Descriptor Details

  • Understanding Art
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  • Uploaded: 2/27/2023 07:17:07 PM PST

This course provides a general introduction to art that offers a look at works of art through the study of theory, terminology, themes, design principles, media, techniques, with an introduction to the visual arts across time and diverse cultures.



Completion of or concurrent enrollment in English Composition (C-ID ENGL 100)

  1. Defining Art: Functions
  2. Visual Elements of Art
  3. Principles of Design
  4. Media and Techniques
  5. Address Art Historical Methodologies
  6. Overview of art history from a global perspective

Recommended:  Museum or gallery visit

At the conclusion of this course, the student should be able to:

  1. Evaluate and critique works of art and architecture based on formal elements and principles of design and employing appropriate art historical terminology
  2. Analyze, evaluate, and distinguish materials and techniques used for creating art and architecture
  3. Interpret a work of art or architecture from an art historical perspective.
  4. Identify, analyze, and discuss the functions of art and architecture and the roles of artists in diverse cultures

Methods of evaluation will include:

  1. Written essays, assignments, and/or research projects
  2. Essay component on an exam

Sample Textbooks and Recommended/Accessible OER:


Dewitte, M.; Shields, K.; Larmann, R. Gateways to Art, 2018.

Fichner-Rathus, L. Understanding Art.

Lazzari, Margaret and Dona Schleiser. Exploring Art: A Global, Thematic Approach.

Preble, S, and Frank, Patrick. Prebles’ Artforms

Sayre, H. A World of Art.

Recommended OER

Smarthistory’s (Khan Academy) materials/books (available online and to print out for free)

Smarthistory OER Commons,

Smarthistory Reframing Art History (global perspectives) open access

Libretexts, Gustlin & Gustlin. A World Perspective of Art Appreciation, Libretexts, Lumen. Introduction to Art Concepts, 2020

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  • Art, appreciation, history