ARTH 466
Hellenistic Art and the Beginning of Art History Spring 2019
Division I
Cross-listed ARTH 466 / CLAS 466
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In the wake of Alexander the Great’s extension of the borders of the classical world all the way to the banks of the Indus River in the fourth century BCE, the small city-states of the Greek peninsula were replaced by far flung kingdoms as important centers of power and culture. Vastly increased trade and the movement of individuals between Greece, Egypt, and the Near and Middle East encouraged a new internationalism marked by a cross-cultural hybridization of religion, and innovations in philosophy, medicine, literature and art. This cosmopolitan attitude brought about a revolution in artistic ideas and forms centered on the social and ethnic diversity of human experience. Royal patrons, and wealthy private citizens including an increasing number of women, commissioned artworks for cities, sanctuaries, tombs, palaces, and estates on a scale rarely seen before. With the rise of Rome in the west, plundered artworks of earlier periods soon became the desired objects of wealthy collectors, and commissions in the Hellenistic style continued well into the Roman period. In this course we’ll look closely at influential works of art in bronze, marble, fresco, and mosaic, and consider their archaeological, social and political contexts. We’ll discuss the changing status of artists as patronage shifts to include the private as well as the public realm, and research the broader philosophical, religious, literary and cultural forces that encouraged artistic innovations of the fourth century BCE through first century CE. Reading material includes ancient literature in translation, recent surveys of Hellenistic art, and recent critical essays.
The Class: Type: seminar
Limit: 15
Expected: 14
Class#: 3074
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: students will lead discussions based on selected readings; a 5- to 7-page midterm paper and 20 minute oral report will form the basis for an 18- to 20-page research paper
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Art majors, and then to students of any major interested in art and thought in the ancient Mediterranean world, with permission of instructor
Unit Notes: ARTH Seminar Requirement
Distributions: Division I
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ARTH 466 Division I CLAS 466 Division I

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