Ancient Art and the Modern Imagination
Tuesday, Thursday | 5:00 - 6:30PM
This course explores modern collections and interpretations of ancient arts broadly and globally defined to include, for example, “prehistoric” arts and indigenous “traditional” arts that have very contemporary expressions (e.g., aboriginal Australia; San cultures of South Africa), focusing on the study of these arts in the professional disciplines of art history, archaeology, and anthropology. Because these disciplines originated as academic investigations in the West (especially in German, French, and British museums and universities in the nineteenth century), it is not surprising that one of the chief topics—a focus—of ancient art studies has been the ancient art of the Western tradition, namely, the art of the Greco-Roman world in relation to its immediate historical antecedents (especially Egyptian and ancient Near Eastern arts). But ancient arts from around the world have also been the subject of “Western” investigation, increasingly interacting with the study of the same arts by scholars whose cultural and intellectual foundations lie outside the “West.” These developments will be considered in five thematic units: (1) Classical Naturalism and Anthropomorphism; (2) Ancient Egyptian Conceptualism; (3) The “Origins of Art”; (4) The Anthropology of “Primitive” Art; and (5) Art Outside Culture?
This course fulfills the following Major requirements: Geographical area (E) and Chronological period (I) or (III).