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Get a feel for the exciting variety of courses taught at Marlboro.

This is a list of courses that faculty felt was representational of the courses offered. It is not a complete list of courses, some courses are offered yearly, while others are infrequent. A course may be inspired by events or strong interests and taught only once.

Most advanced work is in the form of tutorials on specific subjects, a collaboration between one faculty member and one student or a handful of students.

Art History

(4.00 Credits — Introductory)

Spring 2012

Who made it? For whom did they make it? And Why did they make it? These are some of the longstanding questions that have framed and structured the discipline of art history. But over the last 20 years art history has changed dramatically, destabilizing the status of even these most fundamental of the discipline's questions. Many art historians focus on an entirely different set of questions, such as: How was the image or sculpture understood? How was it displayed? Who saw it? In what way does a work's style reinforce a specific cultural ideology? In this course, which will serve as an introduction to the study of art and art history, students will learn a variety of ways of looking at and understanding visual culture. The course will begin by setting up a chronological framework for the study of world art, it will then leapfrog through time stopping to examine works of art in various periods and the ways in which art historians have written about them. The focus of the course will be on paintings, sculptures and various forms of art objects although there will be some discussion of architecture as well. Prerequisite: None

Art History Survey II - From the 15th century to the Present
(4.00 Credits — Introductory)

Spring 2014
Global Perspective

This class is a continuation of Survey I although it differs methodologically. We will focus on a select number of particular works of art each semester, thus the class may be taken more than once since the material of the class and readings will change from semester to semester. The aim of the class is to develop the skill sets introduced in the first half of the survey by looking at, analyzing and reading about specific works in depth. In addition, time will be spent discussing the different ways in which Art Historians have organized the discourse including chronological and media structures and stylistic and cultural categories.

Classical Vision
(4.00 Credits — Multi-Level)

Fall 2011

The twenty-first century viewer is so accustomed to visual imagery that reproduces, in the most minute detail, the thing, view, person seen, that this kind of image production is taken to be the goal to which all image makers aspire (up until the modern period, that is). To many the imagery of the classical periods in western art history, Greece, Rome, the Italian Renaissance and nineteenth-century France set the standards by which much artistic production, even today, is measured. This course examines how and attempts to understand why “Classical” or “Naturalistic” or “Realistic” vision transformed the artistic production of these cultures across time and space and why it continues to be important to us today. Prerequisite: None

Creating Views: Design & Display from the Invention of the Museum to Today
(4.00 Credits — Intermediate)

Fall 2013
Global Perspective

The museum seems to be a uniquely modern institution. A place where works of art, identified as such by trained experts, are displayed for the most part outside of the original context of their making and use. Through this process these same works gain new meaning and new identities. They become representative of cultures and peoples of the past, a past that is processed, defined and sometimes created by the display itself. This class takes a critical approach to museum exhibits, to collecting and to the classification of cultures and art that goes on in curatorial studies today. Our approach will look across cultures to understand not just how display creates meaning and provides a framework for interpretation of works of art, but for the cultures that those works come to represent. This class is designed to develop the following key skills: collaboration, global competence, creativity in expression and problem solving and network and information literacy. In addition, of course, you will learn something of the history of museum display, art historical methods and practices, and issues of design and viewing that are key to the museum experience. Prerequisite: None

Introduction to the History of Art Part I: The Pre-Modern World
(4.00 Credits — Introductory)

Fall 2019

This course is designed to introduce students to the discipline of art history and to the curriculum as it is taught at Marlboro College. We will begin with the skills that art historians use, critical visual analysis (which includes historical analysis), critical reading and critical writing. Students will develop these skills through a variety of exercises, including museum visits, in-class presentations and written assignments. As the class progresses we will study the history of architecture and urban design, painting and sculpture through the multiple lenses of patronage, ritual practice, state control and social experience, among others. The art and architectural works covered in the class date from pre-history to the fourteenth century and the geographic range includes the Mediterranean, Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

Making Meaning Out of Stone: Built Environment & Ritual Practice in Florence & Cairo c.1300
(4.00 Credits — Multi-Level)

Fall 2019

Cities have always been sites of protest, transformation, dream making and dream dashing, triumph, celebration and disaster. Human activity, building practices and civic authority all play a role in the creation and production of both the stage and the “play” of city life. This course undertakes to examine two world historical cities, Florence and Cairo in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries. Both were key cities of the Mediterranean world at this time, experiencing remarkable growth in their architectural fabric, their world renown and their earthly riches. The aim of the course is to probe, through an examination of primary documents and the built environment, what lived experience in these two cities was like.

  • Permission of instructor

Seeing(reading)the Bible: Christian Iconography from Byzantium to Boston
(4.00 Credits — Introductory)

Spring 2013

From the period of the earliest Christian rituals to the late nineteenth century a substantial amount of pictorial and sculptural art in Europe was focused on connecting human experience and ritual practice to the experience of and with the divine. This class begins by examining the creation of a particular Christian iconography. We will look at the artistic traditions out of which Christian art sprung both textual and visual and analyze the choices made in the creation of a canonical language of Christian imagery. During this section of the class students will be required to read the entirety of the New Testament and excerpts of the Hebrew Bible. We will then examine the strains placed upon that production in various periods from the Iconoclastic controversy, to the rise of Humanism in the European Renaissance to the Enlightenment.

For Art History offerings, also see:

A History of Now
Topics in Human Understanding


(a mostly random selection of Marlboro microdestinations)