Modern Art History: Early 20th Century Art

Course Number: ART 212
Transcript Title: Mod Art Hst:Early 20th Cen Art
Created: September 1, 2012
Updated: June 6, 2017
Total Credits: 4
Lecture Hours: 40
Lecture / Lab Hours: 0
Lab Hours: 0
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: No
Satisfies General Education requirement: Yes
Grading options: A-F (default), P-NP, audit
Repeats available for credit: 0


MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121.

Course Description

Explores early 20th century art works and revolutions in science and technology, psychology and philosophy. Examines and analyzes the visual arts to reveal some effects of those changes, and to gain insight into our modern world. Surveys 20th century modern movements, such as: Expressionism, Cubism, Futurism, Minimalism and Photorealism. Prerequisites: MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Develop an understanding of the connections that link visual arts to other cultural and technological developments.
  2. View works of art, reflect on and evaluate the uniqueness of a work, its origins and context within a specific cultural milieu, while also appreciating its potential influence on later art and artists and its relationship to art of the past.
  3. Understand the stylistic characteristics of early 20th century art and architecture and recognize the ways in which modernism has shaped our contemporary urban world.
  4. Recognize formal qualities in modern art and read visual elements, artistic and cultural styles, and symbols.

Alignment with Institutional Core Learning Outcomes

In-depth 1. Communicate effectively using appropriate reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. (Communication)


2. Creatively solve problems by using relevant methods of research, personal reflection, reasoning, and evaluation of information. (Critical thinking and Problem-Solving)
3. Extract, interpret, evaluate, communicate, and apply quantitative information and methods to solve problems, evaluate claims, and support decisions in their academic, professional and private lives. (Quantitative Literacy)


4. Appreciate cultural diversity and constructively address issues that arise out of cultural differences in the workplace and community. (Cultural Awareness)


5. Recognize the consequences of human activity upon our social and natural world. (Community and Environmental Responsibility)

Outcome Assessment Strategies

The student will:

  • Comprehend, apply, analyze and evaluate reading assignments
  • Identify artwork and architecture, and relate facts and ideas about these works of art in exam format
  • Research, plan, compose, edit and revise short papers

Course Activities and Design

Lecture, slide shows, reading, reports, group discussions

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes - 20th Century Art Movements

  • Expressionism
  • Cubism
  • Futurism
  • Minimalism
  • Photorealism


  • Theory and criticism in the history of art
  • Pattern-based thinking and historical process
  • Various interpretations of art
  • Art and gender
  • Creativity and the impulse to make art

 Stylistic and Interpretive

  • Visual literacy
  • Art media and artistic technique
  • "Seeing and knowing"
  • Iconography
  • Formal elements of art

 Social and Cultural

  • Other peoples and their histories, values, and culture
  • Art and economics
  • Art and the social fabric
  • Art and religion
  • Art and politics
  • Art and gender
  • Relationship of culture and style
  • Art and cultural transmission
  • Historical impact of art
    • The influence of art on ones own culture
    • The influence of art on relations with other cultures 
  • Art and artists
    • The impulse to make art
    • The Gestalt of art
    • The role of the artist in society
    • Biography 
  • Geography and its influence on art and culture
  • Artifact recovery, analysis, and restoration

Competencies and Skills:
The successful student should be able to: 

  • Work creatively with art historical data, using it to develop principles of art history
  • Recognize and appraise patterns in historical phenomena
  • Assess the ways in which an art object is affected by our own vantage point
  • Recognize and discriminate among various styles of art
  • Trace the development of art from one period to another
  • Analyze formally works of art and appreciate the interrelationship of its elements
  • Determine symbolism in art
  • Employ iconographical nomenclature
  • Express the relationship of art to society and culture to style
  • Analyze the "meaning" of art objects through understanding of historical, social, and political context
  • Use specific terminology to describe works of art
  • Transfer to a four year college and continue a course of study in the field of art history, fine art, anthropology, and history in general

Prerequisite Knowledge and Skills:

  • Oral and written command of college level English