- Why Colby?
- Request Information
- College Profile
- Student Perspectives
- Alumni Success
- For Counselors
- Contact Admissions
Browse the Course Catalogue by
Art Course Descriptions
COURSE OFFERINGSKey to Course Descriptions »
[AR007] Moviemaking Magic: Pushing the Boundaries of Reality In moviemaking, is a poem a documentary? Is a documentary about truth? Is a narrative film about reality? The magic of moviemaking stretches the limits of these categories. Students will watch, discuss, and make movies, exploring the boundaries of storytelling and truth telling and choosing their subjects from local people, places, history, and their own lives. They will use narrative, documentary, experimental, and animation techniques in exploring the art of film. Concludes with a gala public screening. Noncredit.
AR111f Survey of Western Art An examination of the history of the Western tradition of art from cave painting through the end of the Middle Ages. Through lectures, small discussion sections, museum visits, provides an introduction to the descriptive and critical analysis of works of art in both their formal and material makeup as well as their dependency upon and/or interrelationship with cultural, religious, economic, and historical trends. Four credit hours. A. MARLAIS, SIMON
AR112s Survey of Western Art An examination of the history of the Western tradition of art from the late Middle Ages to the present. Through lectures, small discussion sections, and museum visits, provides an introduction to the descriptive and critical analysis of works of art in both their formal and material makeup as well as their dependency upon and/or interrelationship with cultural, religious, economic, and historical trends. Four credit hours. A. MARLAIS, SIMON
[AR113] Photography: A Historical Introduction Unlike traditional introductory photo courses, this one will proceed through the application of a variety of processes that trace the medium's history. From the making of cameraless photographs using the cyanotype process popular in the mid-19th century to the creation and use of pinhole cameras, opportunities to explore the excitement and alchemy of some of photography's simplest methods and materials. No camera is needed. Nongraded. Cost for materials: $95. Two credit hours.
AR114j Pottery An introduction to forming clay by pinching, making slabs and coils, and wheel throwing; decorating and glazing; and firing in an electric kiln. Historical and theoretical issues will be discussed. Nongraded. Cost for materials: $60. Two credit hours. N. MEADER
[AR117] Introduction to Art Conservation and Preservation Designed to explore the issues and practices of the conservation and restoration of works of art. Theoretical discussions will be balanced by practical examples. The role of conservators, the systems employed by them, and the relationship between art and science will be explored. Students will be responsible for case studies, many of which will involve examination of original works of art in the Colby College Museum of Art. Two credit hours.
[AR118] Introduction to Figure Painting An introduction to painting the figure and its environment. Classes will cover information on preparing supports, setting up palettes, and working from the model. Topics include basic drawing skills, working in black and white, traditional figure painting practices, and alla prima techniques. Out-of-class work is essential. Nongraded. Estimated cost for materials: $150. Two credit hours.
AR131fs Foundations in Studio Art The prerequisite for all upper-level, two-dimenional studio electives, a rigorous, project-based studio course. Study of the principles of composition, foreshortening and comparative measurement, value/tone and color through the use of various materials including paper, graphite, charcoal, collage, tempera and acrylic paint. Personal and group critiques provide feedback for growth. Outside work is essential. Grading process includes midterm and final portfolio reviews. No prior experience necessary. Four credit hours. A. ENGMAN, MITCHELL, REED
AR138f Introduction to Digital Imaging A non-camera-based introduction to the computer as a tool for two-dimensional design as well as for creating, processing, and manipulating images within the context of the fine arts studio. Through assigned work, classroom demonstrations, and critiques, students will be expected to gain facility in the basics of the appropriate hardware and software and apply those skills and knowledge to projects exploring artistic and technical problems. Students will gain proficiency in and understanding of the same formal concepts, principles, and vocabulary as in Art 131. Four credit hours. A. GREEN
AR151j Art of the Monotype: Methods for Painterly Printmaking Exposes students to the monotype, a one-of-a-kind print created by transferring an image to paper that has been painted or drawn on a plate made of metal, plexiglass, or another material. Transfer is accomplished either by hand rubbing or on an etching press, resulting in painterly textures and surface effects. Monotypes offer direct, immediate images, and also lend themselves to layered, successive printings that are built up over time. We will explore materials and their applications, and there will be step-by-step demonstrations of additive and subtractive imaging techniques. Each student will make a portfolio of unique images. Estimated materials cost: $125. Prerequisite: Art 131. Two credit hours. MITCHELL
[AR159] Introduction to Book Arts The history and nature of the book as a means of communication and as an art form. Students will learn several formats; each will design and create an original book incorporating both art and text. Nongraded. Studio fee covers cost of necessary materials, which must be special-ordered: $75. Formerly offered as Creativity and Communication. Two credit hours.
AR161f Sculpture I An introduction to basic sculpture concepts through projects that involve specific formal ideas. Emphasis is placed on gaining an understanding of materials and techniques as a means of introducing these formal concepts. The primary materials and techniques introduced are string as implied line, plaster as both a subtractive and additive medium, and wood construction. The objectives are clearly stated before each project and at the completion of each there is a group discussion of all the work. The final requirement is an individual critique of the work assigned during the semester. Sculpture I is required for the subsequent levels of sculpture. Four credit hours. A. MATTHEWS
AR162s Sculpture II Basic sculpture concepts continue to be presented through projects that involve specific formal ideas and new techniques. Emphasis is placed on gaining an understanding of materials and techniques as a means of introducing these formal concepts. Wood and stone carving are introduced; at times the materials are optional, giving the student the opportunity to decide what is appropriate for a given project. The objectives are clearly stated before each project and at the completion of each there is a group discussion of all the work. The final requirement is an individual critique of the work assigned during the semester. Prerequisite: Art 161. Four credit hours. MATTHEWS
AR173f Survey of Asian Art Introduces the arts and cultures of India, China, and Japan, with attention to basic art-historical methods and techniques. Lectures and assignments focus on critical analysis of artistic style, technique, expression, subject matter, iconography (the meanings encoded in visual signs), and patronage. Study of the history and beliefs of Asia, including Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Shinto, while enhancing visual literacy skills, including recognizing the cultural forces underlying viewing expectations and experiences. Students develop and demonstrate these skills through writing four papers and completing a large final project. Four credit hours. A. WALT
AR197j Architectural Design Workshop An intensive introduction to architectural design through modelmaking, drawing, and collage. Through a sequence of large group, small group, and individual projects, students re-examine Colby College and understand it in a new way. Installations, drawings, writings, and documents by significant architects are examined. Students identify an architectural agenda, outline a brief, and propose a design that articulates their architectural intentions. Final presentations are discussed by invited critics and displayed through a public viewing. Nongraded. Two credit hours. RANDZIO
AR212s Student Docent Program Following training in public speaking and pedagogical strategies for teaching children and young adults about works of art, students will conduct lessons related to the Museum's collection in local school classrooms. Nongraded. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. One credit hour. LESSING
AR221f Drawing I Still lifes and large setups are used to explore the graphic elements of line, mass, value, texture, and space using the dry media of conte crayon, compressed charcoal, vine charcoals, graphite, and charcoal pencils. The objective is to understand and develop skill with each medium as the graphic elements are broken down and explored through classwork. Compositional choices and visual awareness are stressed. Daily out-of-class drawing assignments reinforce class work. Two final portfolios are required: one for in-class work and one with the daily out-of-class work. Prerequisite: Art 131. Four credit hours. MATTHEWS
AR222s Drawing II Introduction to figure drawing. The first two weeks are a review of Drawing I using still lifes. Then we move into working directly from a model. The objective is to grasp the basics of the figure using the graphic skills developed in Drawing I. Stress is put on observation and visual retention using different approaches to gesture. Using gestures to begin each class the student sees position and movement, then, with contour drawing, form is introduced. We work into 60-minute drawings that involve all the graphic skill developed in Drawing I. Prerequisite: Art 221. Four credit hours. MATTHEWS
AR234fs Printmaking I Study of the language of relief printmaking. Five projects are given that point to specific demands of this language. Students will make editions of all five of these problems. Prerequisite: Art 131. Four credit hours. REED
AR235s Printmaking II: Introduction to Intaglio Techniques Concentration on drypoint, non-acidic tool usage, etching, aquatint, and softground. Students will make plates using these techniques and then print editions from them. Out-of-class work is essential. Four credit hours. REED
AR241f Painting I A rigorous, project-based introduction to oil painting as both a process and medium. Students acquire an understanding of advanced color theory and its perceived behavior in invented compositions and observed still lifes. They gain an understanding of how formal analysis drives the creative process and allows for clear, personal expression. Individual and group critiques provide feedback for growth. Outside work is essential. Evaluation process includes midterm portfolio and final interview and portfolio reviews. No prior experience necessary. Prerequisite: Art 131. Four credit hours. ENGMAN
AR242s Painting II Continues the project-based involvement with oil painting as both a process and medium. Students explore the figure through self-portraits, plein air landscape painting, and an in-depth investigation of abstraction through tempera, collage, and interpreted still life. They deepen their understanding of how formal analysis drives the creative process and allows for clear, personal expression. Individual and group critiques provide feedback for growth. Outside work is essential. Evaluation process includes midterm portfolio and final interview and portfolio reviews. Prerequisite: Art 241. Four credit hours. ENGMAN
[AR251] Five Centuries of French Art: From Saint Louis to the Sun King French art from the 13th through the 17th century. Painting, sculpture, and architecture, as well as other pictorial media such as manuscript illumination, prints, tapestry, and enamel are studied, and links with historical and cultural movements are explored. Important themes that are the political uses of art and French national identity. Possible reading in French for French studies majors. Written assignments develop visual literacy and the ability to articulate in-depth analyses of works of art and their production context. Four credit hours. A.
AR261f Sculpture III In the first half of the semester, sculpture projects are presented with open-ended requirements in scale and materials. The objective is to tap into the resource of ideas and technique established in Sculpture I and II. Welding is introduced after the completion of these first pieces using the oxyacetylene process. There are technical exercises for welding mild steel, metal shaping, and surface finishing, all aimed toward establishing a technical freedom with metal. A group critique every two weeks and an individual critique for the final. Prerequisite: Art 162. Four credit hours. MATTHEWS
AR262fs Sculpture IV Further exploration of sculptural techniques and concepts. Out-of-class work is essential. Prerequisite: Art 261. Four credit hours. MATTHEWS
AR271s Modern European and American Architecture The built environment, both architecture and urbanism, from the late 18th century to the 20th century. Themes include architectural design and aesthetics, the influence of technology on design, and the function of architecture in an industrial society. Three or four credit hours. A. SIMON
AR273s The Arts of China Introduces Chinese art from the prehistoric period to the 21st century and teaches students how to read visual materials by learning the cultural conventions, expectations, and technologies that govern the production of art in China. Explores Chinese history through primary-source documents and the basic principles of Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism. Students learn about the role of political and social authority in the production and dissemination of art in China, with a particular emphasis on Chinese social organization and art patronage systems. Students complete weekly slide quizzes, a short paper, and two exams. Four credit hours. A. WEITZ
AR274f The Arts of Japan A historical introduction to the major art forms of Japan—painting, sculpture, ceramics, architecture, and prints—from their beginnings to the modern era. Four credit hours. A. WEITZ
[AR275] The Arts of Korea Exploration of Korean arts from the prehistoric period to the 21st century and reading visual materials by learning the cultural conventions, expectations, and technologies that govern the production of art in Korea. Exploration of Korean history, including the development of religious beliefs, politics, and society. Korea's geopolitical location, between China and Japan, has long made it a center of trade as well as of visual and cultural transfer, often intentional acts of appropriation, rejection, and transformation. Demonstration of critical and visual skills through quizzes, exams, and papers. Four credit hours. A.
AR281s Photography I An introduction to the tools, materials, and techniques for making wet-process, black-and-white photographs. Coverage of camera operation, use of a light meter in determining proper exposure, film processing, and printing. In addition to technique—and at the core of this course—will be a series of assignments, slide lectures, video presentations, and class discussions involving the theories and processes inherent in the comprehension and practice of using photography as a language of personal creative expression. Prerequisite: Art 131. Four credit hours. GREEN
AR282f Photography II: Introduction to Digital Photography Students will expand their literacy through a series of classroom demonstrations and subsequent assignments that will introduce them to the creative and technical foundations of digitally-based photography. While providing a primer for Adobe Photoshop and the appropriate hardware and software, the course will stress photography's importance as a creative means of personal expression. The curriculum will also introduce and explore color photography, its history, methods, and materials. Prerequisite: Art 281. Four credit hours. GREEN
AR285f History of Photography An introduction to the major aesthetic and cultural debates surrounding photography. Investigates aesthetic styles, historical questions about whether a mechanical medium can produce art, what forms of evidence or witnessing photographs provide, and how photographs construct ideas about "the real." Primary focus is on the Anglo-American tradition. Emphasizes skills of visual analysis. Four credit hours. A. SALTZ
[AR293] Asian Museum Workshop: Word Play and Visual Imagery in China A hands-on, collaborative workshop in which students create a museum exhibition. In the first week students learn about the topic through readings, lectures, presentations, and writing assignments. Students then begin their collaboration, with the entire class making all decisions; students jointly produce a grant proposal, press release, object labels, catalogue, and educational component. The exhibition opens on the last day of Jan Plan with a student-led gallery tour for the public. The scale of the project and the student-driven process demand a heavy commitment of time and energy, but the long hours yield a tangible product that remains on display for weeks or months. Prerequisite: East Asian Studies 151 or 152 or Art 173. Three credit hours.
AR311f Art of the Aegean and Greece Architecture, sculpture, and painting from the development of the Minoan civilization through the Hellenistic period. Prerequisite: Art 111. Three or four credit hours. SIMON
[AR313] Art of the Early Middle Ages Painting, sculpture, and architecture from A.D. 315 to 1000, from the Christianization of Rome through the development of Byzantine civilization in the East and through the Ottonian empire in the West. Prerequisite: Art 111. Three or four credit hours.
[AR314] Art of the High Middle Ages Romanesque and Gothic painting, sculpture, and architecture in Western Europe, from the re-emergence of monumental stone sculpture through the exuberance of the Gothic cathedral. Influences of monastery, pilgrimage, and court on art from A.D. 1000 to 1400. Prerequisite: Art 111. Three or four credit hours.
[AR331] Art of the Renaissance in Northern Europe The art of France, Germany, and the Lowlands in the 15th and 16th centuries, with emphasis on the major painters from Van Eyck to Bruegel. Prerequisite: Art 111 or 112. Three or four credit hours.
[AR332] Art of the Renaissance in Italy The art of the 14th, 15th, and early 16th centuries in Italy, with emphasis on the major architects, sculptors, and painters. Prerequisite: Art 111 or 112. Three or four credit hours.
[AR333] Mannerism and Baroque Art in Southern Europe Painting, sculpture, and architecture from the late works of Michelangelo in the 16th century through the early 18th century in Italy and Spain. Prerequisite: Art 112. Three or four credit hours.
[AR334] Film and Society: Films of the 1940s Listed as American Studies 334. Four credit hours. U.
[AR336] Women in Art A seminar investigation of issues regarding women as subjects in, and as producers of, art in 19th- and 20th-century Europe and America. Four credit hours.
AR341f Painting III Serves as a bridge course between the project-based format of Painting I and II and the independent structure of advanced painting. Students undertake invented abstraction, increased scale, the use of limited palettes, and an independent direction in their studio practice. Particular importance is placed on the ability to develop and maintain a work process with the goal of producing a related body of self-directed work. Students are required to express their intent visually in their work, orally in critiques, and in a written statement. Evaluation includes midterm and final portfolio reviews. Prerequisite: Art 242. Four credit hours. ENGMAN
AR342fs Painting IV Based on the discoveries made in Painting III, students continue to define and express their personal goals and begin their fully independent studio practice. Particular importance is placed on the ability to develop and maintain creative momentum with the goal of producing a cohesive body of self-directed work. Students are required to express their intent visually in their work, orally in critiques, and in a written statement. Evaluation includes midterm and final portfolio reviews. Fulfills the minimum requirement for the studio capstone Senior Exhibition. Prerequisite: Art 341. Four credit hours. ENGMAN
[AR351] European Art, 1780-1880 The history of art from the French Revolution to Impressionism. The changes during this period in Europe were exceptional, as art moved from royal and government patronage to an essentially modern system of galleries and private, bourgeois collectors. Students will be evaluated on the basis of exams and written papers, and they are encouraged to take part in class discussions. Prerequisite: Art 112. Three or four credit hours.
AR352s Modern Art, 1880-1914 History of avant-garde movements from post-impressionism through German expressionism. Prerequisite: Art 112. Three or four credit hours. MARLAIS
AR353f Contemporary Art, 1914 to the Present The history of art from Dada to our own time, identifying the main currents of 20th-century art that are the foundations of the contemporary scene and discussing the most significant contemporary artists and trends. While the main focus is art in the United States, the course demonstrates that contemporary art is worldwide, no longer limited to any one provincial center. Makes use of the strong contemporary holdings of the Colby College Museum of Art. Aside from the assigned textbook, a variety of sources, including artists' statements, critical opinion, and theory, will be read. Prerequisite: Art 112. Three or four credit hours. MARLAIS
AR361fs Sculpture V Further exploration of sculptural techniques and concepts. Out-of-class work is essential. Prerequisite: Art 262. Four credit hours. MATTHEWS
AR362s Sculpture VI Further exploration of sculptural techniques and concepts. Out-of-class work is essential. Prerequisite: Art 361. Four credit hours. MATTHEWS
AR375j Seminar: Representing Difference in American Visual Culture Listed as American Studies 375. Three credit hours. U. SALTZ
AR381s Photography III Further exploration of the materials, techniques, and ideas covered in Art 281 and 282, and continued investigation of photography's potential as an expressive artistic medium. Students choose to work using traditional darkroom techniques and/or digital media. Also introduces more advanced methods, materials, and equipment, including medium- and large-format cameras. Each student will complete a semester-long project that explores and further defines his or her personal photographic vision. Prerequisite: Art 282. Four credit hours. GREEN
[AR394] Seminar on Architecture A seminar investigation into a variety of topics that is designed to question the nature of architecture, the role of the architect, and the analysis of specific buildings. Four credit hours.
AR441fs Painting V Further extends students' ability to develop a mature direction in their work. Expands on the goals and expectations as expressed in Painting IV, including the ability to develop and maintain creative momentum with the goal of producing a cohesive body of self-directed work. Provides stronger preparation for the studio capstone Senior Exhibition and for application to graduate school. Students are required to express their intent visually in their work, orally in critiques, and in a written statement. Evaluation includes midterm and final portfolio reviews. Prerequisite: Art 342. Four credit hours. ENGMAN
AR442fs Painting VI Allows students the benefit of the full painting program. Students expand the depth and breadth of their independent process, whether working from still life, figure, landscape, or invented abstraction. Offers the strongest preparation for the studio capstone Senior Exhibition and for application to graduate school. Students are required to express their intent visually in their work, orally in critiques, and in a written statement. Evaluation includes midterm and final portfolio reviews. Prerequisite: Art 441. Four credit hours. ENGMAN
[AR443] Painting VII Further exploration of materials, techniques, and ideas developed in Painting VI. Out-of-class work is essential. Prerequisite: Art 442. Four credit hours.
AR461f Sculpture VII Further exploration of sculptural techniques and ideas. Out-of-class work is essential. Prerequisite: Art 362. Four credit hours. MATTHEWS
AR462s Sculpture VIII Further exploration of sculptural techniques and ideas. Out-of-class work is essential. Prerequisite: Art 461. Four credit hours. MATTHEWS
[AR472] Seminar: Food in Art, Food as Art Narrow as this topic may seem, it will allow us to learn about the history of food, look at art from prehistoric times to the present, and address a wide variety of issues. In addition to still-life painting, art featuring food includes depictions in which figures eat, prepare, and serve food. Examines the aesthetics of feasts and banquets, the architecture of eating spaces, the symbolic functions ascribed to food, and how food presentation follows the artistic styles of the period. Prerequisite: Art 111 or 112. Four credit hours.
[AR474] Seminar: Graffiti, Past and Present An exploration of the practice of graffiti across history along with a survey of the scholarship on the subject and of pertinent theoretical models. Aimed at sharpening visual literacy and research skills and developing the ability to analyze and critically assess visual and verbal materials. Weekly oral presentations in class and final research paper. Prerequisite: Art 111 or 112. Four credit hours.
[AR475] Seminar in Devotional Art In the late Middle Ages a revolution took place in art with the development of individual piety and the quest for a direct and personal relationship with God. The forms and functions of works of art meant as devotional tools. Works produced from 1300 to 1600 throughout Europe and in a variety of media—panel painting, sculpture, manuscript illumination, ivory—and their relationship with such devotional exercises as prayer and meditation. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. Four credit hours.
AR491f, 492s Independent Study Art History: Individual study of special problems in the history or theory of the visual arts. Studio: Individual upper-level work in studio areas, intended to build upon course work or to explore new areas in studio. Not meant to take the place of existing courses. Prerequisite: Art History: Permission of the instructor. Studio: A year of studio course work and permission of the instructor. One to four credit hours. FACULTY
AR493As Seminar: Contemporary Art A seminar-level examination of the worldwide contemporary art scene. Meant to prepare students to consider careers in contemporary art and for intelligent interaction with the contemporary art scene. Makes extensive use of the Colby College Museum of Art's contemporary collection as well as temporary exhibitions. Readings will vary depending on the themes and artists under consideration. Students will be expected to participate in class discussions and to prepare formal presentations on the work of artists they have researched. Four credit hours. MARLAIS
AR497f On the Road: Pilgrim Culture A study of journeys to a shrine or sacred place for spiritual and personal reward and to the artistic responses to those journeys. We shall investigate pilgrimage from ancient times through the Middle Ages and into the modern world and, as such, will consider secular pilgrimages as well as religious ones, from Jerusalem, Rome, Mecca, and Compostela to Graceland. Four credit hours. SIMON