Undergraduate/Graduate Seminar: Mural Painting and the Ancient Americas
In this seminar we will study the wall paintings of palaces, temples, and tombs from pre-Hispanic Mexico, Guatemala, and Peru with an emphasis on the early periods prior to the Aztec and Inca empires. Secondarily, we will examine colonial, modern, and contemporary legacies of indigenous painting in Latin America and the United States. Readings will come from art historical and archaeological literature, as well as critical sources on space and proxemics, the built environment, and embodiment and subjectivity. Discussion topics will include: artistic techniques and materials, iconography, text and image, narrative and ornament, style and ethnicity, courtly culture and religious practice. We will also discuss the pragmatics of conservation and illustration and the politics and ethics of the discovery, collection, and exportation of cultural patrimony.
This seminar is supported by the Digital Humanities at Berkeley program, which will allow us to experiment with new technologies for imaging murals within their ancient contexts and to digitally record our seminar’s site visits to murals in the Bay Area. We will make visits as a class to see the Teotihuacan mural fragments at the de Young Museum, Diego Rivera’s 1940 Pan-American Unity mural at City College of San Francisco, and the small Rivera mural in Stern Hall on this campus.
Prior knowledge of Pre-Columbian and/or Latin American art history is useful, but not required. Spanish reading ability is also useful, but all required reading will be in English.
The seminar is open to graduate enrollment, subject to instructor approval.
This course fulfills the following Major requirements: Geographical areas (C) and Chronological period (I) or (III).