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Art & Art History Goals for Student Learning

Ernest Meissonier, Painter at His Easel
Ernest Meissonier, Painter at His Easel, 1855, oil on panel

Studio Art Learning Goals and Objectives

  1. Students will develop and enhance their awareness and understanding of the visual world, particularly the natural world and the world of the visual arts, through a thorough study of design principals and observational practices.
  2. By strengthening their observational drawing skills and recognition of the complexities and continual rearrangement of design elements (i.e. line, shape, rhythm, color, space, volume, etc.), students will be better able to critically understand the visual structure of objects and scenes, particularly in works of art.

  3. Students will be introduced to a wide array of materials and methods. These will include traditional and historical practices as well as those more contemporary and innovative. Special attention will be paid to safe and environmentally responsible practices.

  4. Through these studies, students will be able to engage, and more fully understand, the principals and precepts that guide others while producing their own works of art. This visual intelligence will lead to an enhanced practice of solving problems that arise in the making of their own works.

  5. Students will then be better able to place their work, and the works of others, into a larger community context. In turn, this will re-enforce the communicative power and purpose of making art. With a more nuanced, measured, and interpretive understanding of art forms, students will mature into better critics and practitioners whether in the fine arts or applied fields.

  6. Ultimately, students will make art that is intellectually honest, personal, and useful as a means of better understanding their lives and experiences. Their work will present these ideas in cogent, original and convincing ways.

Gabriel Metsu, Woman Reading a Book by a Window, ca. 1653-1654, oil on canvas, 105 x 90.7cm, Leiden Collection

Art History Learning Goals and Objectives

  1. Students will broaden their perspectives and ways of thinking through the study of a variety of works of art and architecture produced in different cultures and at different times.
  2. Through carefully looking at works of art and architecture students will learn to dedicate the patient, sustained effort necessary to come to an understanding of an object on its own terms.

  3. Through the study of works of art and architecture students will learn to move beyond subjective response to develop an informed understanding of something outside their knowledge and experience.

  4. Through visual analysis students will be able to comprehend and articulate the logic of the formal, spatial, material, and technical elements of a work of art or architecture.

  5. Through contextual analysis students will know how to develop an interpretative project by:

    1. Critically assessing the art historical literature

    2. Identifying the subject of the work of art and exploring its meanings

    3. Situating the work in its context of production and reception

  6. Students will be able to place works of art and architecture within the history of art.

  7. Students will learn to critically assess disciplinary definitions, interpretive methods, and historical explanations of works of art and architecture.

  8. Students will be able to craft lucid historical arguments in dialogue with the larger disciplinary tradition.

Regional Art Scene

Philadelphia and its surrounding communities have a wealth of renowned museums, galleries, and neighborhoods rich with arts events. 

Check out the regional art scene