The Iconology of American Painting (MA seminar)

Course information


The Iconology of American Painting (MA seminar)


Dr. Annus Iren

Course code







Tue 8-10

Course description

Short description

Rooted in the iconological tradition of Panofsky and Mitchell, the course pursues: (1) the boundaries of reading pieces of American painting, both public and domestic within the context of contemporary American cultural and social milieu; and (2) the possible relations to written pieces by American authors, with the purpose of deepening our understanding of possible social, cultural and political realities out of which these pieces have emerged as well as the realities they may attempt to convey to the reader.



1. Iconology

2. Colonial beginnings

3. Creating a nation (Smith, West, Peale)

4. The American landscape 1. (Cole, The Hudson River School)

5.American landscape 2. (Durand; Luminism: Kensett, Lane, Church)

6. In pursuit of unity (Mount, Bingham, Quidor, Woodville)

7. The domestic scene (Spencer and Cassatt)

8. Natives by strangers (Catlin, Remington, Russell)

9. The urban scene (The Eight)

10. Responses to the depression (Hopper, Benton, Wood, Wyeth)

11. Abstract Expressionism (Pollock, Motherwell) and Pop Art

12. Culture wars

13. Final test

14. Thematic discussion: Pain in American painting



Fall 2018


Requirements to get the grade

Students are expected to prepare for and participate in classroom discussions; to give an oral presentation on one of the topics; to prepare for the thematic discussion; to take the final test; and to submit a 10-page research paper.

Reading list


Suggested reading list