Art History: Prehistoric to Renaissance

I.     Course Prefix/Number: ART 111

       Course Name: Art History: Prehistoric to Renaissance

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course is comparative study of art as expression of human experience from prehistoric to Renaissance period. Content includes major artists, styles and movements. Focus is on development of perceptive stylistic analysis and ability to understand a work of art in relation to cultural context.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. Student will identify and classify artworks from Pre-historic to Gothic Italian art.
  2. Student will identify and attribute works of art from the period as to time period, region, artist (when known), and style.
  3. Student will distinguish between a culture’s symbols and the images, objects, sculptures or structures they created.
  4. Student will analyze art work in relation to its religious, social and cultural meaning.
  5. Through class discussion and participation student will discuss and integrate lecture and textbook content.
  6. Student will attach specific information to art work as to subject, function, medium, elements, organization, style, time-line, and artist.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Overview of the Art Medium
    1. Subject
    2. Function
    3. Medium
    4. Elements
    5. Organization
    6. Style
    7. Judgment
  2. Discussion of Reality: Physical and spiritual
  3. Mesopotamia Art
    1. Overview
    2. Cultural perception
    3. Innovations
    4. Examples
  4. Egypt Art
    1. Overview
    2. Cultural perception
    3. Innovations
    4. Examples
  5. Crete Art
    1. Overview
    2. Cultural perception
    3. Innovations
    4. Examples
  6. Art of Greece
    1. Overview
    2. Cultural perception
    3. Innovations
    4. Examples
  7. Art of Rome
    1. Overview
    2. Cultural perception
    3. Innovations
    4. Examples
  8. Medieval Europe and its Art
    1. Overview
    2. Cultural perception
    3. Innovations
    4. Examples

VII.  Methods of Instruction

  1. PowerPoint presentation with lecture stressing the iconological importance of the work.
  2. A field trip to a museum.
  3. Possible films/videos.
  4. In-class discussions.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Course may be taught as a face-to-face, hybrid or online course.
  1. Attend all classes
  2. Do all homework assignments/readings
  3. Participate in class discussions
  4. Attend field trip as scheduled
  5. Tests/reports (research) written paper

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Example Text: Helen Gardner, Art through the Ages, (current edition)

Visuals: PowerPoint presentations

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Factual identification tests:  known works of art are identified by title, artist, and civilization; unknown works of art are identified by style characteristics of an age and of a civilization.

One final examination which asks for an intensive interpretation, in essay form, of works of art and their relevance.

An outside report or class shared presentation of any one period or work of art produced by one artist.

XI.   Other Course Information

Please note:
Some of the activities, lectures and assignments in this class may include imagery that is controversial, uncomfortable, shocking, has nudity, and personally unpopular to one's beliefs. If a student objects to this practice, he/she is encouraged to discuss with the instructor early in the semester alternative ways of completing course requirements.

Make-up exams, incomplete grades, late assignments are at the discretion of the instructor.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.