ARTH208: Modern Art

Course Syllabus for "ARTH208: Modern Art"

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In this course, you will study the various artistic movements that comprise 19th- and 20th-century modern art. You will examine several dozen artists, all of whom helped define their respective artistic styles and eras through their innovative approaches to representation, artistic space, and the role of the artist in society. Each unit will cover a significant period in the history of modern art and explore the ways in which both the principal figures from each period and the corresponding movements challenged the limits of art through the incorporation of modern life, as each artist addresses the political, philosophical, and personal implications of “modernity” and how it relates to the production of artwork. This course will begin with a brief review of the artists and movements that immediately preceded French Impressionism and will then take an in-depth look at the key artists and characteristics of Impressionism, widely considered the first “modern” art movement. You will then spend time reading about and examining various other major movements including Post-Impressionism, Art Nouveau, Expressionism, Cubism, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, and Pop Art, among others. As part of our study of these movements and the artists associated with them, you will be expected to learn a number of artistic terms and ideas, along with the people and institutions that were influential in the development of modern art. As an example, you will be able to look at Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’ Avignon and explain why this can be considered the first Cubist artwork, and what makes it one of the greatest achievements in modern art. You will view Jackson Pollock’s Abstract Expressionist drip paintings and be able to elaborate on what makes these works a revolutionary achievement that opened up artistic possibilities for many future artists.  These examples and many others involving artists, their work, media, and styles will be explored in great detail throughout this course.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, you will be able to:

  • Define the term “modern art,” and explain the factors and ideas that make (or made) artworks “modern.”
  • Identify the key art movements of the 19th and 20th centuries that comprise the modern art era.
  • List the principal artists from each movement, and accurately identify seminal works of art by those artists.
  • Compare and contrast a number of important artworks and identify just what makes these particular works modern and, most importantly, what makes these works true achievements that allowed for future developments in the arts.
  • Build a presentable and accurate timeline of the progression of modern art movements.

Course Requirements

In order to take this course, you must:

√    Have a computer

√    Have continuous broadband Internet access

√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g., Adobe Reader or Flash)

√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer

√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt., .xls, etc.)

√    Have competency in the English language

√    Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

Course Information

Welcome to ARTH208, Modern Art.  Below, please find general information on this course and its requirements. 

Course Designer: The Art Story Foundation and contributors, including the modern art specialists Justin Wolf, Eve Griffin, and Michael Zurakhinsky. 
Primary Resources: This course draws from The Art Story Foundation’s resources.

Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course successfully, you must complete all required readings and quizzes, as well as pass the final exam with a score of 70% or higher.
Note that you will only receive an official grade on your final exam.  However, in order to adequately prepare for this exam, you will need to work through all of the assignments listed above.
Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it.  If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again.
Time Commitment: This course will take approximately 138.5 hours to complete.

Table of Contents: You can find the course's units at the links below.