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ARTH301: Art Historical Methodologies

Unit 1: What is Art? What is an Artist? What is Art History?   This unit first introduces the student to the discipline of art history and discusses how the conception of the discipline’s central focus—art—has changed over time.  It then focuses on the aesthetic theories of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), the most important of several nineteenth-century German philosophers whose theories are associated with the birth of modern art history.  Although aesthetics, art history, and art criticism are technically separate areas of study, writers from all three fields, more often than not, have made contributions to the development of art historical methodologies.  After completing this unit, you will be able to explain how the concept of art has changed overtime, the differences among aesthetics, art criticism, and art history, and Hegel’s aesthetic theories.

Unit 1 Time Advisory
This unit will take approximately 5 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 1.1: 1 hours

☐    Subunit 1.2: 1 hours

☐    Subunit 1.3: 3 hours

Unit1 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Explain changing Western conceptions of art and the artist.
  • Explain the difference between art history and the related fields of aesthetics and art criticism.
  • Explain Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s aesthetic theories.

1.1 What Is Art? What Is an Artist?   - Reading: Sweet Briar College: Professor L.C. Witcombe’s “What Is Art? What Is an Artist?: Introduction” The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

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1.2 Art History vs. Art Criticism vs. Aesthetics   - Reading: California State University: Professor Ronald H. Silverman’s “Learning about Art: Exploring the Meaning of the Term ‘Aesthetics’” Link: Reading:California State University: Professor Ronald H. Silverman’s “Learning about Art: Exploring the Meaning of the Term ‘Aesthetics'” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read this page as a comparative overview of the questions asked by the field of aesthetics as contrasted with questions asked by art historians.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: The University of Chicago: Theories of Media: Keyword Glossary: Lesley Martin’s “Aesthetics” Link: The University of Chicago: Theories of Media: Keyword Glossary: Lesley Martin’s “Aesthetics” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read this page as an introduction to the study of aesthetics, a field separate from, but related to, art history.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Wikipedia’s “Art History” and “Art Criticism” Link: Wikipedia’s articles on “Art History” (PDF) and “Art Criticism” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Please read these pages as an introduction to history of art history and the related field of Art Criticism.
     
    Terms of Use: The article above is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0 (HTML).  You can find the original Wikipedia versions of this article here and here (HTML).

1.3 Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831)’s “Lectures on Aesthetics”   - Reading: The Philosophy Pages: Garth Kemerling’s “The Development of Absolute Idealism”  Link: The Philosophy Pages: Garth Kemerling’s “The Development of Absolute Idealism” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this article on absolute idealism. It outlines the ideas of key philosophers in the development of this movement in the Romantic period.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. It is attributed to Garth Kemerling. 

  • Reading: Rowan University: Dr. David Clowney’s “Hegel” Link: Rowan University: Dr. David Clowney’s “Hegel” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read this text an introduction to Hegel’s aesthetic theory.  Art history as we know it today originated in nineteenth-century Germany.  Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was the German philosopher whose aesthetic theories were most important to modern art history’s development.  He outlined three steps in art’s historical development: the Symbolic, the Classical, and the Romantic.  Additionally, Hegel’s lectures on aesthetics are important because in them he tried to determine why art was historically and socially specific and why art changes over time.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Hegel by HyperText’s “Hegel’s Lectures on Aesthetics: Introduction” and “Hegel’s Lectures on Aesthetics: On the Ideal of Classic Art” Link: Hegel by HyperText’s “Hegel’s Lectures on Aesthetics: Introduction” (HTML) and “Hegel’s Lectures on Aesthetics: On the Ideal of Classic Art” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read both of these sections of Hegel’s “Lectures on Aesthetics” in their entirety.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

  • Reading: Rowan University: Dr. David Clowney’s “Arthur Danto” Link: Rowan University: Dr. David Clowney’s “Arthur Danto” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read this short introduction to the art critic Arthur Danto, who in his 1984 article, “The End of Art,” and in subsequent works developed a contemporary version of Hegel's "end of art" thesis.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.