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ART 208: Greek Art & Architecture

Spring, 2010
Dr. Michael Tinkler

Houghton House Room 103
Telephone: (315) 781-3489
Fall 2005 office hours - Tu/Th, 10:30-12:00
Wednesday, 11:00-12:00, Scandling Center Cafe
or MWF by appointment

Outcomes and objectives
Attendance policy
Writing Assignments
Team Presentations
Weekly Schedule
Grading Scale
On-line Slide Review

Slide Identification Information

Course Description

This course surveys the art of the Greeks from the historical origins to at least the early Roman imperial period (ca. A.D. 69). We will examine the Greek pursuit of naturalism and their turn to emphasizing emotion in art. We will contrast Greek use of ideal human form with the Roman interest in the depiction of individuals. In architecture, we will study the classic expressions of Greek architecture in their stylistic unity and variety, especially in the way the buildings serve different functions with a limited language of building parts. In the study of architecture we will make explicit comparisons to Greek Revival architecture in Upstate New York.

We will consider the function of art as an autonomous field of the beautiful and a contextualized field of discourse. Greek art provides a particularly rich deposit of material for this contrast because of the wealth of parallel information about the society and the use of art and the inherent excellence of the artistic expression. Let's face it-- this stuff is really beautiful.


How this course works with the Colleges' 8 Goals:

This course will help students address Goal 1 (Develop skills for effective communication: listening, reading, writing, speaking.), Goal 6 (Develop an intellectually grounded foundation for understanding differences and inequalities of gender, race and class.), and Goal 7 (Acquire critical knowledge of the multiplicity of world cultures.).

Outcomes and objectives

From the Art Department Assessment document, spring, 2005:

"The intermediate courses required of Art History majors provide the skills and reasoning processes necessary to continue to integrate technical proficiency and critical thinking. Students will take at least one course from each of 4 areas: ancient and medieval art, Asian art, renaissance and baroque, and American or modern art. Students argue for relationships between art objects by sharpening their focus on specific periods, ideologies, or cultures. Students will explore the history, theory, and practice of art and architecture from ancient to contemporary as well as the broad range of disciplines which bear on art history. Students will interpret different art historical sources including primary sources and the secondary literature."

Textbooks and readings

Textbook are only the beginning! You will also be responsible for reserve reading, xeroxes as provided, and general knowledge (which you may have to supplement); for instance, if you are not comfortable with the body of Greco-Roman mythology, you might want to invest in a copy of Edith Hamilton's Mythology, readily available in paperback (and in multiple copies in our library).

feel free to buy your books used or order from online services -- but note that there is a new edition of the primary textbook
Attendance Policy

Of course if you don't attend you won't do very well. Visual material will often seem very different in color and in large scale on the wall from its appearance in black and white in a small paperback book or even on a computer screen, so if you don't see both, your work will suffer. You may miss 2 classes without penalty; subsequent misses, for any reason not explicitly excused in writing by a Dean of your respective College, will cost 1 points off your final grade. Plan your cuts! If you know you will need to attend a parent's surgery, don't just sleep late on other days. Because this class meets on T/Th mornings there should not be any problems with sporting events.

Tardiness -- I know that Houghton House is a long way from anywhere. That is your problem to overcome - think about bicycling! I do when I need to go to campus.

Writing Assignments

Object Experiences
Ancient things --
you will analyze a piece of sculpture or pottery surviving from classical antiquity -- probably in the Johnson Museum at Cornell, the Syracuse Everson Museum, or the Rochester Memorial Arts Gallery.  You may choose to analyze an object in a museum further afield -- consult with me before you go on any weekend trips or midterm break!
Modern things --
you will analyze a building or sculpture viewed as an expression of Greek and Roman ideas and styles.  Americans use ideas drawn from past cultures, and you will examine potential meanings and misunderstandings of the Greek or Roman models.

Thinking about Ancient Society
some preliminary suggestions -- feel free to suggest your own!

Mythology -- Read a classic telling of a myth (the Homeric Hymns, Hesiod, Ovid) and a revisionist evaluation (Slater's The Glory of Hera, Bachofen, Nietzsche on Apollo & Dionysus, Frazier on Eleusis, Freud on just about anything) and evaluate with illustrations from the corpus of vase painting.

 Social Practices --  Read articles or chapters from the reserve readings on the status of women or slaves in antiquity.  Evaluate the argument on the basis of images, art production, or the built environment.  Can what the author says about ancient Greece or Rome be supported or attacked on the basis of the surviving visual or built evidence?

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Team Presentations

Design a web site that compares dynamically tombstones in Geneva cemeteries with ancient burial practices.  Divide the responsibility for producing images and graphic designs!

Present a poster array that demonstrates demographic differentials of grave markers in the Geneva cemeteries (male, female, age, marital status, class) and compares them to Athenian graves.

Prepare naturalistic and idealized portraits of more than 3 members of the group and relate them to Roman or Hellenistic examples.

Prepare a walking tour guide to Geneva classicizing architecture that in NO WAY reflects the work of the Geneva Historical Society with the same material (except use of dates and names of buildings).  Present the guide as a pamphlet or a web site.

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Weekly Schedule

December 16, Friday 1.30-4.30 p.m. - FINAL EXAM

Please inform your parents of this date NOW.  Examinations will not be given in advance to fit your travel schedule.

Grading Scale

30% .. Writing about Objects, 10% each
10% .. Writing about the Greeks
10% .. Teach Presentation
35% .. Quizzes, 5% each
15% .. Final Exam


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