Art History

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Students work closely with faculty as they learn about the relationship of art to fields such as anthropology, sociology, music, dance, literature, science and engineering.

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Meadows art history professors closely mentor their students, offering help and guidance with classes, internships, jobs and grad programs.

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The art history department offers curriculum in Hispanic art from both sides of the Atlantic. Pictured: The Meadows Museum, holding one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Spanish art in the world.

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Faculty members are recognized nationally and internationally as expert researchers, speakers and authors. Connections in the U.S., Mexico, South America and Europe help foster networking and internships for students.

World Art History Classes

Please note that not all courses are offered every semester. This listing is not considered authoritative. Please visit Access.SMU for authoritative course offerings including meeting times, professor, and more.

ARHS 3359: Topics in Art History: International Studies
Specific topics are chosen by the instructor.

ARHS 3361: Special Studies in Art History
Specific topics are chosen by the instructor.

ARHS 3363/CFB 3343: Topics in Brazilian Art and Architecture
This course explores the trajectory of Brazilian art and architecture from the first moments of cultural collision, through the long period of colonial history, to the vibrant contemporary arts of Brazil today, with special attention given to the complex tapestry of artistic and intercultural exchange among Brazil’s Amerindian, African, and European populations. By rigorously examining historical, social, political, and cultural conditions surrounding the question of “representation,” the class links the artistic production of the colonial period with the foundations of Brazilian modern art. The course concludes with an examination of video art during the dictatorship and contemporary allegories of underdevelopment. Students gain a deeper understanding of different national and international models for representing Brazilian national identity today, as well as the ethical, aesthetic, political, and/or social repercussions of those models.

ARHS 3376: Latin American Art
A survey of art and architecture in Latin America from the initial contacts between European and American civilizations until the 20th century.

ARHS 3377/CF 3375: Art and Architecture of Hispanic New Mexico
Examines the artistic and cultural legacies of colonial New Mexico: Spanish city planning and church design; retablos, santos and their place in religious experience; and art in the secular life of towns and haciendas of colonial and postcolonial New Mexico. Emphasizes field trips to galleries, collections and historical sites of northern Mexico. (SMU-in-Taos)

ARHS 3379: Power and Spectacle - The Arts of Spain and New Spain
Examines the visual arts of early modern Spain and colonial Mexico. Emphasis on the interplay and creative synthesis of European and New World visual cultures within the colonial sphere.

ARHS 3382: Arts of the Ancient Andean Tradition: Chavín to Inca
A survey of the major arts produced between ca. 1200 B.C. and A.D. 1530 by the indigenous peoples of modern western South America, with greatest emphasis on the many successive art-producing cultures of Peru.

ARHS 3383: The Ancient Maya: Art and History
Presents an introduction to the art and history of the Maya of Central America. Addresses the principal sites and monuments of the ancient Maya civilization, imparts a working understanding of the Maya hieroglyphic writing system, and surveys the political history of the fractious ancient Maya cities.

ARHS 3385: The Aztecs Before and After the Conquest: Mesoamerica, 1400–1600
Examines the art and cultural history of Mexico in the centuries immediately before and after the Spanish arrival in Mesoamerica. Topics include the art and ceremony of the imperial Aztec state; the nature of the conflict between 1519 and 1521 that ended in the fall of the Aztec capital to the Spanish; and the monuments of Spanish conquerors, missionaries and native elite in Mexico’s early colonial period.

ARHS 3390: Traditional Arts of Africa
Surveys the art produced in traditional African societies, with special emphasis on the sculpture of West and Central Africa.

ARHS 3391: Visual Culture in Colonial Mexico
The arrival of Europeans in the Americas in 1492 inaugurated one of the most remarkable and violent encounters in human history. This course examines the visual and material culture created in the aftermath of this cultural collision in Mexico, the former Viceroyalty of New Spain, from the 16th to 18th centuries. Emphasizes the interplay and creative synthesis of discrete European and indigenous visual cultures within the colonial sphere, and the role of the arts in empire building. Considers, for example, feather work, manuscripts, painting, sculpture, architecture and urban planning as visual practices.

ARHS 3392/CF 3313: Islamic Art and Architecture - The Creation of a New Art
Treats issues significant to the creation and expansion of Islamic art from the seventh to the 15th century. Topics include the cultural and political exchange and conflict between Muslims and Christians, religious concerns and the artistic forms created to meet them, the importance of the book in Muslim culture, the distinctions between religious and secular art, and the appropriation of sacred space in Muslim architecture.

ARHS 3393/CF 3358: Culture of Oaxaca: A Sense of Place
Learning adventure in Oaxaca: exploration of multilayered cultural history through field trips to artists’ workshops, museums, archaeological sites and religious fiestas. Focus on art, art history, folklore and religion. Lectures, readings, discussion, essays, interviews and photographs of artists for student projects, and numerous field trips provide a broad exposure to Oaxacan culture.

ARHS 3394: Art and Architecture of Japan
Survey of religious and secular arts from prehistoric times through the Edo period. Field trips to Kyoto and Nara. (Also SMU-in-Japan)

ARHS 3395: Art and Architecture of India
Designed to introduce the student to the major artistic expressions of India from the Indus Valley civilization through the time of the Mughals.

ARHS 3396: Art and Architecture of China
Focuses on important monuments in China ranging from 2000 B.C. to the present day, in a variety of media: cast bronze, stone, sculpture, painting on silk and paper, porcelain and wooden architecture, among others. Selected objects and sites illuminate the concept of “monument” from differing perspectives of technology, aesthetics, labor, religion, ethnicity and politics. Also discussed are comparisons to analogous monuments outside China and visits to collections of Chinese art in Dallas-Fort Worth. (Also SMU-in- China)

ARHS 3398: Introduction to Museum
Studies This course endeavors to introduce art history majors and graduate students to the basic principles of connoisseurship, conservation, framing, lighting and exhibition design in the context of the art museum today, with emphasis upon the interpretative, cultural and social role of museums over time. The course evaluates specific collections and exhibitions in area museums and examines a number of private collections, challenging students to make quality judgments based upon objective criteria and intuitive response. Students are required to assess the meaning of art through visual analysis and comparison. The efficacy and ethics of museum management is also considered.

ARHS 5366: Seminar in Pre-Columbian Art
Specific topics for investigation chosen by the instructor.

ARHS 5368: Seminar on the Maya City: Art and Culture
Specific topics for investigation chosen by the instructor.

ARHS 5369: Seminar on the Art of the Inca
Specific topics for investigation chosen by the instructor.

ARHS 5391: Seminar in Asian Art
Specific topics for investigation chosen by the instructor.

ARHS 6376: Latin American Art
A survey of art and architecture in Latin America from the initial contacts between European and American civilizations until the 20th century.

ARHS 6382: Arts of the Ancient Andean Tradition: Chavín to Inca
A survey of the major arts produced between about 1200 B.C. and A.D. 1530 by the indigenous peoples of modern western South America with greatest emphasis on the many successive art-producing cultures of Peru.

ARHS 6383: The Ancient Maya: Art and History
An introduction to the art and history of the Maya of Central America. The course will address the principal sites and monuments of the ancient Maya civilization, impart a working understanding of the Maya hieroglyphic writing system and survey the political history of the fractious ancient Maya cities.

ARHS 6385: The Aztecs Before and After the Conquest: Mesoamerica, 1400-1600
The art and cultural history of Mexico in the centuries immediately before and after the Spanish arrival in Mesoamerica. Topics include the art and ceremony of the imperial Aztec state; the nature of the conflict, between 1519 and 1521, that ended in the fall of the Aztec capital to the Spanish; and the monuments of Spanish conquerors, missionaries and native elite in Mexico’s early colonial period.

ARHS 6390: Traditional Arts of Africa
A survey of the art produced in traditional African societies with special emphasis on the sculpture of West and Central Africa.

ARHS 6392/CFA 3313: Islamic Art and Architecture: The Creation of a New Art
Issues significant to the creation and expansion of Islamic art from the seventh to the 15th centuries. Topics include the cultural and political exchange and conflict between Muslims and Christians, religious concerns and the artistic forms created to meet them, the importance of the book in Muslim culture, the distinctions between religious and secular art and the appropriation of sacred space in Muslim architecture.

ARHS 6394: Art and Architecture of Japan
Survey of religious and secular arts from prehistoric times through the Edo period. Field trips to Kyoto and Nara. (also SMU-in-Japan)

ARHS 6395: Art and Architecture of India
An introduction to the major artistic expressions of India from the Indus Valley civilization through the time of the Mughals.

ARHS 6396: Art and Architecture of China
The important monuments in China, ranging from 2000 B.C. to the present day, in a variety of media: cast bronze, stone, sculpture, painting on silk and paper, porcelain and wooden architecture, among others. Selected objects and sites will illuminate the concept of “monument” from differing perspectives of technology, aesthetics, labor, religion, ethnicity and politics. Also comparisons to analogous monuments outside China and visits to collections of Chinese art in Dallas-Fort Worth. (also SMU-in-China)

Areas of Study

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Classes

Introductory Classes

Ancient Art History Classes

Directed Topics in Art History Classes

Medieval Art History Classes

Renaissance and Baroque Art History Classes

Modern Art History Classes

British and American Art History Classes

World Art History Classes

Undergraduate Seminar Classes

Alumni

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Art History Newsletter

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Communication Studies

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