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ART 303
 -- Roman Art and Power --

Spring, 2011
Michael Tinkler
Office Hours: Tuesday, 1:00 - 4:00
Office Telephone: 781-3489
Office:  Houghton House #103

A syllabus is not a binding contract between professor and student, but a professor's stated aspiration for how he profoundly wishes the semester will turn out.

Course Description 

    In this course we will consider the use Romans made of art and architecture to shape public understanding of Roman imperial ideologies – to make Romans of the whole Mediterranean world.

    We will concentrate on 3 periods and 3 art types.  The 3 periodds are the time of Augustus, the adoptive Antonine dynasty, and the Late Empire. The 3 art types are portraiture (including coinage), commemorative monuments (triumphal arches, columns and temples), and the Roman colony cities throughout the Empire.  In the final segment of the course we will consider in some detail Roman Britain.

     Much of our course material will be available via Blackboard and the Art Department Visual Resources Center .

Grading Distribution

    6 short writing or sketching assignments (500 words)    30%
    1 longer writing assignment (1000 words)            10%
    online discussion board                        10%
    4 in-class slide quizzes                        20%
    final written project                             20%
        and its presentation                    10%


all required:  art texts
    Mary Beard & John Henderson, Classical Art: From Greece to Rome
    Mortimer Wheeler, Roman Art and Architecture

sources and readings:
    J.J. Pollitt, Art of Rome, Circa 753 B.C. - A.D. 337: Sources and Documents
    Eve D’Ambra, Roman Art in Context: An Anthology

Attendance Policy

There is no such thing as an excused absence – there are only days when you are in class and days when you are not in class.
    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, so if you don’t see both, your work will suffer.

You may miss class twice without penalty.  Any further misses count one (1) point against your final grade.

    On tardiness -- I know that Houghton House is a long way from anywhere. That is your problem to overcome - think about bicycling!

On Writing Assignments

    You will see me with a rough draft of each writing assignment.  A rough draft is a clean, proofread, word-processed copy of what you are working on.  Notes are not acceptable.

    Showing me a rough draft does not guarantee you an A paper.  I think it would be hard to show me a rough draft and do the work I suggest and get an F or a D, but I do give a C in that circumstance.

Grade Distribution (before my comments on style)
  A - excellent analysis of the work of art showing thought beyond the assignment to engagement with the artist’s decision-making process.  Fluent expression, especially in the apt use of the technical terms of art history.
  B - good  analysis of the work of art and clear engagement with the assignment.
  C- competent completion of the assignment, but no more.  Many aspects of the assignment dealt with in one sentence.
  D - partial completion of the assignment, without evidence of thought or analysis.  Signs that you wrote about a photograph.
  F - no sign of effort or engagement with a real object. 

I will submit your work to  If I detect you in plagiarism through this or any other means you will receive a zero for the assignment and be reported to the appropriate dean or the Committee on Standards.

On Tests

     It is not unhelpful to think of art history courses as being something like an introductory Biology course - there are lots of new terms to memorize in order to discuss new things.   You do have to do memory work.  You do have to learn to use terms correctly.  Slide review - via the online slide reviews - will help you memorize images.  My notes on how to identify slides will help you know what you should study for the identifications. Online quizzes via Blackboard will help you learn to use technical terms with fluency and accuracy.

Important Dates

Sept 3 (Friday) – walking tour of the cemetary
Sept 8 (Wednesday) – 1st writing assignment (description)
Sept 17 (Friday) – in class quiz
Oct 1 (Friday) – in class quiz
Oct 8 (Friday) – 2nd writing assignment
Oct 15 (Friday) – walking tour, local Roman
Oct 22 (Friday) – 3rd writing assignment (revival style or portrait)
Oct 29 (Friday) – in class quiz
Nov 12 (Friday) – in class quiz
December – presentations

December 16 (Thursday) – FINAL EXAM scheduled – your final written version of your project is due at this time.

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