Art Appreciation

Course Content from McGraw Hill
Course Number: ART101 Download Course Syllabus

Art Appreciation equips students with the vocabulary to understand and discuss art, while introducing them to various mediums. Students will learn themes of art, principles of design, types of two-dimensional and three-dimensional media, and be taken on a tour of art through the ages. They will learn the different eras of art, how culture is affected and affects art, and how to use elements of a piece of work to identify its time period or artist.

  • Self Paced
  • Humanities
  • Content by McGraw Hill
Online Course
Art Appreciation   +$59.00
Proctoring   +$0.00
ART101 eTextbook (a $90 value)   +$0.00
Tutoring (included)
Credits 3

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Course Objectives

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

  • Understand the value of art, its many uses, and its history
  • Define the key vocabulary of art such as value, form, design, space, proportion, scale, balance, unity, and variety
  • Classify different two-dimensional mediums
  • Classify different three-dimensional physical mediums as well as abstract mediums like installations
  • Analyze art through the lens of history, its effects on culture, and culture's effects on art
  • Construct a formal analysis of a piece

Topic Topic Title Subtopics Objectives


Living with Art
  • The Impulse for Art
  • What Do Artists Do?
  • Creating and Creativity
  • Looking and Responding
  • Recognize why artists make art
  • Explain how artists create their works
  • Describe the creative process and its objectives
  • Discuss how viewers respond to art


What Is Art?
  • Artist and Audience
  • Art and Beauty
  • Art and Appearances
  • Representational and Abstract Art
  • Nonrepresentational Art
  • Style
  • Art and Meaning
  • Form and Content
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Iconography
  • Context
  • Art and Purpose
  • Explain relationships between artists and their audience
  • Discuss the relationship between art and beauty
  • Categorize art by its appearance
  • Examine art for its meaning
  • Summarize some purposes for art


Themes of Art
  • The Sacred Realm
  • Politics and the Social Order
  • Stories and Histories
  • Picturing the Here and Now
  • Reflecting on the Human Experience
  • Invention and Fantasy
  • The Natural World
  • Art about Art and Its Institutions
  • Compare representations of the sacred realm
  • Identify how works of art reflect politics and the social order
  • Explain the story or history represented in works of art
  • Describe how artists represent everyday life
  • Discuss how art is used to reflect on the human experience
  • Recognize invention and fantasy in art
  • Characterize the representation of the natural world in art
  • Restate how artists respond to art and its institutions


The Visual Elements
  • Line
  • Contour and Outline
  • Direction and Movement
  • Implied Lines
  • Shape and Mass
  • Implied Shapes
  • Light
  • Implied Light: Modeling Mass in Two Dimensions
  • Color
  • Color Theory
  • Color Properties
  • Light and Pigment
  • Color Harmonies
  • Optical Effects of Color
  • Expressive Possibilities of Color
  • Texture and Pattern
  • Actual Texture
  • Visual Texture
  • Pattern
  • Space
  • Three-Dimensional Space
  • Implied Space: Suggesting Depth in Two Dimensions
  • Linear Perspective
  • Foreshortening
  • Atmospheric Perspective
  • Time and Motion
  • Identify types of line
  • Explain how artists create shape and mass
  • Describe how real and implied light function in art
  • Characterize the use of color and the theories relating to it
  • Distinguish actual and visual texture as used in art
  • Discuss the strategies for creating space in two-dimensional art
  • Relate how time and motion appear in art


Principles of Design
  • Unity and Variety
  • Balance
  • Symmetrical Balance
  • Asymmetrical Balance
  • Emphasis and Subordination
  • Scale and Proporiton
  • Rhythm
  • Elements and Principles
  • Describe how artists create unity and variety
  • Identify types of balance found in art
  • Explain how artists emphasize and subordinate parts of a work
  • Relate how scale and proportion function in art
  • Characterize the use of rhythm in art
  • Analyze formal elements and principles of design


  • Materials for Drawing
  • Dry Media
  • Graphite
  • Metalpoint
  • Charcol
  • Crayon, Pastel, and Chalk
  • Liquid Media
  • Pen and Ink
  • Brush and Ink
  • Drawing and Beyond: Paper as a Medium
  • Identify the various materials used for drawing
  • Discuss the ways in which artists employ paper as a medium


  • Encaustic
  • Fresco
  • Tempera
  • Oil
  • Pastel, Watercolor, Gouache, and Similar Media
  • Acrylic
  • Painting without Paint
  • Mosaic and Tapestry

  • Describe the ancient technique of painting in encaustic
  • Identify the advantages and disadvantages of the wall-painting technique of fresco
  • Compare works created with tempera dating from the Renaissance and the 20th century
  • Discuss the unique characteristics of oil paints
  • Distinguish between pastel, watercolor, gouache, and other similar media
  • Explain the benefits introduced with the invention of modern acrylic paints
  • Note how artists have exploited paint and painting beyond traditional practices
  • Summarize the new territory of post-Internet art
  • Outline the technical and creative possibilities of working with mosaic and tapestry


  • Relief
  • Woodcut
  • Wood Engraving
  • Linocut
  • Intaglio
  • Engraving
  • Drypoint
  • Mezzotint
  • Etching
  • Aquatint
  • Photogravure
  • Lithography
  • Caricatures and Cartoons
  • Screenprinting
  • Monotype
  • Digital
  • Printing on the World
  • Describe relief printmaking processes and their characteristics
  • Distinguish intaglio printmaking processes and their advantages
  • Characterize the use of lithography
  • Identify characteristics of screen printing
  • Explain the unique qualities of monotype
  • Relate digital prints to other printmaking processes
  • Discuss recent approaches to printmaking


Camera and Computer Arts
  • Photography
  • The Still Camera and its Beginnings
  • Bearing Witness and Documenting
  • Censorship
  • Photography and Art
  • Film
  • Origins of Motion Pictures
  • Exploring the Possibilities
  • Film and Art
  • Video
  • The Internet
  • Describe photographic process and styles
  • Explain the history and art of film
  • Discuss how artists have used video
  • Recognize how the internet is used in art


Graphic Design
  • Signs and Symbols
  • Typography and Layout
  • Word and Image
  • Motion and Interactivity
  • Graphic Design and Art
  • Describe the use of signs and symbols in design
  • Explain the roles of typography and layout
  • Discuss how graphic design uses words and images
  • Identify motion and interactivity in graphic design
  • Relate graphic design art


Sculpture and Installation
  • Methods and Materials of Sculpture
  • Modeling
  • Casting
  • Carving
  • Assembling
  • The Human Figure in Sculpture
  • Working with Time and Place
  • Public Art Controversies
  • Identify methods and materials used to make sculpture
  • Describe how the human figure has been represented in sculpture
  • Discuss how time and place are incorporated into sculpture and installation art


Arts of Ritual and Daily Life
  • Clay
  • Glass
  • Metal
  • Wood
  • Fiber
  • Ivory, Jade, and Lacquer
  • Art, Craft, Design
  • Explain how clay is transformed into functional objects
  • Describe how art is made with glass
  • Discuss techniques for making objects in metal
  • Relate wood to its artistic functions
  • Summarize techniques and use of fiber arts
  • Describe art made of ivory, jade, and lacquer
  • Distinguish the roles and definitions of art, craft, and design


  • Structural Systems in Architecture
  • Load-Bearing Construction
  • Post-and-Lintel
  • Round Arch and Vault
  • Pointed Arch and Vault
  • Dome
  • Corbeling
  • Cast-Iron Construction
  • Balloon-Frame Constrution
  • Steel-Frame Construction
  • Suspension and Cable-Stayed Structres
  • Reinforced Concrete
  • Geodesic Domes
  • New Technology, New Materials, Current Concerns
  • Digital Design and Fabrication
  • Fabric Architecture
  • Architecture and Community
  • Green Architecture
  • Explain structural systems used in architecture
  • Discuss how new architectural technology and materials respond to current concerns
  • Construct a formal analysis of a piece


Ancient Mediterranean Worlds
  • The Oldest Art
  • Mesopotamia
  • Egypt
  • The Aegean
  • Greece
  • Rome
  • Recognize the forms and themes of prehistoric art
  • Describe the art and architecture of Mesopotamia
  • Identify the appearance, subjects, and purpose of Egyptian art
  • Explain Aegean painting, sculpture and architecture
  • Discuss the art of the Classical world
 15 Christianity and the Formation of Europe
  • The Rise of Christianity
  • Byzantium
  • Middle Ages
  • Toward the Renaissance
  • Describe the art made to support the rise of Christianity
  • Explain the art and architecture of Byzantium
  • Discuss the objects and buildings made in Europe during the Middle Ages
  • Identify the characteristics of art that anticipated the Renaissance


The Renaissance
  • The Early and High Renaissance in Italy
  • The Renaissance in the North
  • Late Renaissance in Italy
  • Relate the appearance and content of Italian Early and High Renaissance art to the historical context
  • Describe the characteristics of Renaissance art in Northern Europe
  • Identify qualities of Late Renaissance art in Italy


The 17th and 18th Centuries
  • Baroque Era
  • 18th Century
  • Revolution
  • Recognize the characteristics of the Baroque era
  • Explain the art and architecture of the 18th century
  • Describe art that was inspired by revolutions in the 18th century


Arts of Islam and of Africa
  • Arts of Islam
  • Book Arts
  • Arts of Daily Life
  • Arts of Africa
  • Explain the appearance and purpose of Islamic arts
  • Describe the function and meaning of African arts


Arts of Asia: India, China, and Japan
  • Arts of India
  • Indus Valley Civilization
  • Buddhism and Its Art
  • Hinduism and Its Art
  • Jain Art
  • Mughal Art and Influence
  • Into the Modern Era
  • Arts of China
  • Arts of Japan
    • Explain the styles, themes, and history of Indian arts
    • Describe the appearance and subjects of Chinese arts
    • Discuss the history of the arts in Japan


    Arts of the Pacific and of the Americas
    • Pacific Cultures
    • Body Art
    • Mesoamerica
    • South and Central America
    • North America
    • Into the Modern Era
      • Explain the art of Pacific cultures
      • Describe the art and architecture of the diverse cultures of the Americas


      The Modern World: 1800–1945
      • Neoclassicalism and Romanticism
      • Realism
      • Manet and Impressionism
      • Post-Impressionism
      • Avant-Garde
      • Dada and Surrealism
      • Building New Societies
      • Identify Neoclassical and Romantic style and subjects
      • Describe the movement known as Realism
      • Discuss the forms and themes of Impressionism
      • Explain Post-Impressionist art
      • Classify the art of early avant-garde movements
      • Characterize art produced during and after World War I
      • Summarize the key art movements dedicated to building more optimistic societies in the postwar period


      From Modern to Postmodern
      • The New York School
      • Assemblage and Happenings
      • Art of the Sixties and Seventies
      • Postmodernism
      • Describe the art of the New York School
      • Summarize the goals and characteristics of assemblage and happenings
      • Explain the development of art in the 1960s and 1970s
      • Discuss the art of the 1980s and 1990s


      Contemporary Art around the World
      • Sales and Value
      • Identify issues addressed by contemporary artists around the world



      • Review
      • Review and Final Examination

      There are no prerequisites for this course.

      The required eTextbook for this course is included with your course purchase at no additional cost. More information on StraighterLine eTextbooks

      Prefer the hard copy? Simply purchase from your favorite textbook retailer; you will still get the eTextbook for free.

      This course does not require a text.

      Your score provides a percentage score and letter grade for each course. A passing percentage is 70% or higher.

      There are a total of 1000 points in the course:





      Graded Exam 1



      Graded Exam 2



      Midterm Exam



      Formal Analysis



      Graded Exam 3



      Graded Exam 4



      Final Graded Exam





      Final Proctored Exam

      The final exam is developed to assess the knowledge you learned taking this course. All students are required to take an online proctored final exam in order complete the course and be eligible for transfer credit.

      Learn more about Proctored Exams

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