Pre-Colombian Art History
Mon. | Wed. | Fri. | 3:00 - 4:00pm
The Western Hemisphere was a setting for outstanding accomplishments in the visual arts for millennia before the arrival of Europeans in the so-called “New World.” This course explores the indigenous artistic traditions of what is now Latin America, from early monuments of the formative periods (e.g. Olmec and Chavín and prior), through acclaimed eras of aesthetic and technological achievement (e.g. Maya and Moche), to the later Inca and Aztec (i.e. Mexica) imperial periods. Our subject will encompass diverse genre including painting and sculpture, textiles and metalwork, architecture and performance. Attention will focus on the two cultural areas that traditionally have received the most attention from researchers: Mesoamerica (including what is today Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, and Honduras) and the central Andes (modern Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador). More than a recitation of periods, styles, and monuments, we will assess the varieties of evidence available for interpretations of artworks that were created, for the most part, in settings without written texts. Additionally, we will investigate how these artistic traditions communicate political and religious ideologies and reflect indigenous ideas of life, death, the gods, and the world.
This course fulfills the following Major requirements: Geographical areas (C), and Chronological period (I) or (II), based on the topic of the final research paper or project.