Art 215

ART 215: Art History Survey: Prehistory to Gothic

Credit Hours: (3)

A survey of art through a study of styles, iconography, media, and terminology within a broad cultural context. The course covers prehistory through Gothic, with emphasis on western art.

Note(s): This course has been approved for Core Curriculum credit in Visual and Performing Arts.


Description of the Content of the Course

This is the first of two introductory courses in art history that together cover the history of Western art from Prehistoric times to the present. The course is designed for art students who will take upper level art history courses and as a humanities elective for students in other majors. It fulfills a General Education requirement. The focus is on painting, sculpture, and architecture of Western civilizations. The content and style of the art in each period will be examined in key works of art. The course covers the following periods in chronological order:

  • Prehistoric Art
  • Ancient Egyptian Art
  • Ancient Near Eastern Art
  • Aegean Art
  • Greek Art
  • Etruscan Art
  • Roman Art
  • Early Christian and Byzantine Art
  • Early Medieval Art
  • Romanesque Art
  • Gothic Art


Description of the Conduct of the Course

This is a lecture course, but class participation in the analysis of works of art is encouraged. Slides of the art under discussion will be projected onto a large screen to provide all students with a clear visual image of each work of art. An occasional film will be shown to allow a more in depth study of a specific topic.

Students are expected to attend class. By accepting admission to Radford University, each student makes a commitment to understand, support, and abide by the University Honor Code without compromise or exception. Violations of academic integrity will not be tolerated. This class will conducted in strict observance of the Honor Code. Students are referred to the Student Handbook for details.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

At the conclusion of the course, the students will be able to:

1. discuss characteristics of Western Art and civilization from Prehistoric times through the Gothic period.
2. analyze a work of art with regard to style and iconography.
3. use the necessary vocabulary and apply basic concepts associated with the study of art history in discussion and writing.
4. recognize the basic stylistic characteristics of the art in the various periods and in specific works of art.
5. identify major works of art of each period.
6. define the role of art within the cultural, political, and sociological context of the times.


Assessment Measures

The final grade is based upon one or two tests and a final or a series of tests/quizzes, and additional short responsive writings and attendance at outside lectures may also be required. The tests and final exam will consist of slide identification, short answer, multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, and an essay on a single work of art or a comparison of two works of art.


Other Course Information

There are no extra credit options for this course.

If the student has a learning disability recognized by the Disabled Student Services Office at Radford University, he or she should advise the professor of the nature of the disability during the first week of class.

Tape recording of class lectures is not normally permitted unless the student has a learning disability recognized by Radford University and the professor receives a formal request from the Disabled Student Services Office. At his or her discretion, the professor may allow tape recording under other special circumstances.


Review and Approval


March 18, 2005 Reviewed by Steve Arbury, Chair