Spring 2018 // Summer 2018

If you are having difficulties registering for a course, please contact either our Student Services Coordinator, Yulianna Aparicio, the Director of Undergraduate Studies for Art History, Eduardo Douglas, or the Director of Graduate Studies for Art History, Tania String.














Art History Graduate Seminars, Fall 2018

The Art of the City
ARTH 950.001
Dr. Carol Magee cmagee@email.unc.edu
Thursday 3:30-6:10 HAC 118

This seminar explores the urban from a variety of theoretical, philosophical, artistic, geographic, and historical perspectives. Each student will pursue a research project that is grounded in her or his own field of study (period of interest); these projects might focus on particular urban environments, the way cities shape an artist’s production, representations of cities in artworks, the artistic interconnections between two (or more) urban sites, or the increasing significance of urban centers for the international circulation of art (among other possible topics). At the same time, members of the class will examine together a series of thematically organized readings. For example, considering the rhythms of a city through the walking of the flâneur or the music of hiphop, we come to understand how movement within a city creates that city, how the uses of the city shape it, and how, at the same time, the city shapes its inhabitants, as well as what metaphors are available to express those experiences. By turning attention to the ways urban areas are imagined and/or represented, and the way they inform creative artistic production, we gain insights into larger issues: of rural-urban migrations (Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration Series); colonialism and its aftermath (the architecture of Calcutta); economics (Diego Rivera’s murals); or identity (Akinbode Akinbiyi’s Lagos: All Roads), to name a few possible examples. This class, thus, attends to ways such issues are manifest by thematically investigating the myriad ways artists express or audiences engage the emotional, physical, psychological, economic, or philosophical experiences of urban environments.

ARTH 961 Seminar in Medieval Art
Professor Dorothy Verkerk



Pronunciation: /ˈɔːnəm(ə)nt/

1 a thing used or serving to make something look more attractive but usually having no practical purpose, especially a small object such as a figurine:

  • [mass noun] decoration added to embellish something
  • a quality or person adding grace, beauty, or honor to something

(ornamentsMusic embellishments made to a melody 2 (usually ornaments) Christian Church the accessories of worship, such as the altar, chalice, and sacred vessels.


  • make (something) look more attractive by adding decorative items

In contemporary society to be ornamental or decorative is a pejorative term and the person or object is relegated as someone or something not to be taken seriously.  This is the result of an aesthetic dominated by the Greco/Roman, Renaissance and Modern western European notions and tastes that give primacy to the body, landscape and abstraction as well as the media of sculpture and painting.  This seminar challenges this idea that ornament is superficial and looks at works of art and architecture where ornament is essential to the work of art and even the primary means of its agency.  Irish High Crosses, for example, are typically studied for their narrative scenes while the ornamental panels are overlooked, leading scholars to mistake them as “pretty additions” and not understanding their role in the apotropaic power of the cross.

We will be discussing readings from a variety of disciplines such as art history, music, psychology and even zoology.  Each participant in the seminar will be responsible for both informal and formal conference-type presentations and a research paper. Although I will be drawing from my expertise in medieval art, students do not need to have a background in the art and history of the medieval world.  If an interested graduate has questions about the seminar and how it might fit into one’s course of graduate study, please contact Dr. Verkerk: dverkerk@email.unc.edu.

ARTH 971 Word and Image in the Renaissance
Dr. Tania String
Wednesdays, 3:30-6:10
Hanes Art Center 218

This seminar explores the dynamic and symbiotic relationship between words and pictures in the period c. 1400-1600 in western Europe. Inscriptions, signatures, biographies, theoretical writings about art, book illustrations, advice to young painters, and the rivalry between the ‘sister arts’ will be amongst the themes addressed in our weekly meetings. We will read ‘lives’ of artists by Vasari and Van Mander, treatises by Alberti and Dürer, inscriptions on paintings by Holbein and Lotto, and we will work through paintings based on ekphrastic writings such as Botticelli’s Calumny of Apelles. We will make use of the Ackland’s print collection to explore objects that have significant relationships to text and the Wilson Rare Book collection to explore books with significant numbers of important illustrations. The aim is to deepen our understandings of Renaissance works of art through concentrated study of the written word.