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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Jolynn Edwards
BISCLA 380
Bothell Campus

Arts in Context

Considers literary, visual, performing art forms and traditions set within their specific political, historical, social, religious, or philosophical, and aesthetic contexts. Encourages students to explore original sources and scholarly research, building understanding and awareness of visual, literary, and kinetic analysis and interpretation.

Class description

In this course, a combination of lectures and interactive class participation, we will trace the visual culture in Europe of the Renaissance and Baroque periods (15th through 17th centuries). Rather than a survey of all the principal visual arts monuments, we will concentrate on seven periods of artistic production from 1420 to 1680 and investigate how visual arts and architecture related to literary and musical works of the same periods. Along the way, we will hone our visual analysis and interpretative skills.

Student learning goals

gain historical awareness of the early modern European tradition in art, music, and literature

increase ability in visual analysis of many media

make connections between the world of ideas and the world of the visual arts

articulate and synthesize complex ideas about visual arts, creativity, and philosophy

Reflect on new modes of visual presentation as expression of the larger cultural innovations through writing and in-class presentation

General method of instruction

We intersperse lecture/discussion in a lively interchange on visual images, musical selections, and literary works.

Recommended preparation

Any previous course in western philosophy, art history, or literature will be helpful. Usually the class is composed of students with varied backgrounds, but there are always numerous students with deepened understanding on a variety of subjects that help inform our general knowledge base as we move through the weeks of the class.

Class assignments and grading

There will be three take-home exams; from a choice of assigned readings, three response papers, and a final small-group project to create tableaux vivants capturing images from the European art for the whole class to enjoy.

Grades are based on class participation, 15%; two midterms, 20% each; one final 20%, response papers, 15%; and the tableaux vivants, 10%.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Jolynn Edwards
Date: 01/25/2012