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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

VISA 1111: A Survey of Western Art I

This humanities course introduces the significant developments in artistic expression, from cave drawings and the monuments of ancient Egypt to the painting, sculpture, and architecture of the early Renaissance.

Learning outcomes

  • An ability to describe the principal components of a painted image, sculpture, monument, or building using specialized terminology
  • A basic knowledge of the art historical periods, styles, and movements in the visual culture of the Near East, Middle East, and Europe ca. 30,000 BCE to 1345
  • Some understanding of the iconography (i.e., particular motifs and their symbolic significance) in well-known representations from these regions, tempered by an awareness that the meanings assigned to such elements are neither definitive nor exhaustive
  • A sense of the possible or actual functions performed by such works
  • An emerging skepticism towards "official histories" and a willingness to question received traditions

Course topics

  • Unit 1: Imagery, Dwellings, and Monuments before Writing
  • Unit 2: Visual Culture in Mesopotamia and Persia
  • Unit 3: Representing Pharaonic Egypt
  • Unit 4: Structures and Images from the Aegean Islands and Ancient Greece
  • Unit 5: Architecture and Representations in Etruria, and the Ancient Rome
  • Unit 6: Byzantine, Early Medieval, and Romanesque Churches and Artifacts
  • Unit 7: Gothic Cathedrals, Sculptures, and Stained Glass

Required text and materials

The following materials are required for this course:

  1. Kleiner, F. S. (2020). Gardner’s art through the ages: A global history (16th ed. Vol. I). Cengage Learning.
    Type: Textbook. ISBN: 978-1-337-69659-3


Please be aware that should your course have a final exam, you are responsible for the fee to the online proctoring service, ProctorU, or to the in-person approved Testing Centre. Please contact with any questions about this.

To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course, and 50% or higher on the final mandatory exam.

Assignment 1 15%
Assignment 2 20%
Assignment 3 25%
Final Examination (mandatory) 40%
Total 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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