Theory and Interpretation in the Visual Arts

Taught by Robbins/Stylianopoulos

Investigates problems in the theory and interpretation of the visual arts.

ARAH 9505 - The Global Renaissance

Taught by Fiorani

Spanning between 1300 and 1600, this seminar explores early modern global networks of exchange between Europe, the Islamic world, sub-Saharan Africa, India, China, Japan and the Americas. We will focus on the mobility of materials across different places and different groups of people and on what this mobility reveals about transfer of ideas and knowledge of world.

ARAH 9545 - Curatorial Theory and Practice

Taught by Skerritt

Today, it seems, everyone is a curator. In popular discourse, from fine dining to social network influencers, “curatorship” has emerged as a buzzword to replace older notions of connoisseurship, judgement and taste. But what is at stake in the ubiquity of this label? As museum professionals seek to bring curatorship into the academic realm, is it possible to frame curatorship as a discipline with its own modes and methods of critical inquiry? As curatorial discourse expands to every corner of the globe, could this methodology be liberating for voices previously marginalized by the academy, or does it merely represent another sign of the victory of late-capitalism? Using the touring exhibition Madayin: Eight Decades of Aboriginal Australian Bark Painting (currently being developed by the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection) as a test case, students will have the opportunity to explore these issues in context of both theory and practice.

ARAH 9545 - Caribbean Revolutions

Taught by Nelson

From hurricanes and earthquakes to the violence of slavery and insurrections to intellectual and political revolutions, the Caribbean is a region characterized by upheaval and instability. But human resilience also means that in the midst of that instability there is also profound creativity and reinvention. This seminar examines the arts and architectures of the Caribbean through the lens of instability and resilience. The seminar will define arts and architectures broadly and will examine a range of topics and eras: forced labor and agency, resistance and gender, economies of production and consumption, and cultural heritage and preservation, among others.


Studio Art

ARTS 2000 - Introduction to Studio Art

Taught by Shelton, Chan, & Taylor

An introductory course, divided into three segments, which serves as a prerequisite to all studio courses. In Drawing students will learn observational drawing and how visual thinking connects with the hand. The Conceptual segment will exercise creative problem-solving skills and teach students to engage in critical discourse. The Digital segment teaches basic technical skills and digital tools including still and moving image and sound.

ARTS 2110 - Introduction to Photography I

Taught by Scheuren

Focuses on gaining a working understanding of black and white photo processes and, most importantly, opening up a dialogue about photography. Class assignments help students understand the visual language of photography using 35mm film and printing in the darkroom. In addition, lectures explore examples from the historical and contemporary worlds of fine art photography and readings range from art and philosophy to science.

ARTS 2112 - Introduction to Photography II

Taught by Scheuren

Building off of 2110, this course offers an introduction to color photography, digital printing methods, and medium format cameras. Advanced skills are demonstrated and practiced with the goal of increasing the quality of the work. Further explorations into historical and contemporary art issues via presentations, visiting artists, and readings increase awareness. Students create a final portfolio.

ARTS 2220 - Introduction to New Media I

Taught by Lyon

This class introduces digital techniques in the context of fine art. Topics covered include digital imaging and basic interactive art.

ARTS 2222 - Introduction to New Media II

Taught by Lyon

Building on the skills and concepts established in ARTS 2220, this class introduces animation techniques in the context of fine arts.

ARTS 2372 - Introduction to Cinematography II

Taught by Everson

The course introduces experimental 16mm film production as a practice of visual art. These courses include technical, historical, and theoretical issues that apply to cinematography and its relationship to the traditional visual arts.

ARTS 2610 - Drawing I

Taught by Schoyer

A continued introductory study of the materials and techniques of drawing. Provides training in the coordination of hand and eye and encourages development of visual analysis. Emphasizes understanding form, space, light and composition. May be taken concurrently with ARTS 2000.

ARTS 2632 - Life Drawing II

Taught by Taylor

Creations of drawings of a living model in various media. Topics include artistic anatomy, figure and portrait drawing. Prerequisite: ARTS 2610.

ARTS 2670 - Introduction to Intaglio & Monotype Printmaking

Taught by Ohira

Introduction to intaglio printmaking and monotype techniques, including hard and soft ground etch, aquatint, and drypoint.

ARTS 2672 - Introduction to Lithography & Relief Printmaking

Taught by Taylor

Introduction to Lithography (planographic), and woodcut and other relief printmaking processes.

ARTS 2710 - Introduction to Water-Based Painting

Taught by Marlatt

Introduction to basic water painting techniques and materials (including acrylic, gouache, and water color), emphasizing perception and color. Assignments are designed to assist the student in understanding the creative process and interpreting the environment through a variety of subject matter expressed in painted images. Encourages individual stylistic development.

ARTS 2712 - Introduction to Oil Painting

Taught by Marlatt

Introduction to Oil-based painting.

ARTS 2812 - Introduction to Sculpture II

Taught by Miller

Introduction to sculpture techniques.

ARTS 3222 - Intermediate New Media II

Taught by Kasra

This class focuses primarily on creative and conceptual development within the technical and artistic framework established in previous semesters. Prerequisite: ARTS 2220 and ARTS 2222.

ARTS 3372 - Intermediate Cinematography II

Taught by Hogg

Prerequisite: ARTS 2370 and ARTS 2372.

ARTS 3559 - New Course in Studio Art: Abstraction: Theory and Practice

Taught by Robbins/Rock

In this jointly taught course, between studio and art history, students will explore a range of theories of abstraction in discourse and practice from the early twentieth century to today. Course work and responses to class material are open, to be negotiated collectively and individually, in order to arouse curiosity and discussion around the potential for abstraction today. Class time will be divided between lecture, discussion, and lab work.

ARTS 3672 - Intermediate Printmaking II

Taught by Ohira

Prerequisite: ARTS 2670, 2672.

ARTS 3712 - Intermediate Painting II

Taught by Rock

Prerequisite: ARTS 2710, 2712.

ARTS 3812 - Intermediate Sculpture II

Taught by Miller

Prerequisite: ARTS 2810, 2812.

ARTS 4110 - Advanced Photography I

Taught by Scheuren

Group study designed to assist students in preparing their required thesis exhibitions. Meets twice a week as a group to evaluate and discuss work in progress. (Fall only.) Prerequisite: ARTS 3110 or ARTS 3112.

ARTS 4112 - Advanced Photography II

Taught by Scheuren

Assists students in preparing their required thesis exhibitions. Meets twice a week as a group to evaluate and discuss work in progress. Students participate in class portfolio and acquire a print from each member of the class. One becomes part of the University collection. Graduating fourth-year students are expected to complete a quality slide portfolio, resume, and artist statement in conjunction with the thesis exhibition. (Spring only) Prerequisite: ARTS 3110 or ARTS 3112.

ARTS 4222 - Advanced New Media II

Taught by Lyon

A continuation of artistic investigations begun in ARTS 4220. Prerequisite: ARTS 3220 or ARTS 3222.

ARTS 4372 - Advanced Cinematography II

Taught by Hogg

Prerequisite: ARTS 3370 or ARTS 3372.

ARTS 4452 - Distinguished Major Project

Taught by Chan

Intensive independent work using either sculpture, photography, printmaking, cinematography, or painting as the primary medium, culminating in a coherent body of work under direction of a faculty member. Prerequisite: Admission to the Distinguished Major Program. ARTS 4450 Prerequisite: Admission to the Distinguished Major Program.

ARTS 4672 - Advanced Problems in Printmaking

Taught by Ohira

Prerequisite: ARTS 3670 or 3672.

ARTS 4712 - Advanced Painting II

Taught by Rock

Painting professors and course content vary from semester to semester. Prerequisite: ARTS 3710 or ARTS 3712.

ARTS 4812 - Advanced Sculpture II

Taught by Miller

Prerequisite: ARTS 3810 or 3812.

Arts Administration

ARAD 3550 - The Arts & STEM

Taught by Sampson

How the Arts interface with the STEM fields include forays into visual abstraction and free jazz; how these art-forms connect with Physics-based Complexity Science; and how these two areas might help conceptualize the "wicked problem" of Climate Change.  This includes environmental science, politics, power structures; the global nature of the problem and the extended time frame with which humans are now confronted.

This course explores techniques and rationales behind the giving and the raising of funds; and the closely related skills of leading and managing trustees, boards and volunteers.  The course will examine these fields using both theory and practical applications.  Both in-class discussions and distinguished guest speakers will be utilized. 

ARAD 4559 - Contemporary Topics in Arts Administration

Taught by Sampson

This seminar will explore how arts institutions, artists and the creative output of the arts are responding in an unprecedented time of challenges on many flanks.  Multiple arts disciplines within both the visual and performing arts will be considered depending on the interests of those in the class.  Real-time and recent-past research will be conducted by faculty guided self-selection in advance of sharing discoveries with the class.