ARTH 208
Chinese Painting Fall 2023
Division I

Class Details

This course surveys the Chinese painting tradition, from the second half of the first millennium BCE to the present. Following a dynastic timeline, the course covers important painting genres including funerary, religious, figures and portraiture, landscape, ink, bird-and-flower, and oil painting and considers them in relation to the shifting historical and cultural context of China. Key themes of the course include the relationship between the art of painting and religious beliefs, political ideology, self-expression, premodern painting theories and criticism, and encounters between the East and the West. As is the case with other cultures, the art of painting in China is shaped by both the painter and its time. In addition to an overview of the history of Chinese painting, students will develop skills in visually analyzing the style, the composition, and the brushstrokes of various painting genres, while gaining an understanding of how painting responded to different historical and cultural conditions in China. The course also pays special attention to primary sources on painting, through which students will learn to think about Chinese painting in its original artistic and intellectual context.
The Class: Format: lecture; A painting viewing session at museums, possibly at the Williams College Museum of Art, the MFA Boston, or the MET, pending planning and approval.
Limit: 25
Expected: 15
Class#: 1325
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: In addition to attendance and participation, students will be graded on two short papers (4-6 pages, double-spaced), a final project (curating a mock exhibiton or a 12page research paper, double-spaced), and a presentation of the final project to the class (10-15 mins).
Prerequisites: None
Enrollment Preferences: Majors are prioritized if the course overenrolls.
Distributions: Division I

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