Professor Sandra Cheng
Office Hours: Tues/Thurs 9-10 am and by appointment
Office: Namm 602B
Email: (best way to contact me)
Phone: 718-260-5003 (not a good way to contact me)
Class Time/Location: Tues/Thurs 11:30 am-12:45 pm, Atrium 631 (3 credits)

Download PDF of syllabus here

Course Description: Art is the creation of its creator as well as the cultural, political, economic, and social forces that shaped that artist. This course will connect art to those histories, and will introduce students to the visual language of Western art from ancient to modern times, in order to increase the recognition and understanding of references in advertisements and posters, on clothing, and in film and other media. The course introduces a wide variety of methodologies and topics of current debate in the field of art history, including: style, technique, patronage, iconography (subject matter), social context, historiography (writings about art and how they shaped our concepts), gender, psychoanalysis, and art theory.

Required Textbook: Fred S. Kleiner, Gardner’s Art Through The Ages, A Concise Western History, 2nd Edition, Wadsworth, 2010 (previous edition is OK, copies are on reserve in the library)
n.b. There are many different versions of Gardner’s Art Through the Ages, if you purchase your textbook from outside of the CityTech Bookstore, make sure you are purchasing the correct version. The keywords are concise and western.

Learning Outcomes:
Students will,

  • learn the analytical techniques used by art historians,
  • become familiar with key works of Western art, their artists, styles, materials and working methods,
  • become knowledgeable about the major works of art linked to historical events, intellectual history, and scientific and cultural trends,
  • acquire a working knowledge of the specialized vocabulary used in art history,
  • enhance their visual literacy and critical thinking skills

Website: You must access the class website by logging into CityTech’s OpenLab via /. Instructions on how to signup are on the OpenLab homepage. To access the OpenLab, you will need to register with your CityTech email account (if you haven’t activated your CityTech email, you need to go to the student helpdesk—1st floor Namm or 6th Floor Computer Lab in the General Building).

Slide lists for the lectures will be posted online. You will need a password to access image files that correspond to the slide lists (passwords will be provided in class). Go to the Class Downloads tab on the website. The slide lists have the works of art and vocabulary that you are responsible for on the exams. Although I will occasionally show slides that are not on your slide lists or in Gardner’s Art Through the Ages, these unlisted works will not be on the exams. You will also find additional information to help you study for exams (see Exam & Study Guide online).

Homework Blog Assignments/ In-Class Assignments: Your homework consists of blogging on the class website. Each week, I will post a Discussion Topic. You may choose to submit a blog post or comment on a fellow student’s post. Instructions for how to post or to comment are located online under Blogging Guidelines. You are responsible for 10 posts or comments (approx. 200 words each). Throughout the semester, you may have the opportunity to work in small groups for in-class assignments. Participation on the blog and class work is mandatory.

Exam 1                                                                        20%
Exam 2                                                                       20%
Homework (Class Blog)                                          10%
In-Class Assignments                                                 5%
Narrative Art (4 Icon Challenge) Assignment        5%
Museum Paper                                                          20%
FINAL Exam                                                              20%

PLEASE NOTE: Failure to turn in the paper or submit an exam, plagiarism, and cheating will result in a zero (0), not F for the assignment/exam.

Class participation will be considered in determining final grades.

Important Dates:

  • Sept 14, Friday Last day to drop without W grade
  • Oct 2, Tuesday Exam 1
  • Nov 8, Thursday Exam 2
  • Nov 12, Monday Last day to withdraw with W grade
  • Nov 29 Thursday Museum Paper due
  • Dec 18, Tuesday Final Exam, 11:30 am – 12:45 pm no incomplete work accepted after this date

Exams: Exams consist of slide identifications (artist name, title of works, stylistic period, approximate dates, location if in situ, significance of work), short answer questions, essays, and vocabulary. Make-up exams will only be given for reasons of documented emergency.

Written Assignments: Students are required to write two papers. Information on required papers will be given in separate handouts.
• Narrative Art and the Art of Storytelling-4 Icon Challenge (1 pp): How does art tell a story? Select a work of art and reduce the narrative to 4 icons. Write a one-page paper that explains why you chose these icons to represent your work of art.
• Museum Paper (4 pp): The paper is an exhibition review. You will be given a list of approved exhibitions in New York City. Choose one exhibition to visit. Write a review based on your interpretation and analysis. The objective of this review will be to determine the goal of the curator in putting the exhibition together and then to evaluate the extent to which the curator was successful in achieving this goal.
Please submit your papers on time, late papers will drop a letter grade per day after the deadline.

Extra Credit: Over the course of the semester, you will be given an option to do several extra credit projects worth 1-2 points each. The projects have specific due dates. These are short written assignments of approx. 500 words. If you complete all the projects well, it is possible to increase your final grade average by 10 points. You will find extra credit assignments posted online.

Attendance: Students are expected to attend all classes. More than 3 absences will result in course failure. Excessive lateness will affect your grade. Three late marks equal one absence.

Plagiarism and Cheating: Presenting work by others as your own is completely unacceptable. Plagiarism includes using material from books or the Internet without acknowledging the source as well as submitting something written by someone else. Either will result in a 0 (zero) for that particular assignment/exam. A second instance will result in an automatic F for the course.

Decorum: Please turn off your cell phones, beepers, alarms, etc. and no sleeping, internet surfing, txt msgs while in lecture.

New York City College of Technology Policy on Academic Integrity:
Students and all others who work with information, ideas, texts, images, music, inventions, and other intellectual property owe their audience and sources accuracy and honesty in using, crediting, and citing sources. As a community of intellectual and professional workers, the College recognizes its responsibility for providing instruction in information literacy and academic integrity, offering models of good practice, and responding vigilantly and appropriately to infractions of academic integrity. Accordingly, academic dishonesty is prohibited in The City University of New York and at New York City College of Technology and is punishable by penalties, including failing grades, suspension, and expulsion.


Date                           Topic                                                                                   Reading
The Ancient World
8/28      Introduction: Syllabus Review/Looking at Art                                  Gardner Intro
8/30      Ancient Near Eastern Art and Egyptian Art and Architecture         Ch. 1
9/4         Egyptian Art and Architecture cont’d
9/6         Ancient Greek Art and Architecture                                                     Ch. 2
9/11        Ancient Greek Art and Architecture cont’d
9/13       Ancient Roman Art and Architecture                                                    Ch. 3
9/20       Ancient Roman Art and Architecture cont’d
9/25       Early Christian and Byzantine Art                                                         Ch. 4
9/27       Early Christian and Byzantine Art cont’d
10/2       EXAM 1
The Middle Ages to the Baroque
10/4        Art of the Early Middle Ages and Romanesque Art                          Ch. 6
10/9        Romanesque Art and Gothic Art                                                          Ch. 6-7
10/11       Gothic Art cont’d                                                                                    Ch. 7
10/16      Early Renaissance                                                                                   Ch. 8
10/18      Early Renaissance cont’d
10/23      High Renaissance                                                                                    Ch. 9
10/25      High Renaissance cont’d
10/30      Mannerism and Northern Renaissance                                               Ch. 9
11/1          Baroque Style                                                                                          Ch. 10
11/6         Baroque Style cont’d
11/8         EXAM 2
Neoclassicism to Modernism
11/13        Neoclassicism                                                                                         Ch. 11
11/15        Romanticism                                                                                           Ch. 12
11/20       Realism                                                                                                    Ch. 12
11/27        Realism and Impressionism                                                                Ch. 12-13
11/29        Impressionism and Post-Impressionism                                          Ch. 13
12/4          Early 20th-century Modernism                                                          Ch. 14
12/6          Art after 1945                                                                                         Ch. 15
12/11         Extra day to catch up and mini-review
12/18         FINAL EXAM
please note the final exam date and time TUESDAY DEC 18th 11:30 AM,
NO exams will be given at an earlier or later date
12/20         Exams and papers returned

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