Art History

  • Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts

    333 Clinton Street - Buffalo, NY 14204 - 716-816-3868 - fax: 716-851-3863





    AP Art History


    Class Syllabus

    Mr. Witucki




    AP Art History

    Class Syllabus


    Course Description:

    AP Art History is a course designed to introduce the student in a survey format to the sweep of the global history of art from prehistoric times to the present day.  As its name implies, it will deal with both art (styles, techniques, materials, conventions, etc.) and history (the political, economic, social, religious, and/or intellectual context in which a given work was produced).  It will cover both the Western tradition and, to a lesser extent, art outside the Western tradition.  While it will prepare students to take the AP Art History exam, it will not be driven by the exam to the exclusion of important tangential discussions, observations and exercises.


    GOALS:  By the end of the year, it is hoped that each student will:

    -          be conversant with the terms and techniques of artists in all major media;

    -          understand the historical context in which works of art are created and how and why the historical context both influences the art and is influenced by the art;

    -          know the differences and similarities between and among various cultures, eras and styles of art and be able to distinguish them and explain the reasons for the differences/similarities and their evolution across time and geography;

    -          understand the nature and importance of patronage in artistic creation;

    -          be able to identify major works by title, artist, date (within a quarter century), style/era/culture;

    -          be able to identify “unknowns” by use of knowledge of style/era/culture and historical context;

    -          be able to analyze a work of art, commenting critically and knowledgeably about both its artistic elements and its historical context;

    -          be able to construct intelligent and insightful comparisons between works of art of differing artists/styles/eras/cultures;

    -          write coherently, cogently, and intelligently about art;

    -          be able to be successful in the AP Art History exam.




    Kleiner, Fred S. and Christin J. Mamiya, Gardner’s Art Through the Ages. 12th ed. Thomson/Wadsworth


    Other Texts

    De Rynck, Patrick, How To Read A Painting: Lessons From The Old Masters.  Abrams

    Thompson, Jon, How To Read A Modern Painting: Lessons From The Modern Masters.  Abrams

    Barnet, Sylvan, A Short Guide to Writing about Art.  Harper Collins

    Janson, H.W. and Janson, Anthony, A Basic History of Art.  5th ed. Prentice Hall

    Hockney, David, Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Techniques of the Old Masters.  Viking Studio

    Brommer, Gerald, Rediscovering Art History.  3rd ed. Davis

    Spielvogel, Jackson, Western Civilization.  Volume 1 6th ed.  Thomson/Wadsworth


    Other Resources

    The College Board:

    Art Renewal Center:

    ArtLex Art Dictionary:






    Student Evaluation


    1st Marking Period:

                    Tests (5)                                                                50%

                    Quarter Exam                                         30%

                    Papers                                                    20%


    2nd Marking Period:

                    Tests (4)                                                                40%

                    Midterm Exam (Cumulative)               40%

                    Papers                                                    20%


    3rd Marking Period:

                    Tests (4)                                                                40%

                    Quarter Exam                                         30%

                    Papers                                                    20%

                    Project                                                    10%

    4th Marking Period:

                    Tests (3)                                                                30%

                    Final Exam                                             50%

                    Papers                                                    20%



    Weekly assignments will be posted on my website as well as what material we are covering.





    Class Assignments:

    The following are examples of the types of assignments that will be given in the class.  All assignments are expected to be completed and turned in on time.  Any assignment that is not turned in on time will automatically receive an extra 10% decrease in score for each day it is late.

                    A.  Book/Handout reading

                    B.  Note taking (from both the readings and classroom discussions)

                    C.  Written Homework assignments                                                                                

                                    You will be responsible for researching and typing a paper on an                                                                              artists work.  You will be able to find the artwork on websites that are                                             

    given each week.  Each paper must be at least one full typed page,                                        double spaced and no more than 12 font.


    Weekly assignments will be posted on my website as well as what material we are covering.


    Required Supplies:

    One subject notebook

    Small 3 ring binder



    Access to a computer and printer

    Highlighter (optional)


    If you are unable to attain any of these materials, please see me by the end of the first week.  I will be happy to work it out with you.



    Class Expectations:

    ?         Complete all class and homework assignments.

    ?         Prepare for discussions before coming to class.

    ?         Come to class on time.

    ?         Make good use of class time by being engaged in what's going on.

    ?         Ask questions about anything you do not understand. Get involved in your learning.

    ?         Participate in class discussions, contribute your thinking to the shared effort of

            developing understanding.

    ?         Side conversations that distract you and your fellow students learning are not accepted.

    ?         Respect all students, adults and yourself in the classroom.



    Content Calendar


    1st Quarter:

    Week 1:  Introduction/Chapter 1, The Birth of Art 1-30                                                                                                                 Chapter 2 The Rise of Civilization 31-54                                                                  Test #1

    Week 2:  Chapter 3 The Art of Ancient Egypt 55-84

                    Comparison between Egypt and the ancient Near East (geography, materials, civilization,

    nature of royal figures and divinities, funerary and temple structures, etc.)

    Time is spent identifying Old, Middle, and New Kingdom architecture; painting;

    and sculpture. The Armana Period of Akhenaton is given weight because of

    its “stylistic revolution.” Discussion of naturalism and idealism compared with

    the stylization of imagery from the ancient Near East. Portraiture is discussed in

    relationship to the figures rank.

    Week 3:  Chapter 4 The Art of the Prehistoric Aegean 85-104                                                     Test #2

    Focus on Cycladic, Minoan, and Mycenaean Cultures. Compare and contrast with

    Egypt and Ancient near East. (Approach to nature and the landscape, with architectural

    forms: palaces, tombs, and temples.)The relationship between culture and art/architecture is particularly strong when comparing Minoan and Mycenaean works (fresco stucco and fresco).  .

    Week 4:  Chapter 5 Art of Ancient Greece 105-166

    Archaic, early classical/transitional, classical, late classical/early hellenistic, hellenistic.

    (Tie each period to a specific date: why did these styles change?)

    Protogeometric, geometric and archaic greek cultures. Compare and contrast

    with Egypt and ancient Near East. (Approach to nature and the landscape, with

    architectural forms: palaces, tombs, and temples.)

    Vocabulary terms include learning the Greek vase shapes, temple types, and architectural components of the Greek orders.  Begin to define and identify the concepts of Greek idealism, beauty, individuality.  Look at the emerging shape of the human figure from the Sumerian Votive

    Figures to the Greek kore and kouros figures.  Describe and be able to identify and describe the stylistic transformations that appear in Greek sculpture and architecture (proportion, scale, and type) canon of sculptural proportions. Define the changing role of architectural sculpture (compare

    with role of Egyptian architectural sculpture) Discuss the relationship between the Greek building and its site.  Discuss the origins of the Greek city and city plan. (agora, stoa, acropolis)

    Week 6:  Chapter 6 Art of Southeast Asia 167-190                                                                        Test #3

    Week 7:  Chapter 7 Art of Early China and Korea 191-216

    Week 8:  Chapter 8 Art of Early Japan 217-232                                                                               Test #4

    Week 9:  Chapter 9 Art of the Etruscans 233-246

    Compare and contrast with Greek Art and the debt each society owed to the

    Greek culture. Point out specific contributions which distinguish each culture. Be

    able to distinguish between the two. Focus on Etruscan ideas of death and burial

    (tumulus/necropolis). Elaborate on the Etruscan temple, origins of the true arch,

    and elements of portraiture in canopic urns.

    Introduce Roman art through its verism (portrait sculpture, compare with

    individualized images from Egypt and Greece) and architecture (the difference

    between a trabeated and arcuated system of building). Relationship between

    building and its site.

    Roman city planning and orientation, compare with Greek. Incorporate

    the Roman atrium house and insulae. Discuss the four Roman fresco styles,

    (comparing with Minoan and Egyptian)

    Art in service to the state. Roman building types and techniques. Discussion

    of the Roman temple types. Incorporate architectural building techniques as well

    as new materials.

    Unlike the Greek styles, introduce the notion of Roman figure styles ranging

    from verism to idealism, depending on the emperor. Portraiture and commemorative


    Compare the pan-Athenic frieze from the Parthenon with the Procession

    from the Ara Pacis. Contrast historical backgrounds. Discuss the loss of the narrative

    and the “archaicizing” of Roman art seen in the Column of Trajan throughout

    the end of the empire.


    Week 10:  Chapter 10/11 Art of Ancient Rome and Late Antiquity 247-324                              Test #5


    2nd Quarter:

    Week 11:  Chapter 12 Art of Byzantium 325-356

    Week 12:  Chapter 13 Art of the Islamic World 357-380                                                                Test #1

    Week 13:  Chapter 14/15 Art of Americas and African Art 381-420

    Week 14:  Chapter 16 Early Medieval Art 421-446                                                                          Test #2

    Week 15:  Chapter 17 Romanesque Art 447-478

    Week 16:  Chapter 18 Gothic Art 479-521                                                                                         Test #3

    Week 17:  Chapter 19/20 14th Century Italian Art and Art from Northern Europe & Spain 522-572

    Week 18:  Chapter 21 15th Century Italian Art 573-612                                                   Test #4

    Week 19:  Chapter 22 High Renaissance and Mannerism 613-662

    Week 20:  Chapter 23 16th Century Art 663-686                                                                               Midterm Exam