Course Title:  01:082:105  Introduction to Art History, Pre-History to 1400

Academic Credits:  3 credits

Mode of Instruction:  Lecture

Course Prerequisites and Corequisites:  None

Core Curriculum:  HST, AHp

Course Description:

This survey is an introduction to art, architecture, and material culture from prehistory through the Middle Ages. It provides an overview of the diverse artistic products of human imagination and skill and the ways societies and artists have creatively engaged with the world around them. The course begins with the earliest evidence for human picture making, with an exploration of Paleolithic cave paintings in Africa and Europe, and ends with the monumental architectural achievements of Hindu, Buddhist and Mayan temples and Gothic cathedrals in the centuries just following the turn of the first millennium. We will highlight a wide range of monuments, art objects, and urban formations, including Assyrian Palaces, Minoan frescoes, Egyptian Pyramids, the Terracotta Warriors of Xian, the Teotihuacan metropolis, the wall paintings of Pompeii, the great stupa at Sanchi, the Buddhist caves at Dunhuang, the synagogue of Dura-Europos, the church of Hagia Sophia, the round-city of Baghdad, Heian-era, and the Alhambra. Throughout the course we will emphasize both how works of art and architecture were made and experienced by their creators and the role that changing politics (on both local and global levels) have shaped their perception, or in some cases brought about their alteration or destruction, in subsequent historical moments.

Learning Goals:

  • To gain awareness of the major artistic movements from antiquity to the late medieval period.
  • To learn the appropriate vocabulary and critical tools for discussing and writing about works of art and architecture.
  • To relate specific works of art and architecture to their stylistic, historical, and social contexts.

Course Materials:



Thomas Brown


Disclaimer:  These course descriptions/synopses pages have been provided as samples and the information should not be considered accurate or current.  For actual course information, refer to the course site hosted by a Rutgers Learning Management System (Sakai, Canvas, etc.) as of first day of class.