Valerie S. Grash

Valerie S. Grash, Art of China, Fall 2018

Course Description:

Not with standing the title, the purpose of this course is to introduce you to the rich artistic and cultural traditions of Asia as a whole, but particularly India, China and Japan. In doing so, we will address certain essential issues including:
1. What are the basic religious and cultural beliefs of each society, and how do these contribute to the production of art?
2. How did historical events and societal conditions play a role in forming unique works of art?
3. What degree of interaction occurred between these cultures, and how did that affect their art?
4. Who were the major artists and how did they create their works?
5. How and why does Asian art differ from traditional Western art?
We will approach this task by following a roughly chronological trail. By necessity, this course takes a broad approach, yet singular monuments of great importance will receive intense study. At the conclusion of this course, you will:
1. Possess a new understanding of, and appreciation for, Asian art.
2. Understand the techniques used in the creation of art in general.
3. Comprehend the major tenets of Eastern religions, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Shinto.
4. Recognize and understand significant works of Asian art.
5. Appreciate the culturally-based differences between Eastern and Western art.

Required Texts:

None.

Syllabus: 
AttachmentSize
PDF icon Grash - FA 0621 - Art of China.pdf208.25 KB

Valerie S. Grash, Medieval Art, Fall 2018

Course Description:

This course is designed to be a comprehensive examination of the art and architecture created during the period commencing with the emergence of Christianity and its legalization in the late Roman Empire, and concluding with the European arrival of the Bubonic plague (Black Death) in the fourteenth century. At any moment in history—but particularly during periods of great societal upheaval and change—fascinating things happen where and when different cultures collide. These instances of cross-cultural interaction manifest themselves brilliantly in both medieval art and architecture, often creating unique forms that become canonical without our understanding fully the complexity of its origins. Through readings and class discussion, we will engage ourselves in insightful visual and contextual analysis of key monuments in order to better understand the dynamics of cultural assimilation as they occurred in medieval art.

Required Texts:

None.

Syllabus: 
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PDF icon Grash - FA 0050 - Medieval Art.pdf236.29 KB

Valerie S. Grash, History of Western Art 1, Fall 2018

Course Description:

This course is a penetrating inquiry into the major accomplishments of Western art (architecture, sculpture, painting and the minor arts) from prehistory to the fourteenth century. The sterile museum environment in which we find it today often shapes our perception of art, and past architecture is frequently viewed merely as romantic ruins disconnected from the modern world. However, both art and architecture were intimately integrated into every facet of the ancient and medieval person’s world, actively part of and used in daily life—and some of these artifacts and places continue to wield tremendous cultural influence today. With that in mind, we will contextually examine the great works of antiquity (including Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and Rome) through the emergence of Christianity and the art and architecture of the European Middle Ages. Religious and philosophical beliefs, historical events, geological and astronomical phenomenon…all will be addressed in order to better understand the complex context in which ancient and medieval art was created.

Required Texts:

There is no required textbook for this course. Instead, we will depend on a collection of original source material and scholarly writings posted on the course web site. Read these in advance of class, with the expectation of participating in discussion. Visual materials for this course, along with your grades and pertinent announcements concerning class meetings and examinations are found at: http://courseweb.pitt.edu (also available through your My Pitt portal).

Syllabus: 

Valerie S. Grash, History of Western Art 1, Fall 2018

Course Description:

This course is a penetrating inquiry into the major accomplishments of Western art (architecture, sculpture, painting and the minor arts) from prehistory to the fourteenth century. The sterile museum environment in which we find it today often shapes our perception of art, and past architecture is frequently viewed merely as romantic ruins disconnected from the modern world. However, both art and architecture were intimately integrated into every facet of the ancient and medieval person’s world, actively part of and used in daily life—and some of these artifacts and places continue to wield tremendous cultural influence today. With that in mind, we will contextually examine the great works of antiquity (including Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and Rome) through the emergence of Christianity and the art and architecture of the European Middle Ages. Religious and philosophical beliefs, historical events, geological and astronomical phenomenon…all will be addressed in order to better understand the complex context in which ancient and medieval art was created.

Required Texts:

There is no required textbook for this course. Instead, we will depend on a collection of original source material and scholarly writings posted on the course web site. Read these in advance of class, with the expectation of participating in discussion. Visual materials for this course, along with your grades and pertinent announcements concerning class meetings and examinations are found at: http://courseweb.pitt.edu (also available through your My Pitt portal).

Syllabus: 

Valerie S. Grash, History of Western Art 1, Fall 2018

Course Description:

This course is a penetrating inquiry into the major accomplishments of Western art (architecture, sculpture, painting and the minor arts) from prehistory to the fourteenth century. The sterile museum environment in which we find it today often shapes our perception of art, and past architecture is frequently viewed merely as romantic ruins disconnected from the modern world. However, both art and architecture were intimately integrated into every facet of the ancient and medieval person’s world, actively part of and used in daily life—and some of these artifacts and places continue to wield tremendous cultural influence today. With that in mind, we will contextually examine the great works of antiquity (including Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and Rome) through the emergence of Christianity and the art and architecture of the European Middle Ages. Religious and philosophical beliefs, historical events, geological and astronomical phenomenon…all will be addressed in order to better understand the complex context in which ancient and medieval art was created.

Required Texts:

There is no required textbook for this course. Instead, we will depend on a collection of original source material and scholarly writings posted on the course web site. Read these in advance of class, with the expectation of participating in discussion. Visual materials for this course, along with your grades and pertinent announcements concerning class meetings and examinations are found at: http://courseweb.pitt.edu (also available through your My Pitt portal).

Syllabus: 

Valerie S. Grash, Ancient Art, Spring 2018

Course Description:

Far more often than we do today, ancient cultures took notice of their natural surroundings and integrated their understanding of the universe with their everyday lives. Solar, lunar, stellar and planetary alignments were often referenced in their art and architecture, not to mention in their religious beliefs and concepts of life and death, as well as in the creation of their universe and in the end of time.

This course will focus on the art and architecture of ancient cultures with this general theme in mind. Our approach will be roughly chronological, but also involve cross-cultural influences, thus a thorough understanding of ancient history is important; a good amount of time will also be spent examining singular monuments and individuals in historical context. Through directed readings, we will also discover ancient myths and legends, as well as documents and treatises related to political power and everyday life. By connecting them to specific works of art and architecture, we can better understand the intention and reception of visual images and constructed form in the ancient world.

Syllabus: 
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PDF icon Grash - FA 0150 - Ancient Art.pdf251.66 KB

Valerie S. Grash, History of Western Art 2, Spring 2018

Course Description:

This course is a penetrating inquiry into the major accomplishments of Western art (painting, sculpture and architecture) from the Renaissance through the Modern era. The sterile museum environment in which we find it today most often shapes our perception of art, and past architecture is frequently viewed merely as romantic ruins disconnected from the modern world. However, both art and architecture were intimately integrated into every facet of the pre-modern person’s world, actively part of and used in daily life, reflecting and shaping the culture for which it was created—and some of these artifacts and places continue to wield tremendous influence today. With that in mind, we will examine not only great monuments and artists, but also contextual issues concerning the creation of art, including religious, political, economic and social conditions that existed in specific societies at specific moments in time.

Syllabus: 

Valerie S. Grash, Frank Lloyd Wright, Spring 2018

Course Description:

This course is a comprehensive study of master architect Frank Lloyd Wright, carefully investigating his life, his career and his ideas. Beginning with his unique childhood, we will chronologically look at not only those people and forces that influenced him, but also study his development as an architect and as a man. Close examination of his major works as well as the various periods in his career will reveal several dominant themes that emerged in his designs—many of which profoundly influenced architecture not just in the United States, but throughout the world. Additionally, we will discuss other modern architectural movements and important architects, either who influenced Wright or upon which he made an impact.

Syllabus: 

Valerie S. Grash, Introduction to Modern Art, Fall 2017

Course Description:

In this course we will examine a variety of modern art movements, roughly grouped chronologically, focusing on specific masterworks as examples that best illustrate the intent and reception of modern art. The complex relationship between various nineteenth and twentieth century art movements and the societal conditions that affected the creation and meaning of this art will also be examined through readings, classroom discussion and visual/contextual analysis.

Required Texts:

None.

Syllabus: 
AttachmentSize
PDF icon Grash - FA 0054 - Modern Art.pdf176.65 KB

Valerie S. Grash, Art Looting and Destruction, Fall 2017

Course Description:

This seminar-style course will explore the complex history of art looting and iconoclasm—the motives behind it, the methods by which it occurred, and the impact it made not only upon those involved, but, indeed, humanity as a whole. We will approach this task by focusing on specific case studies, examining the pertinent literature and thoroughly investigating the impacted works of art and architecture.

Required Texts:

 Margaret M. Miles, Art as Plunder: The Ancient Origins of Debate about Cultural Property. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009. (ISBN-13: 978-0521172905)
 Lynn H. Nicholas, The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe’s Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994. (ISBN-13: 978-0679756866)

Syllabus: 

Pages

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