Art History, Music and Culture 58.300/201
Dr. Liana Cheney


Art, Music and Culture image

Syllabus of Lectures


COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course studies the aesthetic, artistic and intellectual similarities between art history and culture in western and non western civilizations. Discussion of the arts focuses on the development in examining the human creativity and expression through the arts: from ancient times as 'art and morality' followed in the Renaissance as 'art and sciences' continued in the Enlightenment as 'art and society' contrasted in the nineteenth century as 'arts for arts sake' and arriving to the twentieth century as 'art and entertainment.'

In addition this course addresses four cultural currents in the history of art and ideas, such as Classicism, Christianity, Romanticism and Modernism. Furthermore, this course surveys some of the fundamental aspects of art history and culture, such as the nature of aesthetic judgment, the task of art and music criticism, including formalist, representational, and contemporary theories on viewing, analyzing, and interpreting the arts. In addition, with a comparative analysis between the modes of visual and aura representation, visual and aura perception, this course analyzes the principal forms and genres of the visual and aural elements of art history and music history, providing an understanding for human creativity and expression.

ORGANIZATION: Although class discussion is strongly encouraged, this is primarily a lecture course based upon the visual content of works of art presented by way of projected slides. Attendance is highly recommended for every class meeting. Students are responsible for the content of all lectures and assigned reading materials.

CLASS COMPORTMENT: Since this a professional presentation at the university level, you are not permitted to eat or drink during class lectures and discussion. Disabled students must see me on the first day of class to accommodate their individual needs.

OFFICE HOURS: Monday-Wednesday 4:00-6:00 p.m., Friday 12:00-1:00 p.m. or by appointment. My office is in Coburn Hall, Room 201

Janetta Rebold Benton and Robert DiYanni, Arts and Culture. Englewood, NJ: Prencite Hall, 2002.

(Further bibliography will be provided during the semester)

-Tom Phillips, Music in Art. New York: Prestel, 2000.
-Milo Wold and E. Cykler, An Introduction to Music and Art in the Western World. New York: WM. C. Brown, Co, 2000.
-K. Pendle, ed. Women and Music: A History. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1991.
-N. Bessaraboff, Musem of Fine Arts, Leslied Lindsey Mason Collection (Musical instruments) Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1941.
-S. Marcuse, A Survey of Musical Instruments. New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1975.
-E. Lippman, A History of Western Musical Aesthetics. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992.
-O. Strunk and L. Treitler, Source Readings in Music History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1998.
-A. Rhodes, Musical Instrument from the Renaissance to the 19th Century. New York: The Hamlyn Publishing Company, 1970.
-P. Weiss and R. Taruskin, Music in the Western World. New York: Schirmer, 1984.
-D. Grout and C. Palisca, A History of Western Music. New York. W. W. Norton, 1997
-H. W. Janson, History of Art. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc. 1997.
W. Fleming, Arts and Ideas. New York: Harper and Row, Publishers, 1980.
-E. Winternitz, Leonardo da Vinci as a Musician. New Haven, CT: Yale University, 1982.
-E. Winternitz, Musical Instruments and Their Symbols. New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1985.

WEBSITES: Comparative Arts Distance Learning course (music files and lecture notes). 

ATTENDANCE: Class attendance is required. Exams are based on class lectures and discussion of visual and historical material.

EXAMINATIONS: There will be three examinations tentative dates are October 7, November 11 and December 9 (dates subject to change). Examinations are based on specific material covered in Lecture Chats and on the required readings. Examinations missed without prior written excuse from the instructor cannot be made up.

WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT: All late written assignments will be penalized. The written assignments should double spaced and type and free of grammatical errors. The computerized typing must be as follow: accepted fonts New York, Geneva, Courier, Times, New Roman Times and Bookman; only 12 points in character; single space between paragraph, double space between lines; page margins one (1) inch all around.. The written assignment will be graded on form as well as content so that spelling, punctuation, grammar, and syntax are to be considered with some care. All work done outside of class must be type written or computer printed, double spaced. Suggested topics will be given at the beginning of the semester, along with a general instruction sheet for typing the paper. Make a copy of all material that you sent me via email, fax or regular mail.

NOTE ON PLAGIARISM: Be careful never to copy directly or directly adapt from another author without crediting the source. General sources must be listed in a bibliography; any direct quotation or paraphrase must be footnoted. Any unacknowledged copying will receive and F for the course.

HANDOUTS: A series of xeroxed materials will be given out throughout the course in order to help you with your reading and writing assignments.

EVALUATION: The exams will count 90% of your final semester grade, Lecture Chat attendance will count 10% of your final semester grade.

MUSEUM VISITS: Students are individually responsible for visiting the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (both in Boston), the Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge), the Worcester Art Museum (Worcester), Whistler House Museum (Lowell), the Philips Academy Museum (Andover), and the Curry Museum.

OPTIONAL MUSEUM VISITS: Probably during the semester the Art History Club will sponsor some field trips to the Boston Museums. Also, there will be schedules of one or two trips to New York City, Worcester and, New Haven and Hartford, CT., and Washington, D.C. in order to visit some major exhibitions or museums. You will be encouraged to attend, but not penalized for not participating in these trips.

(N.B. Subject to change with a week of prior notice)

Selected visual artworks are considered for each art historical style. Always read "Cross Current", "Connections" and "Then and Now" sections for all art historical periods and the lecture notes online.

Sep. 3 - Introduction: scope of the course
Discussion on Definition of Terms; Iconography
What are the Principles of Music History?
What are the Principles of Art History?
What are the Principles of Literature?
What is Culture?
Benton, Arts and Culture, Introduction; Lecture Notes

Sep. 9 - Dawn of Culture
The Lyre of Ur
Benton, Arts and Culture; Mesopotamian Art, Music and Literature (Gilgamesh); Lecture Notes

Sep. 16 - Ancient Egypt
The Pyramids and the Funerary Dances
Benton, Arts and Culture; Old Kingdom Art, Music, Dance and Literature in Egyptian Culture; Lecture Notes

Sep. 23 - Aegean Culture and Ancient Greece
Cycladic Musician and The Toreador Fresco
Benton, Arts and Culture; Aegean Art, Music and Literature; Lecture Notes

Sep. 30 - Classical and Hellenistic Greece
Benton, Arts and Culture; Classical Art, Music and Philosophy; Lecture Notes

Oct 7 - The Roman World
Pantheon and Ara Pacis
Benton, Arts and Culture; Roman Art, Music and Literature (Virgil): Lecture Notes

Oct 14 - Judaism and Christianity
Catacombs and The Good Shepherd
Benton, Arts and Culture, Christian Art; Music and Literature (Bible); Lecture Notes

Oct 21 - Byzantine and Islamic Cultures
Hagia Sophia and The Blue Mosque
Benton, Arts and Culture; Byzantine Art, Music and Arabic Poetry and Religion; Lecture Notes

Oct 28 - Early Middle Ages (Romanesque)
Pilgrimage Churches
Benton, Arts and Culture; Romanesque Art, Music and the Troubadours; Lecture Notes

Nov 4 - Late Middle Ages (Gothic)
Notre Dame at Chartres and Paris
Benton, Arts and Culture; Gothic Art, Scholasticism and the Notre Dame School of Music; Lecture Notes

Nov 11 - Renaissance
Leonardo's Last Supper and Michelangelo's Sistine Ceiling
Benton, Arts and Culture; High Renaissance in Italy, Neoplatonism and Palestrina; Lecture Notes

Nov 18 - Baroque World
Caravaggio's Judith and Holofernes and Bernini's David
Benton, Arts and Culture; Baroque Art and Stage, Vivaldi's Concerts, Jesuits Movement, Scientific Observations (Galileo); Lecture Notes

Nov 25 - Rococo: The Age of Enlightenment
Watteau's Concerts
Benton, Arts and Culture; Rococo Art, Classical and Romantic Music, The Philosophers and the Intellectual Revolutions; Lecture Notes

Dec 2 - 19th Century
Manet's Luncheon on the Grass and Rossetti's Beatrice
Benton, Arts and Culture; Realism and Symbolism; The Opera, Darwinism; Lecture Notes

Dec 9 - 20th Century
Kandinsky's Improvisations and Picasso's Guernica
Benton, Arts and Culture; Cubism, Surrealism and Abstraction in Art; Modern Music and Modernist Literature; Lecture Notes