FIDM SURVEY OF WESTERN ART I (ANCIENT ART HISTORY)—FALL 2010
Syllabus and Course Schedule
Dates/Times: Mondays, 1:15-4:00 pm.
Instructor: Dr. Paul Koudounaris (phone: 310-529-4112; email:
firstname.lastname@example.org. Note: I do not have an office here, but I am always available
to meet with you after class; if that is difficult for you, I am happy to make a special
arrangement to meet with you at another time. Also, I check my email frequently and
absolutely promise I will respond as quickly as possible to all of your questions (if you
email me, please be sure to indicate that you are in this particular class—I teach courses
at more than one university, so it helps me to know which class you are specifically in).
Course material: Art of the ancient world, from prehistoric art through gothic. We will
take a contextually-oriented approach, and study ancient artifacts in their original social,
religious, and historic contexts.
Text: Janson’s Basic History of Western Art (see schedule for reading assignments)
Requirements/Grading: We will have two exams (a midterm and a final, each counting
for one third of your final grade) and a short paper (see separate assignment sheet; also
one third of your final grade). Details of the exam format will be given in class.
Study guides: Each week I will pass out study guides for our lectures. They will include
important names and terms, and possible essay questions. I advise you to take notes
according to the study guides, as the multiple choice questions on the exams will be taken
from the names and terms, and the essay questions will be taken word for word from
those on the study guides. I will also list some images on the study guides—on the exams
there will be a few slides, and those will be chosen from the images which I list.
Note sheets for the exams: I will pass out 5 by 7 cards to you, and you are allowed to
make notes on them (front and back), and use these notes on the exam. You can write
whatever you want on them, and you can use them for both the multiple choice and essay
portions of the exam.
Online resources: Copes of everything I pass out in class will be available online. You
will also have review presentations, and a series of review questions for the exams. These
materials can be accessed both at a Facebook page I have set up for the class, and at this
I will also ask the school to post a link under this class on their portal. If you want to
access the materials via the Facebook page (honestly, the links there seem to work
better), you can search for it under FIDM ART HISTORY 1 FALL 2010. You will need
to request to join (I made it a closed group), but I will obviously approve all requests.
Attendance: FIDM desires your presence in class, and asks that I take attendance at each
meeting. The essay questions we will have on the exams are based on material discussed
in the lectures, so honestly consistent attendance is important in ensuring that you do well
on the exams.
NOTE ON READING ASSIGNMENTS FOR THE TEXT: We do not work directly with
the textbook in class, it something more like background material. I will not ask you
questions about the text in class, nor will I quiz you on it or draw questions directly from
it. Because of that, I am not specifying exact pages you need to read for each class—you
can read it at your own pace, but I do suggest that you read along to keep up with the
class. Below you will find listed the subject chapters relevant to each lecture. Even
though I have not required exact page numbers be read for each class, it is important that
you eventually do read through the text—as I said, it is background material, and it is
important to have read through it in order to truly learn the course material.
Date Topic and Text
10/11 Course introduction and Prehistoric Art. In text: Prehistoric Art
10/18 Neolithic and begin Egypt. Text: Egypt (you are free to break up the
Egypt chapter over this week and the next week)
10/25 Egypt. Text: Egypt.
11/1 Ancient Near East and Ancient Aegean. Text: Near East and Aegean.
11/8 MIDTERM EXAM
11/15 Greek Art. Text: Greece (you are free to break this up over the next week
as we will continue with this subject area)
11/22 Greek and Hellenistic Art; begin Roman Art. Text: Greece and Rome (you
can break up the section on Rome between this week and the next)
11/29 Roman Art; Early Christian Art. Text: Rome and Early Christian.
12/6 Byzantine and Christian Art; Gothic Art. Text: In the Gothic Chaper
(Chapter 11), concentrate primarily on French Gothic Architecture
12/13 FINAL EXAM
ART HISTORY I
Due Date: if you want to get your paper graded and returned, you must give it to me one
week before the Final Exam. If you do not care about getting your paper graded and
returned by the end of the quarter, I will be glad to accept it up until the day of the Final
This is intended as a museum assignment. PLEASE NOTE: I am aware that time and
transportation issues may make this assignment more difficult for some students, and if
you find it would be a burden to complete it, I will be glad to let you complete an
alternate assignment (see separate handout).
Go to a local museum which has strong holdings in ancient art—you can find Egyptian,
Greek, Roman, etc. pieces at especially the Getty Villa (in Malibu; not the Getty Center)
and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Select an ancient artwork (one from one of
the periods or civilizations we discuss in class) and write a short paper (perhaps three
pages) in which addresses the following:
--describe in detail the artwork you have selected; are there any unusual features, or
aspects of it which seem particularly interesting or striking to you?
--give some historical background; what, if anything, is known about it?—what
civilization made it, when was it made, etc.
--compare it to any similar pieces we have seen in class; for example, if you choose a
piece of Roman sculpture, how is it similar or different to examples we have discussed in
class or you have seen in the book?
--what did it represent?—discuss any symbolism, etc.; course notes and the book may be
useful in this regard, as will comparing it to previously studied examples, as the
symbolism might be similar
--what might its purpose have been, or how might it have been used?—this may require
speculation on your part, based on what you have learned, or based on similar examples
we have discussed
Please write in essay format.
FIDM will reimburse you five dollars for a museum visit. If you go to a museum and
pay for an admission, save your receipt or ticket, and I will turn them in at the end of
ART HISTORY I
Alternate Paper Assignments
I realize that the standard paper assignment might be difficult for some people to
complete—this is especially true for those of you who live in southern Orange County
and do not have transportation up to Los Angeles. Frankly, there is not a decent museum
in Orange County at which you could find an acceptable collection of Ancient Art on
which to base your paper. Thus, I am happy to allow those of you who are unable to
complete the standard paper assignment to choose an alternative. There is no set alternate
paper assignment, but there any number of alternative papers or projects that you might
pursue. If you choose to do an alternate assignment, I encourage you to focus on
something that is of interest to you, or that involves your major courses of study. For
example, if you are interested in fashion design, perhaps a good alternate assignment
would be to study the costume and attire of a historical period, and make drawings and
write a short paper in which you detail and explain a historical garment. Or if you are
interested in pottery or ceramics, perhaps you want to make a copy of an ancient vase and
write a short paper in which you discuss the original and how you made your copy.
Again, there are any number of possible papers and projects, and if you are sincerely
interested in something, I will most likely find it acceptable. But please, whatever you do,
just clear the assignment with me first—either talk to me in person or send me an email
and let me know what you want to do.
If you do an alternate assignment in which you make something large or bulky, please
give me a photograph of what you have made rather than the actual item.