AP Art History Syllabus 2019-2020

Notre Dame Belmont

Martha Anne Kuntz





Advanced Placement Art history is a college level course that enables students to apply decision-making, analytical and problem-solving skills that will facilitate rational, effective lifelong learning.  Students who successfully complete the requirements can request credit from the college or university they will attend.  Credit will be awarded upon passing the AP Art History exam by the AP College Board.


AP Art History is based on three BIG IDEAS that students will be asked to discover, research, interpret, acknowledge, and understand fully.  They are:


BIG IDEA 1: Artists manipulate materials and ideas to create an aesthetic object, act, or event.         

           What is art and how is it made?           

           Materials (Environment/Geography)             

           Art making techniques             

           Why make art? (Function)

BIG IDEA 2: Art making is shaped by tradition and change.         

           Why and how does art change?             

           What features/changes of a tradition do you see?             

           Why was the art influential?

BIG IDEA 3: Interpretations of art are variable.         

           How do we describe our thinking about art?             

           What are the formal qualities and content of the art?             

           What is the context of the art? (context = differing interpretations)             

           What attributes of a work can we attribute to other works of art? (similarities and differences?)                                  

Course Objectives: 

  • Students will learn to discuss and write about Global Art using skills that define critical thinking, including analysis, inference, interpretation, compare and contrast and evaluation. 

  • Students will also learn how to use critical thinking skills to make connections from concrete to abstract, personal to impersonal and literal to figurative.

  • Students will gain a worldwide understanding of Global Art traditions through art as a reflection of those societies.

  • Students will learn to see through observing details in the art studied.  Students will learn to relate those details to observation of their own world.

  • Students will observe the evolution of art and societies through the chronological approach to teaching of art history.

  • Students will develop an art vocabulary and be able to use the language of painting, sculpture and architecture and also the Elements of Art and the Principles of Design.  They will also learn technical terms, stylistic devices and building methods.

  • Students will have an opportunity to experience hands-on approaches to various media and processes including fresco and construction for a better understanding of the arts.

  • Because of the religious purpose of much of the art studied, students will develop a basic knowledge and understanding of world religions and their relationship with art and each other.

  • Students will make connections to literary works through paintings and sculptures as narrative forms of expression.

  • Students will come to understand the business of art and the patronage necessary for much of art’s “creation”.


Student Learning: 

During the year of study students will learn to:

  • Do rigorous homework, research, and reading assignments in college level texts and online

  • In-depth study and analysis of hundreds of works of art

  • Develop an art, art history, and technique vocabulary

  • Analyze works of art and determine styles, time periods and influences

  • Understand Global historical facts through fine art images

  • Participate in classroom discussions

  • Do formal analysis using the elements and principles

  • Thoroughly research and interpret works of art globally

  • Understand world cultures and religions

  • Make connections between cultures

  • Develop learning through supporting the arts (museum and gallery attendance)

  • Organize information through daily notes and lectures, texts and PowerPoints

  • Write comparison essays using visual prompts

  • Present orally in class using a variety of media and technology

  • Formally analyze paintings through color reproductions


AP Art History Textbook List:

Texts provided:  Art History – Gardner's Art Through the Ages - A Concise Global History, 4th Edition, Fred S. Kleiner

Internet and Supplemental Resources found on:  www.kuntzaparthistory.com


Art History Concepts: 

At the beginning of the year an overview of basic concepts is necessary to insure all students are on the same track with what the areas of study will be and where concerns come from.  The following is a list of questions and answers that will be asked and instilled for greater understanding of art history.

  • What is Art?  What is Culture?  Where does Art come from?  What does Art do? (function and purpose)

  • Ways of looking at Art and basic questions to ask when looking at works of art:

    What is your first response to what you see?

    When and where was the art made?

    What area/space was the work originally intended for?

    What was the purpose of the art?

    How did the work survive and in what condition?

    What is the title of the piece?


Art History Units:

1. Global Prehistory

2. The Pacific

3. Africa

4. Indigenous Americas

5. Ancient Mediterranean: The Near East, Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome

6. Early Europe 400 - 1400

                           Early Christian Art/Medieval Art


                           Migratory Art + Early Northern Medieval Art

                           Romanesque Art 

                           Gothic Art + Architecture + Sculpture

7. Islamic Art     

8. Later Europe

                           Late Medieval Painting

                           Northern Renaissance Art

                           Florentine Renaissance Art

                           High Renaissance Art

                           Mannerism + Late Renaissance

                           Southern Baroque Art

                           Southern + Northern Aristocratic + Spanish Baroque Art

                           Northern Bourgeois Baroque Art

9. Cross Cultural Connections in the New World 

10. Buddhist Art       

11. Indian Hindu Art

12. China

13. Japan                 

14. Realism/Photography/19th Century Architecture


                            Post Impressionism

15. Modernism




                            De Stijl


                            Modern Intersections

                            Modern Architecture

16. American Post WWII Modern Art Movements

                            Abstract Expressionism

                            Pop Art

                            Earth Art

                            Installation Art

17. Global Contemporary/Post Modernism






AP Art History Homework Assignments: 

Homework will be assigned weekly.  Small group (3 per group, self-selected) research and work will be an integral part of the class.  Students will be asked to read relevant pages in the art history text and use an unlimited number of online sources.  All assignments and due dates will be available on the AP Art History website.  Vocabulary terms are required for students to define as they appear in the text.  Ideas and Concepts for every period and Global location of art history will be discussed.  There will be a minimum of two group projects during the year.


Test, Quizzes, Essays: 

Students will be given slide quizzes, short essays, and other forms of assessment based on images, lectures, and discussions from class.  It is imperative that you do not miss class!  Tests will be given at the end of each unit with short answer questions, slide identification, context questions and essays.  Students will be expected to recognize concepts, images, dates, titles, names of the artists where appropriate, techniques, materials location/place, function of the art and styles.  Students should be able to discuss art in all formats using the Elements and Principles and understand historical events that might have shaped the works of art.  Finally, students should also be able to recognize and discuss characteristics of the various styles and Global cultures.


Class Expectations:

  • Be physically and mentally present, attentive, and engaged. 

  • This course requires a significant amount of independent and group research and study.  Carry your own weight.  Ask for help if you need it.

  • No cell phones in class.  Period.

  • Students missing any classes are required to make up lectures and presentations.  All PowerPoint presentations will be available on Schoology.

  • Students will be allowed to correct and resubmit homework for credit if the original work was turned in on time.


Missed Work Policy:

When a student is absent she is required to make up any missed assignments to include, but not limited to , in class presentations, required rehearsals/performances, homework and chapter/unit assessments.  By the day the student returns to school, she must contact her teacher(s) to arrange a time to make-up missed work.  For all absences, (major illness excepted), students must make up missed assignments within three class meetings of the day she returns to school. Any exceptions to the above can be made at the discretion of the individual teacher but may not exceed If, after the maximum period of ten school days the student still has not made up her she will receive a zero grade for the missing work. (p. 24)


A very special thank you to Dr. Robert Coad for his infinite wisdom, amazing workshops, gift of materials and time, and years of support.

Another special thank you to Ms. Marsha Russell for her devotion to teaching and generosity in sharing her materials and knowledge with all of us.

Thank you to Valerie Park for her inspirational AP Art History web site that guided the creation of this site.