Art History

exploring tapestries
The Art History program at Saint Michael’s offers courses examining the visual art, material culture, and architecture of the West and other cultures, covering several millennia and continents. In addition to providing essential grounding for Studio Art students, the Art History program offers a minor for students interested in exploring the subject more deeply. Courses are available both on campus and at the University of Vermont (two and a half miles from the Saint Michael's College campus, a direct bus ride) thanks to a special consortium agreement.
Studying art history improves essential skills that are the building blocks of 21st Century learning: observation, analysis, synthesis, and creative and critical interpretation. As a minor in art history, you will study visual culture that spans the spectrum of humanity from cave paintings to the present day, and learn to make sense of its meanings through the study of both form and context.
Ancient and Medieval Art: Examination of early human achievement in the arts, from the cave paintings of Lascaux to the Gothic cathedrals. Special attention is given to methods of analyzing form and subject matter, and ideology in art and architecture.

Saints, Kings and Barbarians:
This course will focus on images of power, piety, and belief in the European Middle Ages (c.200 - 1066), from the Late Antique world to Charlemagne and his successors. Rural landscapes, town planning, and the role of archeology in understanding medieval art and life will be explored, along with the evolution of including churches, mosques, monasteries, cathedrals, palaces and houses, and the objects and images that filled them.

Castles and Cathedrals:
This course will focus on images of power, piety, and belief in the European High Middle Ages (c. 900 - c. 1400), from Charlemagne and the Carolingian contribution to late Gothic and Marco Polo’s travels. The achievements of the Romanesque style in the great monasteries, and the development of the Gothic cathedrals will be explored, as will the objects and images that filled these buildings - mosaics, sculpture, paintings, reliquaries, illuminated manuscripts, metalwork, jewelry, stained glass.

Culture and Society in Medieval Burgundy: An 18-day academic study-abroad course in Burgundy, France, focusing on the historical, political, artistic, religious, literary, cultural, and social developments of medieval Burgundy. Based in Pontigny, students travel every other day to cities, abbeys, castles, cathedrals, museums, and archaeological sites which are examined in preparatory classes.

Renaissance and Modern Art: Students learn to analyze art, and to see, think, write and speak critically about painting, sculpture, and empowered objects from the fifteenth through twentieth centuries in Europe, America, and West Africa. Throughout the course, we analyze art through changing thematic lenses. Stylistic elements, the role of art in society, and the judgment of what is good, are persistent themes.

Art Since 1960: This course is a survey of art movements since 1960, such as Minimalism, Fluxus, Pop, Conceptual Art, Performance, Video and Digital Art. Art we encounter today can be ephemeral, temporary, conceptual, and/or installation based. We will examine the shift away from conventional art object production as well as the shifting role of the artist during this period. Classroom discussion will be central to the course and students should be prepared to engage with readings, visit off campus art institutions and have guest artist lecturers.

In addition to these courses and other electives, students can also take a full range of Art History electives at the University of Vermont, two and a half miles away, thanks to a special consortium arrangement.

Terryl Kinder, FSA

Visiting Distinguished Professor of Art History

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Areas of expertise

Medieval art
Ancient and medieval archeology
Medieval monasteries
Medieval pilgrimages
Stone quarrying and medieval construction
History and architecture of the Cistercian Order

Courses I Teach

Survey of Ancient and Medieval Art
Saints, Kings, Barbarians: Early Medieval Art
Castles, Cathedrals, Cities Culture and Society in Medieval Burgundy

My Saint Mike's

St Michael's College has always been a very special place to me, and I'm honored to be a bridge between Pontigny Abbey––where the Society of St Edmund was created in the 19th c.––and the College today. It's my pleasure to bring students to Burgundy (France) each year and to teach them them about the roots of SMC while exploring the history of this region through its historic architecture, museums, cities, castles, battlefields (as well as food, of course!).  At SMC this medieval world view–– and my excitement about it––spills over into my courses, whether a survey of Europe and the Middle East from prehistoric times to the Renaissance, or specialized seminars in various aspects of the Medieval World, such as arts made by nomadic tribes in the 7th century, stained glass of the soaring cathedrals, or the architecture of monks who lived in silence in immense, exquisitely designed stone buildings.  “Material culture” is so relevant for today when communication is, above all, visual, and I love being a conduit for the SMC community.

Our students benefit from numerous opportunities to study art and architecture "up close and personal." From local and regional field trips, to short- and long-term study abroad, our students are on the move! Back at home, we work closely with Burlington City Arts and the Shelburne Museum to provide internship opportunities, so that students can gain real-world experience.
After Saint Michael's, art history minors go on to graduate school in Museum Studies, Historic Preservation, Library Science, and other disciplines in the Humanities. Saint Michael's art history alumni work in exciting fields including Landscape Design, Urban Planning, Art Gallery and Auctions Administration, Historic Preservation, and Marketing and Development for non-profit organizations.

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