History of Picturing: 58.223/201/301 Honors
Art History Seminar: in the History of Picturing 58-490/201
Dr. Marie Frank


History of Picturing image

Syllabus of Lectures


COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course surveys the major trends and functions of imaging and picturing, as well as its societal impact as it becomes a pervasive cultural and aesthetic entity since the invention of photograph, film and video. The lectures will trace the chronological development of the medium; analyze images within the context of 19th and 20th century art and culture; and, integrate discussions pertaining to the role of imaging as it affects the process of visual information as well as how imaging and picturing can affirm existing cultural structures or shape the course of new aesthetic images and ideas.

The aim of any art history course is to increase the student's ability to perceive and interpret the visual content presented in the lectures and required readings. In conjunction with this goal, art history courses seek to stimulate and strengthen independent analytical thinking and observation, critical reading, aesthetic awareness, and the preparation of written presentations.
This course in particular aims at the following:

--To help students understand the history of picturing and imaging in its social and cultural contexts

--To examine the relationships between the development of style in picturing and the invention of technical processes

--To study the contributions of individual artists to the history of picturing and to examine contemporary trends in imaging

--To familiarize student with art historical research methods and bibliographic material, including photographic, filmic and video journals and art magazines

--To encourage student to develop critical thinking about works of art and express their ideas through writing about art

--To familiarize students with cultural institutions in the Boston area that collect and exhibit art

--To give students experience with solving problems and preparing reports through a collaborative process

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 strongly recommended for every class meeting. Students are responsible for the content of all lectures and assigned reading materials.


Naomi Rosenblum, A World History of Photography (New York: Abbeville, 1989)
-Naomi Rosenblum, A History of Women Photographer (New York: Abbeville, 1994) (Recommended)
-Vicki Goldberg, Photography in Print (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1988)
Additional readings are on reserve in the Library. See also the attached bibliography on the History of Photography.

There will be three slide identification and short answer quizzes - ten to fifteen minutes each - on February 5, March 25, April 22 (20% of your final grade) plus an examination on February 26 (20% of your final grade), Journal Entries, reading and written responses (40% of your final grade), and a final exam (date to be announced) (20% of your final grade). Examinations are based on specific material covered in class and on the required readings. Examinations missed without prior excuse from the instructor or excuse for medical or other emergencies obtained from the Dean of Students cannot be made up.

The questions that are listed with each reading assignment are provided to help guide you to the central issue of each reading and to focus your journal response to that reading. Please do not feel limited by these questions. Comment on any additional aspect of the reading that relates to your own intellectual interests or artwork. Journal entries should average two to three paragraphs in length; please number each entry, write them on paper with a three-hole punch, and keep them together in a binder that will allow collection of a few at time. There is not need to type journal entries as they should be informal and immediate responses to the readings.

There will be one research written assignment due May 2. All late assignments will penalized. Suggested topics will be given at the beginning of the semester, along with a general instruction sheet for form of term papers.

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

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

The final exam will count 25% of your final semester grade. The written assignment will also count 25% of your final semester grade, and the two quizzes with the examinations will count 50% of your final semester grade.

Students are individually responsible for visiting the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Public Library the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (all in Boston), the Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge), Wellesley College Museum (Wellesley) and Worcester Art Museum (Worcester). In addition students are strongly encouraged to look at as much original material in local collections as possible. The newsletter produced by the Photographic Resource Center is a key source for information about local exhibitions and public lectures.

Probably during the semester the Art History Club will sponsor some field trips to the Boston Museums. Also, there will be scheduled one or two trips to New York City, Worcester and Hartford, Connecticut, in order to visit some major exhibitions or museums. You will not be penalized for not participating in these trips.

Monday 3:00-6:00 P.M. Also, other times by appointment. My office is in Coburn Hall, Room 201.

(N.B. Changes in assignments can be altered without previous notification)

Feb. 5 - Quiz I. It consists of identifying visual material presented in class or included in your assigned readings. You will be required to identify the name of the artist (if known), the title of the art work, the style,
the location (if architectural sculpture or architecture) and give an approximate date of the art work. Including short answers on readings.
Feb. 26 - Exam I. The essay examination will be based on slide identification, slide comparisons, an attribution problem and essays.
March 25 - Quiz II. Same instructions and procedure as February 5.
April 8 - Notify me of your paper topic/selection.  Complete Approval Form.
Apr. 22 - Quiz III Same instruction and procedure as February 5.
May 2 - PAPER DUE.
May 10-17 Final Examination period. Final exam time will be announced. The final exam format will be the same as the first and second examinations. It will not be cumulative, that is to say, you will be tested on the new visual and reading material presented after the last examination.