Introduction to the Fine Arts


Dr. Sue Lane Talley




FALL 2006



Time and Place: Friday afternoons, 2 to 4:45, Room B600

Fee: $50, will cover Museum admission.

Drop-In Office Hours: Monday, 1:30 to 2:30; Tuesday, 3:00 to 4:00; Thursday, 8 to 9; Friday, 12 to 1.


Class Description: We will study and evaluate landmarks of world art and music, emphasizing the content of the Web site, guidebook, and galleries of The Metropolitan Museum of Art and its satellite gallery, The Cloisters. This project will give us a great overview of global art and art history. There will be five field trips, four to The Met Museum and one to The Cloisters. These field trips are required in order to complete the assignments. You will also be expected to individually watch several videos assigned, either on your computer at home or at school. Extensive computer use is required.


Student Learning and Information Literacy Goals:

The Core Values of Nyack College will be emphasized by means of:


Textbooks: O’Neill, Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide (MMA, 1994); Barrett, Interpreting Art (McGraw-Hill, 2003)


Required Web Sites: (the Web site of The Metropolitan Museum of Art). Register for “My Met Gallery,” and use the Timeline of Art History., the Web site of the Annenberg Media videos which you will be watching as part of your homework. (No fee for either Web service.)

Grading Policy:

Prompt attendance at all classes and field trips is required. No cuts on days with field trips are allowed. One unexcused absence ONLY is permitted on a classroom day, but the homework is to be completed. If a field trip is missed for any reason, it must be made up within two weeks of the event, at the student’s expense. Exception: Everything due at midterm must be done by midterm, and the same for the final.


Project Grade: 80% (40% at midterm, 40% at final). No late work. The first 50 pictures are due on the day of the midterm (Oct. 27) and the second 50, on the day of the final exam (December 15). All 100 pictures must not be submitted together--only 50 at a time will be accepted--50 pictures at the midterm, and 50 at the final, with commentary.

Final Exam: 20% (a written assessment of your ability to recognize the periods of art and some music). This in-class final is in addition to your semester project.


Your semester project will be to select and write about 100 works of art which you will choose and download in “My Met Gallery,” a free service of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. You will then print these works out, 50 at the midterm, and then 50 at the final, following the directions given. You will include a written paragraph when you submit each printed picture--so part of your grade will be your reaction to the pieces when you find them and see them in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Be sure to bring paper and pencil (and print-outs) when you visit the Museum so that you can complete your assignment.


Each work of art, together with your written paragraph, will represent 1% of the project grade. No paragraph, no credit! That means that in addition to the “provenance” of the work of art (the posted information about who did it and when, supplied by the museum), you are to evaluate and respond to the work of art in at least four complete sentences.  The paragraphs are to be neatly typed, with but not on the picture page, and the entire project neatly submitted in a small folder, with the pages carefully stapled together. (Yes, writing skills and neatness are important.)


Sept. 1, 2006  Ancient Art

            a.) Cave art: hunting, magic ritual art?

            b.) The art of Egypt, Cypriot Art, the Ancient Middle East

            c.) The art of ancient Greece

            d.) Treasures of Sacred Maya Kings: Special exhibit at The Met until Sept. 10.

            e.) Ancient music: From bull-roar to flute, poetry and song

HOMEWORK: (Not as long as it looks, but the directions are thorough!)

A. Most of your homework will be done online.

1.) Visit the following Web site: .

2.) Push the prompt that says “Enter here.”

3.) Find the Timeline of Art History.

4.) Find the prompt that says, “Navigating the Timeline of Art History.” Do not skip this step. It’s important that you know how to use the Timeline.

5.) After you have read the two short pages of introduction, push “Back” and return to the timeline “home page” (not the Met home page).

6.) Under “Special Topics,” go to Prehistory. Click on the piece of art at the left of the screen.

7.) Write down the following information about the piece of art:

                        a.) Where did it come from?

                        b.) How old is it?

                        c.) If a human form--male or female?

d.) What is your reaction to this piece of art?

8.) Type out your answers and use them as the first page in your Gallery Journal, which is described below.

9.) Click on the figure and go to the next Web page.

10.) Briefly explore the Web pages for Egypt, Cypriot Art, the Ancient Middle East, ancient Greece, Treasures of Ancient Maya Kings (see part B first).


B. Go to “My Met Gallery,” on the www.MetMuseum.Org Web site. Register. Save 2 images that you particularly enjoy from each of the Web pages you have explored into the collection you will make in “My Met Gallery.” You will finish this assignment with ten slides.

Begin a personal Met gallery of 50 slides for the midterm which will be printed out, with a paragraph about your reaction to the piece when you actually saw it in the museum attached, as part of your Midterm grade. You are NOT to write on the piece of paper with the pictures, but to type and attach your comments on a separate paper, together with the pictures, in a folder. An example will be given out in class.


C. Briefly explore your Metropolitan Museum of Art Guidebook. If you did not buy one through the college bookstore, you may purchase one from the Met Museum next week, when we will have our first field trip (around $17). Browse the book to examine the portions of the Metropolitan Museum of Art listed above. With a light pencil, mark the pieces you have put in “My Met Gallery” so that when you go to the Museum next week, you will be able to quickly find them. It is a real pleasure to see the “real thing” when you have enjoyed it online and in a book, and when you know what you will be seeing. Art galleries are boring only to the uninitiated! (If you don’t have the Guidebook yet, print out your “My Met Gallery” choices and bring them on the field trip!)


2. September 8: Class #2, FIELD TRIP: The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Ancient Art. Bring your Guidebook. We will meet at The Met Museum at 2:15. Directions are on the Web site. The tour will begin promptly at 2:30. You are expected to find your favorite pieces in the galleries you have now identified, and this is the time to write down your reaction to seeing the piece in “real life,” which will be included in your midterm project. We will remain in the Museum until 4:30, at which time we will reassemble and be dismissed. You may stay longer, but you will find that you need every minute of that time in order to see the sections of the Museum we have explored on the Internet so far. You need to be at the Museum today in order to see Treasures of Ancient Maya Kings, which will close September 10th.


3. September 15: The Influence of the Incarnation of Christ on Art

            a.) The art in the Old Testament: Music, dance, symbol

            b.) The art in the New Testament: Music, symbol

            c.) The Catacombs and early Christian representative art

            d.) Art and music of the Eastern Church

            e.) Art and music of the medieval Western Church

            f.) Art of the African Christians: Ethiopia


1. Online Video assignment, Annenberg Media (above): Art of the Western World. Video #2: A White Garment of Churches—Romanesque and Gothic
Part I: With the fall of the Roman empire, Christianity flourished with the Church as patron of monumental Romanesque architecture and sculpture. Part II: The origin of Gothic architecture is found in the choir of the Abbey Church of St. Denis and the Chartres Cathedral serves as a model of High Gothic style.

2. Gallery assignment: Please visit The Cloisters page, for a piece of Medieval/Renaissance Christian art to add to My Met Gallery. Add it to the gallery and bring a copy, or your Guidebook, to The Cloisters next week so you will know where to find it.

3. Timeline of Art History: Special Topics: Please read “African Christianity in Ethiopia.”


4. September 22: FIELD TRIP: The Cloisters. 

The Cloisters is a fair distance from the college so we will meet at the Cloisters at 2:30. Do not be later than 2:45. Directions are on The Metropolitan Museum of Art Web site.

Don’t forget to bring with you the picture of the artwork you are going to write about.  In your notes, carefully consider the Christian influence on the piece of art you are discussing: What makes art “Christian” or “secular”?


5. September 29: Art and Humanism: The Renaissance

            a.) Giotto, Fra Angelico, etc.

            b.) Leonardo and Botticelli

            c.) Michelangelo and Raphael: The Vatican

            d.) The Renaissance brings a “rebirth” of Greek ideas

            e.) The Reformation and the printing press

HOMEWORK:  a.) Reading/ Web assignment: The Renaissance (MMA).

b.) Video assignment: “A White Mantle of Churches,” from Annenberg Media. This is a beautiful short video on the building of cathedrals.


6. October 6: Baroque and Classical Europe

            a.) The Dutch Masters

            b.) The era of Bach and Handel

            c.) The development of European painting

            d.) Nationalism in art and music

HOMEWORK: Look up the works of Rembrandt in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Add several of these to My Met Gallery. Then, visit the other Dutch Masters. What sets their work apart from other great painters? What aspects of their work might be attributed to the Reformation?


7. Class 7: October 13: Romanticism and Realism

            a.) David and the French Revolution

            b.) Beethoven and Napoleon

HOMEWORK: Visit the European Painting section of the MMA and choose 4 paintings to add to My Met Gallery. Be prepared to find these paintings at our next meeting, the field trip to the European Painting gallery, and write an appropriate analysis of each one based upon the experience of seeing them in the gallery.


8. October 20:  FIELD TRIP: The Development of European Painting (MMA)

As before, meet at The Metropolitan Museum of Art at 2:15. We will visit the European Painting galleries.


9. October 27: MIDTERM EXAM: Turn in print-outs of 50 works of art from “My Met Gallery,” with a paragraph which you write evaluating the works. After completing the midterm (including the print-out), you will empty your gallery so you can start collecting another 50 works of art for the second part of the semester. The print-out does not need to be in color and you can put several works of art on a page, with the notes for all of them following the page. Please DO NOT write your comments on the page with the pictures. Label the pictures, “Plate 1,” “Plate 2,” etc., and so number the corresponding text. (An example will be given out in class.)


10. November 3:  The Impressionists

            DVD on Impressionism (in class; don’t miss it!)

Impressionism in Music: Debussy (with live demonstrations).


a.) Visit the Impressionist part of the MMA Website and add 5 Impressionist paintings to “My Met Gallery.”  (Bring your work on the next Museum trip.)

b.) Video assignment from Annenberg Media: VOD7. A Fresh View—Impressionism and Post-Impressionism  Part II: Post-Impressionists Seurat, Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Cézanne broke new ground with daring and imaginative use of color and approaches to form.


11. November 10: The Modern Era: Early 20th Century

            a. Film: Picasso

            b. Film: Sr. Wendy (concerning Cezanne, Picasso, etc.)

            c. The wars change the center of the art world

            d. The New York School

Reading Assignment: Interpreting Art

HOMEWORK: Then, visit the Modern portion of the gallery and add 5 pieces of Modern Art to your gallery. Bring your examples to the field trip next week.


12. November 17: FIELD TRIP: Impressionist and Modern Art, MMA.

Meet at the entrance of the Museum (inside) and we will visit the Impressionist and Modern galleries. Do not be later than 2:15. Come prepared to find and write about the Impressionist and Modern Art pieces you have chosen and placed on “My Met Gallery.”


13. The Art of India, China, Japan, Korea and Their Neighbors

            a. The influence of Buddha

            b. The influence of Confucius

            c. The Poetry of Asia

            d.  East meets West

HOMEWORK: Asian Art: Past and Present Glories

1.) Add 5 examples of the arts of China, Korea, and Japan to “My Met Museum.” Be prepared to find and write about your examples in the Museum next week.

2.) From the Annenberg Media video series, “A World of Art: Works in Progress,” watch: #4. Hung Liu.  Description: Hung Liu, painter, comments on traditional Chinese society as she paints a series of works on the Last Emperor and his court.  


14. December 8: FIELD TRIP,  Asian Art (MMA)

Meet at the entrance of the Museum (inside) and we will visit the galleries of Japan, Korea, and China. Tour the galleries, then find the examples you have chosen and write your response.


15. December 15: FINAL EXAM:


1. Turn in the second set of  50 print-outs from “My Met Gallery,” with a paragraph on each, typed on a piece of paper which is separate from the picture but attached to it, evaluating the work of art you chose, after you saw it in the gallery. It is all right to have six to ten pictures on a page, with the text page(s) attached. Then, print out another six to ten pictures and attach the explanatory text, and so on. Label the pictures “Plate 1,”, “Plate 2,” etc. so that it will be easy to find the corresponding text. 


2. An in-class overview final exam. You will need to recognize major styles and a few specific famous paintings. You will also need to recognize several musical styles.


Students with Learning Disabilities: Any student eligible for and requesting academic accommodations due to a disability is required to provide a letter of accommodation from Academic Support Services within the first two weeks from the beginning of the class.