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HUM 1020 Art Appreciation

Course Description

Presents basic terms, theories and techniques of the artist, as well as major art movements and media in the visual arts. Increases understanding and aesthetic pleasure, and develops understanding of the techniques and terminology in the visual arts.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to

  • Apply basic visual critical thinking and visual literacy techniques to art and objects in everyday life
  • Summarize the problems and concepts relevant to understanding and defining art
  • Discuss the formal elements and principles of design used in a work of art
  • Identify the basic media and techniques of two and three-dimensional art forms
  • Distinguish the major art historical periods and stylistic movements of art
  • Evaluate a work of art from the aesthetic, formal, technical, and historical points of view

Week 1

Module: Introduction to Art
Lecture: Introduction
Lecture: What is Art? What Do Artists Do?
Lecture: Variables Affecting How We Perceive Art
Lecture: The Sign: Content in Art


  • Summarize and apply the basic criteria used to define art
  • Explain the four roles of the artist and the three functions of art
  • Discuss the variables and visual conventions that affect how we perceive and value art
  • Define style and sign
  • Explain the differences between verisimilitude and abstraction
  • Distinguish form and content

Week 2

Module: Content, Aesthetics, Themes, Values, and Visual Critical Thinking
Lecture: Content, Aesthetics, Values, and Visual Critical Thinking
Lecture: Aesthetics, Values, and Critical Thinking


  • Identify the historical genres and types of art
  • Define aesthetics
  • Explain the role of pleasure in visual aesthetics
  • Distinguish differing opinions in the debate about the purpose or function of art
  • Apply basic techniques of visual literacy and critical thinking to works of representational, abstract, and nonobjective works of art
  • Evaluate a work of art from an aesthetic point of view

Week 3

Module: The Formal Elements of Line, Light, Form, and Space
Lecture: Line in Art
Lecture: Light, Form, and Space in Art


  • Explain the function of various types of line
  • Recognize and describe the qualities of line in a work of art
  • Distinguish between “expressive” or “romantic” line and “analytic” or “classical” line
  • Explain “form” and the difference between space, shape, mass, and volume
  • Recognize and describe the type of perspective used in a work of art
  • Summarize the inherent conflicts between “real” two-dimensional space and the representation of illusionistic three-dimensional space
  • Describe and evaluate the use of line, space and light in a work of art

Week 4

Module: The Formal Elements of Color, Texture, Pattern, and Time, and the Principles of Design
Lecture: Color in Art
Lecture: Pattern and Time in Art
Lecture: Putting it All Together: The Principles of Design


  • Define the remaining formal elements of color, texture, pattern, and time
  • Identify primary, secondary and intermediate colors and explain the difference between hue, tint, and shade
  • Identify the type of color scheme used in a work of art
  • Explain the ways artists can use color in representational art
  • Define and distinguish the “principles of design”
  • Explain the difference between formal elements and principles of design
  • Analyze how the principles of design are used in a work of art
  • Evaluate a work of art from a formal perspective

Week 5

Module: The Two-Dimensional Arts
Lecture: The Graphic Arts and the Art Market
Lecture: Painting, Mosaic, and Collage


  • List and define the materials and techniques of drawing, painting, and collage
  • Explain the different processes or techniques of printmaking
  • Explain the techniques and challenges of photography, film, video, and the digital arts
  • Identify the process or technique used in a print
  • Evaluate a work of two-dimensional art based on its medium and techniques

Week 6

Module: The Three-Dimensional Arts
Lecture: Sculpture
Lecture: Architecture


  • List the methods and materials of, and explain the difference between, additive sculpture and subtractive sculpture
  • Define and recognize assemblage, installation, earthwork, performance art, and architecture
  • Define and recognize architecture
  • Define and distinguish examples of the systems of architecture
  • Summarize the evolving relationship between so-called crafts and the traditional fine arts, and how this relationship gave birth to the modern idea of design
  • Evaluate a work of three-dimensional art or architecture based on its medium and techniques

Week 7

Module: Aesthetics and Art Theories in the History of Art
Lecture: The History of Art and Art History
Lecture: Aesthetics, the Status of the Artist and Early Art Theory


  • Define and explain the difference between art history and the history of art
  • Explain what historical context means
  • Distinguish types of historical perception and how each type explains the forces of historical change
  • Explain the relationship between Period Aesthetic or Period Style and art theory; summarize how period aesthetics from the classics to the Baroque relate to the classical aesthetic
  • Define art theory and its development in the debate about the status of the artist and in the development of the art academies in Europe
  • Identify the aesthetics of design and color, and explain the historical factors related to these aesthetics
  • Identify and distinguish the major stylistic periods and movements between the Stone Age and the Baroque Period and be able to identify unknown works executed in these styles
  • Define art therapy and summarize its objectives
  • Explain the central problems of art conservation and restoration

Week 8

Module: Art Criticism, Modern Art Theory, and Anti-Modernism


  • Summarize the historical forces and institutions (such as the Salon) causing significant changes in the Academic Aesthetic
  • Define Romanticism and summarize the types of Romanticism found in the visual arts
  • Define art criticism, explain the difference between art theory and art criticism and evaluate the role of art criticism in the development of modern art
  • Explain the common factor defining various types of modern art
  • Evaluate the methods by which modern artists recognized and tried to overcome the limitations of 19th century art theory
  • Summarize the historical contexts of the modern and anti-modern aesthetics
  • Identify the characteristic historical periods, styles, and theories of art from the Enlightenment to the Present and be able to identify unknown works executed in these styles
  • Define and explain post-modern art

The course description, objectives and learning outcomes are subject to change without notice based on enhancements made to the course. November 2011