Twin Cities campus
 
Twin Cities Campus

Art History M.A.

Art History
College of Liberal Arts
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
Department of Art History, University of Minnesota, 338 Heller Hall, 271 19th Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55455 (612-624-4500; fax: 612-626-8679)
  • Program Type: Master's
  • Requirements for this program are current for Spring 2021
  • Length of program in credits: 36
  • This program does not require summer semesters for timely completion.
  • Degree: Master of Arts
Along with the program-specific requirements listed below, please read the General Information section of this website for requirements that apply to all major fields.
Note: The Art History graduate program does not accept applications directly to the MA; rather, the MA is an additional or alternative credential for students admitted to the Art History PhD program.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
Special Application Requirements:
Note: The Art History graduate program does not accept applications directly to the MA; rather, the MA is an additional or alternative credential for students admitted to the Art History PhD program.
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
Plan B: Plan B requires 30 major credits and 6 credits outside the major. The final exam is written. A capstone project is required.
Capstone Project:The Plan B capstone project requires two Plan B papers demonstrating the student's mastery of the essential skills of scholarship.
This program may be completed with a minor.
Use of 4xxx courses towards program requirements is not permitted.
Language Requirement: Reading Proficiency
A minimum GPA of 3.50 is required for students to remain in good standing.
At least 1 semesters must be completed before filing a Degree Program Form.
Reading proficiency in a modern foreign research language is required. Additional modern or ancient languages may be required by the student's advisor, depending on the field.
Required Course (3 credits)
Take the following course:
ARTH 8001 - Art Historiography: Theory and Methods (3.0 cr)
Major Coursework (18 credits)
Select at least 9 credits from one of the following to satisfy the primary area requirement; 6 credits from another to satisfy the secondary area of interest; and 3 credits from a third area to meet the Global Perspectives requirement. All courses must be selected in consultation with the advisor.
Contemporary
ARTH 5411 - Gender and Sexuality in Art Since 1863 (3.0 cr)
ARTH 5413 - Alternative Media: Video, Performance, Digital Art (3.0 cr)
ARTH 5417 - Twentieth Century Theory and Criticism (3.0 cr)
ARTH 5466 - Contemporary Art (3.0 cr)
ARTH 8440 - Seminar: Contemporary Art (3.0 cr)
Early Modern Europe and the Atlantic World
ARTH 5302 - The Image Multiplied: Prints in Early Modern Europe (3.0 cr)
ARTH 5313 - Spanish Baroque Masters: Tradition and Experimentation in Golden Age Spain [HIS] (3.0 cr)
ARTH 5335 - Baroque Rome: Art and Politics in the Papal Capital (3.0 cr)
ARTH 5336 - Transformations in 17th Century Art: Caravaggio, Velazquez, and Bernini (3.0 cr)
ARTH 8320 - Seminar: Issues in Early Modern Visual Culture (3.0 cr)
ARTH 8340 - Seminar: Baroque Art (3.0 cr)
East Asia
ARTH 5765 - Early Chinese Art (3.0 cr)
ARTH 5766 - Chinese Painting (3.0 cr)
ARTH 5769 - Connoisseurship and Curatorial Practice in Early Chinese Art (3.0 cr)
ARTH 8720 - Seminar:East Asian Art (3.0 cr)
Film/Photography
ARTH 5655 - African-American Cinema [AH, DSJ] (3.0 cr)
ARTH 8920 - Seminar: Film History and Criticism (3.0 cr)
Islamic
ARTH 5781 - Age of Empire: The Mughals, Safavids, and Ottomans (3.0 cr)
ARTH 5783 - Art, Diplomacy and Empire (3.0 cr)
ARTH 5785 - Art of Islamic Iran (3.0 cr)
ARTH 8710 - Seminar: Islamic Art (3.0 cr)
ARTH 8783 - Art, Diplomacy, and Empire (3.0 cr)
Modern Europe
ARTH 5422 - Off the Wall: History of Graphic Arts in Europe and America in the Modern Age (3.0 cr)
ARTH 8400 - Seminar: Issues in 19th-Century Art (3.0 cr)
American
ARTH 8520 - Seminar: American Art and Material Culture (3.0 cr)
South Asia
ARTH 5773 - Making Place: Concepts of Space in Indian Art and Architecture (3.0 cr)
ARTH 5774 - The Body in Indian Art (3.0 cr)
ARTH 5777 - The Diversity of Traditions: Indian Empires after 1200 (3.0 cr)
ARTH 5778 - Traditions of South Asian Painting: Past to Present (3.0 cr)
ARTH 8770 - Seminar: Art of India (3.0 cr)
Electives (9 credits)
Select 9 elective credits from the following, at least 3 of which must be ARTH credits, in consultation with the advisor. Other courses may be applied to this requirement with advisor and director of graduate studies approval. ARTH 5930 cannot be applied to the Electives requirement.
ARTH 5xxx
ARTH 8xxx
Outside Coursework
Select 6 credits in consultation with the advisor and the director of graduate studies.
 
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ARTH 8001 - Art Historiography: Theory and Methods
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Key texts, from Renaissance to present, from western/non-western fields, relating to history/criticism of both art and visual culture. Focuses on recent critical theory, its re-examination of assumptions underlying the discipline.
ARTH 5411 - Gender and Sexuality in Art Since 1863
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
History of art from late 19th to early 21st century. How gender/sexuality have been central to that period?s artistic production, art criticism, and aesthetic theorization. How gender/sexuality are important themes for artists. How the writing of history reveals assumptions about gender/sex. Critical reading/writing.
ARTH 5413 - Alternative Media: Video, Performance, Digital Art
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
In-depth examination of development of alternative media in 20th/21st century art. Video technologies. Performance, time based art. Digital art. prereq: 3464 or instr consent
ARTH 5417 - Twentieth Century Theory and Criticism
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Trends in 20th-century art theory, historical methodology, criticism. Key philosophical ideas of modernism/postmodernism: formalism, semiotics, poststructuralism, feminism, marxism, psychoanalysis, deconstruction. prereq: 3464 or instr consent
ARTH 5466 - Contemporary Art
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
Survey of the art and important critical literature of the period after 1970. Origins and full development of postmodern and subsequent aesthetic philosophies. prereq: 3464 or instr consent
ARTH 8440 - Seminar: Contemporary Art
Credits: 3.0 [max 12.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Identity politics in contemporary art. Theories of performance/performativity. Nationalism/sexuality in art since 1980s. Discourses of death in postmodernism. Body at turn of 21st century. prereq: instr consent
ARTH 5302 - The Image Multiplied: Prints in Early Modern Europe
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
The technology of mechanically reproducing complex visual images on paper, a development of fifteenth-century Europe, transformed the early modern world no less than the emergence of digital media has transformed our own. Techniques of woodcut, engraving and etching quickly became important media for innovation within the fine arts. At the same time, they became equally important as sources for devotional imagery, for disseminating copies of other artworks, for the expansion of knowledge through scientific illustration, and for the effective broadcasting of political and religious messages during centuries of extraordinary political and religious upheaval. In this course we will investigate the cultural history of printed images in Europe from the time of their emergence in the fifteenth century through the mid-eighteenth century. Through lectures and class discussion, you will develop a familiarity with the technical aspects of printmaking and apply that understanding to the historical interpretation of specific works. The course will not be an exhaustive survey of printmakers and printmaking styles during the early modern era but will instead approach the early modern print through the changing cultural circumstances of its production and reception. While we will consider the work of many lesser-known (and anonymous) artists, we will concentrate on the work of major printmakers such as Mantegna, Dürer, Goltzius, Rembrandt, Callot, Hogarth, and Piranesi. The course will include visits to local collections.
ARTH 5313 - Spanish Baroque Masters: Tradition and Experimentation in Golden Age Spain (HIS)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02750
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
This seminar focuses on some of the major masters of Spanish Baroque art, including Francisco de Zurbarán, Diego Velázquez, Jusepe de Ribera, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, and Juan Sánchez Cotán. We will explore their works from a variety of perspectives in an effort to understand the unique character and contributions of the art of the Spanish Golden Age.
ARTH 5335 - Baroque Rome: Art and Politics in the Papal Capital
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01505 - ArtH 3335/Rels 3162/Hist 3706/
Typically offered: Fall Even Year
Center of baroque culture--Rome--as city of spectacle and pageantry. Urban development. Major works in painting, sculpture, and architecture. Ecclesiastical/private patrons who transformed Rome into one of the world's great capitals.
ARTH 5336 - Transformations in 17th Century Art: Caravaggio, Velazquez, and Bernini
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
This course offers an in-depth examination of three of the most innovative masters of early modern European art, the painters Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio and Diego Velázquez, and the sculptor and architect Gianlorenzo Bernini. Through selected readings, slide presentations and discussions, we will explore the lives and works of these artists, paying particular attention to the ways they created an entirely new relationship between the work of art and the viewer and ushered in a radically new way of conceiving visual imagery.
ARTH 8320 - Seminar: Issues in Early Modern Visual Culture
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Issues in visual culture of Europe and the Americas, 1500-1750. Topics vary, may include representation of body, collectors/collecting, impact of Reformation, image/book, art/discovery, early modern vision/visuality.
ARTH 8340 - Seminar: Baroque Art
Credits: 3.0 [max 12.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Topics vary. prereq: instr consent
ARTH 5765 - Early Chinese Art
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Art/material culture of early China from Neolithic age (ca. 10000-2000 BCE) to early imperial period (221 BCE-906 CE).
ARTH 5766 - Chinese Painting
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Major works from the late bronze age to the modern era that illustrate the development of Chinese landscape painting and associated literary traditions.
ARTH 5769 - Connoisseurship and Curatorial Practice in Early Chinese Art
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
This course provides students an immersive experience in the study of early Chinese art and material culture from the Neolithic age (ca. 8000?ca. 2000 BCE) to the early imperial period (221 BCE-220 CE). Geographical coverage uses today's China as a point of departure, but its scope also extends to the rest of the world. This course will explore artifacts in a variety of media, including ceramic, jade, metal, lacquer, silk, painting and writing, as well as ephemeral arts. Students are expected to think each artwork as the embodiment of the complex socio-cultural history of the period, in which they were produced. Guided by the instructor, students will have a selective examination of representative works of art from MIA (the Minneapolis Institute of Art), where they are supposed to be engaged in comprehensive object study, consultation and investigation with the curators, and develop essential curatorial skills of working with artworks. Based on two or more selected artworks, students are expected to finish a short research paper that is throughly studied and potentially publishable.
ARTH 8720 - Seminar:East Asian Art
Credits: 3.0 [max 12.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Research focuses on closely defined topic, such as a short period of Chinese art, a restricted subject, or role of a single artist. A substantive research paper is required and participation in the seminar dialogue is expected. prereq: instr consent
ARTH 5655 - African-American Cinema (AH, DSJ)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00577 - Afro 4655/ArtH 3655/ArtH 5655
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
African American cinematic achievements, from silent films of Oscar Micheaux through contemporary Hollywood and independent films. Class screenings, critical readings.
ARTH 8920 - Seminar: Film History and Criticism
Credits: 3.0 [max 12.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Selected topics in film history and theory, including specific directors, genres, movements, periods, and critical issues (e.g., violence). prereq: instr consent
ARTH 5781 - Age of Empire: The Mughals, Safavids, and Ottomans
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02665 - ArtH 5781/RelS 5781
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Artistic developments under the three most powerful Islamic empires of the 16th through 19th centuries: Ottomans of Turkey; Safavids of Iran; Mughals of India. Roles of religion and state will be considered to understand their artistic production.
ARTH 5783 - Art, Diplomacy and Empire
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02605 - ArtH 5783/ArtH 8783
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
This course examines the mobility and agency of objects and people in diplomatic practice. An emerging body of scholarship within Renaissance and early modern studies explores the exchange and global circulation of objects and their role in cultural encounters. The possibilities offered by this 'material turn' highlight the potential of objects to enable cultural contact, conversion and exchange across traditional political and cultural boundaries. At the same time, recent innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to exchange highlight cultural aspects of the diplomatic encounter. As a result, the roles of diplomats, interpreters, merchants as well as various types of objects and services continue to be interpreted in new ways. This course will introduce students to canonical texts associated with gift-exchange and reciprocity, and will explore their relevance to the disciplines of history and art history particularly with regard to imperial encounters and exchanges.
ARTH 5785 - Art of Islamic Iran
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Architecture, painting, and related arts in Iran from the inception of Islam (7th century) through the 20th century. Understanding the nature of Islam in Persianate cultural settings and how artistic production here compares to the Islamic world.
ARTH 8710 - Seminar: Islamic Art
Credits: 3.0 [max 12.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Focus depends on current research interests of the professor and needs and interests of graduate students in Islamic and Asian art history. prereq: instr consent
ARTH 8783 - Art, Diplomacy, and Empire
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02605 - ArtH 5783/ArtH 8783
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
This course examines the mobility and agency of objects and people in diplomatic practice. An emerging body of scholarship within Renaissance and early modern studies explores the exchange and global circulation of objects and their role in cultural encounters. The possibilities offered by this 'material turn' highlight the potential of objects to enable cultural contact, conversion, and exchange across traditional political and cultural boundaries. At the same time, recent innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to exchange highlight cultural aspects of the diplomatic encounter. As a result, the roles of diplomats, interpreters, merchants as well as various types of objects and services continue to be interpreted in new ways. This course will introduce students to canonical texts associated with gift-exchange and reciprocity, and will explore their relevance to the disciplines of history and art history particularly with regard to imperial encounters and exchanges.
ARTH 5422 - Off the Wall: History of Graphic Arts in Europe and America in the Modern Age
Credits: 3.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01228
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
History/theory of creation of lithography, social caricature (e.g., Daumier, Gavarni), revival of etching (e.g., Goya, mid-century practitioners, Whistler), and color lithography (e.g., Toulouse-Lautrec, Vuillard, Bonnard). Media changes of 20th century. Revolutionary nature of new media.
ARTH 8400 - Seminar: Issues in 19th-Century Art
Credits: 3.0 [max 12.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Typical seminars have included symbolism, role of the academy and the avant-garde, surrealism in art and theory, and Franco-American relationships at the turn of the 20th century. prereq: instr consent
ARTH 8520 - Seminar: American Art and Material Culture
Credits: 3.0 [max 12.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00930
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Topics in American art, popular art, and material culture, emphasizing methods and techniques of inquiry: creation and use of archives, oral history, sources for pictorial evidence, and current approaches to interpreting traditional and non-traditional data. prereq: instr consent
ARTH 5773 - Making Place: Concepts of Space in Indian Art and Architecture
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
This course introduces students to major monuments, sites, and media of South Asian art and religion by investigating theories and representations of space and place in South Asia. We will examine works of art from the major religious traditions of South Asia (Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, and Buddhism) and across media such as murals, poetry, architecture, and urban form. Critical theory since the 1980s has come to understand space ?as a variegated, complex, often bewildering series of different types of locations: physical, mythological, symbolic, imagined, linguistic, cartographic, perceptual, representational, i.e., space as suspended between matter and meaning? (Warf and Arias, 2009). This course will consider the complexity and historical and cultural specificities of notions of space and place in the art and architecture of South Asia. We will survey the diversity of representations and concepts of space, such as painted banners, murals, poetry, architecture, and urban form. We will examine works of art from the major religious traditions of South Asia: Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, and Buddhism. Course readings will interweave theoretical or methodological texts with historical examples. We will closely examine the transformation of sacred sites and networks and their reuse and appropriation by successive patrons and populations; pilgrimage, both physical and notional, as constitutive of differing notions of space; city planning that reflects ideas about sacred topographies, and the built environment of the city as expressive of identity. This course introduces students to major monuments, sites, and media of South Asian art and religion by investigating how those objects have been understood in the physical and notional environments of their production and reception.
ARTH 5774 - The Body in Indian Art
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
This course explores the concept of embodiment and the nature of representation, from images of gods to human portraits, in Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Muslim, and courtly contexts. We consider diverse media from ancient to modern periods, including painting, sculpture, photography, architecture, inscriptions, and literature. This course explores the concept of embodiment in the diverse artistic traditions of South Asia. We will consider how ideas of representation of an individual have been understood and expressed differently across the history of South Asian art and religions. The course will consider the embodied representation of deities and semidivine figures along with those of ?real? people; we will consider, given the ontologies of such representations in their religious and cultural contexts. Representation of an individual ? a portrait ? is a foundational subject in the canon of art history. What does the very idea of a portrait mean so far outside the canon of (Western) art history? As we survey the diverse traditions and media of images of the body, we will be attentive to questions such as, Does media make meaning for these types of images? Can a ?portrait? be textual? Is verisimilitude essential to the depiction of a person? In what ways are practices of depiction informed by other modes of image-making, such as images of religious devotion, and traditions of representation encountered through trade or gift? We will consider diverse media from Ancient India to the modern period, including painting, stone and metal sculpture, photography, architecture, inscriptions, and even a Sanskrit play.
ARTH 5777 - The Diversity of Traditions: Indian Empires after 1200
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02840
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
This class considers the development of Indian and Pakistani art and architecture from the introduction of Islam as a major political power at the end of the 12th century to the colonial empires of the 18th century. We will study how South Asia?s diverse ethnic and religious communities interacted, observing how visual and material cultures reflect differences, adaptations, and shared aesthetic practices within this diversity of traditions. Students in this class will have mastered a body of knowledge about Indian art and probed multiple modes of inquiry. We will explore how Muslim rulers brought new traditions yet maintained many older ones making, for example, the first mosque in India that combines Muslim and Indic visual idioms. We will study the developments leading to magnificent structures, such as the Taj Mahal, asking why such a structure could be built when Islam discourages monumental mausolea. In what ways the schools of painting that are the products of both Muslim and Hindu rulers different and similar? The course will also consider artistic production in the important Hindu kingdoms that ruled India concurrently with the great Muslim powers. In the 18th century, colonialist forces enter the subcontinent, resulting in significant innovative artistic trends. Among questions we will ask is how did these kingdoms influence one another? Throughout we will probe which forms and ideas seem to be inherently Indian, asking which ones transcend dynastic, geographic and religious differences and which forms and ideas are consistent throughout these periods of political and ideological change. To do all this we must constantly consider how South Asia?s diverse ethnic and religious communities interact.
ARTH 5778 - Traditions of South Asian Painting: Past to Present
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02830
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
This course surveys the rich diversity of painted media in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal, from 5th-century murals to contemporary canvases that travel the world. We will locate the works in their physical, ritual, and intellectual contexts. We will explore how the familiar categories with which we describe painting, such as Landscape, Portraiture, Narrative, and even Modern, might be productively reassessed in light of South Asian aesthetic traditions by locating the works in their physical, ritual, and intellectual contexts. The course culminates in the contested spaces of contemporary art, where questions of politics, identity, and intention come to the fore. Although mainly focusing on the painting traditions of India, the course will include painting from Pakistan, the Himalayas, Sri Lanka, and the South Asian diaspora. The humanities sharpen our ability to develop critical questions and to judge why and how one answer or interpretation may be stronger than another. Humanistic thinking is developed in dialogue; it emerges between individuals in conversation with each other and with their objects of study. This course asks you to boldly bring your curiosity, convictions, and blind-spots to our collective conversation, close reading, and individual writing. The course consists of two weekly meetings, and one or two trips to nearby museums or galleries.
ARTH 8770 - Seminar: Art of India
Credits: 3.0 [max 12.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Selected problems and issues in history of South Asian art. Topic varies by offering. prereq: 3 cr art history, instr consent