Discussion Topics and Issues Week 1-7

  • Issues to explore in class discussions and written assignments for weeks one through seven:

    Who are the patrons of religious art and architecture, and what impact do they have on its content and form?

    How do artists communicate religious beliefs and concepts?  How do they differentiate between the natural and the supernatural?

    Is there universality in the ways human beings have expressed their spiritual beliefs through art? Are there any features that all religious art shares?  Are there universal images permeating human religions like archetypes in mythology?

    How can we recognize the art and architecture of a particular religion? 

    Why are art and religion intimately connected throughout human history?  

    How does art serve the needs of religion?

    What does the comparison of non-Western and Western art reveal about artistic patronage, practice, purpose, meaning, and style?

    What sorts of things emerge as universals and which are more culturally specific?

    Do artistic styles seem to follow the same kind of development in Asia as in Europe? 

    Are the historical forces that shape Asian artistic evolution markedly different from those affecting European art? 

    Which artistic innovations do the Western and non-Western worlds seem to have both discovered independently and which did each have to learn from the other?