Advanced Studies in Baroque Art – ARTS 503

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 05/26/2022

Course Description

We shall examine the development of art and architecture in Italy, Spain, France, and the Lowlands, centering upon the works of seminal artists including Caravaggio, Bernini, Borromini, Velazquez, Poussin, Rembrandt, Rubens, and Van Dyck. Accordingly, we shall investigate how the art of the period reflects the Christian worldview as it took shape in the wake of the Reformation and Counter Reformation.

Note to student: This course requires the study of artworks and images that may include nudity, violence, sensitive content, and religious and political opinions that differ from your own Christian worldview. If you do not wish to engage with this material, it is suggested that you speak to your instructor and/or academic advisor as soon as possible to discuss how to proceed. There will be no alternative assignments offered in this course.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


Knowledge of the art of the Baroque period remains of enormous importance for the historian of western civilization and for the practicing artist. The innovations and masterpieces created during the seventeenth century in Europe exemplified foundational cognitive and technical developments that become vital to anyone wishing to understand the western tradition of the visual arts and to work within that tradition intelligently.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Recognize the primary artists and masterpieces of the Baroque period.
  2. Define the major technical developments utilized by these artists.
  3. Contextualize particular artworks within the greater scope of history and western civilization, relating them to the whole of the tradition that comprises this heritage, in theory and practice.
  4. Express observations and critical opinions concerning the visual arts of the Baroque period via tests, interactive lectures, class discussions, and research papers.

Course Assignment

Textbook Reading and Presentations

Weekly textbook reading assignments and presentations related to course content.

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions (3)

The student will complete three discussions in this course. The student will post one thread of at least 500 words and two replies of at least 250 words. For each thread, students must support their assertions with at least 1 scholarly citation in MLA format and at least 1 example of artwork.  Any sources cited must have been published within the last five years. Acceptable sources include a peer-reviewed article in an academic journal or a book found in the Jerry Falwell Library's Online Databases. 

Virtual Tour and Journal Entry Assignments (2)

Each Virtual Tour and Journal Entry Assignment consists of two steps. First, follow the link provided to visit the art museum and complete all facets of the tour. Be sure to explore all galleries and sub-galleries included. Second, after viewing the virtual tour,  you will compose a Journal Entry of at least 500 words based on a given prompt. The prompt for each Virtual Tour and Journal Entry Assignment is specific to the content of the tour. Your journal entries must contain at least 1 academic citation. Acceptable sources include a peer-reviewed article in an academic journal or a book found in the Jerry Falwell Library's Online Databases. Current MLA format must be used. You may use information provided in the virtual tour, your textbook and credible websites for further research though these sources do not count as your citation. 

Research Paper Assignment

This assignment affords you the opportunity to describe and analyze works of art and to demonstrate these skills through the writing of a comprehensive research paper. Use this as an opportunity to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the topics covered in this course. The paper will be submitted in three parts—an initial Project Description and Annotated Bibliography, Introduction and Thesis Statement, and the Final Submission. 

Project Description and Annotated Bibliography Assignment

Submit a one paragraph description that concisely summarizes what you plan to discuss in your research paper. Include identification of the two Baroque artists you will discuss and which of their artworks you will analyze to support the ideas you plan to explore in your paper.  

Submit a working bibliography with 5–7 annotated entries. Each annotation should include a summary of the main points of each article or book and how each one relates to/benefits your research project. Each annotation should be at least 100 words. The entries must be addition to the course textbooks and the Bible. 

All sources must be academic and obtained through the Jerry Falwell Library’s website. The most useful database for art history articles is JSTOR. You may use other library databases for books and book chapters. Websites and unpublished articles are not permissible as sources. 

Introduction and Thesis Assignment

The student will write a clear and concise thesis statement that describes what you plan to argue in your research paper. Draft a 200–300 word introduction to your research paper. Include your thesis statement in “bold” text so that your proposed argument is clear to your instructor. The introduction cites one peer-reviewed academic source in current MLA format. Refer to the Research Paper Assignment Overview for more information on the topic of the Research Paper. 

Final Submission Assignment

Draft your complete research paper, incorporating the edits and suggestions made on your thesis statement and introduction. Your final draft must have a minimum word count of 1,500–1,700 words in addition to the works cited. The paper must include a works cited list of sources consulted (at least 5-7 sources in addition to the course textbooks and the Bible). This assignment must be in current MLA format.

Quizzes (8)

Each quiz will cover the Learn material from each Module: Week for the assigned Module: Week. Each quiz will be open-book/open-notes, contain 10 multiple-choice questions, and have a time limit of 2 hours and 45 minutes.