Art History Courses

History of Art

Our courses are offered on a rotating basis. For information on courses being offered in the current or upcoming academic terms please consult WebAdvisor, or the Timetable

The Calendar contains the most up-to-date course descriptions. For additional course information including course outlines for current and past courses please contact the History Office, 204-786-9382 or history@uwinnipeg.


HIST-1011(3) Cross Currents in Global Art
(Le3) This course provides an overview of the major periods and styles in the history of art from the paleolithic period to the present.  Art, architecture, and cultural artifacts from around the globe are analyzed within their historical and cultural contexts, with the intention of making connections among cultures and across time periods.  Constructs such as authorship, patronage, politics, gender, colonialism and national identity may be highlighted.

HIST-2800(6) History of European Art
(Le3) The historical development of art forms in the European tradition will be studied in successive eras. Emphasis is given to painting, sculpture, and architecture.

HIST-2801(6) History of Canadian Art
(Le3) A survey of Canadian art from the influences of European styles in the early period to the impact of Canadian culture on art in the 20th century.

HIST-2802(3/6) Art in Non-Christian Religions REL-2901(3)
(Le3) This course explores the intrinsic links within non-Christian religious traditions between beliefs and social systems and the art produced in those contexts. It focuses on the art and architecture of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam. Students explore art’s implicit and explicit messages about the religious beliefs of its producing society, how art functions within the context of religion, and how one “reads: religious art. The class investigates the impact of social, economic, and power structures on religious art, and the role of patronage in art production. CROSS-LISTED: Religion and Culture REL-2901(3).

HIST-2804(3) Secret of Museums: A Critical Inquiry into the Origins and Culture of Western Museums
(Le3) Since the Enlightenment, museums have developed into centers of learning, entertainment and even shopping. But the main goal of the modern museum is to educate citizens about history, culture and ideology. This course will prepare students and tourists alike to visit destination European museums with a critical and historical point of view. Important collections such as the Elgin Marbles at the British Museum, the Egyptian wing at the Louvre, and the collection of Modernist art in the former Parisian train station, now the Musee d’Orsay, will be contextualized through contemporary theories of collecting and display. Some classes will be held in the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

HIST-3805(3/6) Arts of the Arctic (new for 2015-16)
(Le,S3) The course is an introduction to the arts in the Canadian Arctic. It covers briefly the prehistoric and historic periods with a particular focus on post 1949 and contemporary visual arts. The course familiarizes students with the diversity of indigenous art – and more specifically Inuit art - in a range of media including sculpture, prints, drawings and textiles, video, film and digital media as well as contemporary performance practices. The history of the development of these art forms is studied in their social, political, economic and cultural context. Local collections are extensively utilized. 

HIST-3807(3/6) Topics in Twentieth and Twenty-first Century Canadian Art
(Le,S3) This is an advanced lecture/seminar course examining various areas in twentieth and twenty-first century Canadian art. The course addresses issues such as the taxonomy of style - realism, abstract expressionism, minimalism; problems of value - dealers, galleries, craft, design and electronic imaging; and the politics of art - feminism, regionalism, First Nations, ethnicity, ordinary people and government funding. The course investigates issues that affect the country as a whole, within the global context. Assignments focus on art historical writing and criticism. The latter part of the course deals with aspects of Manitoba's culture, for example, women artists. This involves individual student projects and primary research in local archives and collections. RESTRICTIONS: Students with standing in the former HIST-3807(6), HIST-3821(3) or HIST-3822(3) may not receive credit for HIST-3807(3 or 6) 

HIST-3809(3/6) Nineteenth-Century Art in Context 
(Le,S3) This lecture/seminar course focuses on the major artistic movements of Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, and Post-Impressionism within the context of the social and political upheavals of the late-eighteenth and nineteenth century. The course explores the relations between popular culture and the fine art of the ruling class, between ideology and artistic practice, between the revolution of the avant-garde and of the people, and among industry, exploitation, and empire, and between women as artists and as subjects of art. RESTRICTIONS: Students with standing in the former HIST-3809(6), HIST-3817(3) or HIST-3818(3) may not receive credit for 3809(3 or 6)

HIST-3810(3/6) Art in the Twentieth Century
(Le, S3) This course introduces the development of abstraction and expression in art from 1900 to 2000, particularly the relation of artistic movements to the political and historical context. The roles of war, sexuality, money, and the cult of personality in the production and reception of art are addressed within a framework of critical analysis, including formalism, Marxism, the feminist critique and post-modern deconstruction. A wide range of media is explored including the arts of film, dance, sculpture, painting and architecture. RESTRICTIONS: Students with standing in HIST-3819(3) or HIST-3820(3) may not receive credit for HIST-3810(6).

HIST-3811(6) Women, Art and Society 
(Le,S3) This lecture/seminar course will consider the new approaches offered by critical theory, psychology, postmodernism, and feminism to the practice of art history and to the history of art in a wide selection of different cultures and periods. The role of women in the production of art will be re-evaluated, the rediscovery of forgotten arts and women artists will be studied, and the representation of women in art will be analyzed. The creative process, art history as a discipline, and the role of art in society from traditional craft and "fine" art to film and advertising will be explored in the light of women's experience.

HIST-3813(3) Art History in Focus I
(Le, S3) This lecture/seminar course offers students the opportunity for intensive study of a single artist’s work or artistic movement on whose work there is a significant body of art historical writing and criticism. Each time the course is offered the name of the artist or movement in focus will be listed in the Timetable. This course may be repeated for credit when the topic varies.

HIST-3814(3/6) Indigenous Arts
(Le, S3) This lecture/seminar course offers an introduction to the arts of indigenous peoples with a focus on contemporary First Nations and Métis art in Canada. Students explore critical approaches to the social and political issues surrounding tradition, appropriation, modernity and personal identity in our survey of visual art. Forms examined may include painting, sculpture, print making, installation, dance, music, theatre, new media and performance. Local artists, exhibitions and collections offer students first-hand experience of current art production in Manitoba. RESTRICTIONS: Students with standing in former HIST-3814(3) Aboriginal Arts may not receive credit for HIST-3814(3 or 6) Indigenous Art

HIST-3816(6) Art and Architecture of Pilgrimage
(Le, S3) This course is an introduction to the history of pilgrimage art and architecture from the Middle Ages to the Modern era. Medieval and Post-Medieval pilgrimages are used as a laboratory for investigating the topic of the journey to a shrine for the realization of spiritual benefits or the fulfillment of personal motives. Class discussions and lectures on the experience of pilgrimage and its visual ways of expression might include: the major pilgrimages to Christian, Muslin, Hindu and Jewish sites, and the later pilgrimages to North-American shrines.

HIST-3824(3) History and Theory of Dance and Art
(Le, S3) Dance is a visual art that lives in both time and space. We will explore the social, historical and aesthetic relationships of dance to other art forms such as painting, sculpture, architecture, performance, and video from antiquity to the present. Differences of class, gender and culture as well as questions of identity and the body will be central to our study.

HIST-3825(6) Theories and Methods for Art History
(Le,S3) This lecture/seminar course explores various traditional art historical and critical approaches to the study of art including visual analysis, biography, iconography, and more recent theories such as historiography, feminism, and postmodernism. Museums, galleries, and the art market as well as techniques and conservation are also considered. Research methods for art historians are put into practice in written assignments and, whenever possible, field trips to local sites and exhibitions take place during class time.

HIST-3826(3) Art History in Focus II
(Le, S3) This lecture/seminar course offers students the opportunity for intensive study of a single artist’s work or artistic movement on whose work there is a significant body of art historical writing and criticism. Each time the course is offered the name of the artist or movement in focus will be listed in the Timetable. This course may be repeated for credit when the topic varies.

HIST-3828(3/6) Dada and Surrealism: Art of the Unconscious (new for 2015-16)
(Le, S3) This course examines the art and ideology of the Dada and Surrealist movements in the twentieth century. Dada and Surrealist artists rejected Enlightenment values, which they felt had led to World War I, and instead celebrated the irrational side of the mind. Dada artists experimented with elements of chance in order to devalue the role of the artist, and the Surrealists explored the unconscious mind using automatic drawing techniques and dream inspired imagery. These movements were interdisciplinary, and in that spirit we examine art, literature, performances and films. Emphasis is also given to the role women artists played in these movements. RESTRICTIONS: Students in standing in HIST-3813-001(3) Art in Focus I: Dada and Surrealism may not receive credit for HIST-3828(3 or 6). 

HIST-3829(3/6) Modern Architecture and Design
(Le, S3) This course examines the major monuments, architects, and theories of nineteenth and twentieth century architecture, urbanism, landscape design and interior design. The discussion topics include the architectural responses arising from the issues of “Modernity” such as industrialization, new technologies, nationalism, and constructs of “nature”.

HIST-3840(3/6) Seventeenth Century Art
(Le3, SV) This course explores the visual arts of Italy, France, England, Spain, and the Netherlands against the background of the social, economic, political and religious change in the seventeenth century. Some of the topics we consider include the position of women artists, the cultural effects of colonialism, the natural sciences, art collecting and the emergence of the art market. RESTRICTIONS: Students with standing in HIST-3803(6) may not receive credit for HIST-3840(3).

HIST-3841(3/6) Arts of the Middle Ages
(Le3, SV) This lecture/seminar course is an introduction to the study of medieval art and architecture in Europe, from the demise of Late Antique traditions up to the Renaissance. In the context of a thematic survey, students are introduced to the terminology, methods, materials, subject matter and function of medieval art and architecture. Since the largest proportion of surviving materials is religious, this includes a firm grounding in the medieval Christian tradition and the nature of the prominent institutions of Church and State. Secular art is considered where possible or appropriate, and broader issues of material culture are explored.

HIST-3842(3/6) Italian Renaissance Art
(Le3, SV) This lecture/seminar course is an introduction to the study of Italian Renaissance art and architecture in the context of the social, political and economic circumstances of this time. This course traces the history of painting, sculpture and architecture of the mid-14th to the 16th century. More specific topics explore the virtuosity and philosophies of realism, the discovery of linear perspective, the artists’ social and intellectual status, art patronage, and gender issues (women artists and women’s art patronage). Some artists/art patrons are considered more in depth, such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Isabella d’Este, among others.

HIST-3843(3/6) Northern Renaissance Art
(Le3, SV) This lecture/seminar course is an introduction to the study of art and architecture of the mid-14th to the 16th century Northern regions of Western Europe (France, England, Germany and the Netherlands) in the context of the social, political and economic circumstances of this time. More specific topics should capture our attention, such as the development of panel and manuscript paintings, prints, the raise of realism and secular subjects in the arts, the transformation of the artist’s status and art patronage.

HIST-4800(6) Tutorial
(T) This is a reading course in History of Art, taken by individual senior students with the instructor of their choice. PREREQUISITES: Written permission from instructor and Department Chair.

HIST-4801(6) Special Topics in Art History
(S3) This is a seminar devoted to specific issues in or related to art history. The nature and range of topics will depend upon the Instructor written information about the course for any given year will be available to the student from any Art History Instructor.

HIST-4802(6) French Art and Culture around 1900
(S3) This seminar examines the dominant issues in France during the fin-de-siècle. Working within the critical categories of modernity and anti-modernity, the discussion topics include scientific and pseudo-scientific theories of degeneration, regeneration and evolution, constructs of the “natural,” the unconscious, psychology, and notions of hysteria and mediumship. The student seminars focus on how these ideas were reflected in French visual culture at the turn of the century.

HIST-4815(3/6) Cultures of the Past: Art History & Memory (new for 2015-16)
(S3) This course brings students into first hand contact with selected art objects from the past centuries. Students are introduced to the concepts of periodization and conservation of old art objects, and learn how to document, analyse and write about the art objects which are kept in local institutions. The class examines works in their social, historical and artistic contexts, using primary and secondary sources and technical resources available locally. Students learn the practical aspects of art historical work.

HIST-4830(6) The History of Museums and Collecting
(S3) Museums do more than just collect art objects, they display and produce culture. This course examines the collecting practices of Western museums, before and after the Enlightenment period, as well as the ideology behind collections. We investigate how museums developed along with the disciple of art history, and how both were dependent on nineteenth and twentieth century ideologies of nationalism and colonialism. Students study how artifacts and collections function in the construction of cultural and national identity. Collections from the Medieval, Renaissance and Modern periods may be studied, including European and North American museums and galleries.

HIST-4831(6) Practicum in Curatorial Studies
(A6) This course combines the theory and practice of curatorial work, public history and experiential learning for students interested in achieving a university credit by working with a local museum or art gallery. The Practicum provides opportunities to explore a range of placements with host institutions in order to learn about being a curator. Students are expected to work 6-8 hours a week in the host institution. Program partners will provide training for the interns who have chosen to work with them. Partnerships opportunities include, but are not limited to Winnipeg Art Gallery, Plug In Contemporary Art Institute, Buhler Gallery, and other local galleries and museums.

Experimental Courses 

HIST-2811(3) Indigenous Spirituality and Art
(Le,S3) This course will discuss the role of spirituality in Indigenous contemporary art. We explore Indigenous scholarly and artistic production that centres around spiritual themes and concepts. How do popular and academic discourses negotiate "Indigenous spirituality"? How are these notions extended, affirmed, or challenged by Indigenous contemporary art works? In our class we explore "spirituality" and "contemporary art" through the lens of Indigenous practices of art production and reception. CROSS-LISTED: Religion and Culture REL-2811(3). 

HIST-4891(3) Special Topics in Visual Cultures
(S3) This seminar is devoted to specific issues in art history or visual culture. In any given year, and depending on the instructor, this course may focus one or more individual artists, a particular movement or movements, or a theme related to visual culture. Please consult the History Office for information about specific offerings of the course. This course may be repeated for credit when the topic varies